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Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Can't Believe September is Almost Over!

It just can't be possible that we will be in October on Monday! I guess the old saying is true "Time flies when having fun", and in my WBT classroom we are having fun!

On Friday we started the writing game.  The 6th graders had a blast! My 7th and 8th grade were a little less enthusiastic, but it was a little easy for them as we started with the basic 'and' complexor.  I stressed that we were starting at the very beginning and they agreed that the game was better than worksheets.   They were happy, though when they tried to beat their record in creating oral sentences.

As a novice to WBT I am struggling with a few things.  The first is the Super Improver's Wall.  I just can't seem to give out enough stars to the students to get them excited about improving.  My classes are 48 minutes long and time just flies; when the students leave I realize I didn't give anyone any stars. At this rate no one will reach the highest level.  My students can't get excited about the wall and I don't blame them; I blame myself.  I re-watched the SIW web cast and made a list of things to watch for in my students.  If anyone has any suggestions I would really appreciate it.

Another thing that I struggled with this week were talkers breaking rule #2.  I am wondering if it might be time to introduce 'Practice Cards'.  I know it is a long year and I was hoping to hold off on the cards until November.  I can use some advice on this subject too.

I do have successes though. One is the Class/Yes that I described in my last blog; another is the Teach/Ok.  I have used the Teach/Ok many, many times this year.  I have given several quizzes, which I give every year, and have had higher scores than ever before.  I know that students teaching students works!

That's it for this week!
Power On!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

September's Blog

Wow! I can't believe how long it has been since I have posted.  So much is going on in my WBT classroom, I don't know where to start.

First the Class/Yes is just awesome. I can't believe how well it works. The real test came in another classroom.  The students were talking and the teacher was waiting for them to get quiet, when one of the students yelled "class" and the whole class said "yes" and quieted down immediately.  The teacher was cool about it because he knew about my using WBT.  I just think that Class/Yes is the best thing since sliced bread.

Some of the other things I have been using are: Power Pix, the Genius Ladder, Electronic Super Speed Grammar, Red/Green Marker, Super Improver's Wall and of course the 5 Rules. I love having the Power Pix right on the wall for review, and the 'Yes/No Way' with the 'QT' test are quick and easy ways to assess my students knowledge. The Electronic Grammar is super cool and even my middle school students love the fun graphics. We have only finished the  nouns and verbs and they have been a great refresher for my 6th, 7th and 8th graders.  When I try and skip some slides for the sake of time my kids beg me to go back and let them name all the nouns and verbs; they won't let me bypass anything. Using the Red/Green Marker writing everyday for 10 minutes has been super too.  I have seen real improvement in my students' handwriting that has carried over to all other work.  Students know the skills of neatness, spacing, capitals and end marks. (so far) Students know that they will loose points on a paper if they don't use these skills.  I have used the Genius Ladder once, but will try and get in the practice of using it at least once a week. On another blog I saw the permanent Genius Ladder on a wall and intend on putting up one of my own!  I have to admit that the Super Improver's Wall is my weakest area.  I have been lax at handing out stars, but I hope to improve enough to give myself a star.

Check out Rule #5 Keep your dear
teacher happy- It's a
pic of  ME!
The bird's name is Biffy, and he goes to students who don't have a partner in Teach/Ok
Here are some of pics of my room that I have been meaning to add. A couple of my favorite pictures are the 'Practice makes Permanent' and rule #5; it is a picture of me telling my students to keep your dear teacher happy. 
That's all for now!
Power On!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

My First Week of School 2012

After the first week of school I am totally excited and totally exhausted! So much has happened that I don't know where to begin, but as they always say "start at the beginning", so here it goes.

