jGR and Parents 1

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29 thoughts on “jGR and Parents 1”

  1. Yes, challenging to deal with. The parents both sound concerned about grades and exams, not language ability as such. I am guessing these are generally really high-achieving students aiming for competitive colleges?

    I wondered how the first parent got the name “participation grade.” Is that parent making up his own term? There would be a point of re-education in discussing communication skills. I used this document recently: http://www.actfl.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/public/StandardsforFLLexecsumm_rev.pdf (Bottom of page 3 has a paragraph on communication being the focus of instruction, not grammar and vocabulary.)
    Are comprehension check quizzes returned or kept on file so students can see them if they want?
    Would self-evaluations of student interpersonal communication skills that you then give feedback on & assign a grade neutralize the complaint about “participation”?

    1. Jeffery Brickler


      These are good ideas. I hadn’t given back the comprehension quizzes that were scantron because they wouldn’t tell the students anything but the score. I used the quiz made by the quiz writer and then graded them. I am now thinking that I should have the quiz writer not only write the quiz, but also write down the questions that I give out so that I can keep track of them with the answers so that students can go back and check. I understand that they want to know what they missed. I just didn’t know how to do that since I made the questions up for each class. I think that a JOB will do. This will help me and everyone else.

      I have done a self evaluation. Funny that you should ask.. They all got perfect scores when they evaluated themselves. These high achieving good-grading kids know how to play the game of school really well. They are no fools. They do everything perfect always. I could give them feedback on them to neutralize these feelings. The problem is that I have trouble finding the time. I teach six classes of five levels at two different schools. I am run ragged. I think that I need to rely more heavily on the JOBS piece.

      1. I don’t think the job of recording questions will work. Too time consuming and, worse, most kids don’t care what the correct answer was, they just want to get on with their day of playing their teachers like violins. That’s what this is about. There is no sincere wish from this student to “find out what she did wrong so she can get better” but there is a very sincere wish to string you out even further and find a flaw somewhere and break you down further. These parents are smelling blood and you need to react in a calm way, leaning fully on your knowledge that you are right with the standards. Really, wouldn’t it be easier for this parent and kid to have you change than have to change themselves. In that sense, and the reason I am so concerned about how immediately important this thing is for all of us, this is a battle for the soul of the classroom and for power. The kid and the parent probably – unconsciously bc otherwise it would be demonic – huddle together at the dinner table and think about what is wrong with what you are doing. The only way you can fix this is to realized that there is nothing wrong with you, you are doing your best (and you are doing better teaching than ever), and they, by being focused on the grade and what you are doing wrong are trying to pull you into behaviors that they think are right but are not in any way right. Note that this is similar to what has happened with the American people. A few bullies have been telling the rest of us what is wrong with us for about 30 years at least. Just this past week we have made a big step in fighting back and exposing those behind the scenes manipulators and this is similar to that – this person needs to be stopped. In this case, do not have a person whose job it is to keep track of the questions. Just give yourself time, a few extra minutes after the quiz right before the bell, and keep them in their seats and go over each question and its answer before they leave. Little Miss Future User can sit there and listen to her heart’s content as you in a loving way explain her mistakes. She may have to copy her answers on a separate sheet before handing her quiz in so she can “find out what she got wrong”.

      2. My sympathies to you, Jeff, on such a demanding teaching load! I like Ben’s idea about going over the answers to the quiz before they leave – that’s when they really care most about the content, and they can leave knowing their score.

        I only pass back quizzes if it’s one that goes in the gradebook. The times those quizzes are fewer than 80% of kids at 80% or better – I just use those. They heard the answers already, and now they know not enough of the class was ready for that check-up. I’m trying to give a quiz like that maybe once every other week now that the school year is well underway. About the same frequency for jGR self-evaluations. Not too often. Trying to keep it simple.

        1. …I’m trying to give a quiz like that maybe once every other week now that the school year is well underway. About the same frequency for jGR self-evaluations. Not too often. Trying to keep it simple….

