Friday, August 15, 2014

Chapter 12: Mirror, Hands and Eyes

Creating gestures for common knowledge is a common challenge in WBT. I would like to share five gestures that I have created to go along with core knowledge terms.

In my third grade class, we use science notebooks to record information from our science experiments. The students need to remember the order in which to record the information. The following gestures will help them to remember the vocabulary words that go along with the scientific process.

1.   Focus Question-Put your hands up in a V shape and then bring them together and down toward your chest to show many ideas down to one question.

2. Hypothesis- Use left pointer finger to point from head down toward paper to show that we are recording our predictions on paper.

3. Procedure- Show numbers 1-3 on one hand to show the steps that we will take.

4. Data- Use left hand to make an L like a graph. Then use right pointer finger to "record" points on the graph.

5. Conclusion-Put both arms up in the air in a V shape with hands in fists as in "declaring victory."

Hannah Palmer

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chapter 11: The Scoreboard

From the 15+ variations of the Scoreboard in Chapter 11, pick five you will use in the school year. Explain why you picked each one and estimate how long you will use your selection before going on to the next.

In using the Scoreboard, I will start out the year with smilies and frownies because they make it clear to the students that a smilie means that they made the teacher happy through making smart choices and following the classroom rules. A frownie means that they have not followed the classroom rules. I will use this for the first month of school.

The second scoreboard I will be using is girls and boys. There are times that the boys need a bit more correction than the girls or visa versa. When they are on two separate teams, they certainly want to earn more recess time. They also very much want to compete against the other team for positive behavior points. This leads me to teacher heaven! I use this scoreboard as needed depending on the behavior and competitiveness in the classroom. I usually only use it for a few days at time.

When it's a rough and challenging behavior day, I definitely use the Ping-Pong variation. I reward for negative behavior and then quickly follow up with a positive behavior point when I see a student or group of students making smart choices. I use Ping-Pong as needed.

For the Boombox variation, I would like to substitute in GoNoodle, an online kinesthetic brain break. I could write GoNoodle on a piece of paper and move it closer to the smilie side of the Scoreboard when I'm seeing positive behavior. When there is negative behavior, the magnet moves farther from the smilie side. When the GoNoodle reward is won, they get a one minute brain break. As the year progresses, the students can work toward a two or three minute brain break. The students love brain breaks, so I will use this variation at least a few weeks a month.

Double points day is always a benefit for later in the year. This totally gets the students, especially the boys excited. To make it even more appealing, I like to couple double points day with the boys/girls scoreboard. They boys find it very exhilarating and the girls find it enjoyable too. They want to "conquer the boys."

Beat the Clock and Horizontal Morphin' would both also be great scoreboard variations to correct class problem behavior in a positive way.  Last year, I only tried the smilie/frownie and girl/boy variations. I am excited to try the above variations this coming year.

Chapters 8-10 Teach, Okay!

Chapters 8-10: Teach, Okay

Write a short dialogue demonstrating the use of Teach-Okay in one of your favorite lessons.

Scene: 3rd grade math class

Teacher:   Classity class!
Students: Yessity yes!
Teacher:  (Teacher gestures while speaking) We are going to learn about multiplication. It will be fun and exciting. Tell your partner how excited you are to be learning about multiplication. Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students teach their partners and use hand gestures.)
Teacher:   Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher:   Multiplication is another word for repeated addition. That means 2x3 is the same as two threes added together. Teach!  (Hold up three fingers on each hand and move them together.)
Students: Okay! (Students teach their partners and use hand gestures.)
Teacher: Switch!
Students: Switch! (Partners give each other a high five while saying switch. Then the second student teaches the information to his/her partner.)
Teacher:   Oh Class! (Clap clap)
Students: Oh Yes!  (Clap clap)
Teacher:   (Hold up 2 fingers three times.) If we have 3x2, that would mean that you could add 2+2+2. Easy peasy! Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students teach their partners and use hand gestures.)
Teacher:   (Gesture to show mind picture and pretend drawing a picture.) You can also create a picture in your mind or draw pictures of the number group repeated. We can use multiplication to find the total when we have repeated groups of the same size. Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students teach their partners and use hand gestures.)
Teacher:   If we have 2 extra minutes for recess for 4 days in a row, you could say that you had 2x4=8 extra minutes of recess for the week. (Hold up two sets of 4 on your hands.) Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students teach their partners and use hand gestures.)
Teacher: Let's review. Multiplication is easy because we all know that adding is easy. Multiplication is a quick way of finding the total when we have many groups of the same number. Tell your partner how fun it feels to learn about multiplication! Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students tell their partner "how fun it feels to learn about multiplication.")

