Brrr! Complete Video Links

Here are the last two clips from the story – Brrr! by Jim Tripp – done in November with a combined level 3 and 4 class in their first year of TPRS. The first two clips are the PQA to set up the story, the second two clips are the story, and these are the reading class links. The reason there are two clips is because the second link is the one with my comments, like a director’s cut. Thank you Jim for the script.

Both the PQA and the story move very slowly in this particular class, which is not a big deal to me. Nothing really happens in this story. I was just asking questions and getting reps and kind of got bogged down in all of that. It happens. I felt like just reacting to things in this class rather than try to always create higher and higher levels of interest. The quality of the story often reflects the kids in the class, as well.

I could have at least tried in the story to get to some kind of resolution, but I didn’t – I wasn’t in the mood and I am way past thinking that I need to go for the home run all the time. That’s part of the myth of TPRS that I would like to debunk, in fact. Only one thing matters – getting plenty of comprehensible reps. Leave your ego at the door when doing this work.

Here is a link to Jim’s script:

Here are the links. If a password is needed, it’s Krashen:




22 thoughts on “Brrr! Complete Video Links”

  1. Sabrina Sebban-Janczaj

    ROFL….. thank you for providing much needed smiles and laugther, although I’m not done watching.
    Relaxed teaching is an understatement.

  2. Ben, I liked your livre-chapeau. So far I’ve only had time to watch the PQA videos. Thanks for sharing these. It is helpful to see how your students react, too. Gets me thinking.

  3. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak


    I finished watching it last night.

    Loved it! Thank you Ben for putting yourself out there for the service of new teachers who undoubtedly will benefit from watching you walk the talk and put the theory into practice. Not to mention the time you must have put into editing and translating for those who do not speak the language.

    You ARE a master teacher, no doubt about it.

    I love how you play with the words, using onomatopoeia, or how you wrap yourself around this beautiful language.


  4. Ben,
    These videos are so helpful! I’m currently imitating them in my classroom. I will be getting to the story on Tuesday. PQA the other day went pretty well. I’m slowly integrating little tricks and jobs for better student involvement as well as mores details which speak to district goals (dates, days of the week, etc).
    A few questions.
    First when do you think you will be posting the reading videos (the suspense is killing me!). Second, how do you get away with using the fench curse words!? I absolutely love the idea of using them! My students say the English equivalent and worse all the time and it seems like it would be an interest grabber since they always ask how to say these things anyway.
    Thanks as always,

  5. Lori I just ignore those curse words. I don’t mean to say them in the story. I shouldn’t. They know about and when they hear such words they look them up and then I get in trouble. Only takes one parent, as we all know.

    (When they ask me how to say a certain rude word, I always tell them that they will learn that one next year).

    I am glad you asked about the reading. I wasn’t going to post it bc it is kind of crappy but I will now. I’ll try to get to it today.

    My goal was to put up footage of classes that were not necessarily the best in the interest of serving those who can’t get to observe people. So that goal was met with you and that makes me very happy so thank you.

    I do believe that we can use the internet in place of conferences, no matter how confusing it sometimes is to read all this stuff and keep up with it. Going to conferences is going to be harder and harder as the economy keeps tanking. If you go to any, though, go to iFLT in San Diego this summer.

    1. Ben, Is there a definite plan for that conference? I should turn in requests for professional development as early as possible to make it likelier that I can get school funding for it.

  6. Thanks Ray. Video is powerful to convey ideas. I am working on the reading class for Brrr! for Lori B. as we speak. Hopefully it gets all done by Tuesday at the latest. Then I have two other stories from November I can put up here in the coming weeks.

  7. Sabrina Sebban-Janczak


    Thank you again so much for the triquel to this video . It was eye-awakening for me to see how you do this reading part. I realized I am doing reading differently and I much prefer your way.

    Up until now, I’ve had my kids read chorally the story that I have adapted from my story writer ( like you) . So I have a reader leader and a laser pointer ( 2 different people) whereas you have the same person ( am I wrong , I haven’t finished watching it so I could be wrong?) .

    In my version, first the reader leader leads the masses in a choral reading in French. I do it but don’t like it b/c the kids can’t pronounce properly yet and they end up butchering the sounds of the words, especially if they don’t know them !( like you I embed the reading and add details/words they haven’t seen or heard but I translate or circumlocute to make meaning clear. It’s that i + 1 idea of catching language through the net).

