Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Mattawa Conference and Critical Thinking with the Because Clapper and the Pity Pat

So I am finally getting around to blogging about my amazing Whole Brain Teaching conference in Mattawa, WA!!  My partner teacher and I traveled the 6 hours down to Mattawa on Tuesday night of last week!  I have to say we were awed by the beautiful scenery!!!  It was gorgeous weather - we were very lucky! OK - I can see the exclamation marks are getting out of control so I will tone it down:)

We pulled into Mattawa - located right next to the beautiful Columbia River and full of orchards - around 7:30.  Can I just say that they have the most beautiful high school. It was like a beacon of light for us - we had reached our destination.

After some inquiries, the lovely people of Mattawa directed us to some camp sites just down the road in Desert Aire.  We set up our tent in quite the wind storm but I was so proud of my little tent - it can stand up to anything!  Then we got some great food and had a lovely chat at R Place with some locals/vacationers.

We got up early the next day, had a coffee, took down the tent and made our way back to Mattawa just in time for the conference.  We walked into the school and we were greeted by the most beautiful atrium that any school could possibly ask for.  Then, we made our way to the auditorium only to find an amazing group of gifted and driven teachers - outside the box thinkers!  The student population, I am told, is completely ESL - lots of Spanish speaking families work on the orchards.  They have a challenge!!  

We went in and I found Chris.  It was so great to see him!!  He told me to sit up front and to be prepared for to teach some lessons on the fly.  I was his Vanna White for awhile and then he had me review the Core 4: Class/Yes!, Mirror, Scoreboard, and Teach/OK!  for the group.  Later on I taught everyone the 5 Rules Canadian style:)  Hey - I learned the rules by watching the videos - it is a little different in 3D, in person:).  

because clapper
When Chris began explaining the critical thinking part of the conference I was so excited.  He is taking it past the Brain Toys - WBT is entering a new level of critical thinking!  First, Chris talked about the Because Clapper as being the foundation of critical thinking.  

If students can explain why their ideas are valid then they are well on their way to reasoning critically.  Next, Chris discussed the difference between weak evidence and strong evidence.  He said, "We want our students to be able to reason about their own reasoning."

Now, there is the Because Clapper and the Pitty Pat - use 2 fingers instead of your whole hand to weakly pat your other hand.
Because Clapper = Strong Evidence
Pity Pat Because = Weak Evidence
During Oral Writing, have your students come up with ideas regarding a certain topic.  For example, you might be doing a unit on bears.  

1. First, using the Teach/OK!, have your students come up with opinions/ideas about bears.

Bears are strong animals.

2. Next, have students create example sentences (Example Poppers) about bears using the Pitty Pat Because followed by weak evidence to back it up.  

Bears are strong animals because (Pity Pat) they are big.

3. Make sure to have them explain to their neighbour why "they are big" is weak evidence.  For example:

"They are big" is weak evidence because lots of people are big - that does not mean they are strong.  Also, "big" is a weak example as to why bears are strong.  There is better information to back that idea up.

4. Then, have students create sentences about bears using the Because Clapper followed by strong evidence to back it up.

Bears are strong animals because they travel long distances in the mountains.
Bears are strong animals because they climb trees.
5.  Make sure to have them explain to their neighbour why "they travel long distances in the mountains" and "they climb trees" are both strong pieces of evidence.  For example:

"They travel long distances in the mountains" and "they climb trees" provides specific activities bears often do that would require great strength to achieve.

At the conference, Chris had us tag team back and forth providing weak and strong evidence for various ideas.  It was challenging and my brain was tired but I know if I set the bar high my students will reach it!  Also, it made me really excited about this coming school year.  No more sentences like - " I like school because it is fun!" or "Penguins are the best because they are cute!"  My students deserve quality education and quality critical thinking is a HUGE part of that!!  Their writing quality is going to go through the roof! Thanks Whole Brain Teaching!!!

We left Mattawa feeling filled to the brim with new ideas, amazing food (we ate lunch at La Popular - delicious Mexican food - yum!), and inspiration for a new school year.

P.S.  I made that Power Pix Wall Owl theme freebie with the Oh Photo Shoot! font:) Hope you enjoy!  Click on the picture below for your free copy!

