Monday, June 27, 2011

WBT Across the Web

We have an awesome community of WBT bloggers here!  If you haven't already perused the blogs, check out the list of Wibbeteers to the left. 

Recently I did some googling to find others who have mentioned Whole Brain Teaching.  This is some of what I found:
My favorite article was found at the The Teaching Palette.  They had an excellent article with a video from an art teacher who sees students in K-6th.  That is why WBT is so wonderful- because it is so versatile! 

Love this quote from the article, "The kids love it! In fact if I try to skip over doing the rules even my 6th graders complain."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whole Brain Teaching around the World!

With blogger I have the opportunity to see certain information about those who visit the blog.  It shows the country and the referring URL.  It has been fascinating to see this data!

Within a week of starting this blog, I could see that people had viewed it in eight different countries!  It looks like I have regular readers in Germany, Thailand, and Canada (I think that one is a fellow WBT blogger).  The blog was found in a Google search in Korea!  Just in the past 24 hours the page has been viewed in Indonesia, Chile, Romania, Vietnam, and the United Arab Emirates.

I don't owe any of this traffic to my own blogging, but due to the world wide appeal of Whole Brain Teaching!  It has changed my 2nd grade classroom in suburban Texas, and I can only imagine how it has affected others around the world.

I'm fascinated to hear your stories, so now I'm going to ask you to share with me.  Please add a comment and give the following information:
  1. What country/state are you in?
  2. What do you teach?
  3. Do you use Whole Brain Teaching?  If so, how has it impacted your class?
If you haven't heard how it has impacted my class, check out "My WBT Journey" and "Thank you WBT." 

Thank you for sharing!  I'm looking forward to hearing about WBT across the US and around the world!


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Tutoring

School has been out a week and now it is time to start summer tutoring!  Last summer I took the opportunity to try out some Whole Brain activities with my tutoring kids.   I tutor a family of three children.  Last year the little girl was getting reading to go into kindergarten and the boys were about to enter 3rd and 7th grade.  It was a great opportunity to see how the WBT techniques worked on a wide range of age levels!

I had been working on letter sounds with the little girl.  Her mom wanted her to go into K with some reading skills already.  Over the summer I started teaching her sight words with Biffytoons.  I was extremely impressed with the effectiveness of Biffytoons.  They are basically cards with the sight word along with an illustration that corresponds to a sentence/phrase using the word.  At the same time there is a gesture used to act out each word.  The child sees the word, hears it, and uses the gesture.  As she was beginning to read books she might get stuck on a sight word and I could simply make the gesture and it would remind her of the correct word.  It was amazing!

The future kindergartner blossomed quickly and we soon began playing the SuperSpeed Reading game!  According to the website, SuperSpeed 100 incorporates the 100 sight words that make up 50% of the words students will read.  It is such a simple game, but it is so much fun!  SuperSpeed is actually the first WBT strategy I discovered a few years ago as I was looking for a way to build fluency with my ESL students.  As I tutored the kids over the summer, I not only used SuperSpeed 100 with the kindergartner, but I also used SuperSpeed 1,000 with the 3rd grader.  They both equally enjoyed the game and excitedly tried to beat their own records.  SuperSpeed is a game to be played with a pair of students, but in this case I just became the partner.

At the same time, I actually had all three kids playing SuperSpeed Math to work on math facts.  The kindergartner used SuperSpeed Numbers, the 3rd grader worked on subtraction and multiplication, and the 7th grader worked on multiplication and division.  It was awesome to see how they all eagerly tracked their progress and filled in stars when they beat their records! 

Last but not least, I also tried out the Whole Brain Writing Game with the 7th grader.  There is a portion of the game that focuses on developing ideas and orally creating sentences.  I have used this with my 2nd graders. But for this 7th grader I went on to have him creating sentences on paper.  The game gives sentence frames and topic ideas and allows the student to practice putting together sentences correctly. 

I enjoyed having the opportunity to use these WBT strategies with kids at all different grade levels.  They each found the activities engaging and I was able to see improvement in all areas.

I'm getting ready for tutoring again this summer.  I want to do more math this year with the kindergartner.  I'm excited to use Smoothy Bumper Planet to work on number concepts.  I also want to use Brain Toys with all three of the kids to work on comprehension and writing.  I think I'll use The Whole Brain Writing Game with both the boys this summer as well. 

All of these resources and materials are free for download at the WBT website!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wonderful last day!

I despise chaos and the last days of school always seem to be full of chaos!  I tried to maintain as much structure as I could and WBT was a HUGE help.

As the students worked on a last day project, I just had to smile when I overheard the conversation of my two challenging students.  Student A heard student B say something rude.  Student A automatically said, "Rule number 3!"  Student 2 quickly replied with, "Treat others the way you want to be treated!"  Can you believe it?  The two most challenging students happily correcting each other- that's what I call teacher heaven!

I usually stay away from giving too much freedom on the last I said, I hate chaos!  Today in the last hour, I let the kids choose games to play with friends.  It worked very well in part due to the fact that I still had all the control I needed with the class-yes!

Before the class walked out the door for the last time we had one more class-yes for old time's sake! LOL :)   I had students sincerely thank me.  I had students beg me to join them in 3rd grade.  Two sweet little girls left with tears in their eyes!  Again, I know that this was an exceptionally sweet class, but I truly believe that I can attribute much of this year's success to the positive environment created with Whole Brain Teaching.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thank you WBT!

For the first time in my teaching career I have not been crossing off the days in anticipation of summer vacation.  For once, I feel satisfied with my year.  I know that I was successful in many areas and accomplished a lot.

A number of positive factors impacted this school year: finally moving to 2nd grade and having an exceptionally sweet class.  But I also feel like WBT has had an enormous impact.  I've probably said this before, but I'll say it again- WBT has changed the way I teach! 

After attending the Joplin conference in February I realized how challenging it is to be a student in a WBT class.  With mirror and teach-ok students always have to be paying attention and thinking and remembering.  I feel that incorporating WBT has raised the bar in my class and has required more of the students.  It seems that WBT gives the students more ownership in their learning.  They actively participate and must work together as a team so that everyone learns.

One of the beauties of WBT is that it is not only relevant in the first weeks of school, but it remains vital all the way to the very end.  This is our last week and I still find myself calmly calling out rules to redirect the class.  Due to the excitement of end of year events, we paused today to allow the class to practice the rules.  It is such a low stress way to manage the class, and it works!

This week we had fun changing up the class-yes.  It is a new idea that Chris Biffle challenged the interns to try and Deb Weigel posted about it on her blog a few weeks ago.  Rather than calling for "Class" I called "Team!"  When the class was working very hard and following all of the rules we moved up to "Winners!" and the ultimate goal was to be called "Champions!"  On the first day we spent the entire morning at Team and moved up to Winners after lunch.  By the end of the second day we got all the way to Champions.  What a way to add new enthusiasm even at the very end!  Students often join in on the WBT by adding their own creative ideas.  For Winners, the class decided to respond with "Yahoo!"  (We had just performed the play, Pushing up the Sky, and they had really gotten into saying "Yahoo!")  For Champions, one smart young man encouraged the class to sing out, "We are the champions!"  So cute! 

WBT keeps our class happy!  My classroom will never be the same again.  Thank you WBT!