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!