Chapter 7 Five Powerful Classroom Rules

Describe how you will teach, and continue to reinvigorate for the school year, one of the Five Classroom Rules.

The rule that I would like to teach and continue to reinvigorate for this coming school year is rule 4-Make smart choices. I chose this rule because it applies to life inside of and outside of the classroom. It is important for the students to think about how their choices will affect themselves and others in the present time and in the future. A smart choice that a student makes could help earn a smilie for the class or a personal self improver star due to generosity or honesty. A choice that is not smart could earn a frownie impacting the class' recess time.

To rehearse the rule, I would have the students put on short skits showing first non-examples of smart choices and then examples of smart choices. I could also have them share about smart choices that they made during lunch recess as they are under the care of the lunch staff during that time and I do not see their actions. This has been a hard time for them as the rules during that time are slightly enforced. If we discuss smart choices after the fact and then the next day before lunch recess, that may help to eliminate some of the un-smart choices the students could make and add to the smart ones.

Honoring students with a ten finger woo who make smart choices will encourage them to continue on the right path as they will be receiving positive attention. I would also like to have students look for "superhero" students who make smart choices even when others may not. The watcher could honor the "superhero" student" verbally or with a super improver star at the end of the day just before they leave to go home as we have a short sharing time on the carpet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Chapter 6: Class-Yes Variations

Chapter 6: Class-Yes Variations
These variations help keep students focused.

1. Classity-class...yessity-yes
2. Classy-class...yessy-yes
3. Classity-class-class...yessity-yes-yes
4. Good morning class...good morning-yes
5. Oh class...oh yes
6. Can you hear me class?...We can hear you yes.
7. Class ...yes with excited voice
8. Class ...yes with sad voice
9. Class ...yes with with both words drawn out
10. Class ...yes with angry voice
11. Class class class ...yes yes yes (in a singing voice)
12. Class class class ...yes yes yes (in a whisper voice)
13. Oh my dear class...oh Mrs. Palmer yes
14. Class-a-doodle-doo...yes-a-doodle-doo
15. Class 3x2...yes 3x2 is 6

Monday, August 4, 2014

Chapter 5: The Brain on Whole Brain Teaching

Which areas of the brain are you least likely to activate? Which areas are you most likely to activate?

Before studying Whole Brain Teaching, I usually only engaged the students' visual cortex (seeing) and Wenricke's area (language understanding). The areas I was least likely to activate were Broca's area (speaking), and the limbic system (feelings and emotions.)

After studying Whole Brain Teaching and the brain, I have worked harder to engage the limbic system. I found that if I have students write about topics that they are interested in when teaching grammar, their limbic system is involved and they remember the concepts because their feelings were involved. One student last year loved skateboarding. He would write sentences using any grammar topic I taught about as long as he could write on his favorite topic. Then later, he could apply his learning to the new topic about which he was writing.