          That’s another hugely important bit of advice from Diane right there, Jeff. I’m with her on that. I might give five quizzes over a three week period and, in glancing at them, know that some sucked – just poorly written with a few dud questions in there. Instead of wrestling with the dud questions I just toss the entire quiz quickly into the waste basket, doing that with four of the five quizzes. We cannot let our gradebooks have dominion over us. And what Diane said also about the frequency of the jGR assessments – you need to do like we do on that and the quizzes both. Now.

          Related: https://benslavic.com/blog/2012/09/17/this-is-your-gradebook-speaking/

  2. Thank you Diane. The parents need to know how this is not participation. We can’t blame them, it looks like we want participation, but we don’t. We want communication. There is a reason they are different words. All of us who use jGR need to know the difference. I am so thankful that you gave us that link, which we must know and be able to bring to the attention of parents. Here are but a few things from the ACTFL document that we can use when talking with parents like the ones Jeff is facing:

    “Knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom” –

    All the linguistic and social knowledge required for effective human-to-human interaction is encompassed in those ten words. Formerly, most teaching in foreign language classrooms concentrated on the how (grammar) to say what (vocabulary). While these components of language are indeed crucial, the current organizing principle for foreign language study is communication, which also highlights the why, the whom, and the when. So, while grammar and vocabulary are essential tools for communication, it is the acquisition of the ability to communicate in meaningful and appropriate ways with users of other languages that is the ultimate goal of today’s foreign language classroom.

    Another one:

    Standards for Foreign Language Learning: Communication

    Communicate in Languages Other Than English

    Standard 1.1: Students engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.

    This standard is most clearly not participation, but more than that – communication. It is exchanging ideas. Students can earn a good participation grade by doing what they are told. In the communication standard and in our own jGR assessment instrument, students must go far beyond what they are told and “engage in conversations, provide and obtain information, express feelings and emotions, and exchange opinions.” These are specific behaviors, and Jeff can lean on them in talking to parents. They support his position about communication, not participation. Notice that communication is something that has human qualities, but participation is often done for a grade, in a robotic way, not to share ideas with the teacher but to particpate to get something from the teacher – the grade.

  3. By Sunday evening I want to see lots of comments here for Jeff, so that he can say, “Ok, I know now what I specifically need to do this week in dealing with these two parents.” Then, next weekend, I want to see that the issues have been resolved, that the parents have been re-educated, and that at least one of Jeff’s administrators have supported him in his efforts to fulfill his professional responsibilities to align with standards.

    And Jeff pls. get ready for some suggestions about a few of the points made by the parents that may contain merit. Although I am not happy about the tone of the first email, in which the parent basically is telling you how to teach, there are points that we need to discuss one by one. Hopefully we address every single objection above as a group here. For example, I agree with this by the parent:

    …I believe having 55% of the grade being based on classroom participation is too much…

    I lowered my jGR grade down to 30% from 50% and I’m glad I did, with the rest of the grade coming from quiz grades on stories and translation grades on readings. Could 55% be too much? Might the parent be right on that?

    Let’s hit every point in these emails, you guys. I feel a sense of urgency about this thing going on with Jeff.

        1. Just sayin’ if we’re discussing with Jeff et. al. about doing things in a way that is fair and causes less pushback from parents, I can totally hear some at my school asking how it’s fair that their child was graded on jGR so heavily 1st quarter and now NOT. So what would be the proper response?

          1. Tell them that you are working with a group of imperfect teachers in an imperfect online community who are actively trying to change things in foreign language education and who often make mistakes. Tell them that we tried a percentage for the first part of the year and found that it was too high and so have lowered it. Then tell them to mind their own business. We don’t owe these colleagues a damn thing.

          2. Charlotte Kroeker

            Agree! If we find something not working like we had imagined we should absolutely have the freedom to change it.

