Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Whole Brain Teaching In The News!

So, this is a VERY exciting edition of WBT Wednesdays!  Yesterday, my class was featured in the newspaper for Whole Brain Teaching & Learning!  We are so excited!

I told my students at the beginning of the year that they would be doing college things with Whole Brain Teaching and if they met some goals, I would send our picture into the newspaper!  (My previous EA would do this all the time for my class 2 years ago!)  So, since by October, they were orally writing 5 sentence paragraphs, I had to keep my promise!

I sent in a picture and a small paragraph and shortly after that, the newspaper contacted me to see if they could come in and see WBT in action & learn more about it!

We have received a lot of positive feedback from the district & parents on this article!  I am so thankful to be able to share this amazing teaching method with others!  I even received a personal email from our Superintendent & Deputy Chief of Schools!

You can read the full story at the Racine Journal Times!

I also recently uploaded my first Unit with a TON of Whole Brain Teaching lesson plans & strategies to my TpT Store for Winter featuring TACKY the Penguin!

This unit includes 61 pages of everything listed above including direction on how to use the Whole Brain Lesson Plan format. 

I wanted to elaborate on Class/Class, Teach/Ok, and Mirrors for those of you just starting out with Whole Brain Teaching.

This is the basic attention getter talked about in Chapter 6 of Coach B's book "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids".  If you are not already using this (or some other attention getter), START NOW!  I'm serious.  This is a life saver!  Some days you have to do it more than others but nothing is worse than trying to talk over your students, telling students to be quiet, saying "shhhhhh" (my personal pet peeve), or yelling to get your students to listen to you!  Teach your students that when you say "Class, class" they are to respond "Yes, yes".  However you say "class, class", they are to respond in the same manner.

I am VERY strict about this!  If they do not say it in unison (or loud enough), I call it again.  Especially in the beginning of the year!  If you call class, class and only half of the class responds OR students continue to talk after they have said "yes, yes", this just becomes ineffective.  Set your expectations high and don't stop until they meet them!  My students know these expectations well enough that when they are teaching the class, they will repeat "class, class" if the response is not up to standard!

PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE with your class and HAVE FUN doing it!  Change up your voice, use different variations, different tempos, different accents...whatever you have to do to make it work and make it FUN!

Okay, so this one took me awhile last year!  I started WBT in the middle of the year & starting Teach/Ok was probably the hardest part for my class!  (I should remind you here that I work in a priority school and had a VERY challenging class last year!)  So I started out very small....

I told students when I clap twice and say "teach!", they clap twice and say "okay!"... so we practiced that for a bit.  Then I changed up my clapping & voice and told students however I say teach, that is how they should respond okay.

I got a lot of blank stares, students saying teach instead of okay, and took time practicing turning to our neighbors.  But they finally got it.... so it was time to teach them something.  I started with the simple sentence, "I see a dog."  Then I said "teach!" expecting them to actually do it.... but they didn't!  I think about half of them remembered to say "Ok" but most forgot to turn and no one remembered the sentence I just said.

This was a lightbulb to me!  How long had I been talking to students without them actually hearing/processing what I was saying???

So we practiced several more times & even tho it was kind of a mess...they eventually could say "ok" and repeat the sentence!  Just like class/yes, it just takes...


I do not know where my students would be without teach/okay (I don't know where I would be without it either!).  This is the BEST teaching tool I have EVER used... effective, engaging, and so much fun!  Nowadays, I honestly feel like I am not the teacher.... I am just here to facilitate learning because my students are teaching the class and each other ALL DAY LONG and just as Coach B says, it is "teacher heaven".

There are different types of mirrors (mirror words, silent mirrors, magic mirrors, etc) but I am just going to touch base on basic mirrors for those of you not using it yet!  If you want to learn more about different mirrors, leave me a comment & I will be happy to help!

Basically, mirrors is just a fun way for students to repeat what you are saying.  Hold up 2 hands and say "mirrors!".  Students repeat "mirrors" and hold up 2 hands just like you.  Say only a couple words at a time of what you want students to repeat.

Example:  When I was teaching Teach/Ok, I used mirrors like this....

Me: Class/Class
Class: Yes/Yes
Me: Mirrors (holding up hands)
Class: Mirrors (holding up hands)
Me: I see
Class: I see
Me: a dog.
Class: a dog.
Me: *clap clap* Teach!
Class: *clap clap* Okay!

Then class turns and repeats "I see a dog." to their neighbor over and over until you say Class/Class.  Anytime you want the class to teach each other something, have them mirror you saying it first!  Simple, right?  And I promise, you will see a difference in your class!

And that's it for the basics!  This is all you really need to do to be able to effectively use my Whole Brain Teaching Lessons in this Tacky the Penguin Unit!

If you use WBT, please leave me a comment so I can follow you too!  I am always looking for teachers to collaborate with on WBT!

And finally.... I just started my Blog Facebook Page!  Please go like it to get updates about Whole Brain Teaching and follow my WBT journey!

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