Friday, 11 November 2011

Super Improver Wall Twist

I saw this on forum and I had to share  it is so "brilliant"!!!

Just love the Super Improver Wall! My sixth grade students have added a new twist. At the end of my class, after I call out,"Any Super Improvers?" Hands wave wildly as students take turns calling out what amazing new thing they have learned or improved in! Everone chimes back in a sing song "SUPER IMPROVER!" and the student gets to put their own sticker up as they leave for their next class. It's a super way to summarize the day's lesson...a super positive way to end the class. Teachers at our school are required to write lesson plans with a "summarizer" at the end to bring lessons to closure....but my kids do it! The principal was doing a "walk through" as we ended math yesterday and she was impressed with my(their)summarizer and the overall excitement! Me too! Where's my hankie? Brilliant!

Friday, 4 November 2011

Mighty Oh Yeah/Groan Alternatives

Here are some Mighty Oh Yeah/Groan Alternatives:

Booyah!  Boo!

Smooth!  Rocky!

Cha-ching!  Oh snap!

Bazinga!  No points for you!

Bam!!  More butter!

Bingo!  Fiddlesticks!

Yum Turkey!  Oh my pumpkin pie!

Treasure!  Walk the plank!

Superfly!   That's Wack!

Ho, ho, ho!  No presents for you!

Right on!  Not cool!

Fantastic, Bubble Plastic!  Oh rats!!

It always helps if you are feeling it and the class is too.  Have them brainstorm some ideas and pick the one they seem most into.  Any other ideas?

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Top 5 Things to Do With Your Power Pix Wall

Whole Brain Teaching
1. Review concepts at the end of the day if there is a few minutes left.
2. Have a student leader come up and call out different concepts and have the rest of the class give the correct response.
3. Call out a coordinate and have students give the definition of that concept.
4. Compare and contrast two Power Pix.
5. Have students give examples for all the Power Pix.

Can you think of more?  I'd love to hear them!!!

Friday, 21 October 2011


Tried out the Genius Ladder orally these last couple of days.  Here is the example my kids came up with.  They were tickled pink by it!!

Blah Sentence:  Here is a school.

Spicy Sentence:  Here is a castle school made of pizza.

Extender Complexor:  Here is a castle school made of pizza where students get hot lunch and a pepsi every day!!

Super Improver Wall is ticking along!  Kids love it and almost every kid is on to the next level!  Oh yeah!

The Scoreboard fun continues.  Right now I am using Booyah for Smilies and No Treats for You for Frownies.  For Class/Yes!  I am saying Boo! Class, Meow Class, and Trick or Treat Class.

Practice Cards are in effect and working well!

Next week I am going to start using the student leader buttons!  I'm excited!!!  Happy Whole Brain Teaching!!!!!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Patience, patience, patience!

Wow - this week and last week have been a bit trying.  Finally, I stopped to think at lunchtime today.  Last year was exactly as crazy at the beginning.  It took some time for things to settle down.  Classroom dynamics change and mellow after September.  I keep reminding myself to be patient - remain consistent with WBT and it will pay off.  I was rewarded somewhat today when my students started to do my reminding for me.  One student piped up, "Please STOP, Bobby* - I want Center time!!"  I was able to step back and quietly watch as my students kept the independents in check.   The Scoreboard buy-in is beginning to take effect!!!!

Friday, 16 September 2011

My First Couple of Weeks

Well my friends, I am back at it again!  Here are my observations:

1.  Whole Brain Teaching is still so amazing!

2. I just got 6 new children - they unsplit the 1/2 split next door - now I have 25 kids and they picked up WBT so quickly.  Not sure if they know what hit them:)

3. Scoreboard has had about 30-40 smilies and frownies on both sides before recess.  The class has won the Scoreboard several times and they have lost several times, as well.

4.  I have still had private talks with students on occasion just to reinforce that when they break the rules they are causing frownies for the class, especially if they are being unsafe.

