mGR – 1

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28 thoughts on “mGR – 1”

  1. Carly, Catharina and I met in NYC today and discussed (among other things) the “new” jGR – thanks for posting it here. Haha, you must have been reading our mind.

  2. Mike Peto is the one who made the breakthrough move of having a two column format, perfectly labeled, perfectly clear to young minds. The kids can get a 7 if they perform at the level on the left and higher only if they do the observable non verbal behaviors that are listed on the right side of the rubric. Dave added the great descriptor to “let your imagination run wild”. It really is jGR but the 2016 new version that can has much more power – it can go from 0 to 60 in 2.4 seconds!

  3. Has anyone here started the year with no rules posted in their class? I finished my third week with no posted rules. All I’ve been doing is discussing the old jGR as expectations.

  4. Haha Steven! Funny you mention this “no rules posted.” I started with no posters at all. Not on purpose, but because I spent a huge chunk of time resurfacing a countertop in my classroom with new contact paper because the old counter looked grungy. I had no idea how long this would take and all of a sudden it was 5:30 pm day before kids and I had no posters up. Oops! But the counter looks great!

    This is my first time checking in since I started classes again, so I’m feeling a bit out of the loop. I’m so happy to see the kid-friendly 2 -column poster and will use that as a template for making my own. I agree with trying to phrase things as positive. I try in every instance to phrase what I want rather than what I don’t want. I’ll play around with it a bit and see what I come up with. One phrase that sticks in my mind from someone (???can’t remember) was instead of the “no English” it was “support the flow of Spanish.”

    I’ll let this all percolate a bit as I take today and tomorrow off from so much thinking (sleep deprived from first week back but feeling very content!). Bottom line for me I guess, is clarity for the kids and so maybe the “no” phrasing is a necessary step at this time, meeting kids where they are. I have found that many times, my ideas and language I use to express them is probably too abstract and therefore not comprehensible input (in L1). This makes me reconsider my hard and fast “always phrase everything positively” rule I set for myself.

    Just thinking out loud.

    1. Jen. I moved into an old storage room. The school said they were going to paint it. So I had nothing posted for three weeks. Now I have a word wall emergent only. I told them how proud I was at the number of words we already have gone through. Ill post my rules when my supervisor comes.

  5. I’ll be using MBD starting next week. I made a few tweaks (basically combining Mike and Dave’s rubric) and created a self evaluation form. If anyone would like a copy of the form I created, just email me at It’s nothing fancy, but will get the job done.

    I just want to thank all those who have shared their wonderful ideas and resources on this blog. I would not have survived the last 3 years without the amazing contributions of so many great teachers.

    This is my 4th year teaching Spanish at Crisp County High in Cordele, Georgia. After not having my contract renewed at a private school I used to teach at (2000-2010) I was hesitant to label myself as a TPRS teacher since the Department Chair (and only other language teacher at the school) was a grammarian. I also kind of lost my way the first two years my current school and dabbled with Thematic and Understanding by Design Units. By my standards, my first two years were awful, even though I was rated as proficient by my administrator.

    In my 3rd year, I decided to return full force to Teaching with Comprehensible Input. I also decided that simplicity was the best approach. This community helped me persevere and get back on track. My third year (last year) was my best year ever. After a blow out with the Department Chair about my distaste for Thematic Units, she started to see the benefits of TCI as the year progressed. Although she still has a somewhat traditional approach, she has moved closer to our side. She is now a member of the IFLT/TPRS Facebook community. I have to say she is and has been a great teacher. She kind of reminds me of Susan Gross in that no matter what she does, she does it well. This year I have decided to simplify things even further. I no longer create lesson plans and have been using Tina Hargeden’s Non Target Unit Format. I have dabbled with the Invisibles idea, but primarily stick to Matava and Tripp scripts along with Movie Talk and Star of the Day.

    I didn’t mean to write such a long post, but just wanted to express my great appreciation for this community. My goal for this year is to give back to this community whenever possible.

    1. Hey Orlando! What a fascinating ride you’ve been on. I too was let go from the school I start using TPRS in, some 4 years ago. Granted, I was way over students’ heads and was not comprehensible. Problem was, I didn’t fully understand how to be comprehensible. But never fear, that next year I did my research, I joined this blog, and I practiced the craft. Thank you Ben! My principal gave me high marks.

      I’m at a new school (that one closed down… Chicago schools issues). It’s an IB school and I have to be very careful how I describe everything I do in IB (Intern Bacc) terms.

