New Suggested Daily Classroom Routine (2012)

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.



24 thoughts on “New Suggested Daily Classroom Routine (2012)”

  1. I love this! I’m Ctrl+D’ing this right now. I was wondering what the heck you meant by “texting time” I’m glad you explained in the notes.
    1. Now, if this texting time is abused, for example: you find them messing w/ their phones during instruction, or it takes more than “okay put away your phones” to get them to put them away, do they lose this privilege?

    2. Is FVR every day?

    3. Do you count the FVR as a 10 minute “reading quiz” where for every minute they are reading they get a point? If they get up for something they lose a point. If they’re a minute tardy they lose a point. If somebody talks during FVR, point docked.

    4. What’s the “other stuff” we will try to cram in?

    5. I’m thinking we need a thread and a discussion on Fridays. I understand the Monday-PQA, Tuesday-Story, Wed/Thur-Reading, but Fridays are shaky. I’ve been doing PAT for Fridays but I’d like to know, in detail, what others are doing.

    1. Sabrina Janczak

      Chris , I have been following the same schedule with my kids for Monday through Thursday and on Fridays I do a song or poem which we listen to and translate. First they do a free write 10 minute free write where they chart their weekly results and that ends up taking about 20 minutes (including the free write). I know we don’t want to push the writing because it is input, but it gives me a break, gives them a break too. They count the number of words and 100 words is an A. They can repeat stories we’ve done, add characters, copy words from wall, etc… Spelling doesn’t count of course.

      1. Yes, I forgot the freewrite and Friday is the perfect time. So Friday in my world next year might be FVR, then a freewrite, then a novel with RT. Thanks, Sabrina. I would advise, if I may, that kids are best not graded for a certain amount of words. That compares one kid to another, and slow writers who may work a lot harder at a freewrite might get to where they lose hope if they try so hard and can only write 50 words. I never grade freewrites. I don’t even have them chart the words anymore. It’s all bullshit, in my opinion. CI is not bullshit, of course. Making charts and grading kids is, however, bullshit.

        1. Glad to hear you say that about the freewrites, Ben. I used to grade them for length, but no longer do, and it feels much better this way. I may (or may not) give a full-credit participation grade as long as everyone’s on task, but nobody really seems to care, so I don’t either.

          1. They don’t care about a grade when they are actively doing something worthwhile. For them, grades in schools are part of a vast gaming system between them and teachers who just can’t offer worthwhile enough instruction and so have to give grades to keep them “interested”. Every grade in my book is bogus. The real grade is determined in my mind during class.

        2. Sabrina Janczak

          Hi Ben,

          I agree that it s a bad idea to compare kids with one another as they all have different rythm of acquisition/writting etc….
          I give them a minimal grade (5 for an A, 4 for a B, etc….)
          Would you recommend keeping the charting part for self assessment , see how they improve over time?

          1. The thing is that if you assign a grade in any way to their efforts at writing, just as in reading, they will eventually come to resent writing and reading, and they will think of it as part of school and a chore.

            To me, that is a disaster. I find such bullshit ways to grade them, like how many minutes they read, and can they copy a dictee properly. Then I make the term grade up anyway on what I see in class. And don’t act like I am the only one that does that, y’all.

            For me, no on the charts. It’s just another bullshit little thing that turns into these little competitions. Others would say yes on them, because they see it as a way for kids to see how they are doing. I see that as fake. It’s like asking a three year old to get all stoked about writing words. Just weird to me. More school bullshit.

          2. Sabrina Janczak

            I see what you are saying. I think I will stop grading the free write and stop the charting. I definitely give them BS grades and change their grade to whatever I think they re worth at the end of the semester. This grading system we do is totally a waste of time and does not reflect what they’re truly worth. The grading system is something that needs to be fixed here in America, it just does not work!

        3. Ben, I call it Freewrite Friday (even though it is not in the TL it helps kids remember) I have them write in a journal and count the words, put the number on a circle and move on. No charting, but yes, counting. The only reason I have had them count is for them to see their own growth. I think grade on: did you do it? and did you use English for something other than a name?
          My question is, Do you enter a completion grade for them?

