Articles

Principles of Power Grading

Power Grading is my grading system and it’s a proficiency-based grading and assessment system that aligns with student ability. It is based on standards-based-grading practices, sound assessment design, and Bloom’s Taxonomy. I have used and tested this system with...

How I made Free Voluntary Reading a success like never before.

The concept of Sustained Silent Reading is not new. I remember doing it in the 3rd grade. But one simple change that I made this year has made all the difference in the world. My reading program went from lackluster to AWESOME in a matter of days and I have buy-in like never before.

The Problems with Traditional Grading

First of all, tests, quizzes, projects, and homework do not give a clear picture of how much language a student has acquired. When you use tests, quizzes, projects, homework, and participation as grade-book indicators, you are unable to clearly see a student’s...

Proficiency-Based Grading: Making grades meaningful.

There are so many different philosophies when it comes to grading and I’m not going to debate the merits of each today. Suffice it to say that for most, grades rarely have any true meaning. And for me, therein lies the problem.

Keeping it AWESOME All Year Long

We have talked about what to do on the first day, during the first week and the first month, but what do you do once the honeymoon period is over? What do you do to maintain the high-energy and awesomeness you experienced the first month? How do you keep all of that...

Make It an AWESOME First Month!

So we’ve talked about the first day of school and the first week of school. Now let’s talk about how to maintain this awesomeness the whole first month of school.

Making the First Day of School AWESOME!

As the end of summer approaches and the start of a new school year arrives, people are always wondering how to take on the first days of school using TPRS or other CI methods.

Those who have been teaching with more traditional methods, know how to start. They either start with days, dates, and months for level 1, or weeks of review of last year’s topics for every other level.

Classroom Management

Sorry folks, there’s no such thing. Classroom management is hard work. There’s no easy fix. You work at it all day, every day.

Building Characters for Maximum Student Engagement

After reading Ben Slavic’s book The Natural Approach to Stories, I couldn’t wait to try the Invisibles out in my classroom. Yes, it was after spring break. Yes, both the kids and I were tired. And yes, it’s usually not a good thing to start something brand new at the end of the school year. But I went against all the rules and I’m glad that I did!

TPRS Workshop Season Has Begun – Let’s Review the Basics

TPRS Workshop/Conference season is upon us and with that, many of us will be learning new skills, techniques, and strategies to bring comprehensible input into our classrooms. Undoubtedly, we will learn a lot, but remembering what we learned and implementing it in our classrooms come fall, is another story!

Participation and Standards-based Grading

If you know anything about standards-based grading, you know it's all about demonstrating what you can DO with what you know. It definitely NOT about the path you took to get there. It's all about the results. That doesn't mean there isn't guidance along the way....

Participation Done Right!

Many people have been asking about my participation system over the last few weeks. It's been a while since I wrote about my ¡Págame! system and a lot has changed since then. When you read this, you're going to think that the system is very complicated, but I assure...

Loving Every Child

In 2010, I finally learned what Susie Gross had been telling us all along. She had been saying to us that you need to love every child, even if you don’t. I had heard the words for years, but it didn’t really sink in until fall of 2010, but the story begins a year earlier.

Starting out the school year RIGHT!

This is the time of year that all teachers think about that first day and how they are going to start the year off right. I’m no different.

For me, school starts tomorrow and the kids start on Thursday, and as the new year comes at me ever so quickly, I’m thinking about what I want to do and I don’t want to do to start off the year.

What do grades really mean?

I have really given even more thought to what do grades really mean? Are they an indicator of work given vs work completed? Are they an indicator of correct answers vs incorrect answers? Are they just a number on a scale of 0 to 100? Or do they—or more accurately—should they mean something more? Let’s take a look at some of these “meanings” for grades in a little more detail.

Why is the minimum F SO controversial?

Having presented for hundreds of people and dozens of school districts, there's nothing that seems to get people riled up more than the concept of the minimum F. [bctt tweet="There's nothing that seems to get people riled up more than the concept of the minimum F."...

Comprehension Checks

We all know how important comprehension checks are as we are teaching. Without them, we lose guidance on how our lesson is going. Are we going to fast? Are we going too slow? Which students are with us? And which students are lost?

How to Assess Writing Effectively

For me, assessing anything boils down to "what can a student DO with what they know?" with the emphasis on DO. So effort and the like has no bearing. I appreciate it, but think about it in real-life terms. Someone can put a lot of effort into something, but the end...

Teaching Numbers the “Sesame-Street” way

I'm always searching for better ways to teach and numbers are one of those things we all need to teach, but are difficult without resorting to teach them in order. When school starts, instead of teaching the numbers 1-10, I start with the numbers that are most...

First thoughts on Pimsleur Method–Eastern Arabic

After having read the posts on the list about the Pimsleur Method, I decided to retry this methodology for learning a language. I had tried the Pimsleur tapes for Spanish and German when I was young, but never really followed through. As Maltese is my family's native...

Teaching the Colors

I know that there are lots of ways to teach the colors but the following technique has worked really well for me over the past few years and I thought that I would share it. I'm sure that I didn't invent the wheel here, but it is something that just developed rather...

Starting Day 1 in the Target Language

As good language teachers, we all know the more we stay in the target language, the better it is for our students. We know that immersion is the best way to learn a language and want to recreate as much of that "immersion" atmosphere as possible inside of our...

My “págame” system

There are a lot of questions on the moreTPRS list regarding various participation systems. This is what I do in my classroom. For me, participation cannot be a graded item. What I mean by that is,...

Best results ever!

Although I have been using TPRS® for the past six years and have had excellent results, this year, I have had the best results ever in a level-one class! My Spanish 1s are learning at a far greater rate than ever before and have been understanding Spanish since day...

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