What a bunch of guff!

What a week. This week was one of those weeks where I am no longer a teacher, but a very specialized firefighter. The kind that puts out fires in the classroom every two minutes. And by the time one fire is out, another one has ignited on the other side of the room. My desperation for sanity led me to Amazon. Because Amazon fixes everything for me. (They aren’t paying me to say this, but I wouldn’t mind if they did.)

I came across Whole Brain Teaching for the Challenging Kids. I instantly became giddy. Whole Brain Teaching PLUS a book that understands my pain? Sold.

Although I’m still awaiting its arrival in the mail tomorrow, I did use the preview pages to help set up my day today. I introduced The Guff Counter.

It works like this. Once you are accustomed to using Class-Yes and the scoreboard (mine is a simple happy face, sad face), you can add bits and pieces to your routine. Since I have been picking and choosing pieces of WBT to use, I hadn’t yet introduced my kids to responding to the tallies. I simply wanted them to get used to what earns a happy face, and what earns a sad face. Today I had my kids respond with a rockin’ “OH YEAH!” to the happy faces and a Mighty Groan to the sad face. And trust me when I say I had to teach them the difference between groaning for an obnoxiously long period of time, and a short and sweet groan. That said, they loveddddd being able to give a short happy shout every now and then.  It broke up the monotony of the day. For every 5 happy face marks they get, they earn a classroom dollar. For every 5 sad faces they get, they owe me a dollar. (Not that we even got close to that today! Wow!)

Then I introduced The Guff Counter. Basically, when you correct a student and he or she talks back, it’s called “Guff”. At this point, you say to the class, “Oh my, that sounded like Guff to me…” and you walked toward the scoreboard with your marker, ready to give them a tally on the sad side for every word spoken back to you. (“I wasn’t talking!” = 3 sad tallies.)

The thing is, that’s really groan-worthy. So you teach the kids to simply respond to the Guffer politely, but firmly. They hold their hand out like a stop sign and say, “Please stop!”  to the Guffer when they hear you say that phrase.  By doing so, the class instead earns a happy face for working as a unit.

So what’s the point? It takes the pressure off of you, the teacher, to always ask a child to stop being ridiculous. It helps the kids work as a team WITH YOU, not the attention seeker. It shows a united front of the Guffer, and uses a bit of positive peer pressure to get him or her back in line. More than anything, it keeps you from wanting to slap yourself for arguing with a 10 year old.

We had to use the Guff counter 3 times today. Each time, it was successful in getting the child to immediately stop their behavior. I can’t say it will always work this way, but for now…it’s a bit of a miracle.

Now if only I could get them to ya know, do everything else in a miraculous way.

So, does anyone else use The Guff Counter? Or if not, do you think you may try it someday?


One thought on “What a bunch of guff!

  1. I use WBT and love it. Check out Farrah Shipley on youtube. She is a trainer for WBT. The website has everything you could imagine to address EVERY classroom need, it is all free research based interventions called by other names and made fun.

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