Three and Done – Latest Version

This is an update on Three and Done, which continues to support jGR like the workhorse that it is. It’s all in better focus for me. It’s not practical to make a note in the computer if a kid has a cell phone out, or starts talking to a neighbor, bc it takes too much time and creates instant opposition. But it does work if I print off off a class roster in the form of a blank spreadsheet from Infinite Campus, which has a series of boxes to the right of the kids’ names. I just divide the box into two to make two little triangles in there, and, using these symbols:

  • UT – Unexcused tardies
  • BL – Blurting
  • C – Cell phone use
  • BR – Bathroom trip

I just put one of them in each triangle when a kid breaks one of the rules. Then, during planning, I just write up any of them into the conference atom.

This sounds laborious, it sounds absolutely crazy, but it is working for me. What is more laborious is to have constantly annyoying classroom issues all year while I am trying to teach French to a bunch of adolescents? I have tried everything and found nothing that works over 35 years like this, so I’m doing it, and I like what I see so far a lot. As mentioned, I don’t have to interrupt class by calling attention to the misbehavior or trying to collect the cell phone, etc.

[Note that in this new version of Three and Done there are four less categories. It is far simpler. Note in particular that Blurting has been added – a very necessary addition – and unexcused absences has been dropped. Absences are a huge part of the culture of our school and I decided is way too much trouble to keep up with. I’ll just fail the kid when they miss the quizzes and give them the jGR “O” that they earn when they are absent.]




18 thoughts on “Three and Done – Latest Version”

  1. This is the first year I assigned the task to tell me if I speak English to one student who volunteered in each class, but yesterday in one class a different student jumped in and told me to stop speaking English. I was so surprised and so grateful. It made me switch to German immediately.

    I also gave a person in each class a timekeeper job and that was very helpful.

    I also have infinite campus, but I am using the seating chart with their pictures to keep track around their little faces.


  2. May I just ask if “visiting with a neighbor” refers to a kid talking over their shoulder or turning around to talk to another kid while still in their seats? Also, I think this is a great idea md I ad tried a similar thing non-TPRS related last year. I had explained what I was doing with the clipboard and the categories under which they could be checked and the kids seemed to like it. I think it felt fair to them.

  3. I love how you explained that it SEEMS laborious, but is working. That is what matters!!!!!! I am horrible at record-keeping by nature. Just the concept is tedious and laborious to me. :o) And because I am not good at it, and I too have a serious history of perfectionism, I often avoid it and that has come back to bite me in the butt!!

    But…(tee hee)…developing and utilizing routines like this really does make life more pleasant in the long run (and sometimes, surprisingly, in the short haul too!)

    Using jobs in the classroom is making magic in my room this year. I have three classes of Spanish 3 full of students that I do not know. Also, they have had three years of Spanish (intro, 1 and 2) with two INCREDIBLY talented CI teachers whom they LOVED and loved them in return. I have a lot of “winning over” and “proving myself” to do. Giving students jobs for the most minute (but important) of tasks has been so powerful.

    I never remember to put the attendance in the computer at the beginning of class. Ever. The bell rings and I am off and running…attendance? Pshaw! So in each class I have a memory person to put me on the right track. How happy they are to remind me that I forgot something lol. Because my SmartBoard isn’t touch-functional yet, I’ve had to put a kid at the computer to move along the “slides” BUT even better is the SB memory person who reminds me by yelling out ‘NO FUNCIONA!” every time I lift my hand to hit the darn board! :o)

    These are so tiny and so un-academic, but they have so helped us to start to become a community. I’ll be a little sad when they get the SB fixed!

    with love,
    PS Ben, I love that your system shows them how powerful self-control is. When they are controlling their behavior, the entire atmosphere of the class is transformed. How many times, in YOUR students world, is there an oasis of calm, quiet and self-control?!! Rarely, and you are giving them that oasis every day. It is a tool that they can build on in their own lives. I’m guessing that each of them could use (just like we can!!) the ability to find a small, quiet place within themselves for peace and strength. Prior to your class, it is possible that they never knew that it existed, or was in their control. Hugs.

  4. This post is very useful, and makes a lot of sense. Only need translation for one phrase: “I just write up any of them into the conference atom.”
    What does that mean, and when do you tell the students they were off task?

  5. My business is to speak French so my kids can understand me. Not to spend my days being a prison guard. So I my look at the kids after I see the cell phone, but I don’t want to use English so I say nothing in that case. If a kid walks in tardy, why give the kid the attention? I just mark it down. Three of those and the kid has Saturday school. Their choice. Passive me. I just make the note on my roster and keep on teaching. I transfer the notes – here is the answer to your question – into our grading software called Infinite Campus which allows me to make a note of anything I want about a kid in what is called a conference atom, just a little field like the comment fields in our PLC. So, for example, if a kid is absent unexcused for the second, even the first, time, I write that up. Three and off it goes to administration and I’m done with it (three and done). In years past I just let stuff like that go with disastrous results. I am more into writing up behavior in those conference atoms on IC right now than I am into worrying about teaching, which takes care of itself with this method. Why am I so into the discipline piece right now? Because I’m not an idiot.

