Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving Genius Ladder

I wanted to post this over the holiday, but life just got in the way. LOL.  Anyway, my fourth grade class was trying to come up with a genius sentence beginning with the subject "The turkey...".  Once we got a fantasitic genius sentence, I said that it reminded me of another story.  How cool is that being able to make a literature connection from one sentence!  That is how they were able to easily come up with the additional two sentences.  I hope you can view the picture of the entire ladder.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Three Star Homework Twist

Well, I have been doing three star homework in my classroom since school started.  As in any classroom, I have the same group of people always completing three star, the same group who muddle through with a few two stars throughout the week, and amazingly enough, the constant one stars and those few who never do any at all.  With the second quarter starting last week, I decided to add a twist.  I know that one of the major points with WBT is to get rid of cheesy treasure chest prizes, but I was feeling deperate.  Here is what I did....

I told the students that they would start earning tickets for homework completion- 1 ticket for one star, 2 for two star, and of course 3 for three star.  The tickets were placed in a can for random drawings.  The trick is, they never know when I will decide to draw.  I might say, "We are having such a great day, I think I will draw a ticket."  Other days, I may decide to draw 5 tickets.  I can do this a couple times a week, just once a week, or even skip a week or two.  We discuss that the more tickets you have, the more chances you have to win!

What do they win?  Well, I announce this before I choose a winner(s).  I am going to include a treasure chest to keep up the excitement; however, I told them prizes can be extra computer time in place of a math worksheet, extra recess, choosing where to sit, etc.  I also thought I may raffle some McDonald's or Wendy's coupons as well as books that they enjoy reading. The treasure chest will include things such as pencils and erasers.  I am hoping this will up the motivation for completing homework without handing out prizes constantly.  We still keep track of class points earning things as a group such as mind soccer.  Last week, I did have more participation with homework, but I am working on a few.  Practice cards may have to be used for those who continue to do nothing, after all, that is not making a smart choice and I am definately not happy.

Once a student wins from a ticket, that ticket is thrown out.  I will keep the can going for the whole quarter, unless it gets too full from so many three star homeworks!!!  Any thought out there?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Super Speed Reading

I had two of my students quickly do a video on Super Speed Reading.  I wanted to do this in order to demonstrate how this can be used with a small group or to help parents get an idea of how this can be done for homework.  It just so happened that these two students were the only ones left in my room so we thought we would give it a try.  This is my first YouTube video, so go easy on me.  We didn't have much time.  The first time we recorded, they didn't beat their record so they wanted to try again.  The second time, my phone rang in the classroom.  The third and final time, my timer stuck so you will hear it going off.  For the sake of time, we went with it.  In class, I would have started the timer over again, but the girls did not beat their record because of the timer.  This was an unfair advantage, but at least, it will give you an idea.

Please check back again because we made a video using Genius Ladder and the 5 step lesson planner.  It is 45 minutes long and needs to be edited.  I think I will download the Genius Ladder, but will do a better one for the 5 step lesson plan.  My students were camera shy and need to get used to being recorded.  Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween Scoreboard

This is what I am using for my October Scoreboard.  It is a long year so I want to change it up once in awhile.  The funny part is that the kids often forget and still say "Oh yeah!" or they groan.  They love the idea of Sweet and Arrr though!

I also found a couple of high school kiddos that are willing to video tape for me.  Hopefully their schedules will work so that I can get going on that next or week or the following at the latest.  Please keep checking back for updates and video!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Quick Update

Today I was teaching a lesson on nouns to my 3rd grade class.  We ran out of time to complete the lesson because they had to go off to their specials.  Now, I need to give that whole entire class a ten finger woo because they begged me to keep them from gym class so that they could continue with the lesson!  What a great bunch of kids!!  I am really fortunate this year.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

One month update

Wow!  I can't believe we have been in school nearly a month now.  I also didn't realize how long it has been since I have updated my posts.  Well, it is turning out to be a great Whole Brain Teaching Year so far!  For parent conferences, I had 13/19 parents attend.  This is a record breaker that I am proud to share. The more parent positive involvement, the better success of the students.  If any parents out there are following my blog, thank you so much for attending.  I hope that you enjoyed my presentations and have a better idea of what is going on this year in my room.

