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!