    Then in my part 2 they first translate in pairs and then we do a choral translation as a class lead by reader leader and laser pointer.

    After seeing how you do it I will take away part one b/c I didn’t like it anyway.
    I can’t wait to watch the rest of the video as I m sure I’ll lean more stuff.

    This is really great you are doing this, even people like me who ve been doing it a while can really learn from these. And I can recall when I was brand new how these helped me so. I’ll never say it enough, THANK YOU, GRACIAS, MERCI, DANKE, ARIGATOO GOSAIMASU, SPACIBO, GRAZIE MILLE, TODA RABA.

    And I agree there is no one way to do anything when it comes to TPRS/TCI. This is why I love this blog, ideas are tossed, some more controversed than others and it’s OK b/c it’s safe to say anything here. Sometimes the ideas evolve into great things (jGR, rSF, bWT, etc….) Nothing is written in stone right? Sometimes old ideas become obsolete and get tossed and new ones appear.

    Just like in the field of Science and Research, one day coffe is good for you b/c the latest research article claims it , the next day it is the worst thing in the world. It s like dialectics, keeps on evolving.

    OK time for me to shut up….., one more thing and I will shut up :merci merci merci , mille fois merci Ben……

  8. It looks like I will not be able to go to iFLT this summer. 🙁 I’m helping with a German-American Partnership Program exchange and will be leaving on June 24.

    However, I am planning to go to SWCOLT in April. Anyone else going?

    1. You will be missed!! I don’t know about iFLT yet myself. If I win the lottery I’ll go there AND SWCOLT. I enjoyed SWCOLT so much last year!!! Eventually my sons will graduate from college and free up my funds a little bit. Are you going with students to Germany?

      with love,

  9. Well I had an interesting experience following the pattern you have in these three videos.
    PQA went well they responded, they counted my reps they did most of their other jobs and I was happy. This was also a day after I did individual conferences with them going over the second marking period grades, midterms and jGR. It seemed like it really hit home. For one day.
    Next we tried the Brrr! Story. Slight crash and burn. It was too simple for them and the three repeats with just different articles of clothing and places on the body was confusing. I tried to keep things simple and tell them the goal was to really have a handle on the three structures but they just could not concentrate. They are used to crazy stories about one of their own going clubbing with Rihanna and leaving her heart broken boyfriend at Denny’s. Very fun but I’m not convinced they internalized anything from those stories.
    It was again a handful of kids ruining it for everyone else. I even had one loud mouth girl challenge me by saying ” no one wants to hear the stupid story anyway! Who wants to listen to the story ?” Most of the class raised their hand. It felt good a small victory, but not enough to make the class successful.
    Tomorrow I am going to retell only the first part of the story before the quiz. Then I will follow the reading lesson. Wish me luck.

  10. I think that the class needs to know, as well as the child’s parents, that you are not in entertainment but in education. That all current research points to repetition in the TL, not laughs in the TL, as the way we learn the language. That ten repetitions of a word is not enough. That hundreds are not enough. And so you teach this way. That the new national standards that have changed everything require civility and attention on the part of the student – we call it rigor – and quiet respect as they listen, because truly what the research now shows is that children should be seen and not heard until they are ready to speak, like in level 2 second semester at the earliest, for kids trained in CI. That that’s how your going to roll in that class and nobody has to like it. And I may as well say this now bc if I don’t say it now I will wake up over it later tonite – that child needs to be told in clear terms, and the parents contacted, over her egregiously inappropriate comment about the story.

    Lori I would build in an extra day here. Extend the story tomorrow. See if you can find a kid with a good heart before the class, in the hallway, and ask her to furnish some silly things during the first ten minute recycling of what you have in the story. If not, no big deal, but add to the story. More reps guarantee their success on the quiz. Have the artist going. Try to stretch it out to two or three locations, stop, do the processing of the artist’s work (see the third video for an example of that) then get the quiz from the Quiz Writer and give the quiz to end class and do the reading on Friday. Just a suggestion.

    You’re building fast into this. You just started with CI when? and what you described above is strong, very strong. Just clip the rude kid’s wings, make the parent call!, and proceed through the third step. Judging from your time on this – what, a few months? – you should be strutting around crowing about how much you’ve done here already.