          I have to say that I am the world’s WORST grader. It is almost like students have to work because they want to in my class because it may never end up in the grade book. I get so sick of the whiney teenage voice asking me “is this for a grade?” or “will this be on the test?” Do you want a test? That is my fourth quarter resolution.

          1. Okay, questions answered. But, my kids WANT a grade. Should I read their free writes to see how they are doing and correct some huge errors, or should I just leave them in the journal? hmmm. I am so young at teaching. I feel like it will take me forever to figure it out.

          2. Karen if you want your students to learn with a sense of joy and freedom, all that good Alfie Kohn stuff, which I worship, then try to fly under the radar with fake grades, like I do.

            And yes – it does take a long time to learn how to teach fake classes and make up fake grades so that people think that we are doing the institutionally correct thing.

            Of course, the point here is all very cheshire cattish, as we know that fake classes and fake grades are all geared toward authentic interaction with the kids.

            I wouldn’t say any of this out loud in my school, as John pointed out re: our privacy status here in this PLC, but I would say it in this group.

            It is not bc you are a young teacher, it is because the system is completely broken. They tell us all these things that have to do with control and shaming, telling us that we have to do that in order to be good teachers and get contract renewals, etc.

            But, in the end, that is what has driven kids away to the tune of only 4% left in a “program” of four years. When we teach them authentically (falsely) we try to slip under the radar with our fake grades, and, if we succeed, we end up with 80-90% of our 9th graders still hanging with us after four years. Now who’s right?

            Again there is nothing wrong with you. That sees itself because you are questioning all of this. You are questioning something that needs to be questioned. You are like Chris as a new teacher, who fearlessly questions anyone and anything, even Wertzies.

            My advise is to always teach and grade in a way that is honoring to the kids. It’s now time for all teachers to give up their centuries old habit of figuratively striking children across the backs of their hands with rulers.

            We really can do better than that. Never forget that TPRS/CI is a NON-SHAMING method. Never forget that idea the next time you get in a fight with one of those traditional ego centered wringwraith bullshitters. WE DON’T SHAME KIDS WITH GRADES THAT MEAN NOTHING. Whose grades are real and whose are false, after all?

          1. To me if an assessment is about a child producing something that the teacher wants, it qualifies as bullshit. If, however, the child wants to produce it, show it off, either by being asked to do so by the teacher or spontaneously, then it is bonafide. This is a real grey area and people who are experts at assessment, like those who write state exams, are, in my view, full of it, because the kids who take those state mandated exams are largely doing it bc they have to. You really should come to my school. The looks on these kids’ faces. Wow. Some, now in 19th grade, have looks not unlike beasts of burden – the look in their eyes say partly that they have been judged and branded and found to be lacking. But nobody is lacking, so I’m just not an assessment guy. I know lots of parents and teachers and kids in the Denver suburbs who actually believe that urban kids are stupider than they are because they test lower than them. So is the end of class metacognition time potentially of value? Yes, among all the options, because it is comes honestly from the child. Just a rant here Annemarie, don’t try to make any sense out of it.

      2. One thing about Friday is – and I don’t want to be misread on this – Friday is a perfect day for music and poetry. BUT I teach levels 1 and 2 mainly and am going to set up Fridays from now on using FVR and freewrites like you said Sabrina and then some RT. I am going to do this because, for the most part, THE KIDS DON’T RESPECT WHAT THEY ARE BEING GIVEN IN THE MUSIC AND THE POETRY AND VISUAL ART AT THOSE LEVELS. Bless their hearts, they just don’t. Watch them listening to a song. There you are, putting gold on their desks, and they start throwing it around the room. Same with the poetry, which in beginning classes is code for “Let’s have a party!”. Nope. I didn’t spend my life worshipping at the alter of geat French poetry to throw it up on the wall and hope some of it sticks. Yes, the few kids who get into that stuff are denied it, but I get to keep my sanity and those kids can get it in level 3, without all the bullshit.