5.  I have had to remind myself occasionally to not use names when pointing out frownie behaviour.

6.  I am going to have to talk with my teacher aids and explain to them that this is a different type of classroom.  I may even give them some light WBT reading to do.  They are not in the mind-frame of practice, practice, practice like I am.  They look at me when students aren't sent back to their desks from the carpet for misbehaving.

7. I have had students sit out of an earned learning game - partly due to second guessing myself, aid comments, and the desire to have that student understand that what they were doing was not acceptable.  Really, each student is part of the class and if the class won the Scoreboard then the entire class should be allowed to partake in the reward.  Still, I think students need to get the idea early that what they are doing is not acceptable.  Do I give a student who is causing all the frownies a consequence even if the class wins the Scoreboard?  My initial thought says no because right now that child is still practicing.  My instinct says that child knows he/she is breaking the rules and, therefore needs a consequence.  What I really need to focus on is the class giving the consequence - peer pressure is the key - when I call out Rule 2 - the whole class needs to say it and really mean it!

8.  Line check has worked wonders on my line up!!  Thanks to Educ8rKP who wrote about this on the forum!! Very helpful!
"1. Laser-straight: the tiles on the floor help a lot, but we also have lines painted on our sidewalks. They know, because I remind them often, to make sure their left foot is on the line.
2. Dead quiet: I never allow any talking in my line. Not even to me.
3. Arms crossed: I used to allow kids to choose whether they crossed their arms or put their hands in their pockets, but I found that if you give an inch, they take a light-year. So, arms crossed only.
4. Faces forward: It's really irritating to me when people standing in line at theme parks aren't paying attention when the line moves forward, leaving a huge gap. I don't want my line to have gaps in it either.
I teach these four expectations, and slowly wean them off me reminding them of each one when we line up, and settle for the aforementioned "LINE CHECK!" They repeat "LINE CHECK!" and instantly snap to attention in a perfect, orderly, OCD-tickling line (tears of joy!). The key is consistency and unbending, unwavering expectation of perfection. As long as it's not perfect, we don't move. If we're already moving and it stops being perfect (arms swing out, someone talks, someone veers way out of line), I call "FREEZE!" and everyone stops. I say "LINE CHECK!", they respond appropriately, then we're on our way."
My goals right now are to:

1. Change my challenging students, to fence sitters, fence-sitters to go-alongs and my go-alongs to alphas.

2. To talk less and use Teach/Okay! more.

3. To be consistent.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Making your own Power Pix?

At the Phoenix conference we practiced making our own Power Pix.  Some teachers shared this site that provides kid friendly definitions for different terms.  Thanks Phoenix teachers!!

Beginning Gradually in the Classroom

So here is Andrea Schindler's document for starting Kinder adjusted for First Grade!

Day One:
Class Yes!
Rules 1-5
Scoreboard Game
Hands and Eyes!
Criss Cross Applesauce
Bubble in your mouth
Lines, Lines, Lines
Seats, Seat, Seats
Cubbies, Cubbies, Cubbies
Backpacks, Backpacks, Backpacks
Tell your neighbour

Day Two:
Practice all the routines introduced so far
Teach your first 5 Step Lesson
Pencils and Erasers, Pencils and Erasers, Pencils and Erasers
Name, Name, Name
Work, Work, Work
Papers, Papers, Papers
It’s cool
Ten finger woo

Day Three:
Practice all the routines introduced so far
Continue to teach one 5 Step Lesson a day - try to make them short as it is the beginning of the year.

