The Classroom Rules 2

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34 thoughts on “The Classroom Rules 2”

  1. Rebecca Lynch

    These rules I had posted in my classroom when I HAD a classroom (for the last 17 years) but now I am a traveling 3rd, 4th and 5th grade Spanish teacher in 3 Portland public schools so have no rules posted. BUT each of my 370 students has a participation/reflection sheet that I use A LOT and refer to a lot. It is adapted from the JGR rubric, Jason Fritz’s and my own trial and error over the last three years. After every class they reflect on their own participation and I am given the opportunity to walk around and check in with a bunch of students. I require that they write comments taken from the sheet and not write things like, “I was good today”. I want specifics like, “I sat up”, or “I blurted in English two time”, etc.. I work in three different school and each school services a completely different demographic, and each classroom in those schools has a different culture. I would say I am 90% successful but there are two classes where I really struggle and this is where I would love some advice. The classes are completely unruly.. I have no back-up, no place to send kids, the kids blurt ALL THE TIME, some kids don’t speak English well and blurt rude things (to each other), some kids come from such difficult backgrounds that they have little control over their mouths when they come to school, but I would say bottom line, the classroom teachers in those rooms do not have a firm grasp on their students, so when I walk in once a week there is little hope for reformation. WHAT to do?? I do not want to compromise my “rules” or my philosophy of teaching. I have been doing lots of songs, images, reading stories, TPR, mini acting situations but it is so bad that literally half of the material I want and could cover does not get covered because we talk so much about behavior and respect; honestly sometimes that is what my job seems like in those classes more than a Spanish teacher.

    That being said, all of the other classes rock it and I could go on and on how proud of them I am.. in both schools, the more affluent school and the poor school, of course there’s always that one student trying to pull you down but that’s to be expected anywhere and one student you can usually squash.

    Anyway.. I love your blog Ben and I have never posted on it, but read it all the time for three years now.. I find it very helpful. Thank you!

    1. I can relate to your situation, Becca, and I hope you get some good suggestions. I don’t have the answer, but I’ve been searching all year with little success. I have a 4th grade unruly class that I only see 2xs/wk for 30 minute classes. All teachers who have taught this particular section of kids agree it is the most behaviorally challenged. As one teacher said to me: “I just try to keep them from killing each other.” The class is full of impulsivity, immaturity, apathetic students, and plenty of space cadets. No students have stepped up to be role models for the rest. I spend most of the time disciplining. I’ve only called the parents of 1 kid. Didn’t change the kid’s behavior for more than 1 class. I don’t give these students grades, so I don’t have any carrots and sticks. I’ve tried little Spanish prizes (stickers, rings, etc.), but that corrupts them. Kids complain they should have earned a prize, they pout when they don’t get one, etc. I’ve even filmed my other 4th grade section and played the video to show them the huge difference.

      Since they lack the control and concentration to listen, an input-based approach doesn’t reach them! TPR only works for a few moments before they are all over each other, adding distracting sound effects, etc. I’m considering creating individual yes/no/arrow/don’t understand cards the students can raise in order to answer me. Then, I will ask for complete silence and they just respond with a card. I’ll just make it a rule that they cannot speak. If I give an either/or question, I would make it clear spatially that the options are on different sides of the room and they would use the arrow card to point to the side. Maybe Catharina, who has lots of good ideas with elementary kids, has had similar experiences, and can suggest to us some solutions. . .

    2. How about the idea of doing dictations over and over and over and over and over again until they are ready to do more? I believe Herr Harrell suggested that some months ago.

  2. Actually, I did my first dictations ever with those 4th graders last week. I did it for my own mental health. They probably got no acquisition out of it. I’m sure it wasn’t enjoyable for them, so I’m not motivating these kids to want FL, which is the only real goal of a FLEX program. I don’t think dictations would modify any behavior like it would for older kids. This class already doesn’t partake in the same fun activities that the other class does and I have shown them videos of the other class, so they have seen some of the fun they are missing. They’ve asked why they can’t do what the other class does. I explain why, but it hasn’t changed their behavior.