  2. 1. phone is taken away if used at any other time than texting time. no discussion.
    2. yes.
    3. I try to read during this time, as we should be setting the example, but I work in a school and have to provide grades. We have major tardy issues esp. with p.m. classes in my school; it’s the school culture. Today, in one class two boys cruised in four minutes late and seven minutes late. First boy got a 6 in the book, the next a 3. Those are failing grades on tests. If a kid sits down with a book but it isn’t open and being looked at, no points. I just sit there and watch them.
    4. the other stuff is the last three things listed there.
    5. I’m loose on Fridays, but we still do FVR to start class. Friday is a perfect time, if you think about it, to do RT from a novel. Then, the M/Th schedule would be as stated, but Friday would be Novel Day. I don’t think they get much from the music. I’m gonna save that, along with the poetry, for upper level classes. Everything mentioned above has everything to do with the sense of entitlement that kids show in schools and my response to protect myself from that entitled rudeness. It’s necessary in my urban world.

  3. Annemarie Orth

    Have you been able to do the metacognition check in every day? I’ve found that I just can’t do it on the same day-I start class by checking in the next day. I have them do thumbs up, medium or down for each target or whatever you want to call those items on the check list.

  4. I haven’t started yet. Will likely wait until fall. May not do it every day in the fall. The kids must be trained first and now is too late to norm a class, esp. my clientele.

    The real question is, since these kids are not instructed in the ways of upper level taxonomy discussion, Socratic seminar, etc. will this work? Can they be trained? I say yes, but only when they are new to me, and when I am busy norming everything else in the room in August.

    Re: not enough time – five min. can be set aside to end class in my view. It is that important to me. But I won’t use thumbs up and such. I will make them talk about how they are learning.

    Their self reflection will be with words to the group. If they can’t do that, then I will take a few weeks off from second language instruction and teach them.

    If they can’t verbally reflect on what the 2010 and 2012 posters are all about, then they will learn. Why on earth would we teach them a second language if they haven’t the human skills to use their first?

    The old days of kids looking like cardboard cutouts of themselves propped up in desks are over in my world. This will happen even if I have to go back and do simple activities that are aimed toward social development and group sharing (like Jeanne Gibbs’ “Tribes” program of social development from long ago, the only book I have kept for my entire career and used in all the TOK and GT and language classes I have taught.

    No social development, no social skills = no French.

    1. This is such a valuable discussion. In the earlier part of the year I was doing much more with the metacognitive piece. I set aside time for personal reflection in writing. It was only about once a week. I would write one of the rules or whatever I was targeting, and have them think about how they were incorporating the particular skill into their learning. I’d give them a few minutes to write silently and then open it up for discussion. I learned A TON from this…so why did I stop doing it?!?!

      With the new Rules 2012 poster, I intended to go back to this practice, but as yet have not done so. Grrr. I agree that this is done best when norming the class, but since my kids have had some experience with it, it’s worth it to me to try now. Not ideal, but I figure they will get something out of it. I can totally see just waiting to start over next year though.

      I did an activity in English the first day back from Feb/Mar. break, in order to focus on the “one person speaks others listen” rule that is really hard to follow. Everyone breaks this rule all the time, and I’m not just talking about language class or any class. People cut each other off as a rule. Not necessarily out of ill will, intentional rudeness, etc. Often it is in an animated discussion. So it’s a great life skill! Yes, you will use this in the “real world!” It was pretty magical. Not only did they truly listen to each other (with ears and eyes and appropriate gestures, and “awwwww!” etc. but they noticed how they could hear and understand everything! It has affected our regular process during PQA and stories, (disclaimer: not as in “oh now it is perfect,” but it is significantly improved) so it’s just a good reminder to pick one thing each day to practice!

      You wrote: “No social development, no social skills = no French.” This is a great reminder to me to prioritize the rules and discipline.

  5. No social development, no social skills=no education period. That is one of the issues in our Race to the Top education of No Child Left Behind. We’ve left out childhood. Our entering kindergarten students have a pass/fail assessment test given in the first 3 weeks of school. This is a statewide requirement. And I am sure that Florida is not the only state where this ridiculous practice is encouraged.

    There are no more little kitchens and puppet theaters to hang out with as centers for learning speaking skills. And everyday your kindergarten class of 2011-12 in FLA. is taking little multiple choice tests, fill in the blank, and true/false exams in math and core subjects.

    Social skills are going to happen on the playground and there is no teacher really focused on the kids during that time unless someone tattles (hey you in charge–do something) or cries. I see it everyday and I am in what I would consider a caring and alternatively focused school with lots of hands-on kinds enrichment. And yet this is what I witness. Do you wonder at your high schoolers who have now had 10 yrs. of this?

