Monday, April 25, 2011

How I heard about Whole Brain Teaching

It all started in November of 2010. I was taking a tour of a school in our district that had been incorporating some new teaching strategies called Whole Brain Teaching. Basically, I observed "Class...Yes""" and "Hands and Eyes." I was intrigued to see where these ideas had originated, so I went to the Whole Brain Teaching website and began reading about the way WBTeaching activates all the parts of a child's mind and helps him/her retain information. Soon after that, I was lucky to participate in two all day workshops with Mr. Chris Biffle, one of the founders of Whole Brain Teaching. All I can say is that I was hooked!

I began my WBT journey in November and am still at it today.
Here are the strategies I have implemented so far...
1. The attention getters...Class..Yes  and Hands and Eyes.   I am getting pretty good at these. I am learning how to vary the Class...Yes by changing them to other call and responses like  "My loyal subjects"  and Yes, my queen. There was a whole list of suggestions posted on under forum for General Education.
1. The Rules- Some of the common sense class rules I have ever encountered.
2. The scoreboard....I am definitely getting the hang of the point system, the use of the 3 point difference to create excitement (and stimulate the lymbic system,) and ways to vary the scoreboard to keep the children's interest.
3. Teach...ok....Teaching in small chunks and then having students teach what you have said, using gestures, to their partners.
As it turns out, these first three steps are really just the "tip of the iceberg". There is a 5 step lesson plan that incorporates teach ok, but also other brain toys to create deep understanding for students. This is where I need a great deal of work to increase my understanding.

That is a short synopsis of what I have been doing so far. for today, I introduced Level Two of the Scoreboard!! This is where the students who are still not on board with the Scoreboard. I actually have a pretty good group of students, but there are about 6 or 7, depends on the day, that don't follow directions quickly enough, or don't pay attention. I finally felt that I had worked the Scoreboard as much as I could. I was continually giving frownies to the class when really it was just one student who wasn't on board, so we will see how this goes. I had about 4 students who had to stay in at recess to practice rules, but I did not send home parent letters today. I will initiate that tomorrow, after telling them that today was just the "practice run.: 

Oh--I also have been trying to videotape myself teaching. I will be posting something on youtube soon so that Chris Biffle can see how I'm doing, but believe me, it will be a pretty rough video. best to all those teachers out there in the trenches doing their best for our kids!
Karen Chavez
second grade teacher and proud of it!

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