Spreading the Wealth with jGR

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15 thoughts on “Spreading the Wealth with jGR”

  1. Thank you,

    This couldn’t come at a better time!!! I have this same problem. It is always the same kids that respond so fast, probably b/c they process much faster than the rest of the general population and it’s frustrating for me as a teacher. I was wondering how to remedy that and was about to ask on the blog! This is perfect. Thank you , I will try this out.
    On a different note, Chicago is again making the headline news , and this time it is my school (Taft High School) ! The assistant principal who just formally observed me this morning after cancelling twice on me already ( I can imagine her mind was not on observing me but couldn’t put it off anymore) authorized a strip-search of a student who allegedly was carrying drugs on him . They didn’t find anything although they had been tipped off. The parents claim mental abuse and say that their kid is so traumatized. The assistant principal ( from the rumors I heard) went in the bathroom with the two security guards and police officer and watched the whole thing, which if true would be so humiliating for the poor kid. I find it very sad that this is what s happening in our schools.

    1. Oh and I should add the class my assistant principal observed rocked today !! I spoke French 48 minutes out of 50 (I was timed) and we did the story from Anne ” talks too much”. Merci Anne! I had warned the kids yesterday ( anyway they are awesome kids, I absolutely adore every single one of them !) and they were all awesome, outputing like crazy , and this is a French 1 class on week 12 . I was soooo proud of them. I cannot wait to see what she tells me on the post observation on Monday.

      1. ARRRGH I just typed a long something and it went away.
        Here is a summary.:
        I think that it is unfortunate that they strip searched a boy because of a rumor. I find that to be very unprofessional. People lie or are mistaken all of the time. I just went through this at my school with another staff member tattling on me for something that they thought that they had seen.
        As far as the output goes, Maybe I am doing something wrong? How did you get your French


  2. Whoops this got sent before I was finished. What is my problem today?
    Sabrina, my question is, how did you get your kids to output so much? I am dealing with a admin that thinks output is input x 2 in the link above is a very long detailed post about him if you feel like reading it. I ask this to you because he wants to come back next thursday and he is going to be expecting some forced output. How do I coax the kids to participate in non-forced output?
    I am going to definitely use the “Spreading the Wealth” idea to get more participation.

    1. Sabrina Janczak

      Hi Karen,

      I don’t think it is anything I do. These are highly motivated kids. This class is an IB class. They would acquire no matter what or no matter who taught them.
      I am thinking more and more that motivation is a big piece of this puzzle.
      I wish I had the answers but I think it’s beyond my field of expertise. I just see the IB kids or the talented Academic Center middle schoolers or my honors students thrive while my regular high schoolers vary tremendously in learning outcomes, so I attribute it to motivation because I teach the same way to all of them. If you figure it out, please let me know…..

      1. I think that you are right. I have a few kids that are just naturally better at learning a language, like some of us are naturally better at drawing or playing an instrument, but the kids that are not what I would call natural talents (I think I might have 2 in Sp I this year) and are honors students, are definitely outputting in Spanish 1. The great thing though, is that even my “troubled” boys are getting the language and when I go SLOW, they understand. Holy SHIT (sorry Sabrina, I know you aren’t a cusser) I just had an AMAZING EPIPHANY. I go way way way to freaking fast in my classes, especially my Spanish 2 class. This is why the twins have a shit fit. Maybe they are not type two kids after all (I still think they might be) but I also realize that I am going way to fast and this is why they get lost. There are too many kids that are naturally gifted in that class and I need to practice the sharing the jGR wealth.
        Thank you Sabrina for helping me realize this. I am going to post a few SLOW posters in my room as a reminder to STFD.

          1. Okay. I have no clue once I have turned bold on how to turn it off. Even more embarrassing because I am pretty sure a 5 year old could do this.

          2. Hi Karen,

            Thanks for making me laugh and putting a smile on my sleepy face this morning. And no you are not alone, Turning the bold thing on and off and not knowing how to fix it is something Iwould do too!

          3. The slash / is the sign to stop; so, to start you have pointed bracket b pointed bracket; to end you have pointed bracket slash b pointed bracket. I can’t put down the actual text or you wouldn’t see anything. If you know how to start the bold, then simply re-do that with the addition of a slash inside the brackets before the b to end it.

            Hope this helps

  3. …ARRRGH I just typed a long something and it went away….

    I really can say that that is one of the worst things about this form of communication. We have all been there. Dude.

    And Sabrina, 48 of 50 is badass. I can’t say I have done that more than a few times.