  4. Jeff,

    I’m glad you cc’d Ben on this. Most of the teachers on Latin Best Practices probably have little concept of what you are talking about because it is so revolutionary, whereas on the PLC, it’s taken for granted at this point. Most of our Latin colleagues have never had to fight this kind of battle, whereas the PLC is full of experience with these exact conflicts. I think that, to the extent that your principal does not have your back completely, you probably should “back down” and give those outspoken parents an option. Also, lowering the % to 30 will allow you to “ding” them with a D without really messing up the overall grade unless they continue to get low scores, and then not so much is hanging on each Interpersonal grade. I’m not sure what other things you could give them to do, but perhaps it could even be a traditional activity to keep them busy during class, with the result that those students are less disruptive.

    The only way you can be hard line about this in the future is to get your principal on board. As long as administrators hold the assumption that behavior is subjective and unrelated to academic performance in language classes, parents whose kids do well in the old system will be able to challenge you.

    So, in the short term do what you need to do to make sure these parents do not disrupt what you do, because if you fight them too much, they will begin spreading the work, and organizing a movement of annoying parents of high achieving jerk kids. And then, in the long term, start working on your principal by educating him, and also build bridges with your language department colleagues if possible.

    Keep a low profile, because these kids of conflicts can get very ugly (as Ben can attest), and work behind the scenes. At least that’s what I would do

    bonam fortunam


    1. Hmmm, I’m not sure if I get the impression that those particular students were actually disruptive. If they were, I would do what John suggests and give them some “traditional” work. However, it seems to me that the issue is more their non-engagement and that is reflected in the assessment/grades.
      It is always nice to be able to say that you’re standing your ground, but with non-supportive administrators that could mean your job on the line in the long run. Jeff, apparently you’re alone in this fight and while it is admirable that you so staunchly defend your beliefs and as well as the implementation of the ACTFL standards, you might have to pull back and (pretend to) be a “team player”. Right now, it’s you against them and in order to get them on your side in the long run, you should probably adjust your grading policy (as per several suggestions – lowering the weight of JGr) as well as the way you handle quizzes.
      We are all are such strong believers in TPRS/CI because we know it’s the right way and it’s the only way. It will take a while, but we will change the tide – one mind/opinion at a time. However, this will probably be too late for those particular students and their parents. So, for the sake of your sanity and for the sake of all your other (joy-bringing) students who need you to have a clear mind, take a step back, go with the flow and know that this, too, shall pass.
      Keep us posted, we’re all rooting for you.

  5. …as long as administrators hold the assumption that behavior is subjective and unrelated to academic performance in language classes, parents whose kids do well in the old system will be able to challenge you….

    You either get administrators who get or don’t get that point, just as John said it right there. We have taken great pains here over the past year and a half to break through to the radical new truth of this fact and to grasp in our own minds that, indeed, behavior should be quantified by a rubric that describes behaviors and that are related to academic performance. Those who get this radical change will serve you because they have to. It is their job to grab and shake the shoulders of parents who interfere from ignorance with the school’s mission. Those admins are there to support and protect us in exactly these kinds of situations. An ignorant administrator who tries to please parents is a dangerous thing indeed.

    We MUST address each point those parents raised, so Jeff knows where to go with this. He owes them a response, and it must be in line with the standards, and yet it must give them some options. That’s our job now, to support him in this. Let’s do it.

  6. Ok, I will quote certain sections that jumped out to me. I agree completely that the difference between “participation” and “communication” must be addressed immediately.

    1) “I am still concerned that there is no way for a student to work harder or study more to be successful in this class. ”

    The fact that the parent thinks “there is no way for a student to work harder” makes me think of the rigor poster, or at least the definition of “rigor” for what we are doing. The “hard work” in here has everything to do with what we are assessing (interpersonal skills or as someone else defined them communication competence skills). As far as studying is concerned, it seems clear that since the “material” emerges during the process, the “work” must be done in class. That said, if the student wants to study on their own, they can do this.

