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.