Originally posted-February 24, 2013
Action Research Question “Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's CoreFour and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improve learning outcomes for all students?”
As I approach the middle of my WBT workshop experience, I decided to review and spend a little time thinking about my research question. The consistent use of WBT's CoreFour and Five Rules does impact excitement and learning. Coming from a teacher that tried to implement WBT before, being consistent every day makes a big difference. Here is an example. Several weeks ago, I was on an out-of-town trip, and I missed three days of school-a Thursday, Friday, and the following Monday. I had, thankfully, the same substitute all three days, but one of my classes had great difficulty not having WBT those days. I had not left WBT information, and that is most definitely something I need to write up for future use. There are WBT substitute handouts on websites like Teachers Pay Teachers. Students perform better and are more conscious of their work when I use WBT daily. I have observed this, and classes run more smoothly and are more energetic when WBT is in use. I see students quietly reminding their peers not to get up, not to talk, and to raise their hand. Sometimes, they don't even have to say anything. They will just use gestures to represent rules, or I will see students raise their eyebrows in disapproval of a classmate breaking a rule, and it works.
I am getting ready to use the WBT Student Assessment tool again, and I can't wait to see the results. I am anticipating student gains. Sadly, one of my 'leader' students will be moving at the end of next week. This has made me very sad. He is such a model student and will be greatly missed by his peers.
From Action Research Cycle-Week 6, I did make some changes to Mirrors that worked out really well. Thanks to Kate Bowski, a WBT for her clever Mirror ideas. My sixth graders now use Mirrors to just gesture, and Mirrors and Words to gesture with words. I also created a gesture to indicate gesturing is over. All of these subtle changes has made a big difference in student participation and focus. I added "FULL TURNS" to partners, discussing why this is necessary, and I told them they could earn or loose Scoreboard points for facing partners. Partners now stand with it is their turn, but (and here's the clever part) when using Mirrors and Mirrors and Words during Teach/Ok, only the standing partner can use Mirrors and Words. The other partner just uses Mirrors (unless helping out). I was noticing students were being 'silly' if there partner stumbled over words, and they were 'acting goofy' by verbally repeating everything their partners said. This change has made all the difference!
Kate Bowski's WBT website may be found at katebowski.blogspot.com.