Saturday, April 20, 2013

Action Research Cycle Week 9-Module 5

Originally posted-March 11, 2013

Ok, I have decided to conclude my Action Research. 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?” Now, this does not mean I am finished. This is an every day, class by class cycle that will continue to evolve and repeat itself for as long as I teach. I will continue modifying my use of WBT CoreFour and using the 5 classroom rules with all of my classes consistently, and I will be using my the next two assessment tests to help determine student outcomes. The first test will cover material learned during our World War II study, and the second test will cover material during the third nine weeks. I have been informed, however disappointing, I must include questions on this assessment from each of the nine weeks. This was a recent change. Since I was not using WBT consistently at the beginning of the year, results will not be 100% accurate. So, my main goal is to look closely at the WWII test data. I have started a new research question, "Will the use of WBTs Scoreboard Level Two and the Super Improvers Wall improve learning outcomes for all students? Remember, I already stated I was only going to implement this with one of my classes. I think I made the right decision. Rules are being followed (for the most part in the other three classes), and I think the SIW would be very difficult to use with 80+ students. Honestly, since I discussed how the SIW and Scoreboard Level Two works, I have not had to use practice times with any students. I have also been struggling with awarding stars. I love my board set up, and the kids are very interested in getting stars. Who would have thought 11-12 year olds would still enjoy that. I think it's more about the levels and moving up the wall than anything else. I know I have control over what I give stars for, but it has not been easy. I am hoping once I a three week habit of using the wall, it will get easier. It also does not help that I only see the kids 50 minutes a day. I did see motivation in one student, though. One challenging student told another student to be quiet (in a polite way), and I saw this. I quietly told the student, I was proud of him for doing so, and I gave him a star. He was thrilled. I don't think he gets the praise he needs, and this worked. He continued using rule numbers with his fingers to tell other students when they were breaking rules 2 and 3. He stayed on task for the rest of class, too. I should have given him another star for that, but I did not. Does anyone have a list of Super Improver Wall ideas for awarding stars? I sure could use one! The photo below shows my Super Improver Wall, Five Classroom Rules, and Scoreboard Level Two. The rules came from and the SIW from The clothes pin idea came from an idea found on Pinterest and recommended by a friend. My school mascot is a knight, so I chose yellow shields cut from a die cut machine at my school. Each clothes pin has velcro circles on the back. You can clip the Scoreboard practice cards to students that need them. I also keep cards and stickers clipped to one of the clothes pins, too. I love the look and feel of the whole set up!

Photo Credit: Melinda Sprinkle

Week 8-Action Research, Assessments, and Learning Gains

Originally posted-March 3, 2013

Last week, I found a video Coach B. uploaded recently to his YouTube channel. This middle school science teacher gave me some fabulous ideas for new techniques or how to brush up on old WBT favorites. Watch the video to learn about cool facts, vocabulary candy, and magic potion. It was a neat video to view!


My students have just started learning about WWII, a topic they find fascinating. I have been using Mirrors/Mirrors and Words, reviewing daily with Mirroring, and even having individual students leading the reviews. I also used story telling (an idea from brain research) to make learning more fun. Teaching essential knowledge to students through storytelling combined with Mirrors and Words has made learning fun and has added an element of movement to learning this week. Through my use of observations, students are more alert, interested, and overall more interested about the topic. Preplanning and practicing my gestures to teach the kids has made a big difference, too. Teachers should never let the kids see them creating the lesson as they teach it. This takes up too much time, and, in middle school, lets the student see that you are unprepared. As noted in my previous blog post, three of my four classes are doing really well with the WBT strategies. WBT has allowed me to channel the positive energy of peer pressure. Students want to earn Scoreboard points, and they do not like it when someone or a group in the class breaks the rules. This has made a big impact on focus and on individual students that really needed something extra. On the other hand, a fourth class is requiring more. It's time to introduce levels with them, and I'm excited to see how level two of the Scoreboard will work next week. Many students need individual practice following several rules, and I think level two will do the trick. The Super Improvers Wall, I hope, will also encourage improvement in weak areas, like rule breaking. As far as assessing WBT and student growth, I used the WBT Behavior Assessment again this week. I am pleased with the gains made from this rating. Three of my four classes showed improvement from last month to this month. One class remained the same. It is important to know many of these students are leaders, and gains are not as noticeable. My results were are follows: Class One-January 21-3.5, March 1-3.8; .3 gain Class Two-January 21-3.5, March 1-3.5; .0 gain Class Three-January 21-2.6, March 1-2.9; .3 gain Class Four-January 21, March 1-3.2; .2 gain Total Average: January 21-3.15, March 1-3.35; .20 gain I am very pleased with these learning gains as I continue to work to assess the impact WBT has on my sixth grade students.When behavior improves, focus improves, and learning can be achieved more easily. If you have not used the WBT Behavior Assessment, it is an awesome teacher tool and one that has been proven useful to me as I think about each individual learner, one at a time. My students recently took a Great Depression Assessment Test, and overall test results were really good. Students performed better on this test than on previous tests, especially those taken during semester one. Could it be that WBTs CoreFour, Five Classroom Rules, and other strategies are the cause??? I think so! Can I get a Ten Finger Woo Hoo!!! Can I get a Mighty, Oh Yeah!!!