Tuesday the 21st was our first day, and only a half at that, so I didn't get to start WBT.  We had a fun academic assembly with all 6-12 students reviewing the student handbook, talk about Character Counts and the Renaissance programs.  Our lead teacher did an awesome job making all those tedious tasks fun. Some of the highlights were; an iMovie, hitting the most important student handbook rules, starring the junior class acting out the right and wrong behaviors (it was hilarious), Do You Know Your Teachers? game show, and my favorite, What Not to Wear fashion show by the cheerleaders and some very brave HS boys.  The morning ended with the Junior High/Middle School separating from the HS to learn about the changes in our Jostens Renaissance reward program.

On Wednesday was my chance to start with WBT. I was almost ready, with my Power Pix BB up, the Super Improver's Wall up, "Practice makes Permanent" posted above my White board, the scoreboard up, my rules posters printed and my WBT cheat sheet notes ready.  I wanted to put up just one last thing on a high wall, but I didn't follow rule 4 (make smart choices), stood on a desk and took a nasty fall.  As I was lying on the floor thanking the Lord that nothing was broken, (although everything hurt), I wondering how I would deal with teaching WBT that day. I managed to get up (with the help of another great teacher, who is also my husband) and start my day that included an ice pack on my left thumb and wrist. 

Time does move forward and soon the students arrived in my room. I started with Class-Yes and had a great time teaching it to my first class, and all my other classes. The students picked it up very quickly and had a good time saying yes in many ways.  I can't believe I wasted tons of time in years past, saying give me 5 4 3 2 1 voices off, only to have some students still talking. Class-Yes is the BEST!
I then taught the students Teach-Ok, the Scoreboard, Mirror (gestures & words), and the 5 rules. I even used my nasty fall with rule 4; make smart choices, to emphasize the point! I put up the rule posters as I introduced each rule.  The kids loved the rule 5 poster because I took a photo of myself and glued it over the happy face so they see my face with the words "keep your dear teacher happy." All of that took most of the 48 minutes I have for each period.

On Thursday we did some reading testing, but Class-Yes was so valuable in bringing the students to attention. On Friday I introduce Red/Green Marker writing.  After the rules review, explaining Red/Green marker, and writing for 10 minutes there wasn't much time left.  I started with the skill of neatness and was 'pleased as punch' to see some of my messiest handwriting students write neatly.  I hope with all the practice they will continue to improve.  Within the next week I will introduce the Super Improver's Wall, Genius Ladder, and the Writing Game. I can't wait for the Webcast on the 28th to reinforce what I have read about the Writing Game. 

I am so ecstatic I stumbled upon WBT on Pinterest last May. My journey has begun. This will be a great school year!
Power On!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Summer School Jump Start is Over, Getting Ready for Real School!

Starting my WBT adventure during Summer School, Jump Start was awesome. I used Class-Yes and it was a total success. The classes responded very well, and it was great to just say "class" and then have their complete attention.  I used the scoreboard a little, but realized I will have to work harder when school starts to remember to give smileys and frownies more often.

I just finished watching the archived Web cast "State Test Prep", and I was blown away.  Such great information on how to practice and prepare for those dreaded State Tests. I recommend this web cast to any teacher that has to give tests. The Super Improver's Wall was so tied in with this practice of the state tests, that I am going to start my SIW right away.  I had been thinking of waiting awhile because trying everything at once can be overwhelming.  I can't wait to see my students' improvement on the the state tests this year.

Power on with WBT!

Friday, August 3, 2012

My very first Blog!

Well, I did it! With all the excitement I have found from learning about Whole Brain Teaching (WBT), I decided to start a blog. What Fun! I cannot wait to start school in T-minus 18 days. I have already started WBT in my summer school Jump Start class.  I am only using Class-Yes and the Scoreboard.  The class-yes has been amazing.  When I say "class" my summer school students snap to attention and say "yes". This is so exciting to see. My plans for the first part of the year include: Class-Yes, Teach-Ok, Scoreboard, the 5 rules, Mirror, and Power Pics.  I might even throw in a little Crazy Professor.  I hope by second semester I can incorporate the Super Improvers Wall.
Well, that's it for now, stayed tuned for more of my adventure in teaching with WBT.
Kathy :)