Wednesday, October 28, 2015

WBT Wednesdays ~ All Things BRAINIES!

This week we are talking Whole Brain Teaching BRAINIES!

What is a Brainy?

In a nutshell, a Brainy is a gesture we use in Whole Brain Teaching to teach core concepts.  Brainies really help students to remember core concepts and they also promote higher level thinking!  In my classroom, WE LOVE BRAINIES!

We even have a saying...
"Zombies like Brains but we like BRAINIES!"

Okay, so how do I use these in my classroom?

First of all, I have a Brainy section on my Focus Wall.  I start the year with key Brainies like Capital Letters, End Marks, and College Talk Please.

We start with these Brainies and add more and more.  I keep all my Brianies in a binder which my students may look at during morning work.  Along with a BiffyToons Binder and a Power Pix Binder.

What I love about this is how into it the students get!  I have all the Brainies in my binder (including the ones we do not cover in first grade).  But when a 1st Graders asks you what a DEEP CITATION is, it's teacher heaven!


These are most of what we cover in 1st Grade.  There is a more advanced version for upper grades.  You can download the Brainy Game for FREE on the WBT Website! (Go to FREE EBOOKS, GENERAL, and find the BRAINY GAME)

The critical thinking Brainies are AMAZING for my firsties!  I just LOVE the BECAUSE CLAPPER!  No more lame answers!  I model this all the time by clapping whenever I say the word "because"... even when I'm not in school :)

Here is a quick overview of how we use some of the Brainys in 1st Grade...

Because Clapper ~  
Clap when you say because and teach students to use the word because anytime they are explaining something! For example, "A pencil is a noun because it's a thing!"

And ~
Shake your fist whenever you say the word "and" to help students extend their thinking and their sentences!

Also, & In Addition, ~
Hearing my firsties use "In Addition," in their paragraphs last year was the best!  They sounded so professional!  Just scratch your chin like you are thinking to use this brainy!

For Example, ~
Another amazing brainy to use in any grade!  Get your students explaining concepts and promote higher level thinking with examples!  This clip shows the Because Clapper and the For Example brainies!

Triple Whammy ~
THE BEST INVENTION EVER!  This is how I get my students to write 5 sentence paragraphs!  Start with a Triple Whammy sentence.... I like to run, jump, and swim!  Also, when students start writing paragraphs, I post this brainy (and the Topic Sentence & In Conclusion brainies) at my writing center!

Capitals, End Marks, Commas ~
The essentials!  We use these brainies starting from day 1!  I model it and the students think I am crazy but before long, they cannot read a sentence or say a sentence without brainies either!  These brainies promote oral writing & you will be so thrilled to see how these translate onto paper when you start writing!

College Talk Please ~
No more 1 word answers!  If you ask students, "Who is the main character in our story?" and they reply, "Tacky.", you do the gesture or say, "College Talk Please!" and they say, "The main character in our story is Tacky.".  Get them speaking in full sentences so they start writing in full sentences!  Plus, you will be in teacher heaven when you hear just how scholarly your students sound always using College Talk!

Help Me ~
This is a lifesaver and a team-builder all in one!  When a student is answering a question (or in a WBT Classroom, teaching a concept) and they forget something, they use the Help Me gesture!  The other students whisper answers to the student helping them out instead of the student standing there feeling embarrassed!  This also helps your shy students come out of their shells a little bit!

So, I post Brainies on our Focus Wall but students also have their very own Desk Set!  We pull these out later in the year and practice our Brainies with partners.  This is also great practice for Teach Ok and Switch!

I just print, laminate, and cut and these are ready to go!

I hope you find this post helpful if you are just starting out using Brainies!  If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I will get back to you ASAP!

Happy *Whole Brain* Teaching!

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