    Anyone reading your description of what you wrote above relative to the time you’ve had to train on this stuff knows that you have hit one out of the park so far. Keep it going. We are very proud of you. This is a great report! And if it bombs tomorrow? You’ve got your dictee or other bailouts (see that category). The goal of this webspace is to be a part of exactly stuff like you wrote above, Lori. Congrats!

    1. Update:
      Went in Thursday with a strong mentality of sticking to my guns. I knew doing the reading activity as per video 3 was going to be tough with this particular group. All others classes took some time to get used to the idea of choral responses and it will take more time for them to be good at it. But all in all they learned well from it. With most classes we processed the artist drawing before taking the quiz, but only the first scene. I actually found doing all 3 confusing for assessing (which scene did she put gloves on her ears?).
      Block 3: Before class I pulled the 4 tough/loud girls aside. They were so obnoxious! Blaming each other, still not letting me talk, one by one they caved and for them they were on their best behavior but, well, the class was still a disaster .
      We retold only the first scene of the Brrrr! Story before giving the quiz.
      Then I moved onto the reading activity I had one super star and one of the tough girls, who is very interested in French but gets pulled down by her friends, be my “leader readers” or I called them mes professeurs. I told them I needed a break and I needed some people to teach for me.
      We struggled for a good 30 minutes, I told them I would not give up on them, I knew they could do it! Mes professeurs spread out in the class and tried leading different sections. But it was too much. I eventually took over, came back to the front of the room, from coaching on the window sill. One of my several special ed students who comes in most days and slams her head down on the desk and never moves, made a loud sighing noise. Slightly annoyed, I apologized to her saying I was trying my best. She replied, ” you’re yelling and I have a headache.” I can’t remember what I said next but her response was, “it’s because you don’t know how to f*#king teach!” She stormed out and slammed my door.
      All and all, not far off of what I deal with on a daily basis. A school with many behavioral/respecting adults/learning the role of a student problems with students who have their own very troubling personal and home problems.

      In conclusion is there individual activities that you or anyone else has created en lieu of choral reading? I would like to give this class something tomorrow since I don’t think they got much out of the reading activity. I also have another class that 85% of the students would do okay with the reading and then there are my 4 straight-up gangsters who I have an okay report with but that still doesn’t mean they do anything in my class and it is really hard to teach around them unless its individual assignments.
      I know some pigs can’t fly and students must do their part but at least for this first year I am at the mercy of my situation and must make do with what I have.

      So all that was to ask for individual reading activity ideas. I have done: put the story in order, true false, fill in the blank, a la Blaine but I’m tired of that.

      Sorry for the vent and appreciate all the help,

      1. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with such behavior problems, Lori. I think you’ll best avoid doing live stories for a long time with a group so disrespectful and unwilling to follow your lead.

        But for individualized reading work, I think Laurie’s embedded reading are awesome. You could re-write the story into a parallel version – then it’s “fresh” instead of exactly the same thing. I put a number above each version of the story and have students go from simplest to more complex story version. Then to demonstrate their comprehension, they can one or another of several things:
        – Translate it line by line.
        – Illustrate it, line by line, with (not necessarily artistic) sketches.
        – Role play quietly with a partner (like blocking the movements in preparing for a theater performance). (But I would not do that with your class based on the description of such behavior. Do you use jGR?)

        Those students who work through the reading and the comprehension work – and hand it to you or role play it for you – could be given a writing assignment. For example: rewrite the story changing x number of details. Or: rewrite the story changing which articles of clothing are mentioned. Or: write a final scene to complete the story. Or: re-tell the story as if it is happening now (instead of happened yesterday or whenever it was). Something that gives a clear structure to their writing so it’s CI-based.

      2. Lori,

        That sounds really traumatic. Congrats on keeping on fighting the good fight with CI in a challenging environment. The problems I face are not nearly so severe, and I constantly doubt my own resolve. Good for you!

        My kids really despise choral reading. I insist that we keep doing some of it but they would love to avoid it if at all possible.

        They do relatively well with partner reading (I have assigned them seats, so they don’t just play around with friends). Each student reads a line in English (L1) and then the other takes over.

        When I really need peace and quiet, I have them read individually and draw 4 scenes from the story on a piece of blank paper. Drawing tends to calm them down. As a follow-up I show some of the better pictures on the doc cam and (with the texts out) have students read the lines from the story that are being depicted. (honestly, they have trouble with that at times as well).

