Sunday, April 21, 2013

Finalizing My Action Research-Module 8 (The Final Stretch)

Originally posted-April 21, 2013

Action Research Question “Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's 4Core and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students?” 

Well, I cannot believe my online journey through Walsh University is in the final stretch.  Through this process, I have grown professionally and personally.  I accepted the online challenge and completed a class solo, and for that I am proud of myself.  I was able to manage my dear family, teaching full time, and the day-to-day responsibilities of the class with ease.  Can I get a Ten Finger Woo???

Action Research Itself: I believe great classroom teachers perform action research without even realizing they do it! I know any give day can be 'trial and error.'  When one strategy does not prove successful, we try another idea, and another idea until we find an idea that works best for the class or an individual learner.  But, above all, we try and we don't give up.  That's what I like best about WBT.  There is an array of ideas to try, and they are all heavily grounded in classroom and brain research.  The WBT handbook can now be purchased on Amazon by clicking here.  The online support is absolutely fabulous.  There is a YouTube Channel by WBT creator Chris Biffle here and a YouTube Webcast Channel here.  They have Facebook pages for grades, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and the middle school level.  There is also a Facebook channel for Whole Brain Teaching here.  WBT also has a website that is full of information, and it even has a forum.  It's awesome!  Many teachers have their own blogs and Youtube Channels where they post information about what works for them.  If you have a question, help is only a click, video, or email away.  Ten Finger Woo to the WBT family that makes this possible!!!

My Action Research Results: Through my 12 week online class, I have discovered, without any doubt, that the consistent use of WBTs 4Core and Five Classroom Rules does produce increased enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students!  The term 'consistent use' has made all the difference in my classroom.  Before I took this class, I used some of the WBT strategies but not all of them and not all of the time.  After starting the class, I used the suggestions and guidelines from the WBT handbook and videos closely, and then began to tweak the strategies just enough to work for me in my middle school classroom setting.  The journey has been an awesome adventure!  The Rules were added after several weeks of looking closely at my research question.  I do not feel you can be successful with WBT without implementing the 5 Classroom Rules.  Rules govern daily life and have to govern a classroom, too.  Repeating the rules as they are broken by students doesn't single out individuals but reminds them of rules.  After introducing WBTs 5 Classroom Rules, WBT 4Core, including Class-Yes, Scoreboard, Teach-Ok, and Mirrors, was, for me, the best way to begin using WBT.  It has been proven through brain research (How the Brain Learns-Fourth Edition, David Sousa), that the brain is a novelty seeker, and loves to be entertained.  WBT has proven to be the key for my classroom.  After consistent use of these strategies, I cannot imagine teaching without them.  The kids and I are more relaxed, learning is fun, and participation has improved 100% with my 6th graders.  

Test results showed an increase in learning as well.  It is important to note I used some strategies in the fall before I began researching WBT effects with my students.  

Baseline data included the following:
Quarter 1 Assessment-92% pass (51% pass advance, 41% pass) and 8% fail
Quarter 2 Assessment-92% pass (64% pass advance, 28% pass) and 8% fail
During Quarter 3 consistent use of WBTs 5 Classroom Rules and 4Core were used as well as several other WBT strategies.  Quarter 3 results included the following:
Quarter 3 Assessment-94% pass (56% pass advance, 38% pass) and 6% fail
It is important to note that all 6% of students failing the test improved at 7-20 points above their first assessment scores.  Target students improved from Q1 to Q3 and have made great gains.  I believe, without a doubt, WBT is responsible for these gains!

Target Student Failing Quarter 3 Assessment Results:
Student 1-Q1-43, Q2-23, Q3-50
Student 2-Q1-30, Q2-43, Q3-50
Student 3-Q1-40, Q2-43, Q3-50
Student 4-Q1-40, Q2-43, Q3-50
Student 5-Q1-40, Q2-30, Q3-48

The scores for these 5 students are not passing, but they have made gains in learning required material.  Test results are, by no means, the only method of data collecting.  I wish readers could see WBT in action with my classes.  One class now works together in everything they do.  It is an awesome site to see.  For my most challenging class, it took consistent use to get all students to say Class/Yes, Switch, and Teach/Ok together and to repeat it the way I said it.  But this day finally came, and I reward them often with Scoreboard points.  The Super Improver Wall was implemented with the particular class, and it has also proven to further help students learn and improve.  

I have also seen individual students grow from being challenging students to fence setters and others move from being leaders to model students.  I can honestly say I still experience daily challenges, but WBT strategies have made all the difference for me and for my students, present and future.

Whole Brain Teaching has been a 'game changer' for me.  It has revolutionized my classroom management system, my teaching style, and the way my students learn and retain information.  We are both more relaxed, and in the words of Coach B., "WBT weaves the golden thread of fun" in all lessons.  My teaching and student learning has went from BLAH to AHHHHH!  I can't wait this fall because I will begin with WBT from day one, and this will make all the difference!

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