I have to say how impressed I am with my 3rd graders.  They have really taken a front row with Whole Brain and are having a blast while learning.  It seems that the genius ladder has been a sweet success.  Not only have they been doing well with it, they actually begged a substitute I had this week to do!  The excitement is adding to their success.  I can't wait to see the paragraphs and essays these children come up with.

The fourth graders didn't seem to loose any of their WBT knowledge over the summer break.  They came right in and went with it.  They are working hard and we are working on improvements with gesturing.  I have many quiet students in this group.  Our schedule has been very challenging in providing us with enough time to do all that I want to cover with them.  I have to remember that it is a Learning Support classroom with mixed disabilities and learning disabilities.  I have to cut my self some slack when the going seems slow.  I don't want them to be rushed and defeat the entire purpose of what I am trying to do here with WBT.

Our Super Improvers Wall is on the move.  We have a couple of pictures already posted.  The most challenging is finding improvements with those "perfect" students who always do well no matter what.  Talking with the other adults this week, I have everyone's help to find something that has improved in each student every week.  We all know that everyone has something to improve on, it is just harder to determine when "Sally" has improved when she always gets A's, follows classroom rules, completes 3 star homework, etc.  We are trying to focus on things such as being more vocal, asking for help, or explaining a new concept well with animation and gestures.  It is easy to find improvement with "Jimmy" who may be a fence sitter, a rule breaker, or a C student when suddenly they participate, follow classroom rules, or complete homework.  It is my goal to get some stars on the wall for my dear little "Sallys"!

On to my videos for my last point. Most of my parents have given permission for their students to be in the videos.  Hopefully, in the next couple of weeks we will be able to put something together.  My students are getting excited for this.  Keep checking back for those to be posted before Halloween!

Thanks for following my blog and I hope you like what you see.  If you are not a follower, please consider becoming one.  If you have a blog, leave me your address so that I can follow you as well. You can also follow me on the forum at www.wholebrainteaching.com.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Just thought I would also show something fun I made for my personal care assistance.  Since I have 5 of them working in my class at various times, I knew we needed to be super organized.  I will be using them to keep score while transitioning back and forth between my room and the general education room.  They will also be working with either their own students or small groups.  I made them these altered clip boards with cork boards, sticky notes for portable score boards, and a small strip with rules pics so they can rehearse with their students or small groups.  I also gave them timers for helping with Super Speed Games.

Each one represents a part of their personality or their life.  I wanted them to feel welcome as well as prepared for everything that I have up my sleeve!  Enjoy!  I hope all of you are having an AWSOME WBT year so far!  Thanks for stopping!
With a Mighty Oh- Yeah we have completed our first five day week with students!  Some days were better than others, but overall, it is going well.  There are tweeks that need to be ironed out with kids coming and going out of my room.  I try to do as many lessons as possible with the entire group, but I really need to work on those with extra special needs in getting time to work with them individually.  Right now my motive is to get everyone on the same page.  I want to make sure that the students understand what we are doing and why as well as the personal care aids.  Over the next couple of weeks, I plan to have us all working in small groups as needed with my aids using WBT as their method of instruction when working with either their student or a small group.

The biggest challenge I ran into this week was the universal homework model.  Parents were so confused.  I think they kinda got the hang of it by the end of the week to a point.  When we have open house in two weeks, I am going to invite parents to come into my room and listen to demonstrate WBT.  At that time, they can ask questions and clear up any concerns about homework.

Pardon the repition in pictures, but I took more pictures with my camera instead of my phone, so I want to post them again so you don't get stiff necks.

I still have to label my power pics by rows and columns, but I wanted to get an idea how they will layout.  I think I am going to have to push the math boards together to allow at least three more.  I am thinking that when I run out of room, I will put them back in their binders and start new.  The binder will be in a central location for independent or small group review.  I will also go back and review by using my Smart Board so that they don't think just because they are down, we can forget about them.