Week 2:
Practice all the routines introduced so far
Weekly Stars (When students get 10 stars, which usually takes about a week, they earn a special reward, like a five minute game of Mind Soccer).
Introduce the Practice Cards when you feel the time is right and approximately 85% of your students have bought into the Scoreboard Game. If you start the Practice Cards too soon you will have a ton of students practicing and the goal is not to have any if possible. Some teachers wait until Thanksgiving or January to introduce them and some do not use them at all. It really depends on your class:) Begin with the white cards. Gradually, introduce the purple and green cards - this may happen days, weeks or months later. Remember, it is a long year:)
Month 2:
Begin teaching two Five Step Lessons plans per day. You may even increase this to 3 or 4.
“Milestones to Reach for Further Routines”:

*If you have used the individual pocket chart and still have a select group of students who are exhibiting undesired behaviors, use the Independents Group

*Once students are comfortable with “Tell your neighbor”, move to “Teach! Okay!”, with both students talking

*Once students are comfortable with “Teach! Okay!” add in the "Switch!"
*Once students are comfortable with "Switch!" add in "Tag Team"
*Once students are comfortable with the “Teach! Okay!”, teach the students the Crazy Professor Reading Game.

Here it is in

New to WBT? Here is how!

When I first began Whole Brain Teaching I didn't have the luxury of going to a conference, even though they are free:)  So I began by using several different resources that WBT has to offer.

1. I began by watching all of the videos on - I am primarily a visual learner so I watched them over and over gain, especially Andrea Schindler's Kindergarten video.  Every time I watched it I saw new strategies!

2.  I practiced in the mirror and with my sister.  Basically, I taught a lesson with my sister and she played the role of the student.  This was very helpful as it helped me utilize the words and it allowed me to practice out-loud so I could find the right order and rhythm.  Also, it was a lot of fun for both of us.

3. I read all of the free e-books available on the website.  Yes, it was a lot of reading but the stories and techniques are so good that it went by really fast!!!

4.  I began reading all previous and new posts on the forum.  I found these very helpful and useful for solving problems in the classroom.

5. I began signing up for weekly free webinars with Chris Biffle on Thursday nights.  These particular sessions went through the Big 7 and gave me a clear visual, as well as different variations for using them in the classroom.  Look for future webinars offered by WBT.

6. Then, I logged in to attend the free Livestream chat sessions on Saturday mornings given by Chris Biffle on the Brain Toys.  This was amazing because I could participate with comments and suggestions.  Look for future Livestream sessions offered by WBT.

7.  Finally, I attended the conference in Phoenix.  This really helped to fine tune the little things although I did find out that I was doing most of the techniques correctly!  Oh yeah!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Phoenix Conference Synergy!

It was so amazing to meet the Whole Brain Teaching crew in Phoenix for the first time these past four days!  What an awesome, creative, terrific bunch.  Hi to Coach B, Chris R., Farrah, Deb and my dedicated driver Angela M., who all made me feel at home and part of the team:)

Furthermore, it was wonderful to meet and talk to all the passionate teachers in Phoenix.  Those kids are sure to be blown away by everything you bring to the table on a daily basis!  May Whole Brain Teaching inspire you in your teaching.  Questions, comments, and concerns are vehemently welcomed as you weave WBT into your daily teaching.

This weekend, the Genius Ladder, inspired my teaching.  I will be using it daily with my students this year to help improve their writing. Oh yeah!  See the forum at for more on this cutting-edge WBT concept.

Also, tune into my blog for a future post tentatively titled, "New to WBT? Here is how!"

Happy teaching!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Back from my travels...

So I have been away from my computer awhile traveling and visiting - lots of people have brought up Whole Brain Teaching to me!  Everyone seems to be very positive about the whole concept.  Some can't wait to try it.  I have also met a few up and coming teachers who I have eagerly shared the concept and methods with.  They were very responsive!  Hope they try it out!  Happy teaching/summer/planning all!!  Off to Phoenix on Sunday for my very first face to face conference!!  Oh yeah!!!

Friday, 24 June 2011

High schoolers do WBT, too?

The new video out from Whole Brain Teaching of Mr. Brown's math class keeps me very happy!!  I frequently have non-believers, especially teachers of the intermediate and highschool years, who don't buy into WBT because they think it can only be successful in primary where the students enjoy upbeat excitement.  "WBT is too uncool for highschool!" they say.  Well here is the proof.  To all you non-believers - it works in highschool, too!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Crazy Professor Reading Game Fun!