    I like the idea of each student having some type of card/stick/spinning wheel that they raise in the air to answer all my questions. They’d have to ALL answer and it would be easier for me to see which kids know the answer immediately and which ones depend on looking at everyone else’s answer. I wanted to do this before, but whenever I give out an object, then it becomes a distractor. This may be a good alternative to choral responses for any age. My principal challenged the practice of choral responses this week, saying that teachers who use choral responses have a hard time knowing what each individual student knows. I explained all I do to make sure kids understand and how they have been trained to signal when they don’t understand, but I do very little individual questioning. I feel uncomfortable checking in with a slower processor (barometer), because it feels like I’m playing “gotcha” with that kid and I think it raises that student’s affective filter.

    Instead, each kid could have some type of 4-way card/stick (4 options: yes, no, arrow, don’t know) and it may be harder for students to fake it and also forces everyone to respond/engage! More than anything, they should not speak at all. I would be the only one talking during this approach and I think that would be more clear to the students. It wouldn’t be as easy to ask for cute answers. I’d have to suggest the answers. But the cute answers might be a small price worth paying.

    1. On the “don’t know” side it could be a big red stopsign. This would teach them to stop you when they don’t understand. I think this is an interesting idea and would love to hear how it works if you use it.

      Also I use individual whiteboards a couple of times a semester. They write the answer to my question and I can see who has it easily and who doesn’t know. I sometimes make a game out of it. If they get so many points they earn a sticker.

      1. I have also done the whiteboard silence class with pretty good results. The silent part makes everything “black and white” so to speak. There is no negotiating bc it is either silent or not…I did it for a short period of time last year.

  3. What has helped me?

    With the little kids I need to switch “tricks” every few weeks.

    I have a set of “flags” -like in sport- laminated square paper in green, yellow, blue and red.
    I lift my green flag to indicate good work (bien! très bien!). That’s also how I get them to be quiet. If they break a rule I lift the yellow flag: 1st warning. Blue flag: sit out 3 minutes. Red flag: sent back to the classroom (or the principal) and a phone call home (I can never do this)

    If I have lost control of the kids I get complete silence with Classe! Classe! Classe! They respond Oui! Oui! Oui! parroting my exact voice ( I use a loud, angry, whiney, soft…)

    If a kid constantly blurts out in English, he/she has to stand up, and wait until I allow them to sit.

    I love Robert Harrell’s suggestion to start over until they listen. It gets the extra reps ! And eventually the kids will ask the troublemaker(s) to stop.

    Lately I’ve been using “the scoreboard”. It’s a simple grid with a smiley face to the left and frowny face to the right. We play for that extra game, trashketball, 1 cheerio, pointing my laser pen, whatever. Good behavior gets them a smiley point, any disruption gets them a frowny. We count the points up. If they loose, they each tell me 1 rule as an exit ticket. I manipulate the scoreboard 🙂 and it’s the whole class against me. I sometimes make the scoreboard drawings part of class: I’ll draw a trashcan, or laser pen, compare, contrast, add details, circle, like one word image.

    Little silly tricks work even in 3rd grade, like invisible shark infested waters. You leave your island, you are eaten up, and out of the game.

    We have procedures for everything. How to come in, leave class, hand out papers, move in the classroom, transition from class to class. I am not great with procedures and routines, and frankly I forget. I usually sing or count when we hand out stuff. I often learn from watching the classroom teachers. I meet my kids at the door: Bonjour Madame, and they must thank me as they leave!

    TPRS is so much fun, and generates a lot of laughter. We have the 1 second laughter rule. Hahaha and stop. Not everything is funny, some kids take advantage.

    Sometimes as the kids leave class, I have them rate themselves, 5 fingers being the highest score. On a count of 3 the student and I show x fingers and we compare.

    Some activities don’t work with certain classes. Some kids seem to do better with story telling, not “asking”. Variety is also key with the young.

    Of course going s l o w, stopping class, waiting , uncomfortable silence, moving physically close to the disruptors, even touching their shoulders, asking a question to the kid next to the troublemakers, body language, neutral look, all that stuff that I forget to do.

    I structure my class so that I know how to fall back on my feet. I usually bring a bail out move, plan B, like read- aloud or drawing, coloring, something hands-on that keeps my little kids busy
    until class is over.

    We have class meetings to address issues with difficult classes, and to share ideas. Doesn’t help all that much. Having the classroom teacher stay and “observe” works miracles.

    As Ben has suggested, handing out jobs, having the unfocused students draw the story, count the reps, police the amount of English, or … letting them go deliver a big brown (empty) envelope to the school nurse at the far end of school 😉

    1. This is really helpful stuff to read! Keep posting more! What you say about both variety so you’re ahead of the kids yet having some consistent routines like the exit finger check makes a lot of sense.

