Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Durham

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27 thoughts on “Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Durham”

  1. Dude. I got all crazy over the rubric thing this evening and thought I would quickly check in on your day bc I knew that observation was today.

    I am speechless. You have done this so fast! I don’t think you even know what you have done. You have taken a set of ideas, gone into your classroom with full faith in them with almost no training, no workshops, no nothing, really, and with nothing to lose (that is the main part), and you completely vaulted to a place where you blew the mind of an administrator, yourself, and most importantly your kids.

    What’s the word up the list from badass. Like we can’t say triple badass. There must be some word for this. We should compare this email with those you wrote a month ago. There is no way word to express how I proud I am of you and how important you are and what you have done is.

    Congratulations is not sufficient. This is a major shining star of a field report. I’ll make it into a post and categorize it under the already existing category of greg’s Great Questions (gGQ) so we can keep this story going.

    You dun good boy! Now, what is the AP going to do? Let you go to France? The stars will shine a little less brightly in Durham next year if you leave.

    One more thing. You must let your upper level classes go. This happened in your level 1 class and could never have happened in any of the other levels. Keep that in mind before thinking that those other kids can be rehabilitated. They can’t.

  2. Wow, Greg. I am so impressed. Like you, I was all on my own when I started trying TPRS. Unlike you, I didn’t just jump right in and do it. I fiddled and tried tweaking it and held on to the rim of the pool. Now I wish I had had your courage and just dived in. You’ve shown us how solid the method is when we just let go and trust it.

  3. I can’t think of a more perfect example of complete surrender to the flow/universe/higher powers or however you want to think of it. Big powerful energy that we can flow with or fight against. So so so cool! So inspiring!


  4. Congrats! Sounds like a great class! Make sure to hold on to that feeling and bottle it for the days when not everything goes as planned. Days like that can sustain you for a looong time.

  5. Greg,

    I couldn’t be happier for you Greg! Just awakening to this terrific news is filling my day with sunshine despite the rain flood we’re getting here today.

    We’ve all been following your saga with great interest and I remember those pre TCI days when you hit bottom and you turned to us and look what happen today!

    I’m starting to think of Asterix and Obelix now. So all of us here in this PLC are like the Gaulois (gauls) and we are a little tribe surrounded by all the powerful Romans (the majority of grammar teachers all around us), and we keep on fighting no matter what. So you came to our tribe (this PLC) and we gave you the magic CI potion and you became invincible. I like that idea, can I call you Gregorix?

    My motto is that only those who try and take risks will be able to really appreciate their successes. And you sure dove into la “gueule du loup” and we are all sharing and cheering with you today!

    1. I like Gregorix and maybe he can have two names. Only one of us has two names now – Robert – who is Le Chevalier de L’Ouest and I forgot the other one. Jody is la Reine du Béaria. You should have a name. Anyone teaching in the Chicago Public School system should have a special name denoting their work in a war zone. Back to Greg. I’m liking le Duc de Durham. He used to be a stable boy and now he is a duc, dressed in blue in the lower right here:


      1. This is hilarious! I am a LONG way from living up to the title of le Duc de Durham, but I’ll take it only because it’s funny, has a nice ring, and also is a nice play on words with Duke in Durham. I also like Gregorix and Sabrina, your magic potion analogy is quite fitting becuase I really do feel like I was miserably stumbling along 10 weeks ago and suddenly fell into a rabbit hole and landed in the middle of a circle of you all having a discussion at the bottom of the hole drinking the magic potion. You guys gave me a goblet full of the magic CI potion and let me join the circle. I have done literally nothing except do my best to implement these TPRS/CI ideas which others have come up with.

    1. “La Fille de France” is kind of cool. Like Marie de France or how they referred to French queens or princesses as “de France”. That’s just for now, or it may stick. On verra. Like we do with coming up with names for our students, we need to do this slowly and let the names for everybody emerge. I mean, Robert is Le Chevalier de L’Ouest because he is, well, Le Chevalier de l’Ouest. I would like to see names in other languages as well!

  6. Wow, you all have no idea how grateful I am for all of your support. It means so much to me. There’s no way I would have ever been able to even begin to contemplate any of this -or keep it going- without all of you. I can’t wait to meet you all!

    Also, I’m hoping my AP’s interest in TPRS and CI might lead to interest being generated in my department. We’ll see how things go at my post-observation conference next week.

  7. I think there will be a reaction. The AP saw you in action. Your departmental colleagues didn’t. I would let them go, and focus on getting some money out of your AP to attend a conference this summer. Unless he’s a dumb ass and won’t now fight to keep you on the faculty. That would be a dumb move on his part, now that he knows what he has.

  8. Hi Martha, and thank you! You must be digging through the archives! Thanks for reminding me to not forget this favorite memory thus far in my teaching career. A moment made all the more special to me by the hours and hours of struggle in and out of the classroom for my first three semesters before the light of CI shown down from above. Actually, shone out of my computer screen as I researched language teaching at my desk while I gave a nightmare class yet another free period.

    Also, are you new here? If so, welcome aboard!

    1. “Actually, shone out of my computer screen as I researched language teaching at my desk while I gave a nightmare class yet another free period.”

      If that image doesn’t ring true, I doubt the reader has ever really tried to teach. Well said, Greg, and thank you for the honesty.

    2. Hola Greg! Great story! I am glad this was “dug up out of the archives”. I wish this blog was around when I started searching the internet for a better way to teach language students. All of my efforts finally turned into a phd…go figure! Isn’t TPRS/TCI great? – Louisa

  9. I am so glad that this came up because today was a hard day for me. This helps remind me to hold on to those magical days because if we are faithful (to CI, our students, and ourselves) then we will find ourselves in that magical space again. Now it’s time for a deep breath, hot shower, and good rest so that tomorrow will begin with a smile.

  10. Hi Greg, I didn’t even notice the dates I was so taken by the content. By some fluke the post was shinning out of my screen yesterday! I loved it.

    Thank you for your welcome. I used to be active, Ben really got me started five years ago or so. When the blog went private I took a break for a while and I really missed it. It is a whole new animal now, I am doing some digging, there is gold in those archives!

  11. ^ Wow what an awesome story. ^

    Today is our final for Intro SPanish (write a story, a self-description, and a description/story about one of 3 ppl I will put on o/h, plus dictee and trans). My lang colleagues have been doing exams and projects for 6 days; I have been providing CI until literally the last day.

    Yesterday I told the kids “best thing you can do to study is to read” (the typed versions of stories we have asked in class; and a few from alst year we read together).

    Today as I walked in I saw 4 kids in the hall and one said “I’m looking forward to this exam. It’s gonna be FUN! I like stories” and another said “this is the only exam I don’t have to worry about.” All four said they’d been reading. Then I ran into my chem teacher colleague who said “you know that [student] J.C. raves about your class” and I said “why?” and she said “because she can speak Spanish without even thinking about it and it’s fun. I have to tell her not to speak Spanish [to a guy she has a crush on who is also in my Spanish class 😉 ] in Chem class.”

    For that ^ thanks Ben, Hosler, Harrell, Jen S, Laurie, Eric H and everybody else with AWESOME ideas, and above all, Blaine Ray, who cracked it.


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