    *As a related aside, yesterday I had a guest in two of my Spanish classes. An alum was visiting for the day. She is from Madrid, and so she came to hang out with 2 different groups. I witnessed firsthand the “hard work” as the students sat a little forward in their seats, eyes glued to the speaker. Some of them used the stop signal, but actually the guest was completely tuned into how much they understood and often stopped, slowed down, rephrased a question, etc. Anyway, at the end of the class, the level 2 kids were beaming and exclaiming “I understood pretty much everything she said. I just couldn’t form sentences to say anything back!” Then I asked something like “How does your brain feel right now?” And they unanimously gestured or said “Whoa!” indicating a high level of fatigue. So there it is…about 30 minutes worth of real live interaction with a native speaker= FATIGUE because of the HARD WORK of listening with the intent to understand, maintaining eye contact, asking for clarification, responding to questions with short answers, using body language and facial expressions to communicate.

    2) “My daughter is not a natural communicator in English” The parent has the perception that only outgoing kids can succeed here. I wonder if there is a way to ask the parent what they mean by being a “natural communicator” means to them. This question might reveal that the parent is concerned about output. At this point you could address the concern and emphasize that the priority is for the child to receive meaningful input and show that she understands it by interacting via responses and gestures. I don’t know if it would be “over the line” to remind the parent that the child does in fact speak fluent English so she has all of the “wiring and infrastructure” in place and the interpersonal skills/ communication competence skills are the tools she needs to use to acquire Latin.

    3) For the quizzes, I use composition notebooks so everything is automatically warehoused in one place. This is mostly due to my own ineptitude at handling paper. The books are unwieldy to transport so I leave them in class and record the scores in my grade book. I have the kids self-correct with a different color pen. This takes up time, of course, but it also provides another rep on the structures. You could easily correct them yourself instead.

    4) ” when you have one teacher trying to write on the board, talk, and watch 30 kids’ body language/facial expressions/etc. I do not think it is possible to fairly assess each student under these circumstances.”

    This one is something to think about. Perhaps the parent is making an assumption based on his/her own experience in school where the teacher is at the board with his/her back to the students and/or reading from the textbook. None of us are doing these things. We are also using the same interpersonal skills we require of our students (duh)…so our eyes are on the kids. It is not perfect. WE can’t have our eyes focused on 30 kids but at the same time we are interacting face to face so our assessments are pretty accurate. Of course we will miss things. That is the nature of group interaction.

    The issue of the students’ observation of herself and the teachers’ observation being so wildly different raises a whole other issue. I don’t know how to resolve this one. “I signal all the time, you just don’t notice me.” That kind of thing. “I answer all the time, you just don’t hear me because my voice isn’t loud.”

    I don’t know if this feedback helps to figure out what to do. I agree that it is probably best to keep a low profile on this while continuing to educate the parent. Maybe invite her to observe your class, so she can really understand how it works.

  7. How about starting off by saying that you are glad that she let you know that her daughter is anxious about her performance. That is something that you need to know because anxiety can sometimes negatively affect the quality of learning and you want to help her daughter to feel more comfortable in her learning situation (without mentioning the email she sent).

    Tell her that you also understand that parental support is very important to learning success and that, whilst you may have different educational philosophies, you would nevertheless very much like to talk to her again to see if you can reach a better understanding.

  8. …you would nevertheless very much like to talk to her again to see if you can reach a better understanding….

    Yes, this piece must be done as well. I would do it, of course, with the parent and an administrator there, or at least a counselor. It is in these most stressful meetings that we make our points and win the battle, by the way. Words just sit on paper or in an email to a parent, but, by bringing the child in with other adults and lovingly addressing every single one of her concerns, and, as Henry says, actively demonstrating that:

    …you want to help her daughter to feel more comfortable in her learning situation….

    you are doing the correct thing as an adult and a professonal educator. In these meetings, by the way, we are also doing some serious re-educuation of our administrator about what we do as comprehension based language teachers. Unless the administrator is too stupid, which is true more often than it is not true.

    It is when we find ourselves in these settings that we earn the big bucks we are paid, by the way, right Jeff? Ain’t it great? Big bucks in an easy job.