Week 8-It's Time for Levels

Originally published-March 3, 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?” This next week, my focus will be on adding Scoreboard Level Two: Practice Cards. Will the use of Practice Cards improve learning outcomes for some students? Well, this past week proved to be interesting. Three of my four classes are doing really well with the WBT strategies I have implemented since January 2013, and one class, well, let's just say, "It's time for levels!" Now, the other three classes are not perfect, no class is, but I will say what I am doing is working. They are responding well to WBT, they are reminding each other of the rules, they get upset when I get a point, they are doing their homework to earn a point, and they love the free minute they can earn if they are ahead of me in the scoreboard. There's an old saying that goes, "It it ain't broke, don't fix it!" This is the case with three of my four classes, and outside of my continual 'tweeking' of strategies, I'm not going to add levels if I do not need to. But, for my fourth class, that is not the case. I have students that are making noises, up out of their seats, talking, and it drove me up the wall last week. So, I am introducing Scoreboard Level Two to this class. I'm a bit apprehensive about doing so, but something has to be done. Individuals need practice with the rules. If anyone has implemented the Practice Card level of the Scoreboard and are willing to share your set up with me (what works/what doesn't), please do so because I'm looking for ideas. I have watched Coach B.'s Scoreboard video and read from the WBT manual, and this is what I am planning: 1. Assign each student a card (in a pocket). 2. Give white practice cards (placed in student pocket) when rule practice is needed. 3. Students must come to me during 7th period (what we call connections class and Fun Friday on Fridays) to practice the rule for two minutes (saying and gesturing). 4. A note must go home for students to alert their family they needed practice following a rule. 5. If student brings their family note back signed the white practice card is removed, if not the card remains. (If the card remains, do I have them practice the rule again or not?) 6. If students are following the troublesome rule, they get a purple card, and a positive note will be sent home. 7. Green cards are used to place on students desk if they need a reminder of following a rule. If students have parents that do not send notes back, they may be assigned a 'foster parent' at school to share notes and have them signed so they can return them to me and the white practice card can be removed. Note: No more than two practice cards will be given per day. Here is my concern: I'm concerned families will think I'm singling out their child. I have a class during seventh period, so that means, they will be practicing the rule while I have students in my class. For three of these days, they will be practicing the rule among students who rarely break rules. A fourth day would be practicing among students in their class, and on Friday's they would be practicing at our recess time we call "Fun Friday" time. I guess I will just see how it works. I could have them see me during my second period planning time, but it would be the next day. That is an option, too. If you have had success with practice time or have ideas for making this work well in a middle school setting, please let me know! My plan is to start small and work my way up these seven steps. I will work to use the white cards first and see how they go. I am also going to introduce and back up Scoreboard Level Two with the Super Improver Wall with this class. I really do not see how it would be possible for me to complete the SIW with all 85 of my students, so I have decided to use it with this class as well. I have my bulletin board set up with our 5 classroom rules, the Super Improver Wall levels (compliments of Teachers Pay Teachers), and a nice bright yellow shield (my school mascot is a knight) with student names on them. I purchased lots of stickers from Michaels, and the wall is ready to go. I had students write down 3-5 ways (on an index card) they, as an individual, can improve on. They gave me the index card, and they have the same information on a Post-It note in their interactive notebooks. I know I need to tell them, specifically what I want them to work on. I think having homework could be a good one for everyone in this class, and many need to specifically work on one of the rules, especially Rules 1, 2, and 3. Does anyone have any suggestions for when to award stars, especially for me because I teach middle school, and every minute is important to learning? I do not want to interrupt 'prime time' for learning. Also, would it be ok to award multiple stars to one student for the same objective--let's say, because they did really well staying in their seat. So, I guess one of my biggest concerns is the time factor. Since I only see students for about 50 minutes per day, I'm concerned about time. With all that said, I'm so excited about the possibility of the Scoreboard Level Two and the SIW working together to help my students learn more and do better than ever before! Oh, Yeah!!!

Action Research Cycle-Week 7

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

A Visit from the Principal-Week 7

Originally posted-February 24, 2013

So, this week I asked Mr. S to visit my classroom and observe WBT in action. This, I have to say, was a nice switch for me. Most observations are unannounced and preplanned by the principal. So, asking my supervisor to visit my classroom put a nice twist on things. It was a great lesson to observe because we were reviewing for a Great Depression test. I left a paper listing the six WBT items I wanted him to look for including: the Five Classroom Rules, Class/Yes, Teach/Ok, Mirrors, Switch, and the Scoreboard. I told the students he was coming ahead of time, so they would be prepared and work harder for points. The class did a fantastic job. During the review lesson, I reviewed several rules for earning points and what I would be looking for as well as the new rules I had added to Teach/Ok (including full turns to your partner and when it's your turn, you stand). The kids needed reminding, but this also gave Mr. S. an opportunity to hear some of the guidelines. Here is what my principal had to say: "I found it (WBT) to be quite interesting....a unique observation for sure. I hope that you will be able to measure student performance/progress using these new techniques. If found to be effective we may want to explore in-servicing the staff. Perhaps start with your team and work out from there." I am thrilled he found WBT interesting. I believe WBT at my school has never been used before. I'm excited for it's future at my school. I already have one teacher on my team telling me she wishes she would have taken the class with me, and she definitely wants to learn more about WBT. Another planning buddy of mine is also very interested. Brining in Mr. S was definitely a great idea. WBT here we come! P.S.-I printed out several simple handouts, explaining several WBT techniques, to share with Mr. S. I look forward to sharing my student successes and growth with him.