Today I decided it was time to play the Crazy Professor Reading Game with my Grade 1's.  I watched Chris Rekstad's video first.  Then, I showed it to my class.  I gave my kids options of books and paired them together with similar ability reading partners.

Three observations:

1.  It was hard to transition to the next level of the game because everyone finished at different times.  Next time, I would have everyone read the same book until we got all the levels down.  I still think some groups would have down time.  Any suggestions about what they could do while they wait?  I just had them continue to the next level.  I guess they could repeat that same level again until everyone else was ready to move on.

2.  Some students found it too loud to concentrate.  I sent one pair out in the hall, which worked well.  I also quieted the class as Chris suggested in the video.

3.  Some pairs were not being very good partners.  We had to stop and practice at times.  This will come with practice I assume.

Overall, my class liked the Crazy Professor Reading Game.  A few pairs really got into it.  Who knows what will happen next time!!  One student commented that her head hurt afterwards.  I told her, with glee, that it must be because she was working so hard and learning so much that her brain created new learning pathways!!  Can I get a ten fingered woo!!!

Monday, 20 June 2011

My Venture Down Mystery Road

Last week and this week I have begun playing Mystery Road with my class.  I drew a path on the chalkboard with three detours leading to a magnet or "Mystery" prize, game, or treat (Mind Soccer, extra recess, extra centers, etc.).  The final destination was the biggest magnet and represented the biggest "Mystery".   Then I took my Mickey Mouse magnet and started it at the beginning of the path.

I introduced the game by explaining that good behaviour and following the rules would move Mickey down the path.  Once Mickey reached an intersection, good behaviour would send Mickey down that path to a mystery surprise.  Of course, there would always be the option to bypass a path or retreat back away from the mystery surprise depending on behaviour.  As the day progressed, sometimes I would say, "Wow! That good behaviour earned you 1 cm of Mickey movement down Mystery Road!" or "Let's see if can clean up by the time I count down from 20 and you could earn 1 cm down Mystery Road!"  Then I would take out my ruler and use it to model measurement.

Mystery Road has increased focus, excitement, and fun in my classroom.  My kids and I are having a BLAST!!  Can I get an OH YEAH!!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Freeze Frame

So today I was teaching a particularly difficult lesson on the 10 more than rule - you add 10 to any number by adding 10 to the 10's place.  This was the first time I had taught the rule using the 5 step lesson recommended by whole brain teaching.  The lesson was rolling along, until we got to the part where I was showing examples of equations that followed the rule.  All of the sudden there were no actions, no gestures, no movement from my students, just silence.  I found myself encouraging gestures and asking for more action.  Slowly, I realized that I didn't need to do that and that it was OK for them not to do gestures because they were concentrating on the examples, intensely.

In fact, upon reflecting on previous observations and the events of today my visual learners concentrate on the Power Pix even while they were teaching their neighbour, often turning their heads to look back a the SmartBoard.

 It was even more interesting when it came time for each student to add 10 to 5 different numbers, individually.  Almost immediately, I had a few ask for help.  I had one student say, "I didn't get it before (this lesson) but now I do!"  Furthermore, I found that I was able to better explain the concept (e.g. 36 + 10 Question: What number is in the 10's place?  Answer: 30 rather than 3.  Now count by tens - what number comes after 30?  Answer: 40  Now, using this information, as well as the number in the 1's place what is 36 + 10?)  Answer: 46)

I'm already planning to do the same lesson again tomorrow, maybe with a few different examples - going for 100% student mastery of the concept - oh yeah!!  Thanks WBT for catering to all different learning styles!

Friday, 10 June 2011

My Most Discerning Critic Yet

On Thursday, the other Grade 2 teacher came to observe my class.  I often look to her for sound advice and if I am trying something new she asks the hard questions!!  I was not surprised when after the lesson she started out with, "That was an interesting lesson..."  I smiled, unsure of how to respond.

