April Update

For me, the big win in March was the metacognition discussion and resulting document. I feel like it will force very positive self reflection and discussion up the taxonomy about what counts most in our classrooms with the kids. How can we ask them to show up for class in the ways we want unless we not only tell them what that looks like (2010 Rules) but also foster daily discussion about how to get there (2012 metacognition piece)?

Another big win, in my view, was the reading discussion. I thought it was tremendous, and I feel like the only remaining parts for discussion on the reading piece (thus completing years of overall discussion here on the three steps!) is the Reader’s Theatre piece.

However, I did extend some notes on the general reading discussion which I will post here this week. If there is any area we are a bit cloudy on, it is reading. So that thread will continue, separate from the new posts on RT.

I am concerned that the blog content here has been so thick that we will forget stuff, major points made over the past months, in particular. I have done my best to place everything of real value in the Beginning the Year category, and there is the Four Pillars of Simplicity post as well. So much change and I feel like I can hardly keep up with it.

Honestly, how are we going to remember all that stuff? Of course, I feel better in knowing that everybody takes what they want from each discussion and implements in their classrooms those things that reflect their own TPRS/CI style anyway, so it’s not so bad.

I do know that I will be using a different set of posters next year, not all of them new, but that is one area that has changed for me this year.

We also had some good discussion about PQA (that started in mid February) and then we got to read Laurie on Rules and Expectations, and finally we created the Emergency Emotional Response Plan for the big lead pipe wielders and discussed, but without a document resulting from it, how to handle the little lead pipe wielders also.

I was also able to articulate from the recent general discussion here three schedules, one daily, one weekly and one yearly that I think will go a long way in helping me define next year for myself, anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever learned so much from this group, to be honest, as in the past three months. (The link to those three schedules can be found by clicking on the “schedules” category on the right hand side of this page.)

Also very soon – maybe this week – look for a new look for this site. It is an attempt to respond to the fact that there was so much information all over the place on the old site that it got to where it was pretty confusing, especially to people new to TPRS/CI. I hope the new site is more user friendly. And thank you to all who provided testimonials. That was very kind of you and my web guy loves testimonials so he put them all over the place.

So in April look for more on reading and more on assessment as per Robert, and more on standards. Ben Lev and Robert are working on some very important stuff right now about the CA State Standards, and I can’t wait to publish that here. Chris has, likewise, sent some stuff in on what is going on with the Ohio Standards and so we can look for discussion in the next few weeks on those and thank you Ben, Robert and Chris for that.

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3 thoughts on “April Update”

  1. A few things stood out to me in this post:

    the need for constant re-visiting and honing of the “essential” concepts and practices of CI teaching and learning (Simple is better. The end.)

    how, over the life of one’s career, one’s views and needs change (What I needed when I began teaching I don’t need so much now. What I need now I might not have been able to really comprehend or use when I first began– infrastructure of experience not ready.)

    nothing is set in stone. (My “posters”, “templates”, “need now items” are likely to change every year, every few years, tomorrow, once a day, who know’s?.) I need to be willing to change based upon my experience and my needs–and the needs of my students.

    We are all unique professionals. Our individual expression of this method in our classrooms demonstrate that. We need to learn from and listen to others. We need to learn from our own experience and listen to our own intuition and hearts. If we skill ourselves in the essentials of this beautiful method and don’t get dragged off course by school-district bureaucracy, national association b.s., fancy technology, or the latest, coolest book, our students will truly acquire and thrive. So will we.

  2. …what I need now I might not have been able to really comprehend or use when I first began…

    And yet there are people in this PLC who are new to Krashen and TPRS/CI. I feel the need to more often address some of the necessary foundational ideas like Circling and PQA and personalization here. I don’t know how to do it, because once we get a thread going, it takes on a life of it’s own. Maybe via some simple videos, starting with Circling. Of course, there are years of blog posts and comments here and in my books on those things, but it would take months to read them all. But I don’t want the thematic core of what we do to be inaccesible to new readers here, is what I am saying.

    …constant re-visiting and honing of the “essential” concepts and practices….

    this is where what we talk about now in the spring needs to be directed toward a simple start next year. We can do it, because luckily the method at its core could not be any more simple as long as we don’t, as you say:

    …get dragged off course by school-district bureaucracy, national association b.s., fancy technology….

    The power in all of this for us and the kids is precisely in how simple it all is.

    …We are all unique professionals….

    Haiyun commented on this. But it never has been sufficiently discussed. The idea is that if you look into our classroms you see different style, timing, focus, levels of humor, interaction with kids, templates, posters, but it is still comprehensible input in the form of listening and reading at the lower levels and then with writing and speaking pouring out of them at the upper levels. So it is different but it is the same. My concern is that new people think falsely that there is some one way to do this method, because there is not. It is a mark of how natural (thus powerful) the entire approach is – the trains keep going down the same track (comprehensible input) but the engines (Thomas, Edward, Emily, James, Gordon**, Jody, Ben, Laurie, Jim, Bryce, Haiyun, Lori) all get to be themselves.

    April is an overwhelming month. We are falling apart yet we know that if we don’t keep our eyes on August we won’t be ready. So it is a nervous time and not just because the kids and those we work for are pushing our buttons in so many ways now. Anybody reading this with ideas about how to best prepare for next year in terms of simplicity and, as Jody mentioned, not get chewed up by the politics in our buildings while doing it, please throw in your ideas. We have to make it to summer in one piece, get the training we can* and be ready again in five months.

    *I’m going to both conferences and I’m sure that we would all like to know who is going where so if your plans are set please share them here so we can know who’s going where. I just found out that Grant is going to be in Breckenridge, and Jim as well. I also am wondering out loud which is the best training (Breckenridge or Las Vegas) for new people. Any ideas on that?

    **how cool would it be if we all had little Thomas engines with our own faces on them? That’s all we are, little trains going around having adventures on the island of Sodor. If there is one thing to say here over and over and over, it’s for us to relax and enjoy our chugging around. It’s not as big a deal as they make it out to be.

    1. Thank you Ben for yet another introspective post and wonderful reflections.
      I can tell you that this blog is the reason I go to work with a positive outlook everyday, and it gives me strength despite the adversity . I use it in so many different ways: I read it religiously, I try out some of the stories which are shared, I watch the videos and learn from them. In other words, it helps me grow professionally and it is supports me emotionally as I try and plug at this method day in and day out. So I am so grateful for it and I wanted to reiterate my thank yous to you and all of the members!
      I will go to Breckenridge, and I can hardly wait……

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