Saturday, August 20, 2011

Day 5-August 19

Whew! After this post, I am caught up! What an exciting day! Two of my struggling students stood in front of the class and did the first 25 events in the life of Christ. When they were stuck, the other students did the motions and they remembered what to say! Then we clapped for them. The boys were walking a little taller. The other cool thing is, this was an action they each volunteered to perform.

Today is the first day I won the Scoreboard. No extra recess! It was interesting that they handled it so well. My guess is that, on Monday, they will shoot for rule number 5 and make their dear teacher happy!

The end of the first week has come and gone. The teachers and the students both enjoyed the week. Next week, as I start working regular classwork into the agenda, it will be fun to include the whole brain activities. I don't know about the kids, but I am looking forward to it!

Day 4-August 18

Today, we added the 21-30 events to the life of Jesus. They are doing so well! I can't wait to try this activity to other subjects. We also line up and do our times tables before we leave, starting with 1 x 3. One little boy always ends up at 3 x 7. I am sure he is going to know it soon.

A lot of our work and activities for the first week is to help them break any bad habits that were developed last year in our "normal" classroom. They love when I say, "Teach" and they get to share their new knowledge with another person.

One of my struggling students said, "I like school this year. I didn't like it before." The major difference in my room? Whole Brain Education.

For science, we used microscopes. I had them setting around the classroom. They worked in groups and rotated to each type of telescope, learning how to adjust them and make the slides appear. Good times!

Day 3-August 17

We started the day out reviewing the 10 events from the life of Jesus. When they stumbled, I did the action and they recalled the event instantly.

We worked on our math facts for the second time today. (Forgot to mention it last time.) We took a one minute timed test for all four areas: add, subtract, multiply and divide. When they took the test today, they were excited that they had improved. One of my third graders went from none right in multiplication to three right. We gave him a big "Woo Hoo!"

Day 2-August 16

I teach in a school where Bible is taught, so imagine my joy when I found a download on Whole Brain Teaching for the life of Jesus. I downloaded it Monday night and began teaching it Tuesday. (Of course, I sent information about the website to ten individuals in return for the download!)

We spent about forty minutes learning the first ten events in the life of Christ. My kids were flapping their arms, running their fingers up their arms, and, in general, having a blast. At the end of the period, they could recall the ten events with ease.

We reviewed the rules. One student couldn't remember to stay in his seat. At recess-which is their treat for doing so well in Scoreboard-he practiced Rule 3 for two minutes. He was grinning the entire time and ran off to play, still in a good mood. It was great to see the replaced attitude with no angry face and slumped body on the bench! I love the difference from last year.

Day 1-Monday, August 15

Because I teach in a multi-grade classroom, many of my students were there last year-in fact, most of them are not new. I started the day saying we were going to have a very different year this year. I asked them to work in groups to create the rules they thought a classroom needed. We viewed their rules and then I revealed mine. We spent time practicing the rules with Class-Yes and Teach-OK helping them. They caught on quickly and seemed to enjoy the movement.

We played games to practice Volume Control and the rest of the rules. They loved shooting rubber bands at six stacked cups and then coming up with their own way of arranging the cups. Making words from large letter cards was another favorite. I would ask a question and they had to work to come up with the answer. When I said, "What could I find in the ocean?", the answers were boat, crab and sand. All were correct.

We ended the day with a lot of energy and both the kids and the teacher left with a smile on their faces!

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Idea

Whole brain teaching-it just seemed to fit what I was looking to do in my classroom. I spent two summers studying ways to change my teaching style. The first summer included a class on brain research. The second included the Differentiated Learning seminars in Las Vegas. Finally, I watched videos on a site called Whole Brain Teaching at I have not been so excited for the school year to start since I started learning about Howard Gardner's theory of Multiple Intelligences. I have a classroom with a majority of boys and many of those boys are diagnosed with typical little boy problems-hyperactivity and attention disorders. On top of that, I have grades 3-8 in my classroom-sort of like a one-room school. I "trained" myself with the videos and prepared myself for my first "Class-Yes" encounter.