  4. So many good ideas, Catharina! I wish you would post more here so I can learn more from you!

    I forgot I had green and red signs for talk and stop talking. I need to start using those again.

    I’m so bad at the 3 strikes: 1 warning, time-out, time-out in other room. I can’t keep track of who has how many warnings and sometimes the minor stuff I don’t give warnings for. Maybe I just need to crack the whip. Become stricter. Make everything, even the minor stuff, a warning.

    I have some call-and-response (¡Peligro! – class ducks and covers, etc.), but I don’t use it enough.

    I tried Preferred Activity Time, but again, it was hard for me to keep track of and the kids got mean with each other for losing points. I think I’ll try the daily scoreboard idea.

    I definitely need the 1-second laughter rule. And I’m going to start the self-rating 1-5 on the way out of class.

    I’ll also have some big brown envelopes ready.

    1. This brown envelope is genius! Just for that one kid who is literally hyper-actively out of control 3 days out of the week if he/she sits still for more than 5 minutes. Unfortunately I didn’t know about the brown envelope two years ago.

      I had a little potted plant in my room last year that I asked students a few times to take on a walk for water if they were being a pain. That was fine until they decided to walk the plant all the way to another building and ran into an assistant principal…and proceeded to tell the AP they were walking Mr. Stout’s plant. The AP was nice enough to just send the kid back and never said a word about it to me.

    2. Eric Spindler

      With regards to PAT, I agree with Bryce’s suggestions never to take points away for behavior. They just lose the opportunity to earn more points.

    3. What I write is intended for the very young: 3rd grade and below. With that age group you need a serious load of tricks, stuff gets old pretty quickly. I don’t give grades, don’t have a classroom, carry my materials around … you know, like many lower school FL language teachers. I need quick simple tricks that give me some “leverage”. Maybe not the right choice of word, but without some classroom management I cannot teach.

      My favorite is the “flag” system ( I never thought of it as a 3 strike out).It’s like in Lacrosse or soccer ? No? Yellow: warning,Red: out.

      Take my 3rd grade rascals. They walk in sloppy, chatty, elbowing each other to get through the door, one got hurt sliding down the railing, 2 are still arguing about losing a game, one settles in and takes off her shoes !!, another kid walks around with carpets on his head?huh? many don’t even bother to take off their coats.
      I am calm, I know these kids by now. We have a good relationship. You’d think they know better.

      They sit on carpets in a circle, and I sit on a kiddy stool just inches higher.I pull out my shiny green flag and gently praise the kids who are “ready”. Bien! Très bien! Merci! And… that’s all it takes to get the others on board. Eric, try it! Pourquoi pas?

      That silly square green piece of paper gets the coats off, the shoes back on, the carpets where they belong, the eyes on me. I don’t need to say anything. Just hold the flag up, point to the kids who are ready, praise them in the TL , circle the way they’re ready, et le tour est joué. All in the TL. Kids want to be good. And noticed. And loved.

      The yellow flags (warning) are rarely used. They are handy, right by my feet, and sometimes I ruffle through them as a gentle reminder. There has to be limits to what can be said and done in class. I have to keep everyone safe, and it gives us a certain comfort to know that Madame is in charge. Kids have off-days. Moi aussi. I sometimes give myself the yellow flag, and the kids love that.

      The blue flag (time out) I’ve only used once this year. The kids remember exactly who?when?where? and why? Poor kid. He is very confident, so I guess he’ll be alright. It’s not like he stood facing the corner wearing donkey ears.

      The red flag (out!) terrifies them, and me.” Madame tell us again w h o got sent out!!!” That alone is a whole TPRS story, right there. I will never send a kid out again.

      It is the most efficient tool I use. I picked up the idea somewhere.

      The scoreboard is easy, and fun (credit Chris Biffle). The kids beg for it. Just another tool. Keeps them quiet. Doesn’t mean they’re actively listening or learning.

      That’s another story.

  5. In my (limited) experience, the 3 strikes-type discipline model only works when you already have a basic level of discipline. In an out-of-control group it is the kiss of death for the teacher (was for me anyway). One thing that I have tried to do, and it takes a lot of discipline on my part, is to force myself to be aware of the few students who are WITH me. What are THEY doing? How are they reacting? How can I put more energy into them and what they are bringing, and possibly spread that good vibe? What is going right, even if it is very little, there is usually SOMETHING that’s going right.

