If you like to share your experience with LtoJ, please write to: MyStory@LtoJConsulting.com
What others say:
I continue to do L to J quizzes for grammar, social studies concepts, science concepts, and math concepts. I worked last summer to match my math L to J quizzes to the Math Common Core. I left some of the skills from our old state assessments b/c we will still be assessed on those things with CC sprinkled in. I continue to think you are a ROCK STAR, and so do my students.
It is icy and snowy in Kansas today….I imagine you are enjoying sunshine where you are! Have a good day.
Graber School, Hutchinson, Kansas, firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit in on two of your seminars, one two summers ago and last winter at Egyptian in southern Illinois. I have been incorporating your strategies in overt and covert ways in my classrooms. One of the most obvious is with my Earth and Space course which is part of the Freshman Academy. Each freshman takes one quarter of E & S as they progress through their freshman year. We do a pretest (formative) for every unit and graph their data on a personal sheet and then we graph after the post test. I make a point to have them use a bracket to show the difference between their pre and post test data and mark it with a BIG L to show their learning. Another teacher who is a friend as well has a son in my class and recently commented that she was disappointed in his recent post test score and I mentioned that he had gone from approximately 30% pre to 83% post more than doubling the information he began with but she wanted a higher score (83 is a C on our scale). Would that I could give a grade on their improvement!
Always thinking about learning,
Vienna High School
Since my first training 4 years ago, I have been a huge fan of you and the L to J process. I’ve even been called an L to J Nerd!
Immediately following my first training, I was so excited and could not wait to get started. I explained to my teammate my thoughts on where to begin. We decided to go with spelling. At first, our students were not too happy about the fact that they would be responsible for all their words, rather then just the words on the week’s list. Despite their fears, our students embraced this challenge. Within weeks my teammate and I noticed a difference in their spelling across the curriculum. Our students were spelling their words correctly on quizzes, in their writing, and recognizing them in their reading books, even before we studied them. The success of our students was intriguing our colleagues, whom shortly after, began implementing it in their classrooms.
You had said that sometimes it takes a person to participate in a second training for them to truly understand and grasp the process. After my second training, I reached my true “A-HA” moment this past January. After listening to your seminar for the second time, I wanted to do more! I was already implementing the process with one subject, and I was ready to take on another one. This time, it was MATH!!
After looking at some resources you had provided, I decided to take some quizzes and tweak them to fit my needs. Following the format of the L to J quizzes you use at your seminars, I structured mine in a similar fashion. When I got back to my classroom with my new quizzes, and graphs ready to go, I informed my students of their next challenge. We began our L to J quizzes and the students have RUN with it! They have been so excited about the progress we have made. They are able to see our progress as a class and as an entire 5th grade. Although our weeks may vary in regards to ALL TIME BESTS, the students are learning. They know and understand that they are responsible for remembering what they have learned, and need to try their best on concepts they might not have seen. To recognize their individual successes, I have my students give me a “WOO! WOO!” if they have obtained a personal ALL TIME BEST. Every time we have a class ALL TIME BEST (ATB), we have a short 1-2 minute celebration! Sometimes we listen to a favorite song, or as we have done more recently, I randomly choose a student to call the main office and say…. Guess What? We had an ALL TIME BEST!! Then the rest of the students cheer in the background. My students come in every Thursday and ask if we’re doing our L to J quiz? If no one asks, and I begin passing out their L to J folders, I hear the “YES!” echoing around the room. I have had students get 12 out of 12 on their L to J quiz, and then say, “11 more to go!” They have set their own personal goals and are pleased when they reach that goal.
What I appreciate the most about this process is the fact that my students understand that they are responsible for remembering what they have learned, and they are continuously improving. They understand that it’s not about everyone getting every question correct, but it’s about the improvement we make together. Even if that improvement is one point.
Charlestown Elementary School
Cecil County, Maryland
I wanted to let you know how great my class did with their L to J Quizzes. I teach 5th grade. We did 3 different quizzes each week, one with math concepts and vocabulary, one with social studies concepts, and one with major world locations. When we had a class best, I would write to famous people to tell them about our successes. We heard back from several people (including you) but also Mrs. Obama, Mrs. Bush, Pres. Bush, our governor, 2 of our senators, an author of a book I read to them, and several news personalities. But, most importantly I would put one dollar in our class charity jar for every class best. We would also stump the office staff with L to J questions if we got a class best. If we stumped them, I would add another dollar. We ended up with 49 dollars in our bank. We voted to give the money to our local soup kitchen. The soup kitchen sent a beautiful thank you note. I can’t tell you how excited the kids were to give the money away.
I also can’t tell you how much those kids learned. They were locating places on a map that most adults couldn’t find. I have 3 maps that I use. My son teaches high school social studies, so he worked with me on places in the world that kids should know like lakes, rivers, mountain ranges, oceans, continents. I use the Smartboard to project the maps and the kids have the maps in their data notebooks for reference. They were supposed to learn the state locations last year, so those were 2 review questions as you suggested. We were able to learn social studies concepts long before we came to them in the text. We had such great conversations.
I also bought a spinner that I can project on my smartboard. I can just plug in the number of questions. This summer, I am working on spelling. Also wanted to tell you that when we do a quiz and we blow a question we should know because the concept has been taught, the kids will say, “We know, Mrs. Corcoran, we gave ourselves permission to forget.” Isn’t that funny? When they get a question they’ve never heard before, they are sooooooo proud!
Thank you for all you do. I have learned more from your workshops and books than from all other sources over my 33 years of teaching.
Theresa Corcoran, Grade 5, Hutchinson, Kansas
Your Improving Student Learning book and improvement concepts have done more for this district than any improvement initiative over the past 20 years! Thanks for everything.
Jim Barentine, Superintendent
Lordsburg Municipal Schools
Lordsburg, New Mexico
I teach General Chemistry, and my students really look forward to the quizzes. Each week they get excited about knowing more. ALL of my students are getting excited about concepts we haven’t even learned about yet. When they see a question on a concept hasn’t been covered, they ask questions and want to know more. It is a phenomenal experience. These are the kids that tend to start off the year with “I hate science, and I KNOW I will hate Chemistry.” NOW they are having fun and looking forward to learning. Thank you for sharing your strategies.
I would be happy to share everything I have developed with anyone who would like to use it.
Have a great Thanksgiving!
North Springs High School
Jenks, Oklahoma, Public Schools District’s implementation of the From LtoJ® process.
The Jenks Public Schools District has been on its Quality journey since 1995. Since that time, the focus has been on continuous improvement and exceeding our all time best! The district has a comprehensive Curriculum, Instruction, Assessment, and Professional Development Model in place. Since 1997 the district has used a systematic process for the development of a consistent, coherent district-wide curricula. The curriculum, instruction, assessment, and professional development are all integrally linked for support of a systems approach to teaching and learning.
Dr. Lee Jenkins has been working with the teachers and administrators since 2001 in regard to the implementation and facilitation of the L to J process that is a component of our district-wide assessment practices. Because of Dr. Jenkins’ work with us, the district no longer gives students permission to forget!
Beginning with mathematics in the 2004-2005 school year, the district implemented the L to J essential elements process. The same process was implemented for language arts/English during the 2005-2006 school year. The essential elements are based on the standards and objectives of the PK-12 district mathematics curriculum and the PK-12 district language arts/English curriculum. A district committee comprised of teachers, administrators, and parents developed both curricula.
Every other week the students take a quiz compiled of randomly selected mathematics information and process items. During the alternating weeks, the students take a quiz based on language arts/English items. Seventy percent of the items are from the current grade level curricula and 30% are from the curricula of the two previous grade levels. This process eliminates the necessity to cram as well as increasing the opportunities for students to remember what they have learned. The students track their progress via a run chart. The teachers track individual student and class progress via run charts, histograms, and/or scattergrams. The process will continue to be implemented throughout the next four years to include science, social studies/history, art, music, physical education, reading/literature, and world language.
Tracking student data has given students, teachers, and administrators the opportunity to review and analyze patterns and trends regarding student learning. It is evidence for teachers and administrators when a celebration is in order or when instruction needs to be modified for improved learning. It no longer matters if we have taught a concept or skill; what is paramount is whether or not the student has learned it!
Diane M. Bosworth, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent/Curriculum & Instruction
Jenks Public Schools
Jenks , Oklahoma
I just wanted to bring you up to date on what’s happening at Maconaquah in southern Miami County Indiana. Back in October you asked me to write a testimonial and I wish I had. Anyway, after what has seemed like an extended period without much movement, the use of L to J continuous improvement in classrooms is now growing exponentially. This is due to the persistence of my boss, superintendent Carmine Gentile, who has me teaching the process with new teachers and their mentors monthly during new teacher induction. This has allowed us to spread the word and the new teachers are becomiong our strongest advocates. During one of our recent sessions, a teacher apologetically excused herself from the training session so that she could go back to her technology class and help them prepare for a nationally normed test. That’s when she had an epiphany. Having been one who was skeptical, she said, “I just realized that if I had been using this, I wouldn’t be running off right now. My kids would be ready.”
Classroom results are so good that teachers are now contacting me for advice on how to get started. My principal has asked me to speak to the entire faculty this Monday at an all-day in-service. I recently gave a comprehensive test over items from my “list of essential facts and ideas” at semester’s end. This test was based on information from the list that we had already covered in class units. Without review or individual student cramming, class averages on this test hovered around 80% with many students scoring much higher. One of my classes scored an average of 91%. There is no denying that the weekly randomized quizzes (History Mystery) work and kids learn in spite of themselves (and me). Sorry to go on. Things are happening at Maconaquah. We are moving toward the time when we can combine entire school scores (not there yet). Thanks for your continued support of classroom teachers. You are truly “tearing down walls” and removing obstacles in a time when the public, the Congress, and the state boards want to increase pressure.
I attended the L to J seminar in Greenville, South Carolina. I took back many ideas from your seminar. I noticed that my class was having a huge problem with attendance and tardies. Since October, we have been tracking them both. We graph them each morning. At the end of the month, I create an Excel graph with the data. I am happy to tell you that I now have much better attendance and tardies have greatly improved. January was a little hard because of the flu. But, overall it has worked! We’re still tracking it and I hope we continue to see improvement! Thank you for wonderful ideas that I can actually use in my classroom.
This was my second time through the seminar and I noticed and learned a whole new set of concepts and ideas above what I learned the first time.I also felt good about reviewing what I had learned from the first time. I love that you “walk the walk” and use the techniques as you teach them. Thank you so much; I am a huge fan. I have plenty of “experience” after 26 years, I have had excellent mentors, I’ve self-analyzed what I do through the National Board Certification process, yet I have learned so much from this process that impacts my students’ learning as much, if not more than anything else. Thank you again.
National Board Certified Teacher
Cactus Shadows High School
Cave Creek Cave Creek, Arizona
Comments from seminars:
- I greatly appreciate how you talk to us and not at us. Too many of these types of events are someone who is so full of themselves that it does not get any results. You are not like that at all which makes this process more enjoyable and useful.
- You do a great joy of walking us through all the graphs which seem difficult at first but end up easy.
- I loved the L to J idea – It was so wonderful.
- Question: How did I do in humor, speaking to your heart, giving you hope and providing enough help? Answer: Off the charts!!
- The workday was very helpful! Especially having Dr. Jenkins around to help. I’m going to try this in my three Algebra II sections.
- Even with 40+ students individual help was provided. Time to work, application of procedures with graphs, and classroom teachers who presented were most helpful. I appreciate the photos showing you involved in what you teach.
- Best P/D I’ve EVER attended. Thanks so much.
- This is by far the most rewarding workshop I have ever attended. Thank you for giving me a renewed sense of enthusiasm for teaching.
- “The time went by so fast. I was amazed! I felt intrigued at what you were saying, excited for more, and totally focused on what you had to share.”
- “The scatter overlay is what i will now use forevermore on parent teacher conferences.”
- “No dead spots in seminar; every part was engaging.”
- “The seminar moved through quickly and was well-paced.”
- “I hate to tell you this, but all of the activities were helpful.”
- “Good balance of interesting, practical stuff from a variety of sources.”
- Dr. Jenkins,
We were not provided individual feedback forms for the distinguished speakers sessions, and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you your session was far and away THE BEST. Your message was inspiring and practical – one of the best I’ve heard about how to use data! You seemed to know us as an audience so well – your remarks truly “hit home.” The student illustrations were both touching and effective in getting your point across.
Thank you so much.