    There are so many students like Ben’s who have no childhood to begin with. Who taught them listening skills, cooperation for the sake of the betterment of the community, speaking respectfully? Or students who come from a place of privilege like Jen’s, but lack the same skills because they too were taught by public media in the form of a television screen on the back of their parents’ car seat as they drove to and from their activities so that they would be well-rounded?

    Michele posted on her site a great Ted Talk by Julian Treasure on 5 ways to Listen where he speaks the loss of listening in our contemporary society.

    This I think is really important. What happens in these TPRS/CI classrooms is that students build community through a structure of classroom agreements and then actually get to interact conversationally through language. Conversations require us to listen to what the others say before we offer our two cents. Those conversations often do not happen in other classrooms. And that is the megacognitive responses that instructors are soon going to be required to check off their list as having done (at least in Florida–but we haven’t taught the teachers or the students the skills to make it happent).

    So here in the foreign language classroom they are building the skills (whether they ever speak the target language) that was missing in early childhood and on up through their education process at school and home. They are learning to share the focus of attention respectfully AND playfully with others. They are learning to listen for the meaning of the speaker. They are learning that we are all in this together and the kindness required to let each make their mistakes and triumphs and we will all share it together because we stress our rooms as safe places to be ourselves. Isn’t that what a family truly is about in most of our minds?

  6. FVR question:

    1. When in the school year do we start FVR?

    2. With 9-week Exploratory classes, can FVR be done? What about with bilingual books? Cheerios has some really cool bilingual books right now.

  7. My first and only goal in August is to norm the class in terms of the posters esp. the 2010 rules and 2012 metacogntion guidelines. I am glad that we have our “Beginning the Year” category to help us remember everything we have discussed here this year about starting the year.

    It doesn’t include any FVR because in that crucial first month it should all be about norming the class, establishing classroom discipline, contacting parents about the changes their children will have to make to succeed in our classes, and setting an auditory base that can lead to FVR perhaps in October, no sooner, in my opinion.

    We all probably start FVR at different times, but it seems obvious that, without a good auditory base (given in the first three months in the form of PQA mainly (maybe after some preliminary stories in September), they can’t do it.

    I would say, from the eight years I spent doing TPRS/CI in middle school, that the earliest a nine week exploratory could start doing FVR would be at the four or five week point, and then I would only use Reading A to Z level texts, which I would recommend as the best possible FVR material you can find for an exploratory class (can be purchased for $80 per year to make limitless copies for your classroom in Spanish and French, I think).

    My opinion on the bilingual books is that they are great for a motivated learner but, in most classrooms where not all kids are super motivated, would short circuit the great work accomplished by simple FVR. I really don’t know, but I think that the kids would read the English.

    This goes back to our need to help each other build really good FVR libraries – I am glad we have started sending books out to our respective language specific teachers listed in that one blog post above.

  8. Sorry, you can tell that I am really new. I do not know all the letter/acronyms and would appreciate some help.
    RT after novels?
    What are Matava scripts? I can’t open them on this site.
    I will give myself some brownie points for knowing CI and PQA, but I suppose that is “not approaching outcomes” on my report:(

  9. Free Voluntary Reading – a kingpin of Krashen’s work, that just reading books that you feel like reading when you feel like it is the best way to learn languages and that according to the research has greater value than any form of direct instruction, which is why we in Denver Public Schools devote the first ten minutes of each class to quiet free reading with calming music in the background (see resources page for some calming music).

    RT – Reader’s Theatre. Championed by Jason Fritze. But most of us are pretty awkward with it. There is a thread here but not complete. All of us in this group are pretty much wrestling with it and will again this year try to make some strides into the magic that Jason creates through sheer talent when he teaches novels.

    Matava is Anne Matava – a gifted story script writer from Maine who is a German teacher. (The group might be interested to know that Anne has moved schools and is now teaching only French!) Try a search for some of her stories here. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank her inwardly for her scripts. They keep me teaching bc I know that with a Matava script the story will take off and fly.

    And remember all of these acronyms are in a forever state of change and growth. The approach we use is a not a method that one can study, learn and implement but rather a way of hanging out in the TL with our kids. So it is going to be different for every teacher. The human element is very alive in what we do. If we let it.

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