  9. Jeffery Brickler

    These are great comments. Thanks Ben for the idea of going over the quiz right after we do it. Generally my kids do really well on quizzes. I have been giving the number of quizzes as you suggest. I was trying to give a jGR grade once a week. The parents want feedback so that they can help their child make changes to get the grade they all want, that is the A. Learning, only important as a second note.

    I think that another set of meetings will work well with this parent. The importance lies in re-educating my parent, if even possible, but especially the admin. I want to stand firm that I am teaching to the standards. I want to have those things there with me to back me up. Both parents came in with guns blazing and I was dodging bullets and throwing by ammo left and right just to stay alive. I can say I was defensive. I was being attacked. I had to defend my land, my castle-everything that we work so hard to build up that they want to tear down.

    Mantra: Keep it simple. I get pressure to have data, feedback constantly. How does the kid know how he is doing. How can he make improvements. Thanks for everything.

    Let’s keep thinking aloud. One of my colleagues said that she chooses at random 6 kids each day to assess. At the end of the day, she alerts them that they were assessed and they can look at their score. Does this make sense? It does feel like I am being forced to knuckle under to their demands.

    I am still a bit emotional and angry. I have to get over that and begin to heal and put together my statements and thoughts. Another set of meetings is essential, but with someone on my side.


  10. I have been in these where I felt emotional for weeks even after it was resolved. Because it IS an attack. I know that we have a lot of information here to use as ammo, but it is all over the place. I think it was Karen who suggested that we have a separate category but I said at the time a few weeks ago that we have one already in the admin/parent/teacher re-education category. Now I am rethinking that. I think any one of us in this situation, and we all will be there at least once if we haven’t been there already, should have something like a packet of stuff to lay out on the table with the parent – kind of like hard and clear and easy to understand stuff – to back up our position. It would be so much easier. Or we could just fly Robert Harrell or Jody out for the meeting but that might get expensive. OK – who wants to make the Ammo Packet? C’mon!

  11. Jeff,

    I just read this post and all the great comments added to it and let me first tell you how sorry I am that you have to go through this very painful and emotional ordeal.
    Wow, where do you teach again? You are confronting a clientele of real over-achiever students/parents there. It reminded me of a similar situation I encountered when I taught in Naperville in my first year of teaching where a very influential and well to do attorney parent challenged me on a final exam grade I had given her daughter (a B when she was a straight A student). As I tried to calm down from his accusatory tone and reproaches, I remembered a french proverb that says “on n’attrappe pas les mouches avec du vinaigre” which means one does not catch flies with vinegar. So in other words, I wasn’t going to obtain anything from him using force and reason (he was speaking from an emotional rather than a rational register) so I chose to approach it with softness which is my personality anyway, and purposely used extremely gentle language and nonverbal body language, I almost became docile purposely. It worked. I had allowed him to vent so he calmed down and the conversation shifted to a friendly frivolous chitchat about France and such, after I offered to let his daughter come retake the final exam on my own time during that summer. His argument was that she didn’t do well b/c she didn’t have enough time and felt pressured to finish early as the rest of the class did. Guess what? Although he accepted my offer and felt it was a good compromise, he never followed through! Did he know she wouldn’t do any better the second time. My guess is Yes.
    But Jeff it sounds like you know that catching flies with honey and not vinegar is the only way to go when talking with these emotional parents. They think they are talking rationally but they are not b/c we are talking blood and flesh here (maternal and paternal survival instinct at work). Just listening and acknowledging you understand their concern is IMO already solving half the issue. After all if you are willing to listen you will likely UNDERSTAND them (don’t we all need that affirmation), and it can only result in a win-win.
    Sorry I don’t mean to water down the issues at stake but just to remind myself as I am writing this that the first layer needing peeling is the emotional stuff.
    Now about the meat , I see there have been some terrific answers and suggestions already offered by Jen, Judy, Diane, Henry, John and Ben and all and I am not sure what constructive feedback I can offer you. But I ‘ll tell you what I do with my kids.