Owl Theme, Wall Kit, freebie, whole brain teaching

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Last Friday night and messages from Ryan:)

I have to tell you that on Friday we traveled to Spences Bridge to see one of my favourite bands  - The Boom Booms!!!  Just saying their name makes my little heart start to go Boom Boom!! Love them!!

Vancouver Band

So we decided to tent in Spences Bridge - my friend booked a camp site - the owner was really sweet and gave us a spot over looking the Thompson river - just gorgeous!!!  We had dinner at the coffee shop/pub/breakfast place - these small towns have multifunctional facilities!!  Then, we made our way over to the festival just in time for the Boom Booms to play the most amazing set.  Best part is that we were right in the front!!  We could see everything easily and there was room to dance like crazy!

Needless to say we had a blast!  We met some Boom Boom groupies and some locals!!  During the concert we began to notice that the train was coming through the town quite a bit to the point that the band even noticed it and commented during their set!  Each time it came through it would blow its whistle 4 times - apparently, according to the locals, they must - legally - just before it reaches a road crosses the tracks.  Once we made it back to our tent and into bed the train continued...every hour...from both directions...lots of whistle blowing...yup...not a lot of sleep was had by all:)

We still had an amazingly, beautiful weekend with great company, amazing entertainment, and beautiful sunshine!  What is a little sleep lost when I get to hang out with some amazing ladies?

Love you girls!  Thanks for the good times!!!!

Oh, and before I forget, Ryan has something to say....

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Power Pix Wall Kit Owl Theme and Fun Bursts!!

As promised here is the Power Pix Owl Theme Wall Kit!  Click on the picture for your freebie copy!  Be sure to download your Super Improvers Owl Theme Wall Kit to match!!
Whole Brain Teaching
Also, I have meaning to talk about a cutting edge WBT technology called the Fun Burst!!!  I just heard about this from Chris Biffle himself a free Tuesday Webcast and thought I would share!  Fun Bursts are multi-functional - they help divide up lessons, increase fun, and help to practice rules and engagement!

Whole Brain Teaching

Whole Brain Teaching

Whole Brain Teaching

In the beginning, I would definitely practice having a more serious and controlled Fun Burst - as the year progressed I would graduate to the more exciting and energizing Fun Burst.  Lay those safety guidelines at the beginning of the year and the rest will be tons of fun!!  Happy teaching blog friends!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Genius Ladder Update!

I am updating my Genius Ladder - I just added posts for the ladder!  Click on the picture below for your free update!!

My Whole Brain Teaching Blog

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Power Pix Wall Kit - Froggy Themed - Whole Brain Teaching

Once again I've been on a creative kick as I plan my classroom set up this year.  What next but an update to my Power Pix Wall!!  So here are all the fixings for your own Froggy Themed Wall.  Click on the picture below for your free download.  Make sure to download your very own Super Improvers Wall Kit - Froggy Themed to match!

Whole Brain Teaching

I couldn't decide which font I liked better so here is a second option using the Oh Photo Shoot! font courtesy of Kevin and Amanda!!

Whole Brain Teaching

Which font do you prefer!!  Leave me a comment and I will be sure to use it for my next Power Pix Wall Owl Themed Kit!!!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wacky Star Fun Button Freebie

My last little project before I start heading back into school to get my classroom ready for September!  My kiddos loved this little guy so here is an easy to print and laminate button for your student enjoyment!!!  Lots of laughs included!!  Click on the button for your free download and don't forget - if you press the Wacky Star Fun Button you get to act like a crazy, wacky animal for 10 whole seconds - GO!!!

Whole Brain Teaching

Sneak-a-Peek Linky Party

What am I doing at 1:00 a.m. you ask?  Oh - just linking up with Blog Hoppin' cause its fun and its summer!!  Got to share all the fun stuff I bought during the TpT sale!!!  Click on the pictures to check them out yourself!!

So my first purchase was the Desk Fairy by Rachelle at What the Teacher Wants - this last year was the first time my kiddos had desks.  We always had tables at my school for Grade 1  Enter the Desk Fairy!!  Can't wait to try this out!!

Next, I have been eyeing this one for a WHILE - just dying to know the recipe for the lemon body scrub.  Oh momma, the mothers in my classroom are gonna be in HEAVEN!!  Thanks Reagan Tunstall!