      This year, starting Tuesday, will be my 3rd year teaching CI/TPRS. I’m looking forward to the fun of it all after spending a full year teaching only heritage classes, which, yes, aren’t so much fun.

  6. I like this, but I would maybe switch the 2 number 1? I like the wording “Listen to understand” a little better, or maybe “look and listen to understand” but I think that belongs on the left while “English only with permission” would be better under “contribution” IMHO.

    It would be really need if they could match up, like

    1. Look and listen to understand 1. Use the Stop signal when you don’t understand.
    2. Let your imagination run wild 2. Suggest interesting details to stories

    This would almost put them into passive and active participation categories. Just a thought.

    1. I agree. The #1, “Show you are trying to understand” is kinda funky. I think students are showing they are trying to understand if they are doing the things in the Paying Attention column too.

      Passive and active titles for the columns is an interesting idea. I’m sure admin would love that. The word “passive”, however, connotes something like weakness though. I like how they have titled them, “Paying attention” and “Contributing”.

      1. I like all the good ideas.
        At first the “show you are trying to understand” seemed a bit odd to me, however, as I explain it to the students it makes a lot of sense. I tell them that showing your trying to understand is the rigor part. I know when I was in Linda Li’s Mandarin class and Katya’s Russian demo, this summer, I really felt the trying to understand and for the first time could really see that as observable. I was obviously paying close attention to Linda and Katya, while at the same time I was actively constructing meaning by looking at the whiteboard and word walls.

        1. I get it, David. This “Show you are trying to understand” is also like a title for the rest of the list since the rest of the list describes more tangible actions.

        1. I like that: processing/ reacting. I think I even like that more than Paying attention/ Contributing. The phrase paying attention is so overly used in schools, right? It’s kinda lost meaning or accrued unintended meanings. Kinda like the word respect in schools.

          If we think our students are ready for us to use more SLA friendly terms, then I think processing/ reacting is a good coupling.

          1. Sean, I like processing/reacting too but maybe the words processing and reacting are too abstract for some young minds? Maybe use “thinking” and “contributing” instead? They could easily grasp that “thinking” is not observable but that “contributing” is. So the two headings could be Thinking and Contributing? When I spoke to Mike Peto about this last week in LA he said that this grew from jGR. What to call it then? MBD won’t work. Mike’s Great Rubric (mGR)? That’s what it is. I want to get this out there as a new option. Strong new poster idea!

          2. Good call there Ben. I teach middle school and sll would get thinking and contributing. Reacting sounds odd almost like something is being done to them. How about “interact”?? Contributing sounds more like participating to me.

          3. I use “respond”. I break down “respond” into 2 types:

            1) respond to keep the conversation going (ie, answer the question / react to the statement / add a detail)

            2) respond to ask for clarification (ie, signal “I don’t get it” or “slow down”)

            Either of the 2 can be verbal or non-verbal.

      2. Very cool ideas here. Sean, “Paying attention” and “Contributing” is exactly what I will write on top of the two columns of my poster. However, as there is no grading in Waldorf schools in Germany, I don’t have to give any points. I tried to phrase most things positively.
        My version is of course in German. You may find it here.
        In English:
        Left column: 1) We watch attentively. 2) We make eye contact with the teacher. 3) We listen when others speak. 4) We don’t distract others. 5) We don’t blurt.
        Right column: 1) We show that we want to understand. 2) We use the stop signals: “I don’t understand” and “Slow down, please”. 3) We let our imagination run wild and suggest interesting details. 4) We avoid German. 5) We volunteer for class jobs.

        1. Martin, great to hear from you. I love your positive phrasing. Always put your attention on what you WANT, not what you do not want. This is true in the classroom as well as in life.

  7. So, I’ve been trying to put this in a way that makes the most sense to me. This is what I came up with

    Thinking Interacting
    1. Listen – only one person speaks 1. Suggest interesting details.
    2. Look at the words/gestures/ pictures 2. Use the stop signal if Frau S is unclear
    to help you understand
    3. Sit up straight & make eye contact 3. Do the gestures with Frau S
    4. Time your words: no blurting 4. English only with permission
    5. Nothing on the desk unless told 5. Volunteer for class jobs

    So this is sort of a combination of the new and the old (Ben’s rule list). I have to use desks this year so “nothing on desks” has been a constant one that I point. I think that one and “no blurting/English” together cover “no disruptions”

    Anyway, that’s my take on it. It’s fun to come up with ideas on how you would use it in your own classroom. Great food for thought here. 🙂

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