    On quizzes: I take my quiz from quiz writer. The quizzes are not always perfect so I fix what needs fixing and I proceed. I don’t use scantrons, they just write 1 through 1o on 10 different lines and vrai/faux (true/false) next to it.
    BTW John had an excellent mini video last week on how to grade that efficiently if you are grading yourself. So I ask the kids to write their name/date/class on top right and the grader has to write their name on bottom left (all this in target language so I get reps on right/left/top/bottom). Unless I run out of times I ask the kids to exchange their papers with another students next or behind them, I change that order on purpose so it s not always the same person who grades. And we correct the quiz as a class, I ask the questions again in order, they say true or false, and if it is false they have to tell me what the correct answer is (for me it s all about getting more reps and not about the quiz). Then still in the TL I ask them to tally up the number of correct answers and circle it. Again for me it s all about using TL as much as I can and maximizing use of TL in the 50 minutes I have with the kids.

    Now about the other stuff , The questions that are emerging from the parents about JGR and how we grade that. What I am finding is that JGR is a great tool to have to guide me but its not a perfect tool. For me , I am still struggling with finding a systematic and scientific way of using it. I just can’t. There are so many variables that are not observable with just my eyes/instinct/gut that I have come to terms or still trying to think about it as a base/a guide and not a science. Grading/observing behaviors is so subjective. There is so much we can’t capture in a grade. I know… try and explain that to a parent right?
    I think yesterday it was, there was a discussion between Judy and someone ( sorry I forgot who) about this kid that had been raped by her brother and had her head on the table most of the time. This tragic story struck a cord and I cannot take it off my head. There is so much emotional baggage that comes with these kids that we often don’t/can’t know about and who are we to judge them and give them a grade when there is so much behind the scene. So I do the best I can and I am sure my grading is faulty and imperfect.
    I too give the kids the grading rubric once in a while so they can self assess and I can compare it with my own. It gives me the chance to discuss with the kids when the discrepancies are too big. I hear their perspective and if they are compelling I can just change my grade .
    The way I look at it, they are not perfect / I am not perfect and if the kid self advocates for him/her in a reasonable way , he/she is using interpersonal skills , and since all communication is give and take I am going to negotiate.
    Sorry I think I went on a tangent.
    Good Luck, jeff . Let us know how it will all turn out.

  12. Jeffery Brickler


    Thanks so much for this. I think that my quizzes and how I give them needs to change. With a different system, I will be able to give the students immediate feedback. This will solve many of my problems when it comes to grading and give information back to them.

    You are so correct that I should have taken a more docile approach. However, that has never been a strength of mine. I guess it stems from my childhood. Let’s say, not a good experience. Nevertheless, I will work on neutralizing them rather than fueling the fire. I have to admit that I could have handled it better. I felt so empowered by this blog and JGR that I forgot those soft skills of persuasion. I’ll need to have them in again and talk to them about their concerns.

    Thanks for the advice. Keep it coming

  13. Jeff, I know how difficult it is to deal with this kind of challenge from parents. I once had a very difficult father to deal with and decided to try to take my emotional hurt out of the situation. I ended up speaking as rationally as I could muster and asked him to explain his concerns once again. I thanked him for sharing his concerns and said I would give them some thought, but most importantly I would love to have him come to my class and observe my teaching and the student response. He seemed surprised at my suggestion and ended up thanking me. He never came and he never approached me aggressively again. This was very hard to do. I remember shaking all over after the interview with pent up emotion.

    This is perhaps not your style, but disarming parents with genuine frankness often works.

    As to the specifics. I keep all their quizzes in a file folder that I call their “portfolio”. They are graded, but do not necessarily have the questions. I have students do a self reflection sheet when I give them their term marks. I do this before the report goes home and that way I can answer questions from the students before the parents sees the grade and questions their son/daughter.

    I would suggest lowering the jgr grade to 30% of term.

    All the best to you!