"What did you think?" I asked.

"Well," she said, "it was very fast paced.  I was a bit overwhelmed!"

"Yah," I responded, "it takes a bit to get the rhythm and technique down."

She continued, "I wonder if your weaker students are able to follow the lesson?"  I explained that, often, they were the students who shined because they were able to share their knowledge orally, rather than on paper.  Furthermore, I told her I often repeat the concept during the lesson three times with mirrors and gestures, to make sure everyone catches on, as well as I will teach the whole lesson later on in the week.

"Do you ever use manipulatives?" she queried.  I had been reviewing the equal sign, combining it with unknown variables in addition and subtraction equations so it was a valid question.  I admitted I hadn't thought of using manipulatives, although I had used them earlier in the year for the same concept. Still, I could easily add them anywhere in the lesson.

She continued, saying, "I noticed two or three students not participating - what do you do about that?"

"Gosh, I hadn't even noticed - I would usually give a frownie, remind again about 100% participation or perhaps move the class from Winners back to Team!" I responded, a little embarrassed.  Now that I reflect on her observation, its true; there are always a few kids who are caught up watching everyone else before they do their own gestures, often on the third repetition.  Then, there are the quiet, shy ones, who struggle orally, so it is a challenge.  Finally, there are the students who will do anything to get your attention, including not participate.  I think WBT has a rule for that? :)  I'm going to have to work on keeping my little ducks focused and not forgetting to add some manipulative activities every once in awhile!!  Thank you Grade 2 teacher for keeping me accountable and making me a better teacher!!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Teacher Heaven

During a visit to the Grade 2 classroom today, the teacher that came to observe my class last week pulled out the Class/Yes! to get everyone's attention.  Even though it is a small room and it was packed with parents, Grade 2s and Grade 1s, the room was silent in seconds.  I think I teared up a little:)  Then, when I was leaving, I pulled it out to gather my class, followed by "Line!' to which my students responded with "Line, line, line!" Making a fast, quiet line, we promptly left the classroom.  Can I get a oh yeah!!

Also, the kids spontaneously asked to play Super Speed Numbers today.  I think I'll have to photocopy some Super Speed Math booklets for tomorrow!

However, my favourite event was when some students were reading their short stories to the class.  After one little boy read his story to the class, he proceeded to ask the class questions regarding the characters and plot of the story - he even used the vocabulary words problem and solution!  Teacher heaven!!!!!  Thank you Power Pix!!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Repetition, repetition, repetition...

Another teacher came to see my class yesterday and she is totally on board with WBT!  Today she tried it out - at every break she came to gush about everything she loves about it.  It is very exciting.  What I like about it is that now when I am on supervision at lunch in her classroom all I have to say is "Class" to get their attention!  Once everyone is on board the continuity at our school will be through the roof!  Oh yeah!!  Better for all students and teachers? - I think yes!!!

More importantly, I realized again how vital teaching a lesson more than once is to learning.  When that same teacher came to observe I decided to do a lesson I had done twice before - reviewing the less than/more than rule.  Low and behold, I had about 90% of my kids catching on and using the less than/more than sign correctly.  I would say that this is at least 15% more than last time I taught the lesson.  I would attribute this to my increased knowledge and familiarity with the lesson, as well as my students familiarity with the concept.  Repetition is the key my friends!!

Super Speed 100 is still a hit.  My kids are even begging me to do it during their spare time!!!!  Another game that we have been playing lately and that my students BEG to play is Corners.  I decided to do a variation one day and now it is similar to Mind Soccer.  The basic rules of the game are as follows: I stand in the middle of the room and count down from 10 with my eyes closed.  All students find a corner to stand in. (If they are in between corners when I open my eyes they are automatically out!)  I turn around and point to a corner and then open my eyes.  In the regular game of Corners all those students in that corner would be out (go back to their seats, go for recess, be dismissed, etc.)  I now call it Super Corners.  Every one in the corner I point to must answer a question of my choosing (spell a word, answer a math fact, give a definition, etc.)  We play until there is one person left in the game.  Often everyone is still playing and then everyone wins.  My students LOVE this game!  (In the gym, I call it Super Dooper Corners:)