Last year, I used Class-Yes to activate the prefrontal cortex which controls focus of attention and decision making. Another powerful teaching technique is Teach-Okay. This engages five areas of students' brains including the visual cortex (seeing gestures), motor cortex (making gestures), Broca's area (verbalizing a lesson), Wernicke's area (hearing a lesson), and the limbic system (giving emotional connections to the lessons.) As the students teach each other with words and gestures and the partner mirrors, both students are storing the information into their long term memory. Using the five classroom rules, scoreboard, hands and eyes, switch, and mirror also helped with engaging the students. It also ensures me that their whole brains are engaged in learning and adds funtricity to our classroom. By helping their whole brains to be involved in their learning, it is "teacher heaven" for me as they are storing their learning in their long term memory.

WBT Chapter 4: Charting Progress

I finished another year of teaching third graders and this year was more successful due to my improved classroom management. I've faithfully charted my own behavior through weekly reflections as an instructor. I also charted my students’ progress. Looking back, I learned that I made  progress in the areas of controlling my emotions by controlling my tone of voice throughout the year. I also worked hard to consistently follow through with my classroom management plan. In the coming year, I am looking for my own continued improvement with consistency in classroom management as this is a struggle at times for me. 

I used the following measures to evaluate each student's classroom behavior- followed directions quickly, raised their hands for permission to speak, stayed on task, and turned in neat work on time. I also divided the students into four groups: Alphas, Go-Alongs, Fence Sitters, and Challenging Students. My goal was to raise the average score for all students' behaviors by .1 per month. Many students did achieve this level bringing them up a full level in classroom behavior by the end of the school year. I did have a few challenging students with whom I had to help them (and myself mentally when evaluating them) to focus on one area at a time such as turning neat work on time. After seeing the child show improvement in that area, I would help the child focus on another area. This helped the student to not feel overwhelmed and assisted me in staying consistent with my classroom management plan. 

Next year, the principal suggested having the students chart their own behavior (as that is part of the evaluation program we are using.) I am thinking of having each child use a calendar in a folder to self-score him/herself each day out of 4 points before getting ready to go home at the end of the day. I will have the students help me make a rubric (with my own ideas/goals already in mind) for what behaviors they should show in order to receive the points for behavior for the day. This will help them to take ownership of their behavior and show both of us their progress or areas they need improvement.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

WBT Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Seven Common Teaching MistakesPick two of the errors described in Chapter 3, pages 9-13, of "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids" and write yourself a letter of advice about how you're going to avoid these mistakes in the coming year.  Include one or two useful quotes from the chapter.

Dear Self,You have just a few more weeks and then you'll be back to school. You have worked hard this summer studying and reviewing Whole Brain Teaching. I know you are very excited to continue growing as a second year Whole Brain Teacher. There are a few topics that I wanted to remind you about to ensure that you have a great year from beginning to end. First, remember that your future disruptive students are "round pegs that won't fit into your square hole" as Coach Biffle said. You need to be willing to choose those students as part of my leadership team as you have the class rehearse the procedures.

Another key idea to having a wonderful school year is to "invite students into your world; don't expect to find them already there," as Coach said. Many of your students will need differentiated lessons regularly and have varied interests from you. Please take the time to get to know each student and what topics are important to them in their lives and what their learning styles are. Yes, it will take time and your schedule will already be full, but you will have to make the time. It may work for you to have one student per day read and talk with you for a few minutes when the class comes back from special while the rest is the class reads silently. Be brave and keep working hard as a teacher. You learn more and become a better each year. Keep it up and it will be a year full of enjoyable learning for you and your incoming third graders.Sincerely, Hannah

WBT Chapters 1 and 2

Chapters 1&2: Intro and Origin

Coach B says... "You've just been made principal of a school and you're about to address your staff for the first time. Select three points from chapters 1 and 2 that you are going to talk about describing key aspects of Whole Brain Teaching. Include one story about your teaching experience."