I really like my Super Improvers wall.  I found some extra name plates from another year.  The kids drew their name however they wanted and we hung them.  I couple have already earned stars.  We are hoping to get some pictures up by Open House.  We definately should have pictures turned by parent conferences in Oct. for parents to take a quick peek.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

First Day

Well, I lived through the first day!  My third grade glared at me with wide eyes as I bounced all over the room with class yes in various ways and different voices.  They were a quiet bunch and I had to give them permission to be loud with mighty oh yeahs! LOL.  I even told them that we had permission from the principle to be loud if I wanted them to be.  So, we got through that and all of the classroom rules.  I didn't teach them teach ok yet, but I still had them go over the rules with their neighbor.

Fourth grade was awesome!  It is really cool seeing how much they mature over the summer.  Of course, today is always the honeymoon period, but I definitely see changes for the positive.  I had a hard time giving them mighty groans because they were so on to things.  One student did such a wonderful job that he already earned a mighty woo with lightening sizzles.

When both classes were together, we went over the universal homework model and I sent home a paper describing it to the parents.  I will begin with homework next week.  Since I have kids at so many various levels, I want to have time to select the appropriate material.  We wrapped up with the Super Improvers Wall.  The students decorated name plates and we will have them hung on the wall tomorrow so we can start looking for our improvers.  The looks on their faces showed me that they are in high anticipation over this.

I am ready for tomorrow to begin with power pics.  I am planning to teach sentences and introduce our genius ladder.  No sense in beating around the bush.  For math, I pulled some second grade power pics to review days of the week, months, and years.  We usually take for granted that these have been mastered, but since we are in learning support, I like to make sure we have the basics.

This is going to be a challenging year with such a large group; however, I do believe it is going to be a good year.  All of the students are very good kids and I am looking forward to working with all of them!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

All I need are the Students!

I was able to get into my classroom a couple of times over the last couple of weeks.  Here are some photos of my classroom set up thus far.  I still have some tweeking to do next week during in-service, but, of course, there is ongoing tweeking all year!  I hope you enjoy what you see.  Feel free to leave me a comment on what you like.  I am also very much open to suggestions!


Sorry about the sideways image.  I have never had this problem before.  The images were edited and saved to my computer in the right format.  I have been trying to fix this problem for days, but decided to post this way for now if I can't solve the problem, I will take more photos.

Anyway, these are my rules posted to my blackboard.  Eventually I will purchase newer ones, however, I used repositional glue that has seemed to give them a "permanent bond".  I decided to leave them up for now.

Here are my scoreboards.  One for third grade and one for fourth.  Since both groups are in and out of my room all day, I needed separate ones.  At the moment, I am going with emoticoms.  I have some other really cute ideas to change them up either for holidays or just when we need a change of pace.  I have also designed a cute car for mystery rode.  Once I have them cut and glued, I will post pictures.

These are my power pic boards for language arts and math.  After teaching the concept using the Smart Board, I will hang the power pic on the boards.  As I begin to fill up the board, I will label them. 

This is my homework corner where we will be keeping track of one, two, and three star homework!

OOPS! Back to sideways again!  Here is my student leaders wall.  The quotes are dry erase so I can easily change the leader's role.  The little stick figure people (which is my theme this year) will have the names of the leaders for each position.

Boy, these sideview pictures do not due my genius ladder justice! Give me an "it's cool"!  Anyway, the rungs are dry erase so it can be simply changed each day.  The little quotes provide the types of sentences from blah, spicy, up to genius.

I just happened to find this growth chart with stick figures and a ladder.  I thought it was cute and would catch my students eyes.  The cool thing is that it came with these little clouds.  I decided that when students provide really good examples, I can place their name on that ladder that measures up to the type of sentence they provided.  What do you think of a six foot tall genius sentence?!!

My paper drawers are not new.  I find it easier to sort my grade level and subject area.  Sometimes students put papers in the wrong box, but most of the time this is pretty efficient.