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Super Speed 100 and More

Super Speed 100 was a hit this week with my class!  Although it is the end of the year, I felt it was the  appropriate time for this group and their skill level.  I made sure that my seating arrangement consisted of one partner who was a little more advanced in reading than the other partner.    Also, before we started, I had my students review the words for that level so that when it came time to begin they weren't scrambling or lost.  As well, I had them decide who would start first.  My students have stickers on their desks so sometimes I would say reds will start for the first round and purples would start for the second round.  They really ate it up!  Yum!!

Today, I had one of the grade 2 teachers come and observe my class in action!  I was SO nervous!  I divided my scoreboard so that it was girls vs. boys.  The kids were amazing - students taught the class, they taught each other, they taught their sockless hand puppets, they compared and contrasted, and they played all the games.  I even was able to deal with an issue between two children while my class was still running smoothly.  Oh yeah!!!  If only I had been video taping!!!!

It definitely hasn't been all rainbows and butterflies this week - spring fever is definitely in the air:)

As the year progressed, my students have demonstrated some interesting ways of speaking to one another.  Some are very hard on others if things do not go their way.  Often they are critical and, sometimes, they say things like, "If you don't do this for me, I won't be your friend!"  After a particularly rough gym class I decided to skip computer time and head back to the classroom.  I made a T-chart and we listed unkind things someone might say.  We discussed how the person that is saying these things most often feels badly about themselves.  One little boy offered this pearl of wisdom: You are what you say:)  I had each student have their sockless hand puppet say mean things to the other sockless hand puppet. I asked them how their sockless hand puppet felt.  Next, we made a list of kind things to say to the person rather than becoming defensive - I reinforced that if that person is saying these things they must be feeling badly - what can we say to make them feel better?  I had them practice again with their sockless hand puppets.  Finally, I challenged my class to compliment 5 different people a day for the rest of the year.  We brainstormed and practiced good compliments.  To facilitate this, every so often for the rest of the day I would say, "Compliment!" and everyone would compliment one another.  I am going to try and keep this up with the objective being to create a more positive, supportive environment!!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Filming is tough, yet rewarding!

What can I say but that making a WBT video is TOUGH, yet rewarding!  A rolling grand salami to all the expert WBT teachers out there who have put out a video!

These past few days I have been filming with my laptop - with no teacher aide in my class, and with my regular camera girl working, I had no choice but to use extreme measures.  After watching the playbacks of my videos I have learned a lot about my teaching and my students.  Below are my top 10 tips for filming your very own WBT video:

1. Prep your lesson and practice, practice, practice what you are going to say before hand.  Really think about how you are going to execute your lesson!  What examples will you use?  I found that how I put my sentences together and execute my gestures is key to a good lesson - I need to be clear and concise with the correct emphasis on the right syllable for the kids to express themselves to each other.  It seems funny to say this being a teacher for 7 years now but I find myself reflecting on how often I actually do this:)

2. Prep your students.  Teach them to ignore the camera/computer.  This is EXTREMELY tempting for them and has resulted in some hilarious outtakes that I laughed myself silly over in private.  Also, the more you film, the less they notice.

3. Think about which students are going to be pulled out of the classroom and at what time.  Plan to film accordingly to avoid interruptions.

4.  Challenge students to be good leaders and reward the ones who perform with spots on camera.  Pump your students up with positive reinforcements.

5. Create a "Do Not Disturb" sign for your classroom.  This will save you from inopportune interruptions.

6. Film a lesson you have already given previously, especially if you are relatively new to WBT and the power pix.  You and the kids will feel more prepared and will give a better performance.

7. Repeat yourself at least three times while students mirror your gestures, followed by mirrors and words.  They say that you need at least three repetitions to learn something.  I have noticed that it takes three times before all of my students are mirroring my words and gestures.  It just takes some students awhile to put everything together.

