Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Little Bit of Self Reflection

Originally Posted January 20, 2013
The day to day happenings in a middle school classroom are never, ever dull!  As I think about the flow of my classroom it is important for me to describe my classroom setting and the students I teach on a daily basis.  I currently teach four sections of heterogeneously grouped United States History classes.  There are a total of eighty-five students.  The largest class size is twenty-four.  The smallest class is seventeen. Each class has a different dynamic that makes them unique in their own way. As with all classes, many students are concerned about their classwork and homework while others are not as concerned. Many are highly motivated, yet it can be difficult to get others to voice any opinion and participate. I am always looking for ways to motivate and improve student initiative.

My research question is: Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's CoreFour and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students?
Over the past two weeks I have observed student behavior in the classroom, given a quarterly assessment test (baseline data), and reviewed WBTs Five Classroom Rules with students.  Teaching middle school brings with it early adolescent behavior.  On any given day, students can have an array of moods, stressors, excitement, and goofiness.  They are what I call, "A different kind of cat and social butterflies."  They love to talk, talk, talk!  Rules two and three have proven to be the most difficult for my kiddos to follow consistently.  Keeping this in mind, I reviewed Chris Biffle's first 5 videos that included how to introduce the classroom rules to students.  So, next week I'm going to have student volunteers purposefully break these rules as an example of what not to do.  It is my hope that this will help.  I also have plans to implement the Scoreboard.  I think the board will encourage students to follow the rules better.

Studying the brain and how it works and learns has (I kid you not!) changed the way I currently think about things I say and do both at home and at school.  I often tell myself, we do not know what home environment students have, and teachers may be the only positive influence these kids have.  If we are the only profession that changes the human brain on a daily basis, we need to be wise to facts about the brain.  The brain is a novelty seeker!  I love this fact, and WBT allows me to help my students be better learners.  This book has opened my eyes to brain facts I will be sharing with others, including administration and team teachers at my school.  The links to WBT and how the brain works is really interesting, and I can already affirm, I cannot imagine teaching without it.


  1. Melissa B.-
    When you are implementing WBT are you doing this in all of your rooms? Is your research question for all 4 of your classes? Are you taking data on all 4 of your classes? I'm asking this because for 1, that's a lot of work! and 2, it would be so neat to see the comparisons for all of your classes! How does WBT work with your first 2 classes? What about your class full of kiddos with IEP's, or your class that likes to talk? Even if you aren't taking data on more than one class, it would still be interesting to see how each class responds to WBT since they seem to each have a different dynamic!

  2. Thanks, Melissa! I liked all of your questions! I am implementing WBT everyday, all day. I have not reintroduced the Scoreboard, but I will soon. I am using this in all four of my core classes. Yes, my research question is for all of my classes, and I am collecting data for all four. So far, I have been able to manage the work load, but with 87 students, it is a load. My special needs class has, of course been the most challenging, and it will be interesting to see the results. I am planning to use the Super Improvers Wall with this 'challenging' class, and then maybe add the others once I have it in place. Thanks for your thoughts.