Welcome to a new school year! I'm excited to share with you a way of managing your classroom that will be fun for you and your students called Whole Brain Teaching. When I first started teaching, I found teaching and disciplining exhausting and  could see that my students were not very focused on what I was teaching them. I tried telling and repeating, but it wasn't enough. I searched for many years and tried tons of different classroom management techniques, but none of them worked.  Then last year, I started hearing about Whole Brain Teaching on some of my favorite teaching blogs. I was intrigued by the concept of teaching so that students whole brains were involved. I watched many YouTube videos of students who were rehearsing simple rules and following directions quickly. They were hearing small amounts of information from the teacher and then teaching each other that same information.  On top of all of that, the students were very excited to be learning and teaching. Wow! I thought, this would be wonderful!  At the beginning of the last school year, I used Whole Brain Teaching with my students and they were more attentive and excited about learning. On my evaluation, my students scored higher in the area of being engaged learners.

I'd like to share with you a few key aspects of Whole Brain Teaching. First, the longer you talk, the more students you will lose. If teachers present large amounts of information to their students at once, more and more students will tune out the longer they speak. However, if you, as a teacher present the information in small amounts and have the students teach each other the same information, they will retain the new concepts.

Another key aspect that the founder of Whole Brain Teaching, Coach Biffle found was that the "students were completely engaged in class when they were emotionally involved in lessons that required seeing, saying, hearing and physically moving." It is hard for challenging kids to be challenging because their entire brains are too busy learning. They have no extra brain power to come up with other problematic activities because their minds are full of learning. 

A final key aspect is that much of the training is freely given. There is a small cost for the book, but there is an enormous amount of free eBooks and videos from which to receive training. We will be having further professional development opportunities throughout the year on this topic at staff meetings. I will be purchasing "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids" books for all staff members so that everyone can continue learning more about how to become great While Brain Teachers. I'm looking forward to working with all of you this year.

WBT Master Class 557: Attention Getters

WBT Master Class 557: Attention Getters

Last year was the first year that I used whole brain teaching in my classroom. This summer I am watching the master classes on YouTube to help give myself a refresher after reading the book last summer. Watching the first WBT Masters class, I thought to myself that at times I have forgotten to remind my students to fold their hands after they answer back yes.. This is very important to remember to do so that they stop working and are focused on what I will be saying.

Coach Biffle spoke about the three levels of Attention Getting routines: Rookie, Pro, and All Star. For the Master Challenge for the Rookie Routine, I say, "Class." The children answer, Yes." (The students fold their hands as they say yes. I may need remind them as we begin rehearsing.) I speak briefly, clap twice and then say, "Teach," and they answer, "Okay." The students teach each other. Then I repeat the routine.  To add funtricity to the routine, I can vary the sound of my voice with high or low pitch and the speed at which I speak or repeat it. I can also say classity or classity-class to vary the words. To be a good rookie level teacher, I should use variations of the class-yes routine at least 20 times per day and use a tally sheet to keep track of my number of uses and variations.

The Pro Routine is the next step and includes saying, "Class boom" and the students answer "Yes boom" and (students have automatically fold hands.) Again I speak briefly, then clap twice and say teach. The students answer, "Okay." The students teach each other and then we repeat the process. Coach said to try to use the pro level at least 10 times per day. To make it more fun, I can say class-chicka-boom, or class-shaboom.

The attention getter that I want to attain to is the All Star Routine.  I say, "Class 3x2 boom." The children answer, Yes 6 boom." (The students have automatically fold their hands while speaking.)- I give a short amount of information, clap twice, and then say, "Teach," and they answer, "Okay." The students teach each other. Then I repeat the any of the attention getting routines. Coach Biffle encouraged me to use the All Star level attention getters at least 10 times per day. This is awesome because I can have the students review the materials they've learned while getting their attention-double dute.

After rehearsing the routines with the students, I will call up a Leadership Team made up of three students who are following directions and two rebels who aren't following directions. Coach Biffle said to stand next to the weakest rebel as the leadership team practices the routine again. Standing by that child will encourage the child to change his or her behavior and to practice the routine correctly in front of the class.

Final tips from Coach: Try to rehearse at least five times per day so that the students are well rehearsed and ready. The class scoreboard should average 20 smilies or frownies per day to keep the students interested and participating.