  14. Jeff you poor sod!

    What nightmare parents. God why don’t they teach their kids Latin themselves if they think it’s so easy?

    Yes administrator support seems the way forward. Someone from the school needs to back you up here. Why is Jeff having to take these emails anyway? I think the parents should have to discuss their concerns by coming into a meeting at the school with an administrator there taking notes. They should probably have the kid at the meeting too? And I think the parent should have to attend Latin class to see for themselves, then they understand what the class is. They are talking like they are experts but they don’t know anything about the subject or how it is being taught. They are just wasting Jeff’s time. He doesn’t have time to answer these long self-important emails.

    It’s all hear say – that’s the problem. The parent says they spoke to little Jenny or whatever she is and little Jenny says this and that. Who cares what she says to the parent? What evidence that it’s true or that the parent has got the gist correct in any case.

    Underlying this is a lack of respect for the teacher – parent thinks they’re better than the teacher. Parent thinks they can kick the teacher about.

  15. Jeff,
    I agree with many of these comments; we are lucky to have this PLC! I want to add something to the comment about having the kid there. I used to coach, and a speaker at a clinic said she wants the kid in ANY meeting with a parent because “I want all the liars in the same room.” That really stuck with me, and the few times I had meetings, kids admitted to not working hard, etc–even going so far as to contradict a parent claim directed at one of my assistants. Having said that, however, I once had a parent meeting concerning class with administrators and the little manipulator (who had been caught cheating, hence the reason for the meeting) turned on the tears and her mom turned psycho–luckily, my administrators were extrememly supportive–to the point of excusing me from the meeting the minute the mom turned on me. SO my comments boil down to two things: 1) administration support–have you talked one on one with your administrator(s) about the situation? Where do they stand? Do they back you? If so, stick to your guns (though you reserve the right to later alter the weight of the jgr grade should you choose) and 2) Having the kid in a meeting–this has worked for me all but the one time I mentioned. If you have a master manipulator on your hands, don’t do it, but if (as many kids will) she will admit her shortcomings when posed straight-forward questions (to which YOU ALREADY KNOW THE ANSWERS) faced with you, admin, and parents, go for it. Let mom hear her admissions in front of everybody. It is one thing to manipulate mommy at the dinner table, but it is quite another to pull it off in front of an administrator and teacher, as well (knowing the teacher knows the truth). Most kids will not be able to pull that one off (but beware the master manipulator–talk to other teachers she has or has had whom you can trust). Good luck!

  16. Excuse the piggybacking, but I have a similar behavior based problem in my Latin class as well, and would love to hear a fraction of the input that Jeff has.

    I have one student in particular who is constantly talking and distracting his classmates. I have marked him down on JGR for this, and he is well aware of this. I have communicated with the parents, but recently I have seemingly gotten on their bad side and (at the least) cannot count on them for support. My administration has been generally supportive, but I prefer not to engage them unless I have to.

    Last week, we went back to working out of the book for 3 days because the students were not cooperating with the stories. So, on Monday I spoke to the class (yet again) about the rubric and what I expect from them, and why we are doing what we are doing in the class. Everyone more or less got on board except this student, who said that he would rather work with the book.

    So today, while the rest of the class did a story, I sent him out to the hallway to do book-work which took him the whole period, and which he completed pretty thoroughly. The class story was much more under control as his partner in crime had no one to bounce things off of.

    So the question is, should I continue sending him out of class to do book work? I have old vocabulary quizzes and tests from last year when I wasn’t doing TPRS to give him. He is not a detailed oriented student so he would very likely struggle on any sort of grammar, vocab memorization type of assessment. I would imagine that would bring him back into the story-telling fold with some more buy-in, but am I being crazy for even entertaining that possibility?

    I like the idea of having a book assignment outside of class if students can’t or won’t play the game (of course, designed to take up maximum time) but then do I not grade him based on the rubric, if I am allowing him to opt out?

    Has anyone had any experience with this? I feel like I am in a bit over my head here, and am not sure where the situation is going to end up.



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