    Karen what if you just asked for some time with the AP and explain, using stuff from here, about forced output? Will the person hear you? I mean, it just seems so bizarre to have a professionial called on the carpet by a non-professional. It’s like a surgeon being told by the dude who administers the scheduling of the operating room use to use a certain scalpel in the operation. WTF?

    1. I think that the problem is that he used to teach Spanish for a long time (this is the guy that cornered me back in October) and he is set in his theoretical ways. He has quoted this guy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Vygotsky to me (read the blurb on Thought and Language). He sat and told me how to teach Spanish for over an hour as my post observation meeting.
      I like to see this man as a teacher for me (as well as a nuisance) because he is forcing me to be more articulate about my teaching philosophy and why I teach the way that I teach. He is also teaching me how to deal with opposition with grace.
      I do need to do more research on forced output and find out why it is not input times 2 so that I can have that in my armory.
      I feel like I have a short circuit in the neurolinguistic transmitter in my brain. There is so much going on in there that is not connected to any comprehensible input that my fellow human beings would understand. My transmitter often has a difficult time connecting the feelings and visions in my brain to actual understandable words. I want to create a device where two people can touch and ideas, feelings and visions are transmitted.

  4. Speaking of output… I was emailing back and forth with Anny Ewing and the subject of writing came up. Our discussions on input are constantly evolving, but when it comes to the baby steps of writing that eventually morph into the upper level writing, there are not many comments aside from timed writing. Could anyone comment on how and when they get their kids writing aside from reading, reading, and more reading, dictation, etc.?

  5. It’s worth a lot of discussion because what you say here is something nobody has ever brought up:

    ….when it comes to the baby steps of writing that eventually morph into the upper level writing, there are not many comments aside from timed writing. Could anyone comment on how and when they get their kids writing aside from reading, reading, and more reading, dictation, etc.?….

    Both of us have been at this game a long time, chill, and writing output has received little attention beyond free writes. It is because for so many years we were totally focused on input. But then our kids got better and better and so it becomes natural to look at output in the form of writing in terms of specific techniques, much like we have done with the input skills. I brought in dictee in about 2003 and it’s been a good tool, but is there more? Personally I have just lately been working with five “stations”. Trust me and you know it, I am an opponent of output in the first two years, so just to be clear I am doing this bc I must force output. They are forcing me to force output (not Diana – we only weigh it at 15% of the overall district score but the kids still have to take it, and one in speaking, in April). Long story short – there is so much data gathering in my district that I have to play the game. So, ever the good employee, I put up butcher block type charts up two days ago. Besides the charts, there is a district prompt, a file that is projected up from my computer on the LCD, of four panels very much like the old AP exam images that a kid had to describe verbally. It is from our district writing assessment and Diana sends the file out to all of us. In Lincoln we use it to gather writing samples for the data machine that exists within our high school (we have to feed two monsters, locally and at the district level). The actual writing rubric that has taken years to finalize is a piece of art, in my opinion. Anyway, that image of the kid going through his day from (9:45 a.m. in the first panel, sitting in a classroom with the kid next to him sleeping and the professor talking and his hand up in the air ends in the fourth panel with him relaxing at home at 8:30 p.m. after playing basketball during the day). There are so many details in the prompt that a kid could write many pages, but we only ask them to describe what they can. The goal is a story described through those four time frames with conjunctions glueing it all together. Sentences with Spanish or English words don’t count. 10 to 12 nice French sentences gets them a 5 on the Lincoln scale and a 10-12 on the district scale, which corresponds to Intermediate Low or whatever, I don’t have the chart in front of me. I did this yesterday and I am so happy I put it off for so long in this second year class, focusing on input only, esp. reading the last few months, bc the saved time from getting them writing too early was a good move from what I could see that I collected yesterday. It was a kind of proof that massive input provides nice healthy output over time. Now, about those other big charts all over the room – they really helped them write. Think of it as a big open book writing test, with the nitty gritty of what they needed to write all over the room plainly visible to all. All they had to do really was look around the room and pull information into what they were writing. I should video the room instead of trying to describe it. One buthcher block chart was full of conjunctions, one was full of prepositions, there was one that tells what happens when a preposition runs into an article (link below), of course there was the Word Wall full of verbs, and there was one with the subject pronouns on them (we can’t assume anything), and I think that’s it. The prepostiion/articles chart is on this site on the posters page under TPRS Resources:


    It’s funny, thought, because after putting up all those charts, I don’t even think the kids used them that much – they didn’t seem to need them much. Of course, this writing idea is only a few days old, so it times well with your question, Carol. I am looking forward to reading what others are doing for specifics in producing writing output from their kids.

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