Well, hopefully, I will get the problem fixed soon so that you all don't go getting stiff necks from viewing.  Stay tuned next week for my Super Student Improver's wall and some other cool ideas.  I start with students  next Wed.  I will report on how that goes.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Biffytoon Matching Memory Game

My youngest son has been using Biffytoons this summer in order to better prepare him for the first grade.  Last week, he looked at the small pictures and said it looked like a matching game.  So, I went to work.  I printed out two of each set.  I used both words and gestures, and just words.  I am so happy with the results because there are so many uses for it.

I laminated the tops and magnetized the bottoms using my Xyron.  You don't have to do this.  Laminating will work, but you might want to use cardstock to make them thicker.  The black magnetic material made them so that they are not see through.

It can be a matching game, matching picture to picture, picture to word, or word to word depending on their skill and progression. They must read the rule and do the gesture as they turn it over.

This can be used with one child, partners, or small group.  If you choose to make them magnetic, you can use them on a chalkboard/whiteboard or a small cookie sheet.  If you are using them at home, you can use them on the fridge.


I even found a travel soap dish that fit the whole entire set.  I will label the outside "Biffytoons List 1".  I plan to make the other two sets as well.  It is a bit time consuming, but it is so worth it!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Under Construction

I apologize for the appearance of this blog. I am attempting to redesign it, but blogger keeps giving me trouble with HTML codes. I want it to look like a fun, educational, WBT blog. I will keep at it and hopefully find what I like prior to school starting! In the meantime, good luck to all of you teachers getting ready to start your new WBT year!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Phoenix Conference

I have just returned home from the Phoenix conference. It is much hotter here in PA with a heat index of 105 and high humidity! With that said though, nothing is hotter than a Whole Brain Teaching conference. The energy is amazing and oh so much fun! Give me an Oh yeah!" I learned so many things and can't wait to use them this year in my classroom! It is always difficult going back to work after a 3 month break because I get used to all the valued family time! Knowing that I have all this great stuff to improve my WBT makes it easier to start the year.

I am not able to get into my classroom until the second week of August; however, as soon as I get it set up, I will definitely post photos. Keep checking back though for updated posts.

Good luck to all you fellow WBT out there!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WBT Intern 2011-2012

Last month I was thrilled to have been offered an internship with WBT! I stayed quiet about it waiting for our district's school board approval. So, with a ten finger rolling woo, I am pleased to announce that I have been granted approval! I am officially a WBT intern for 2011-2012! I am looking forward to talking with and hopefully meeting many of you over the next year. Truthfully, I am nervous, but I am truly looking forward to this amazing opportunity!

Check back often for future posts. If I can get my own children to cooperate, I may post some videos of myself using some WBT techniques with them. I have been using Biffytoons, Superspeed Phonics, and super speed 100 with my recent kindergarten graduate. I want to also start him on smoothy bumper planet. With my 4th grader, I hope to motivate him enough with the Crazy Professor reading game with some fun summer reading. The challenge is pulling them away from video games and playing with friends, but I have a few tricks up my sleeve!

I wish everyone a safe and enjoyable summer! Talk with you soon!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Welcome !

Welcome to my new blog on Whole Brain Teaching!  On this blog, I will be sharing my experiences with the method and posting important info or links back to Chris Biffle's Website on WBT @ www.wholebrainteaching.com.

I first located Biff's methods when searching the Internet on the brain following the diagnosis of an Arachnoid brain cyst on the cerebellum of my husband's brain.  I began viewing the Utube videos and was amazed.  When I began my 18th year of teaching this past August, I knew that I just had to employ the WBT techniques.  I currently teach 3rd and 4th grade learning support.  I have a few children with emotional issues and attention deficits.  It is definately a challenge, but I love the way it works!

I have to admit, I get cranky and tired myself and find that it is easy to just fall back into a routine of "what we are used to".  I just keep plugging away at it and knowing that each day will get easier.

Now that I have almost an entire school year under my belt, I am excited to begin the next one with even more knowledge.  I am going to take the summer to use the lesson planner to write out all of the skills and concepts I need to cover.  That way I will be ready with ideas and gestures from the get go.

I will post as much as I can between now and the end of the year.  Only a month to go, but I am sure I will have something to share!

Good luck to all those who are new to WBT and keep up the good work to all those who have been using it awhile!