Monday, 30 April 2012

Student Leadership Thoughts

So over the last couple of days I have had two student leaders.  When I first started using student leadership I felt like I needed to give everyone a turn at being a leader.  Then, I read Farrah Shipley's blog and saw that she had 4 or 5 main student leaders.  Each student leader was chosen based on true, quality leadership and not just because everyone should get a turn.  And why shouldn't those who exhibit strong leadership qualities be recognized and rewarded?  Not everyone has the skill and therefore until they prove worthy only those demonstrating said qualities will become student leaders.  That is not to say that I won't help students build those qualities of leadership within other students - still, only those who step up to the plate will lead.  Hopefully, this will boost the confidence of those leading, as well as provide a role model and an inspiration for the other students.  From now on, student leaders will be chosen because they deserve to lead and not just because it is their turn!

Friday, 20 April 2012

A Student Leader Arises

All year I have been waiting for a student leader to really shine and be confident when leading the class.  Students were either too meek or too silly.  It just wasn't meshing with the flow of the class so I had resorted to continuing to lead myself.... until yesterday! A brave, confident, commanding student leader arose from the masses of students below to lead my class.  He was clear and dynamic.  He inspired energy and enthusiasm from my often subdued (during a lesson) and passive class.  It was teacher heaven at first Class/Yes!  I retrieved my WBT button that had been patiently waiting to be used all year and fastened it to this young man's shirt.  He was so proud and continued to lead and inspire all day.  What an amazing Whole Brain Teaching moment...oooohhhhh yeaaaah!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Autism and Whole Brain Teaching

Wednesday and Friday of this week I had the pleasure of having a lovely lady from POPARD (Provincial Outreach Program for Autism and Related Disorders) visit my classroom to observe one of my students.  She was so helpful and knowledgeable.  I appreciated her feedback.

When she heard me talk about Whole Brain Teaching to a parent, she was intrigued and asked me for more information.  She became interested in the program as she watched my student teacher teach the class using some of the WBT techniques.

In the staff room at lunch, she found and read my article - she was very complimentary to me and wanted to know more.

At the end of the day she mentioned how wonderful she thought WBT was for children with autism.  She loved how students taught their neighbour during the Teach/OK, as well as the gestures and visuals that went along with concepts.  She expressed that she was so happy to have learned so much.  I was inspired so I did a little refresher research on autism.

Autism is known as a spectrum disorder; autistic characteristics are expressed differently in each child.  Children with autism have difficulties with social and language skills; they learn a lot less from their environment and, therefore, benefit from a structured learning environment (

Whole Brain Teaching provides a variety of different teaching techniques that focus on using all different learning styles and multiple intelligences, thus meeting the learning needs of all the possible variances on the spectrum.  Currently, I have taught three children with different variations of autism.  Parents and teachers have commented on how well these students have benefited from WBT.

The Teach/OK! encourages social interaction and the development of language skills.  Speaking clearly and in complete sentences is encouraged.  Voice tone and inflection is practiced and utilized daily.  Students question each other, providing practice with reflective questioning and comprehension.

The repetition that WBT techniques suggest, such as Seats, Seats, Seats and Bodies Up! provides focused, clear directions for students who struggle with language.

Repetition and revisitation of key curricular concepts using WBT Power Pix and the WBT Power Pix wall ensure many opportunities for learning and review, as well as a rich visual environment.

A WBT model classroom encourages structure and thrives on routine - although there are many variations in style (Class! Yes!  Classity Class!), these changes are also consistent.

To all teachers: Whole Brain Teaching will change your life, and will benefit all your students, including your students with autism!  Check out the following posts on the Whole Brain Teaching forum from other teachers and their experience with WBT and children with autism/asperger's:

Friday, 6 April 2012

Electronic Superspeed 1000

Whole Brain Teaching
Well hello Electronic Superspeed 1000!!!  My students LOVED this!  They couldn't wait to get faster and faster.   They managed up to the end of 300 words.  Then I pitted the boys against the girls.  My favourite part was pretending to dress up as a super hero at the beginning and the silly words at the end of each 100 words.  Can I get a Shazoinga-Boinga!!