  6. I support what Angie says. There is only one kind of classroom discipline for the CI classroom, and that is the kind without force. I just don’t see any good things happening when force and control are used. What about jGR? It’s different. jGR allows the child to self reflect and use metacognition to self correct his own behaviors, and therefore is not about the old kind of power from the teacher, and all that old stuff that has made so many (millions of) children so sad. What Angie describes above is the real deal.

    The move to CI that will now increasingly describe the foreign language pedagogy of the 21st century is a slow glacier-like move from being mean (fear based) to being loving so that the kids, instead of scrunching up their naturally bright faces into ghoulish countenances, like happens in grammar classrooms, where force is necessary to keep up “interest and good will” (said the Nazi), will start showing small smiles, which are the beginning of trust, and with the trust automatically we will see quiet and focused rooms. When trust appears, the healing will happen. Let force and extrinsic control of children breathe its final breaths. It is a new day. It. Is. A. New. Day.

  7. Rebecca Lynch

    This is so great Catherine! Thank you.. I hate gimmicks (mostly because I am bad at them) but I love all that you are saying… Most of my third graders do great.. but you have so many gems..

    We want kids to love to learn.. they often really don’t understand their own contributions/ influences on and to the class.. “Who me?” The sloucher, the chatter, the blurter.. “But I was listening!” But these students negatively effecting my classes are beyond hooks… They poison the class they are in all day… Can’t sit still/listen for more than 10 seconds.. it’s amazing.. But they do want attention on them so little by little I hope to engage them for longer and longer in the classroom and mostly I want them to acquire something so they don’t move on having learned nothing..

    The other problem is many are so well trained on worksheets… What listen..? Listening is actually physically uncomfortable for some kids.. Weather it’s ADHD, or poor family life, some kids can’t quiet the mind long enough because the feeling of pain would enter and they are trying so hard to escape these feelings.

    But we keep teaching,.. and honestly the reason I am a teacher is because of the kids, problems or no problems… We are role models for them, guidance, and hopefully skill builders. Deep breaths, observation, and perspective are my mottos with these two tough classes, as with all of them really.

    1. Rebecca said:

      …deep breaths, observation, and perspective are my mottos….

      And also this:

      …whether it’s ADHD, or poor family life, some kids can’t quiet the mind long enough because the feeling of pain would enter….

      These are the insights that count. We must not try to be teachers without this perspective. Without this perspective, without pinning our work on the sentiment expressed in those two sentences, our work will fail.

      Thank you Rebecca.

    2. Listening is actually physically uncomfortable for some kids.. Weather it’s ADHD, or poor family life, some kids can’t quiet the mind long enough because the feeling of pain would enter and they are trying so hard to escape these feelings.

      These words ring so true, Rebecca. What you say reminds me of a counselor I had once at a school on the West Side of Chicago who shared with us, the staff, that a significant percentage of our students hear voices in their heads as a result of abuse and neglect. Now, perhaps only a few students evade quieting the mind because they fear the voices in their heads, but just about everyone evades quieting the mind out of a fear of the silence.

      We live in a culture filled with noise and distractions. You have just made it clear the struggle we face in exercising our students’ abilities to sustain attention. It is a struggle we cannot endure without understanding your deeply profound point there. Thank you for having just put more wood in my CI fireplace!

      1. There are at least two tasks, then, which I’m gleaning from this thread:

        -getting kids to come out of the psycho-emotional funk (like a CD skipping continuously) rooted in home/life conditions (Rebecca’s comment)
        -getting kids to be comfortable with being still and/or silent, which any kid can struggle with, regardless of how favorable/unfavorable their life conditions are (Sean’s comment)

        For a website link to mindfulness tips to try with kids, please see the bottom of my comment. Everything before that is a personal anecdote.

        Two weeks ago, Téo, one of my hyper middle-school boys, taught me a lesson during my lesson. The lesson, one of my few major lessons this year is that if a kid isn’t focusing even after 1,000 pauses for a reminder on classroom rules, and moving his seat, and Annoying Orange, it might be the kid’s way of saying, “Please, Mr., teach me how to do this thing called focus. I want to, but no one’s taught me yet. And I’m getting tired of all my teachers huffing and puffing at me and all my classmates knowing me as the hyper kid.”