8. Teach students to talk, not yell at one another.  Review the actions of a good teacher.  A good teacher turns to their neighbour, speaks clearly, and helps with big gestures.

9.  Give time for students to finish their thoughts before cuing them to teach their partners.  Allow time to pass before saying Switch!  A lot of my students rely on each other to lead them in the right direction with the wording.  Several students take a second or so to gather their thoughts.

10. Finally, emphasize focus.  I have found that moving the class from Class to Team to Winners to Champions is an amazing tool to increase focus for even my most distractable!

During filming today, we were comparing and contrasting the less than/more than symbol and the equal sign.  One student did an excellent job with his partner so I called him up to teach the class.  At first he claimed he did not know what to say.  I coaxed him up there.  Only as he started did I realize how nervous he was!!! I guided him through it and he did a great job yet I could visibly see how hard it had been for him.  Previously, I had wondered if he was just resistant to participating.  My eyes were opened to just how much confidence and skill it takes for students to teach the class.  I was so proud of him.  What wonderful skills we are giving our students by using WBT.

One more thing: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the assessment part of WBT.  Yes! No Way!, Cutie! and the final written assessment (I have been using recipe cards.) give me such a great quick and easy picture of who has mastered the concept and who still needs help!  Can I get an OH YEAH!!

Quiet on set!  It's show time!!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Andrea Schindler's WBT document for starting Kinder

I know there has been a lot of interest in Andrea Schindler's WBT document for starting Kinder.  I thought I would post it on my blog.  I really think it would work for any grade - you might implement things at a faster pace!  Go to the forum and look for a link in the Kindergarten section of the forum with the same name.

Thanks bulldogmom for posting it!!

Here it is in  Andrea Schindler's WBT document for starting Kinder

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Scoreboard Turnover

So the scoreboard turnover to students continued this week.  As the interest grew, I started to have the class vote on who they thought were excellent leaders and teachers.  I chose one for the scoreboard and two for other leadership jobs (calling students to the carpet, etc.).  I LOVED giving the scoreboard job out to a student as I was not forever searching for a pen.  I would just say, "I think the class deserves a smilie for that!" and my student leader would say, "Wait for it!" to which the class responded, "Oh yeah!"

During Library, we read a book about the digestive system and students initiated a discussion comparing and contrasting plant stems and blood vessels.  Students stood up and taught the class their higher level thinking connections!!

I taught a lesson on expanded form after watching Farrah Shipley's amazing video on compound words. To help I had a slide on the SmartBoard for each section of the lesson: the rules, the power pict, examples, non-examples, Yes/No Way!, Cutie, Critical Thinking, written work questions to be completed in a notebook or on a recipe card.  I added a target bullseye to discuss and provide class and teacher objectives near the beginning.  It worked really well and the lesson had better flow.  Next time I want to have a clipboard so that I can assess and record student learning during Cutie.

In other news, I started saying, "Quiet on set!" when Sharing time was about to begin ~ I borrowed this from another post on the forum.  The class responds, "It's show time!"  Way fun!

Also, we did an animal unit this week.  Each student wrote a report about their chosen animal after reading a book and writing down four fact words and an opinion word about their animal.  I demonstrated how to gesture through the title and each of the sentences created from the collected words.  Then, I had the students return to their desks to silently make up and gesture through their own sentences using uppercase letters and periods at the end.  Next, using the Teach/OK, they practiced saying and gesturing their sentences with their partner.  Finally, they wrote down their prepared sentences.  In the end, they produced fantastic reports with beautiful complete sentences!!  OH YEAH!!!

The week ended with a field trip a golf course to learn about our community  The Class/Yes! and the rules were well utilized (although silently with hand gestures by me due to golf course rules:).  The parents and golf course staff were extremely impressed with my students' manners.

Phew!  I think it's time for a vacation!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

This week...