And who can resist Pop Rocks!!  Thanks Babbling Abby for this awesome little packet to help enhance descriptive writing.  I believe I will use this when teaching Word Choice!!  Maybe even earlier in the year when I introduce adjectives!!

Yet another one I have been eyeing - every year I say I am going to do a Christmas Around the World unit in December and this year I'm going to do it!!  December 2012 is a winner.  Thanks Amanda!!  

This I could not resist - I was thinking about having a classroom pet and this kind of pet is right up my alley!  The kids will be begging to write about their adventures with our newest class member!!  Yay Reagan!!

I got this last one at the LAST minute - it might have even been 11:59 p.m. and I'm so glad I did!!  I'm going to use this the first week of school for some snacking fun1!!  All first graders love a nice treat to get us through that long afternoon and what better way to cover some math too!!! Thanks Tara!!

Head over to Blog Hoppin' and link up!!

Be sure to check out some new Whole Brain Teaching freebies coming soon!!!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

My Laminator...Wallis AND a Conference Near ME!! Mattawa, WA here I come!

Meet my new Scotch Laminator Wallis!!!!   I heart Wallis - he is a smiler, fast, heats up like a darn and plasticizes to my hearts delight!!  Love that guy!  $30 at Walmart in Canada - cannot go wrong!!!  

Whole Brain Teaching

My Whole Brain Teaching Blog

I went to work laminating right away and I can already tell you I made a few of my teacher pals envious:D  But of course they are welcome to use it anytime!  Yes!!  I love visitors!!!

laminations, school, Whole Brain Teaching

I just thought I would show a few picts and gush a little about how easy and efficient Wallis is!!  Definitely better then paying a wack load of money to get laminating done at a store or waiting months for laminating to return from the district office!!  Not me!  I have Wallis now!!

Now for some even more exciting news!!  I am off to Mattawa, Washington Wednesday, August 22nd, a mere 5 hours from my house for a FREE Whole Brain Teaching day conference with Chris Biffle himself!!  I e-mailed Chris right away and he replied with the following message!

Get ready to do some demo lessons!!!  On the fly.  No warning.  Of course.  Also, please work on your back handsprings, full pike, double twist, with the dipsy doo landing.

So I am off to do some light stretching and to look at myself in the mirror as I practice my animated expressions;)!!!  Wish me luck!  I am so pumped!  If any of you Canadian WBT teachers are reading , come and join me!!!  The more the merrier!!  It isn't that far!!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Whole Brain Teaching: The Genius Ladder Kit

Have you just been to a Whole Brain Teaching Conference?  Are you all fired up about teaching using WBT?  Are you a little overwhelmed?  Here is another little packet to lend a helping hand!  It includes instructions and easy to use printables that will help you incorporate the Genius Ladder in your classroom.  If you would like a copy - click on the picture below!

freebie, give away, whole brain teaching


I'm linking up with Farley at Oh'Boy 4th Grade!  Love this Currently idea!  So much fun!!


The Boom Booms - I saw them in Vancouver TWICE the first weekend in July and they were amazing - a mix of reggae, latin and chill out music!!  They are definitely worth a listen!!

Blogging in BED - nuff said:)

I'm always thinking about my blog these days!!

Breakfast needs to be soon!  I think I might have pancakes!

All these teachers have laminators and I'm starting to become a tad jealous!  It may become a necessity!

I definitely will need lots of healthy snacks to keep me going!
Also, Christie over in First Grade Fever posted this and I HAVE TO HAVE IT!  It is SO cute!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Super Improvers Wall Kit - Ocean Themed

I have really enjoyed the Tuesday evening enthusiasm during the WBT webcasts!!  Love talking and chatting with all of you teachers out there!!  It is so neat to have a cool community!

I have been blown away from the response to my Super Improvers Owl Themed Wall Kit!  I am so glad you are finding it useful!  I got inspired and decided to try another one so here is an Ocean Themed Super Improvers Wall Kit freebie!  Instructions are included!

Whole Brain Teaching

Click on the picture above if you would like a free copy!  Also, check out my Super Improvers Wall Froggy Themed Wall Kit!  Click on the picture below!

Whole Brain Teaching