        Téo was particularly hyper that day, touching everyone and thing he could get his hands on. I calmy tried one thing another, eventually inviting him to the back of the room, away from everyone. But then he was sliding out of his chair, petting the table, staring at the wall behind him, etc. I almost wanted to laugh at the situation. Finally, I had him come closer to the front in a last-ditch effort to better engage him. NOTHING was working. I was beginning to lose my patience, more so with myself for not being able to fix the situation. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore, stopped mid-CI, let the kids up front have a L1 chat break, and went to visit Téo. I sat down on a desk, closer to eye-level with him, facing square at him, and put one hand firmly on his shoulder. I spoke slowly and calmly in Téo’s L1:

        Me: Téo, you have a lot of energy, don’t you?
        Téo: Yeah (smiling sheepishly)
        Me: Having energy is a good thing. Actually, I’m jealous of your energy.
        Téo: Really?
        Me: Yup
        Téo: I’ll can give you some if you want (I laughed at this and realized that by saying this, Téo was demonstrating that he was self-aware of his built-up energy, which I thought was impressive).
        Me: We just have to learn how to make that energy work in class, you know?
        Téo: Yeah, I know.
        Me: Can you try to focus more?
        Téo: OK.

        Téo completely changed for the rest of the class. He was much calmer and followed what was going on in front of the room. When the bell rang, a few kids voluntarily stayed behind to put the chairs back in rows of desks. I was surprised to see Téo helping them, because he usually zooms out of the room the second I dismiss them. To me, this was Téo’s unspoken thank you for an adult in a school building scowling at him (maybe for once?) for his natural (and awesome, albeit unfocused energy).

        But I realized later that day, that I had only just begun the process of helping Téo focus in class. I’m realizing that I have an unfair (in my opinion) expectation that all I have to do is calmly remind kids of the classroom rules and explain how to focus on the TL (rigor poster) even though it’s hard. Téo is one of the kids I’m realizing I might actually have to teach how to focus, with practical things he can understand and do as a middle-school boy being bounced around in a tumultuous period of development. I was avoiding the reality that if someone doesn’t know how to do something, I can’t fairly expect them to “just do it.” Focusing is a skill like anything other skill. It has to be learned, which knowing what to do, and practice (repetition).

        But, how to teach mindfulness/focus and practice it with kids…that’s something I’m exploring now. I know someone here does CI-infused yoga with her kids (who is that, where’s that description?). Does anyone else have anything they do with their kids to work on specific mindfulness/focusing skills?

        Here’s an activity I can’t wait to try out (of course, this could totally be done in TL):

        “Use the instructions and script below for a daily mindfulness lesson; it can be done in just one or two minutes. If you like, you can get more creative and add more in-depth lessons, or practice for longer periods. You can do the same thing every day. A simple lesson to repeat daily is one minute of mindful listening and one minute of mindful breathing.

        1. “Please get into your ‘mindful bodies’—still and quiet, sitting upright, eyes closed.”
        2. “Now place all your attention on the sound you are about to hear. Listen until the sound is completely gone.”
        3. Ring a “mindfulness bell,” or have a student ring the bell. Use a bell with a sustained sound or a rainstick to encourage mindful listening.
        4. “Please raise your hand when you can no longer hear the sound.”
        5. When most or all have raised their hands, you can say, “Now slowly, mindfully, move your hand to your stomach or chest, and just feel your breathing.”
        6. You can help students stay focused during the breathing with reminders like, “Just breathing in … just breathing out …”
        7. Ring the bell to end.”

        Taken from:

        Sorry for taking up so much space here….probably should have sent this to Ben for a post, but gotta run now to teach, or rather walk mindfully : )

        1. I’m glad you took up the space, Greg! Keep more coming, please. Thank you for reminding me of the importance to check in with students on a one-on-one level once in a while.

        2. Starting class with mindfulness – what a great idea! I could see several of my 7th/8th graders sneering at something so human and stabilizing; how could one keep the attitude positive so that the whole practice isn’t ruined by a kid who doesn’t understand it?

          1. I think that the way to not let some kid ruin any attempt at mindfulness, which is a never ending practice, is to get in the kid’s face with the parents, in the hallway, with jGR, with grades, with constant contact with him in class via a look of sternness, with a hand on the desk, etc. Being mindful of the need to not react in anger, but instead with real strength born of the deep awareness of how hard this work is even without kids like that, and how almost impossible it is with such kids in the room.

