Friday, May 27, 2011

Out of the mouth of first graders...

Today was my last official day as a classroom teacher, as I have been asked to take on new responsibilities next year. As I shared with my students the changes, at first they were sad. I explained that I would be helping teachers, and that I would get a chance to see all of the students next year, not just one class. One of my sweet class leaders piped up, "I hope our second grade teacher does not know how to do Whole Brain Teaching, because then you will be in our class a lot, teaching the fun way!" Another student added, "But it's OK, because we can teach the second grade teachers all about the scoreboard and teach-OK and brain toys. She probably will catch on quick!" I love their thinking! Our goal is to equip our students to become Whole Brain Teachers, and my kiddos are ready for their next assignment! Woo Hoo!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Magnetic Attraction

Today I stood back and watched proudly as my students leaders were teaching their peers about magnets. We explored how like poles attract, but opposite poles repel. We experimented with force fields, and how amazing it is to see a magnet attract iron, even through water, wood, paper, or even a shirt! (LOL! Putting a magnet under your shirt was not in my lesson plan!) Several students were being pulled out of the room to complete make-up testing, and when they re-entered, my student leaders were teaching them the concepts, using key vocabulary and gestures! I even overheard one zealous student telling his group to take out their air blackboards and draw arrows and write "attract" and "repel". With just 5 days of school left, my students are engaged, learning, and teaching- NOT creating discipline problems!!! See what WBT can do? That, my friends, is a ten finger woo with a lightening sizzle!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New "Class-Yes"

"Class-Yes" can be heard across our campus each day. It is our Attention Getter in WBT, and it is extremely effective. This week, Chris Biffle challenged me to try some levels for "Class-Yes". Oh boy, we were ready! I explained to my first graders that we would start the day at "Class-Yes", and as they responded quickly and worked hard, I would address them as "Team" instead of Class. Now, if the level was extremely focused and responsive, I would address them as "Winners". The ultimate level would be "Champions". I wrote Class-yes, Team-yes, Winners-yes, Champions-yes, in a list near my scoreboard, and put a magnet next to "Class-yes" to indicate where we were starting. The anticipation was electric, and they worked hard to get to Team, but then slipped up on focus and moved back to Class. That only lasted a few minutes, as the student leaders were all over their peers, encouraging them to focus and participate! We advanced back up to Team, and right after lunch, moved up to Winners! They were so excited! Today, we began again at Class, and once again, my student leaders instructed those who had been absent how the class was going to focus and respond. We made it to Winners before lunch, and stayed there all day! Imagine how wonderful it is to be called a Winner over and over again throughout the day!
A simple variation on "Class-Yes", with focus, quick response, and smiles as a result! Who said kids are unfocused and unmotivated the last few weeks of school? Visit a WBT classroom, and you will see winners! (And quite possibly, even a few Champions!) Woo Hoo!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Testing and WBT

Spring testing can bring added stress to both students and teachers. I am often asked how WBT prepares students for success on standardized tests. In my classroom, students have been immersed in wholebrainteaching since the first day of school. I was anxious to see how my students would perform on their ACUITY, our standardized math assessment. I smiled as I observed them using "air blackboards" to solve problems. After completing the assessment, they were all smiles. I asked them how they thought they did on the test, and they replied, "Some parts were hard, but I remembered the steps".  (We have worked extremely hard on steps to solve different types of math problems.) So...I received the class results...and 100% of my students scored in Tier 4 (80-100%), the highest level! Woo Hoo! Next week is our end of year reading assessment, and I am confident that my students will apply their learning and will demonstrate phenomenal growth!
WBT incorporates repetition, rote memorization of facts, and critical thinking skills. This powerful combination equips students, and teachers, for success! This success is being measured on standardized assessments, and is proving strong!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Scoreboard Success!

Today our morning was rough...the frownies were ahead three to zip, and it easily could have been twenty to zip, if you know what I mean! One of my more challenging students, however, came and sat in our circle, crisscross-applesauce, hands in his lap! Wow! I decided to give J. his own scoreboard. After writing his name on the board, the whole class celebrated as I awarded J. a point. A few minutes later, when we transitioned to our desks, J. walked quietly and sat down, ready to learn. Another point on his scoreboard and the class went crazy with excitement for him! He quietly raised his hand, (Rule 2), and generously said, "Mrs. Weigel, can I give my points to the class? I can always earn more, and they need my help!" So, the class received J.'s 2 points, and I awarded him the opportunity to be the energy captain, to encourage the class to earn more smilies! The class responded to J., and began to climb out of the dark hole into the sunlight!!!
What a difference tally marks under a simple smilie/frownie makes in a classroom! So simple, yet so effective!