    1. Wow! I wish we had Saturday school. Three and done, I like it. I just need to find some teeth; all we have is a 30 minute RTI, once a week. And, it’s only for failing/missing work. 🙁 Thank you for the clarification.

  6. Some schools lack spine. They don’t want to offend anybody. And then we wonder why our kids lack respect. At least I am in a school where if we say that a kid has broken a rule, there are more than the rats in the building who think that that is worthy of some degree of attention.

    A connected theme here is teacher burnout. Of course the main culprit in teacher burnout and PTSD – this is real and documented among teachers – is how much stuff we have to do, so many tasks. But also there is the lack of support.

    The only people who have less support and who are more susceptible to burnout, if I may editorialize, are single moms, who have their teaching day 24/7 and get even less support than we do, as in zero. Time for a little Merton quote here:

    “To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone with everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful.”

    Thomas Merton

    1. And this Merton quote doesn’t just refer to our jobs in general, which are so filled with petty tasks it’s a shocker that we all don’t go on strike and not just those in Chicago. It also refers to when we teach. We cannot give in to the frenzy of TPRS/CI instruction that many of us make it into. It only works when we are calm, centered, slow, in bounds, and when we are constantly checking for strong responses from the group. Anything else and we succumb to the violence of teaching. It’s what we make it.

  7. A couple of questions, Ben:

    1. Do kids ever argue (after the fact, when they receive their JGR scores) that it’s not true, didn’t happen, you made a mistake, not fair because you didn’t tell me, etc.–because you don’t actually call them on the particular behaviors in the moment when you notice them? Or do you look them right in the eye so you have made some sort of non-confrontational contact and then mark it in the book? I can imagine big problems with the particular school population with which I worked for sixteen years.

    2. If you are not confronting them in the moment, do they continue with the misbehavior? What effect does that have on other students–the teacher’s “seeming” non attention to misbehavior. “The teacher just lets her do it; he doesn’t “do” anything.”

    Curious–this is always a huge conundrum for me. I am very happy to see this working for you. Thanks for explaining your process in a more detailed way if you can. The “tardy” one is easy. I’m more curious about the interrupting/cell phone use/chit chat stuff.

  8. …or do you look them right in the eye…

    If I see a head down I immediately stop class and go to the Classroom Rules with the laser pointer, rule #4. I find that the Classroom Rules poster has been a big support for jGR and Three and Done. They work together. By stopping class and calling the individual’s attention to the behavior, as I slyly put my hand on the 1 or 2 on the (big) jGR poster in my room which is alway just to my left during class, I then have them cold and have received very limited pushback in almost two months of this now. Sometimes a kid will come in before class, and, in what I perceive as a very lame way, try to tell me that they are paying attention and I just point to the 2 category again and tell them that what I see from them is cardboard. I see a gingerbread cardboard man without human eyes. I say it in a nice, lighthearted way. I think this is the most brilliant part of what jen did with this instrument, associating the 2 with the word “attentive”. What can they say?

    You also said:

    …I can imagine big problems with the particular school population with which I worked for sixteen years….

    But these are their problems, aren’t they? Do you really want to own their children’s behavior? Are we as teachers really going to cave each time a parent confronts us as we carry out our professional responsibilities toward their children? Is that what we have come to in our country with the rich? Teachers kissing parents asses? Not me. I don’t do that. I hold their child accountable. It makes me furious to think that there are schools where children of people with money – people with money some of whom are FUCKING RUINING our democracy bc they think they can bully others. We need to grow a spine in our career choice. Those little shits will fail if they don’t do the class my way.

  9. The second questions you asked were these:

    1. …if you are not confronting them in the moment, do they continue with the misbehavior?…

    A. This goes back to the essence of jGR and why it really is a new thing for me, at least – the essence of jGR lies in the smack down grade action it brings, and the immediate corresponding correction of behavior. The kids know that since jGR is 30% of their grade, and that I will in fact enforce the rubric, it amounts to me really confronting them all class long, almost saying to them, “Bring it!” because I will respond with big grade force in return.

    Moreover, I do in fact confront in the moment. As soon as one kid breaks one of the Classroom Rules, I laser to it, basically shining the light of law on the kid. This is something that a lot of teachers fear doing; they don’t want to embarrass the poor little Fauntleroys. I want to embarrass them. I enjoy embarrassing them. Why? It’s either them or me. If they blurt and I let it go (in my system that means not writing it down on my Three and Done blank spreadsheet), then who is being embarrassed? Me. And I don’t let children do that to me, any more than I allow parents to mess with me.