        When things are getting crappy – giving them a dictation like Ben said also is a good bailout move – they are getting some CI and repetition, both in hearing and then reading the sentences, and they know it can/will be collected for a grade.

  11. Here is a thought Lori:

    Chill JUST sent me an embedded reading on this story!! I took her base story and chopped it down even further so it was nearly impossible for your kids not to understand it. (I know just a little French, so please forgive errors!) Underneath each part is a quick “assignment”. Again, these are DESIGNED to be nearly impossible to screw up and the first one adds even more input.

    (BTW in the version Chill sent, these are also available in the past, so you can easily use the past version instead or in ADDITION!! to the ones below. I’m not going to redo the past base reading, but you’ll see how it’s done here…)

    Tell the students that this story was created by students in New Jersey learning the same terms. (stealing from the shared story Jen sent to me earlier this year) You could have the class do these individually, while you go around and help if needed, compliment where needed etc. (more ideas after the reading…)

    C’est le trente janvier. Il y a une fille qui s’appelle Rachel. Rachel a un problème. Elle a froid. Le garçon Ish Kabbible n’a pas froid. Rachel dit à Ish Kabibble : « Ish, j’ai froid ! » Il lui donne des gants.

    Rachel lui dit : « IshKabbible , j’ai toujours froid. » Il lui donne une veste polaire. Rachel la met mais elle a toujours froid. Rachel dit à Ish Kabibble : « Ish, j’ai toujours froid ! » Ish Kabibble lui donne une tasse de mochacchino et Rachel n’a plus froid.

    1. C’est l’hiver ou C’est le printemps?
    2. Rachel a soif ou Rachel a froid?
    3. N’a pas froid Ish Kabbible ou n’a pas froid Rachel?
    4. Il lui donne des gateaux ou Il lui donne des gants?
    5. Alors, Il lui donne une veste polaire ou Il lui donne un ours polaire?
    6. Ish Kabibble lui donne une tasse de mochacchino ou Ish Kabibble lui donne une tasse de Orangina?
    C’est le 14 janvier. Une fille, Jane, a froid. Elle dit à un ami, , Dave : « Dave, j’ai très froid. » Dave lui donne une écharpe. Elle a toujours froid.

    Jane dit à Dave : « Dave j’ai toujours froid ! » Dave lui donne un anorak. Jane le met mais elle a toujours froid. Elle dit à Dave : « Dave, j’ai toujours froid ! » Dave lui donne une tasse de café et elle la met. Jane n’a plus froid.

    Draw five pictures illustrating story # 2 (maybe give them five boxes to draw in, I can’t do that on the blog..

    Now, depending on how that goes, you can take them on to the next level. You decide if that is the above readings in the past, or the next version of the reading with more details.

    You will find the next level, AND one more after that (!) here:

    an “assessment/activity” and a verb connection activity here:

    At any point in the process you could have them rewrite the stories changing names / what he gives her / etc.

    You could also have them rewrite (using any of the levels) the story from Ish Kabbibble’s/Dave’s point of view in the middle of the summer where the guys are suffering from the heat and the girls give them lemonade, ice cubes, Speedo’s whatever so that they can cool off.

    All of this can be done individually, then in pairs, then in groups then as a group depending on their ability to handle it.

    Usually we start from the group activity and work down to individual…BUT..when a group is too chatty or builds a wave of rebellion, the trick is to go in the opposite direction, silence+individual work and then allow for connection. The secret is to begin with a very very easy piece so that there is no excuse for the ‘I can’t do this” train to kick in.

    Just a thought!

    with love,

  12. Laurie,
    Thank you so much!
    I’ve been reading all about embedded reading here and on the listserv and its such an exciting tool! It just seems so time consuming for me to create them on my own. So to start with what you have given me is huge! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Dave and Diana, thank you for the advise as well I will keep it all in mind going forward.
    Diana, I do use jGR. I had individual conferences after the end of the second marking period and went over the grades with kids. This is my first year teaching so I’m learning how to implement all things and jGR I’m hoping can save me in the long run with my tough classes.

    I have never tried nor could ever see myself teaching in any other way. TPRS/CI is all I could ever do! 🙂

    Also, just so you know the rest of my classes are WAY better! There are still some individual issues but overall everyone else and even a good amount of kids in the tough classes, are learning and enjoying the process!

    1. Wow, Lori – first year teaching? Then I say you’re incredible! There is such a lot to get used to in the first year.

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