            The one thing that I have seen over all the years about teachers is that many of them just seem to teach right through misbehaviors like that when the crucial move is to stop teaching and address the source of the disturbance. Every time. Mindfully.

            Learning to be mindful is in part about accessing personal power. Too many teachers lack personal power, do not know when the line that should not be crossed by kids is crossed.

            We must teach from our bodies and not from our heads and we must learn to use our bodies mindfully when we teach. Mindfulness is about body awareness and has something to do, I am sure, with cultivating a practice of an open heart. When we are centered in mind and body we teach better, we are not so caught in our minds, not so frenetic, and we don’t burn out.

            Those who say doing TPRS is exhausting are not yet aware that doing stories actually creates energy by the end of the day. This is a true statement.

  8. We should also consider the tone of voice we use when we speak to them in the TL. The Beethoven Violin Concerto sounds better on a beautiful instrument played by an accomplished musician. Our voices are our instruments.

    We must try to convey a sense of honor, softness, playfulness, mystery and intrigue to our students. Teachers who speak harshly, believing that as long as they are delivering comprehensible input, will not reach their students. It is natural to tune out sounds that are ugly.

    We must be lilting, and our voices must not grate. Soft eye contact that includes, recognizes each child must accompany our lilting words. We move around the room with a sense that the storytellers of old conveyed at the fireside. A good story is worth telling well, with style.

    We must avoid conveying to the kids that we really need for them to listen to us. We must be rested and not haggard when we teach. We must avoid sending our students the message that we must have their attention. They will not listen if we need them to listen. Tone of voice, beautiful sound – speak in that way to the kids.

    We are not needy teachers. They are lucky to hear what we say to them.

    1. I just reread your comment Ben on tone of voice and how we should move around the room. Seems you agree with what I was saying about engagement strategies in the comments about that TedTalk “Teaching teachers to create magic” 🙂

      I wanted to follow-up on my post about using 2-sided card (with a yes and a no side). I first did it with popsicle sticks, but they were too small, so I went to thick and long poster board cards. This response system worked better with my especially impulsive and inattentive 4th graders. I also saw much more what each individual kid knew than what I can usually see with choral responses. Students of that 4th grade class also liked it, because in the next class they asked if they could use the cards 🙂

      But, I have already moved on to an even simpler strategy- the green/red sign. I hold up red, which means silence. It’s amazing how kids will become quiet by just holding up the red side and waiting. Then, when I ask a question, I pause for a few seconds before I flip it to green, at which point the students all answer. This gives them all enough processing time and you can truly get a choral response. In this way, the students respond in perfect unison and I can check their lips to see if they are answering correctly, mumbling a fake answer, or not moving their lips at all. This is going to make jGR much easier on me.

      I originally got this idea from Carol Gaab and I immediately tried to implement it when I was still learning TPRS and it was too much for me to remember along with every other TPRS skill, and I felt I didn’t have enough hands for everything (gestures, laser pointer, finger pointer, etc.) so I abandoned it. At this point in my development, this is going to be a permanent response system of every class and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND it.

      *I have seen these whole group formative assessment systems referred to as “Every Pupil Response” techniques.

      1. Your red/green signs remind me of some quieting techniques I learned as a summer camp counselor, Eric. My favorite was the Quiet Coyote (Coyote Sàmhach in Gaelic): raising one hand with the middle and ring fingers touching the thumb, like an animal’s snout. Your index and pinky fingers stick up like ears and I think my younger kids liked the animal image.

        At the beginning of the year, I trained them to stop talking and show me the hand signal back whenever they saw me do it. I haven’t done it as frequently since I’ve been trying to mentally juggle all the TPRS skills I’ve been working on. Last week, I did it as a gut reaction, it worked great, and I think the kids liked the reminder of our pseudo-inside joke.

        Your tactic of combining the quiet-signal with asking comprehension questions is gold – I can definitely see myself doing that. Cheers for the idea!

  9. Ben, I almost missed your comment above – and I’m glad I didn’t because the rest of my teaching career just improved immeasurably. Especially with these lines:

    “…lilting words. We move around the room with a sense that the storytellers of old conveyed at the fireside. A good story is worth telling well, with style.”

    “We must avoid sending our students the message that we must have their attention. They will not listen if we need them to listen.”

    “We are not needy teachers.”

    And still only $5 per month. . . . . .

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