This week, after reading Deb Weigel's blog, I was inspired and challenged my class to move from Class to Team to Winners to Champions just as Chris Biffle suggested during the live broadcast last Saturday.   I wrote all four words on the chalk board and I put a magnet beside Class.  When everyone was very focused and gave me their full attention immediately I moved the magnet down to Team, etc.  It worked really well to help and focus my class.  For the first time I felt like I had everyone's complete attention - before there was always a few stragglers who were off in their own world!!  It was so nice to see them really engaged quickly!  We never did make it to Champions but we did make it to Winners a few times.  I want to make it last as long as possible:)  Thank you Chris Biffle for the GREAT idea!!!

Also, we have been focusing on speaking and writing in complete sentences for the past two weeks.  The results are starting to make an appearance.  I had three students write amazing stories this week during Work on Writing time.  The sentences were not run-ons and for the most part started with upper case letters and ended with punctuation!!!  OH YEAH!

Today my class hosted Muffins with Mom as a thank you tea party.  It was so wonderful having parents in and being able to get the kids attention so easily.  I had the kids teach their parents about adjectives and they had to use an example popper sentence to describe their moms!  It was so cute!

One last thing - one of my students who has really shined in the last few months wanted to be in charge of the scoreboard.  I let him and he did an awesome job for me during each lesson!

P.S.  For smilies we are saying "Sweet!" and for frownies we are saying "Oh rats!!"

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Coming to Phoenix!!!

Hi all!  I am so excited! I just booked my flight to Phoenix for the July 18-21 WBT Conference!!  Anyone want to share a hotel room?

Friday, 6 May 2011

It's Spreading!!

I heard my vice principal use the Class/Yes with her  students today:)  Oh yeah!!!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

WBT and Cross-Country

Hi all!

Sorry I haven't posted in awhile but the internet was not working - now I am back!  Also, this week was our primary concert so it has been very busy!!

Today we had our regular cross-country running practice after school.  I usually ride on the bus with the kids to the park.  Now all of you who have been on a bus know what it is like!  For those of you who don't,  imagine 60 kids being very loud, standing up and down, for 15 minutes.  I decided to give WBT a shot.  Before you know it I had fourth graders all the way up to seventh graders listening and following cues.  I taught the Class/Yes (I changed it to Team/Yes, Coach) and Oh Yeah within in seconds.  Then I got them to mirror while I talked about the rules of the bus.  It worked rather well.  If someone stood up they got a Mighty Groan and when they sat down they got an Oh Yeah.

Then, we arrived at the park and another teacher was running the warm-up.  The kids were having a hard time listening and focusing.  I asked her if I could try something we had just learned on the bus.  I got all of their attention and handed it back over to her.  She tried it and it worked for her too!  Oh yeah, for WBT!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

WBT exhausting?

Many people, fellow teachers, family, anyone who has seen WBT in action, ask if I am exhausted after a whole day of high energy:)

If I'm being honest...I am still tired some days but I am so HAPPY!  The relief I feel that I have a behaviour plan that works is so satisfying and comforting.  There are steps to follow and a Plan B if Plan A doesn't work.  My students are engaged, involved and excited about school and learning.  My stress level is WAY lower.  We laugh more as a class and we play all day as we learn.

To sum up, I would say I use less energy with WBT than I did previously due to the worrying and, yes, frustration I would experience on those days when my class was especially energetic.  Now, their energy is put into our learning.  What more could I ask for?

P.S. When I am super tired, my student leaders run the classroom!  Can I get an OH YEAH for student leadership!!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Hello fellow teachers and readers!!

So I have been practicing Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom for a year now and it just keeps on getting better and better.  I will try and blog everything about my attempts at Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom.

My plan for May is to have my students answer in complete sentences, using adders, because slappers, examples poppers, and concluders - all of the wonderful brain toys we learned about this morning on the live webcast by our own dear Chris Biffle!  I am super excited!  The grade 2 teachers won't know what hit them!!!