Giving Bits and Pieces of “Whole Brain Teaching” a Try! (A freebie!)

After a two full weeks back at work, I’m finally awake enough past 6pm to post. Miracles do happen. I thought I would post about one of the things that has kept me from not going completely insane just yet.

I have a very interesting crew this year. They come from all different schools (can you say “rezoning chaos?”), which means they come from places with all different rules, procedures, and expectations. Getting a class full of preteens on the same page as far as all of that goes is by far, the hardest task I’ve experienced in teaching.

Over the summer, I did some research on Whole Brain Teaching. I don’t like all of it. Some of it seems like forced memorization vs. actual comprehension. So naturally, I took the parts I liked, and made them work for me.

The parts I have implemented so far are the callbacks of “Class, Yes”, “Teach, Ok”, “Switch, Ok,” and “Mirror, Mirror”.  My group of kids NEED constant engagement, or chaos breaks loose very quickly. I have already found that using “Teach, Ok” as often as possible saves everyone a bit of sanity. Using the “Class” callback is far from perfected just yet, but it DOES get their attention, and it does give them a chance to be loud, if even for a brief few seconds.

As far as “Teach, Ok” goes, I do not do it the way WBT normally does. Instead, I pose a question, have students ponder quietly on their own, and then “teach” their shoulder partner what they know or what they think. I also use “Teach, Ok” to have students summarize a concept or lesson. But having them yell exactly what I’ve said at the top of their lungs at each other, at the same time? No thanks, WBT.

In any case, here is the freebie of the posters depicting the four callbacks I use, and have hanging in my room right now!

Picture 9

Click here: whole brain teaching

So, in between all of the WBT, I found a few minutes to snap pictures of my kids in their favorite spots to read.

Under a table.

pic 10

At the computer.

Picture 11

In my chair, and under desks.

Picture 13

Under all of the backpacks.

Picture 12

And in the spot they will all claw each other’s eyes out to be…the Reading Zone. (It’s okay, it’s my favorite too!)

Picture 17

Picture 21

Time to get ready to tackle yet another day. Second Friday in, though! It can only get better from here…I hope! 😉


2 thoughts on “Giving Bits and Pieces of “Whole Brain Teaching” a Try! (A freebie!)

  1. Teach OK is a little misunderstood and confusing at first glance. It isn’t to memorize, it is to get 100% participation. I use it to introduce EQ and as rapid review. Students want to pay attention to the hand motions and words for when they teach. Any time attention is lagging, this is useful. How I open a lesson: Me: Caaaallllaassss. Them: Yaaaahhhheeeesss Me: Body and Chairs! Them: rush to stand up and push chairs in before the finish saying Body and Chairs. Me: Mirror and Words Them: Mirror and Words (they copy all my movements and what I say with the same volume) Me: What is a compound word? they repeat all words and gestures Me: A compound word (pause for dramatic affect and lean in, students will repeat words and gestures at each pause ) two words (two fingers up then count each fist, pause) that come together ( move fists towards each other until they touch, pause) to make 1 new word ( lace fists together, pause) Like fire ( one fist) annnnnnnd place ( other fist) fireplace ( lace fingers together) Me: Classity them: yessity, Me, Are you ready to teach? Them : answers ( mostly they say no, they need practice) so I break it down. We do the same question they same was but then I stop and say Teach and they say ok then turn to partner and ones are teachers, twos are students. Ones do my role , twos copy and repeat. Until I say switch, they say uhoh switch. I say it any way I want them to practice with their voices. Switch whisper, switch slow, switch freestyle, switch fast. We do each part this way then do the whole question and answer. It takes a few minutes then I say 5 and count down to 0 as they become silent and return to seats before I get to 0. During this process they earn tally marks or I get them if they are not keeping their dear teacher happy. Now we do a qt all students put heads down and thumbs on desk. I give examples and non examples for them to vote on. Then student are called on for example sentences. We all respond with you rock or its cool. Sentences must be complete. All other students are coping that student’s gestures for the sentence ( gestures they were taught for capital letters , articles, end marks, ect.)
    ****Here is the teaching: In ten minutes I have 100% participation, four pathways( intervention, learning styles ), an activator, eq, preview and rehersal( esol, rti, sped intervention) increased response opportunies by 80%, (intervention ) assessment, rigor, extention, review, increase self efficacy and decreasing affective filters. All of these are accomplished by high yield evidence based

  2. learning theories. Sorry the reply is so long but I hope you revisit Teach OK. It is the best part of WBT and everything hinges on it. Use it to teach rules and when a rule is broken the whole class does teach ok to practice the rule once or twice. Kids begin to keep each other in line because they don’t want to be interuppted after the first time they have to stand up and practice every other minute for six or seven mintues. The kid breaking the rules is out of power and you are free to teach.

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