I am in my 9th year of teaching and 5th year as a Whole Brain Teacher. I was honored two years ago to join the WBT Executive Board and became a national presenter. I have had the privilege to meet some amazing teachers from across the country and share the amazing grassroots educational movement known as Whole Brain Teaching. To find out more information about the beginnings of WBT please visit the website. There you will find loads of information, all FREE I might add, and meet my amazing colleagues who are ready to answer all of your questions. The big man himself, Chris Biffle is even browsing the boards to give you help and advice. Join us on our webinars where Chris Biffle will be covering a topic related to Whole Brain Teaching in personal detail. Check the website for dates and times.
The title of this blog should tell you that I am going to share with you the "Key" to having a successful whole brain classroom. I am often asked "Mrs. Shipley, where do I start?" To a new WIBBITEER (that's what we call a whole brain teacher in our world) the website can be a bit overwhelming. There is just so much amazing stuff to look through and implement. Let me tell you, my first year, I tried to do it all! I just about went mad!!! It can be done, however, I suggest you
start with what we on the WBT executive team have affectionately named the "CORE FOUR"!!!! Look at the image below to get started.
The next question I am most often asked is "How do I get the students to now think for themselves instead of just mimicking me and repeating what I say?" That is where the "bar" of the key comes in. The BECAUSE CLAPPER is one of the many brain toys that we employ to get students to explain why they think something is the way it is. For example, if I am teaching a lesson on nouns and I have gone through the "core four" with my students, I might ask them with their partners to explain why fireman is a noun. Their response, using the because clapper gesture, should be "Fireman is a noun BECAUSE it is a person." Now, lets take that a step further. The second side of the bar is our PROBLEM SOLVER. The problem solver presents the students with just that, a problem that they must solve. For example: "Class, now that you have told me why fireman is a noun, think of some ways I can us FIREMAN in a spicy sentence on our Sentence Ladder"(check out my blog or the whole brain teaching website for information on this little gem). Now the students are critically thinking, on their own, about nouns. INGENIOUS!!!
The final part of our "key" to success is the SUPER IMPROVER WALL! This is what holds all the other parts of the key together. This amazing tool allows your students to improve on areas that they need to improve on. Why have the whole class working on raising their hands to speak when only two or three truly need help in that department. How about little Suzy who needs to work on remembering to put her name on her paper? What about Johnny who needs to work on writing neatly? The Super Improver Wall insures that each student is IMPROVING in some area, specifically an area that they personally need to improve on!
Now when I am asked, "Where do I start?" I give the "KEY" description! These "CORE FOUR" components along with the rest of the key, when mastered will give you a whole brain classroom that will knock your principals socks off! I wish I could take credit for this amazing analogy however, our amazing leader Chris Biffle coined this little treasure. If you were lucky enough to attend the National Convention in Louisiana this year you heard all about it from the man himself!
If you are a beginning wibbiteer or perhaps you have been using the techniques but can't quite get it to all flow, use this as your model this upcoming year. Once you have mastered this, the rest is TEACHER HEAVEN! For more information on the elements presented here visit my blog or visit WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING! Once you register you will be able to access a wealth of knowledge under the FREE eBooks section of the site!
Thanks again to April for allowing me to be a guest on her blog! Here's to seeing all of you next year on the site and hearing all your amazing stories of how Whole Brain Teaching has changed your teaching life!
Wib On Wibbiteers!