    The blurt from the dear little Fauntleroy, the trip to the bathroom even, the cell phone use (all three instances of that this year) are met with an immediate response. An IMMEDIATE response. I go over to the Keeper of the Three and Done Spreadsheet and it’s like a referee going over to the scorer’s table in a basketball game. I let everyone know who the foul is on. It gets recorded. Three offences and they have Saturday School – that is three cell phones, three tardies, three blurts, but I allow like 5 or 6 bathroom trips. But even when a kid goes to the can I stop teaching and make some kind of comment under my breath or something that conveys that just strolling out of my room when I am instructing my class is not something that I like. I wish I could show video of that, but when a class is being filmed, or they are being observed, they don’t do those things, as we all know. Suddenly they are different. You can see that in the Tent Story video I am editing right now. Maybe one kid goes to the bathroom in four class periods of that story sequence, that I can see in the film anyway. Well, now, when I roll them around in jGR pixie dust, they are suddenly different but all the time.

    2. …what effect does that have on other students–the teacher’s “seeming” non attention to misbehavior?…

    Really I answered this above. The fact is I am so obviously attending to their misbehavior all the time, making a public spectacle of it, because discipline really does precede instruction, that there is no kid in the room who thinks that I am ignoring their inappropriate, rude behavior. Many of us take shit from kids. What in the hell is that all about? When are we going to stand up for ourselves and stop allowing children to ruin our lives? We don’t have to be mean about it – jGR is plenty mean without me having to be the bad guy. Like I said in another comment here – jGR is the bad cop and I am the good cop. It works out just fine.

    (skip I had to respond to this because it was Jody and now back to my weekend – I hear you brother)

  10. I got confused by these items in your original post: “As mentioned, I don’t have to interrupt class by calling attention to the misbehavior or trying to collect the cell phone, etc.” and “It’s not practical to make a note in the computer if a kid has a cell phone out, or starts talking to a neighbor, bc it takes too much time and creates instant opposition.”

    I get it now. Thank you for the explanation.

  11. I can’t WAIT to start this in my classes – so straightforward. Quick question: You’re “done” when they hit three cell phones, three tardies, three blurts, etc., but are you also “done” when they hit three of any combination of offenses (e.g., two blurts and a phone)? Or do you let them pile up until it’s the same offense three times?


  12. Same offense. The thing is, it’s in the threat, not in the consequence. Few ever get to the Saturday School referral level and that is usually only for tardies. The cell phone is like OMG there aren’t any! Like maybe five all year in total. There is something really cool about seeing a kid with a cell phone and just not confronting the kid, just in a cool fashion walking over and telling the Keeper of the Three And Done Spreadsheet to mark them down and then going right back into the lesson. There is power in that. I remember in trainings they would say how important consequences were and enforcement and all that, but little did the bozos who thought of those things consider how much time and emotional effort enforcing all the consequences would require. Like…impossible! The entire consequences thing turned out to be a failed model by failed teachers, many of whom then wrote books about classroom discipline. But it’s just an old shitty model, so old and shitty I can’t believe I lived through those years, a model based on control of kids. You can enforce consequences or you can teach but you can’t do both in a school classroom. But now we are about the student taking full responsibility for her behavior bc she WANTS SOMETHING – the grade, the way it works in real life. I appreciate that you appreciate Three and Done. It is a big hammer being overshadowed by an even bigger hammer in jGR. But it is a big part of this change to much greater levels of classroom focus and discipline, for me anyway. But Diana Noonan tells me that she has brought it to the district teachers and all of them want to know more. I don’t think it’s too much to say that we may have in jGR and Three and Done something that can solve the problem of classroom discipline. I think it can do that. I believe! Of course we can’t forget the role of the Jobs for Kids either in this – it functions as a third part of the Triangle of Classroom Discipline.

  13. It’s too bad we, at my school, are required to confiscate phones when we see them. They are not allowed out at all. I’m already breaking a rule by letting Timer Kid keep his/her phone out to time me in the TL. Also, I’m breaking it by letting one of my classes take them out for a few minutes as a brain break.

    We’ve been told in faculty meetings that all staff must remain consistent on this….boo, hiss…

    1. And then, another thing about how we fail to confront kids with a meaningful reaction to their inappropriate behaviors, is when they call the novels boring and we don’t ream them out for that.

      Before we start a novel, I tell the class in the most serious tone that I will not allow that word out of their mouths, that if I hear it it will be taken in a most serious fashion. They just cannot use that word. They can’t and they won’t.

      When teachers cowtow to this word and shrink a bit and think how they can maybe “make it more interesting”, they are kissing ass again. So strange that an adult would cave and try to make a kid happy in that setting, just bc the kid complains.

      What has become of the teaching profession? We must never allow a student to use the word boring with novels. They must be taught SOMEWHERE that it isn’t always about fun. That there are times in life when we must work, as well, but teachers don’t seem to be able to convey that to the young lords.

      (skip I know I know but I had this thought and couldn’t enjoy the World Series unless I wrote it down. You as a baseball fan should know what I mean…).

  14. Schools work in basically a prison mentality. How else to control that many people? We are actually teaching, and honoring kids in so many way with our unique if still imperfect instruction. But those in the buildings don’t see it, nobody sees it, because of the prison model around us. That is why Diane used the word brutal to describe teaching. It is no less than brutal.

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