I Am A Hippy

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



7 thoughts on “I Am A Hippy”

  1. I was born in ’73 and raised in the SF bay area, and I went to hippie schools my whole life. It means that pretty much every school I attended was in some funky little rented space, but what I did get was small classes, caring teachers who seemed to have all the time in the world to spend with each of us, lots of circle time, nature hikes, unstructured play, art–however we wanted to do it, field trips, no homework, no memorization, minimal focus on “content,” all-embracing spirituality and meditation, music… And I always felt safe. And I still was able to go on and earn an MA in Latin and Greek literature. I don’t think I was “left behind” by any lack of emphasis on content. During the early years, the content does not matter–that takes care of itself if you lay the foundation. If only all schools and teachers could be hippies.

  2. I went to a military high school in Indiana called Culver Military Academy and the emphasis was on smashmouth academics and smashmouth sports. My mind and body suffered under a constant barrage of “Be better! Be better! Run faster! Win!” I was indoctrinated in the opposite thing, John, from what you experienced.

    It’s interesting that the term hippy carries such negative connotation,s even today, of lazy people doing drugs but that was not what the 60’s were all about. They were all about a new way of thinking that was less smashmouth, more loving, less selfish, more having concern for others, of just being kinder.

    Fast forward a lifetime and here I am pushing for a less smashmouth, more loving way to teach. We have done this together here. We have done work here together that could not have been done on the moretprslist, nor could it have been done at any conference. We have added in so many new tunes to the opera that is TPRS/CI.

    I guess we are just a bunch of hippies. Maybe I have recovered from military school. All I know is that in the profession I chose, there is now, all across the nation, such a strange vibration, people in motion, there’s a whole generation, with a new explanation, people in motion….people in motion.

    That’s us, the people in motion. As in:


  3. Ben, in what level class did you do that story? Did the textbook-trained kids know every single word in the script besides the 3 structures? (You know what I”m getting at here…how were you able to use a script this early in the year without first having laid a serious-ass CWB/cards/questionnaire foundation?)

    1. Hi Anne, rightly or wrongly I’m using some volume 1 stories with level 1 French already too. I’m just picking out ones that do what I want to do, Afraid of the Package and The Tent Story so far, but next week it might be The Thirsty Boy or Who’s Paying? They are begging to be up acting and they’re loving it. I have a very good out of bounds monitor, which helps a lot. I am really glad of the stories. They are also keeping me sane in Russian level 2-3, for which there is woefully little material that’s simple enough available. Thank you.

    2. I did that story with my CI-trained level 2’s and with my 3/4 traditionally trained kids, who know very little by the way, but speak Spanish. That is probably your answer.

      So in this school I end up doing so much auditory work, bc they process so fast bc of the Spanish, that I don’t read enough and they score poorly on the district reading assessments. Remember that many can’t read in English as per:


      Hence my push on reading this year from midweek on to Friday. So yeah that’s the short answer. The long answer is that I have learned via requiring them to SHOW UP for class as per the new cardboard crushing jGR and requiring STRONG GROUP CHORAL RESPONSES that I can take even kids with no background and make myself understood. But I have to have:

      1. SLOW
      2. Staying in Bounds
      3. Checking for Understanding

      Your stories help so much because they are so interesting to the kids. I don’t know if I could do what you are asking about with kids who don’t have Spanish, but I think I could. You see, I am beginning to suspect (not sure yet) that excellent execution of the three skills above and to a much lesser extent the overated skill of Circling are enough to make all of the vocabulary that is not a target structure in your scripts transparent to them.

      So they understand because, like in football and all sports, of the execution of the skills. One reason I believe this is because when I get observed, many of the people observing who don’t know French at all follow along quite at surprising levels.

      It’s about proper execution of the method and the fact that my kids have Spanish, with the former far out-trumping the latter (out-trumping?). And of course the game-changing influence of jGR is now a big factor this year as well. I don’T KNOW if it all about execution, but I think that is the main answer I would like to put forth for your consideration.

  4. Anne, I see where you are going with your comment. For me, an example would be “An Important Test” . The structures are thinks, an important test, stay home. When I first wanted to teach it, I quickly realized I needed wakes up, you have to go to school. So I agree that a massive amount of front loading is required. Your stories are great and I have better luck with them at the end of French 1 and up. For the past two years, I have started my Fr one class with PQA, CWB and Bryce’s 100 Foundational Words. His list overlaps with a lot of stories – all high frequency stuff. It is probably on his website.

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben