Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WBT Wednesdays & Holiday Fun!

Welcome to another edition of Whole Brain Teaching Wednesdays with me!  And thank you for sharing my journey as I continue to learn more about Whole Brain Teaching!

This week we have been working with Nouns and we learned about Plural Nouns and Quotation Marks!

I have been doing what I call "Super Speed Rounds" to practice new concepts.  On the 2nd day of plural nouns, the students were doing Super Speed rounds and I was so proud!  This is what a Super Speed round looks like.....

One student stands up and says, "Class, class!"
The class says, "Yes, yes!"
Student: "Mirror Words!"
(Class repeats everything the student says and does)
Student: "A Plural Noun ends with an 's' and means more than one person, place, or thing!  For example, I have 100 dollars!"

Then the student calls on another student to stand up and do the same thing with another example.  The students teach and repeat quickly!  

The other day they got into Zombies so I heard things like a zillion brains and 10,000 eyeballs!  But they were having fun and showing understanding of the concept so it was okay :)

Between meetings, CCSS training, and what seems like 100 observations, I am trying to still fit in some FUN (educational) Holiday stuff!

I love teaching about Thanksgiving and the story of the Pilgrims & Indians!  I also needed some more educational morning meeting activities.  So I made up this sentence building activity that I also turned into a literacy center!  The students had a blast!

They had to find the other students with the matching border colors and then build the sentence.  The first time I did this, I used the pictures for bigger words & added them in later once the students were used to the game!

After the students built their sentences, I had them go around and put them in chronological order.

You can pick up this activity in my TpT Store!

I am going to make another set to go with the Gingerbread Girl Story for December & some general ones to use all year.  My students need as much sentence building practice as they can get!

We also made Pilgrim hats, Indian headdresses, and Mayflowers!  Some of my students are still finishing up their headdresses.  When they are done, we take a class picture of us in Pilgrim hats and then in the Indian headdresses.  Then I take individual pictures of the students with their Mayflowers and let them chose if they want to be a Pilgrim or Indian.  After that, I make it into a class book with the Thanksgiving Story to be auctioned off at the end of the year!  So far this year, we already have 6 class books!

Using our Whole Brain Teaching strategies, we brainstormed and wrote 5 sentence paragraphs!  The students did this all on their own.  I wanted to see where they were at for writing so I told them to try to spell everything themselves & just do the best they can!  We review punctuation and capital letters ALL THE TIME with Whole Brain Teaching Brainies so I also wanted to see how this transferred over to paper.

I was so impressed!  Remember, we are a priority, Title 1 school!  Last year, most of my students were not even able to write complete sentences!  Whole Brain Teaching really does work!

I want to be sure to add that these are not my "advanced" students either!  Both of these students are currently reading below grade level!  I am so proud of all my students because regardless of what level they are working at, almost all of them used capital letters & punctuation (including commas)!

Another class book I just made was a salute to our veterans!  My fiance just got out of the military so he came to school to teach my students about the Army!  They LOVE IT!  He brought in his uniform for them to try on!  This is how it turned out....

We also wrote Thank You letters to the military men & women!

To finish out this week, I am going to work on our Holiday applications to work at the North Pole!  I have done this for 3 years now and love it!  We take pictures of students in holiday hats to add to the applications & hang them on our bulletin board in the hallway!

If I remember correctly, this activity is from Christie at First Grade Fever!

This is how it turned out....

I finally finished my "If You Take a Mouse to the Movies" Math & Literacy Unit!!  I am so proud of this unit and super excited to use this with my firsties!  You can pick up the full unit HERE!  Here is a preview of some of the pages in this 50+ page unit!

I am also offering parts of this unit separately AND you can get the writing/brainstorming sheets for FREE HERE!

I use the mouse craftivity from Christie again at First Grade Fever to hold the papers!

LASTLY .....  I am just finishing up making DVD's for Parent/Teacher Conferences next week!  I took videos of the students explaining Whole Brain Teaching, Brainies, and Grammar.  Then each student orally wrote a 5 sentence paragraph on what they are thankful for using as many brainies as they could!  I will show the video at conferences and give each parent a DVD to keep!

Thank you for sharing this WBT Wednesday with me and hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving!  I would love to hear how you teach about holidays so please leave a comment and let me know!

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

WBT Wednesday 11.5.14

Welcome to Whole Brain Teaching Wednesdays!

I am excited to share with you what we have been doing in First Grade!  But I have to say, every time I think I am on track with Whole Brain Teaching, I watch another webcast, or re-read a chapter in the book, and I feel like I know nothing!  Everything about WBT is so genius and there is SO much to it!  I am super excited to keep learning about all the things Coach B has to offer!

So, this past Monday, I watched Coach B's webcast on the Super Improver Team.  He introduced a wonderful new amazing technique using STRATEGY CARDS!  This year I have felt much more organized and am on a mission to keep my Firsties responsible for their own learning!  Coach B introduced Strategy Cards to have students choose things to work on to earn stars on the Super Improver Board.

See the webcast HERE! (It is video #586)

So once the students decide on the skills they want to work on, you write them on the Strategy Card.

Then, at a designated time that you choose, have the students take out their cards and rate themselves.  For my firsties, this is also a great way to continue practicing tally marks!

Have the students consider the skill they chose, and rate themselves if they have stayed the same or if they are getting better!

I made these strategy cards after I watched the Webcast because I could not find them on the WBT website.  They may be there somewhere but I wanted to implement this right away so I just made some up!

I put these in my TpT Store too so you can get your copy for FREE if you click here.

We have talked about skills to work on and students have discussed them with their peers.  We are going to write in our skills today and start working toward more stars on the Super Improver Board!  I am even going to do a Strategy Card for myself!


Another thing we have been working hard on is all of our Power Pix!  Our school is really pushing for our students to be able to know what they are learning and WHY.... Power Pix work better than any 'I CAN' statement I have ever used!

Students are teaching each other the concept and the meaning everyday.

We are really working hard on the 5W+H skill and I came up with a fun way to practice this!  I have a writing prompt board on Pinterest where I have been finding CRAZY WACKY WILD pictures!  I gave all the kids regular old boring notebooks and we call them WONDER BOOKS!  I will show them a crazy picture and we will ask and answer 5W+H questions about the picture to help brainstorm and CRAZY WACKY WILD story about the picture!

The students LOVE this so far and it will be my 1st real attempt to have them physically write.  Up until now we have just been doing oral writing.  I wanted to start letting them get used to pencil and paper & transferring oral writing onto paper without the need for accuracy.  

I made my own Power Pix to go with my jungle theme and to correlate with CCSS.  I will be sharing on TpT as soon as I finish them!

We started nouns this week too!  With the Whole Brain 5 Step Lesson Plan, it is NOT a lie when they say you can teach the concept in 20 minutes and spend the rest of your time applying it.  After the first day of nouns, my students knew what a noun was and could classify & sort people, places, and things.  

This has really helped incorporate the "For Example" brainy too!  Students will say, "A noun is a person, for example, a dentist is a noun because he is a person."  Then we will repeat this for places and things.

I highly suggest using SuperSpeed Grammar when you are ready to teach Nouns, Verbs, Adjectives, etc!

You can get it for FREE at!


Since we are a PRIORITY School, we have to set goals and have visits and monitoring from DPI.  Our goal for this year is differentiation.  I am SO excited about this because I really think this (and WBT) is the key to every student's success!

We also have a MATH COACH from West Ed who has been in training staff on CCSS.  I have been using CCSS since I started teaching but I still feel like I need to be more organized with it.  One thing I am working on is creating differentiated MATH JOURNAL sheets for each 1st Grade Math Standard.

So far the journals have been going great!  I use them as an intro to math to get students thinking and give them that personal work time that I often forget to give them!

Here is a sample of what we are doing....

This problem is for a struggling student.  It gives more instruction on what to do and has the problem laid out for them so they can complete most of it on their own and still feel independent.

This problem is for an ON-LEVEL student.  It still lays out the problem but is a little less organized so the student has to sort it out themselves.  This student surprised me and completed the problem much faster than I thought she would so I had her also do her own bug problem at the bottom!

This problem is for an ADVANCED learner.  For these problems there are no pictures and the problem is not set up for the student.  There is also an open ended question at the end for them to write about and later discuss with a partner.  

(Her sentence says, "It is addition because it is putting together".)

Here is what one page looks like...

I will make my CCSS Math Journal pages available on TpT as soon as I finish them!

And that's a wrap for WBT Wednesdays with me!  I hope you continue to follow my journey and PLEASE let me know if you are doing WBT too so I can follow you!!