Action Research Cycle Week 6-Module 3

Originally published-February 15, 2013

This week's focus was the use of WBTs CoreFour-Mirrors. Students were given a quick review of Mirror directions, including student and teacher roles during Mirror activities. This week, students used the mirror technique to remember the causes and impacts of the Great Depression. Prep work and planning of the lesson to pre-determine gestures proved very benificial as no time was wasted teaching students gestures. Students were taught one gesture before adding a second, and practiced these using CoreFours Teach/Ok before adding a third and fourth Great Depression Cause. The same routine followed on subsequent days for depression impacts. Students enjoyed gesturing and repeating information more so than with traditional lecturing. By allowing paired students to practice in small groups, students were 'forced' to participate when the Switch technique was used. This proved benificial because all learners had an opportunity to participate and activate the brain. The use of Teach/Ok allowed for a quick teacher assessment of student abilities to repeat the gestures for mastery of the concept. More rehearsal is necessary to master and remember the concepts. Perhaps an assignment could be made to practice gestures at home. Or, a video recording could be placed on the teacher created blog or Edmodo for students to use and practice with at home. Time is a factor to record and upload videos, but it is a possibility. Other teacher observations were made, including the following: Students wanted to repeat 'teacher words' while being taught gestures. Several students in each of the four history classes also wanted to continue gesturing even when Mirrors was not being used. This 'did Not' keep the dear teacher happy. After watching a WBT YouTube video by Kate Bowski, the action research cycle will be adjusted. WBT Mirrors will now include two types: Mirrors and Mirrors and Words. When Mirrors is used, students will ONLY mirror gestures. They will not speak. When Mirrors and Words is used, students will both gesture and repeat with words. A teacher gesture will also be used to indicate Mirrors and Mirrors and Words is complete. Will the use of Mirrors and Mirrors and Words improve student focus, participation, and proper use of gesturing during the learning process?

Action Research Cycle Week 5-Module 3

Originally published-February 10, 2013

Action Research Question “Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's CoreFour and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students?” Week One-Data Collection; Assessment Week Two-Implementation of Consistent Use of Five Classroom Rules--Many students continued to break rules, especially Rules 2 and 3. Week Three-Review Rules Two and Three by purposefully breaking Rules 2 and 3.--Fewer students broke rules. Week Four-Using Behavior Assessment for Seating Chart; Implementing Scoreboard--Minute at end of class was difficult to remember Week Five-Scoreboard Reward Changed to Beginning of Class--Students enthusiastic about Minute to socialize and easily remembered Last week, students spent two days in the computer lab working on iPad projects, and Friday was a a teacher work day. That being said, using the Scoreboard in a different environment was a little challenging. This weeks strategy was to allow students to use their 'minute' earned from the Scoreboard at the beginning of class in stead of at the end. Results were demonstrated immediately. Even though this was a short week, the data collection method of teacher observations showed all students appreciative and enthusiastic of 60 seconds at the beginning of class to socialize with their peers. Even before the timer was set, students jumped from their seats to start their talk time. The timer allowed students to quickly see how many seconds remained. If students got back into their seats within 10 seconds after the minute, they earned a new point on the scoreboard for the new class. If not, the teacher earned a point. The researcher assessed that the one minute 'talk time' at the beginning of class solved the problem of not having adequate time at the end of class for the minute. Time in the computer lab earned a second minute if students won the Scoreboard game in the lab. The action research cycle was adjusted to focus on the Whole Brain Teaching CoreFour Mirror technique. Will the use of 'Mirrors' increase enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students?

Action Research Cycle Week 4-Module 2

Originally published-February 2, 2013

Action Research Question “Does the consistent use of Whole Brain Teaching's CoreFour and Five Classroom Rules produce increased enthusiasm and improved learning outcomes for all students?” Week One-Data Collection; Assessment Week Two-Implementation of Consistent Use of Five Classroom Rules--Many students continued to break rules, especially Rules 2 and 3. Week Three-Review Rules Two and Three by purposefully breaking Rules 2 and 3.--Fewer students broke rules. Week Four-Using Behavior Assessment for Seating Chart; Implementing Scoreboard-Scoreboard talk minute difficult to implement at the end of class This week I used my WBT Behavior Assessment to create a new seating chart. I paired model and leader students with challenging, fence sitter, and go along students. By doing so, I expected pairs of students to exhibit better behavior. Students needing to improve would see model/leader students behaving. Using WBT Rules, Teach/Ok, and regular day to day activities, student pairs had a peer to look to when needed. The students were expected to work in pairs (1s and2s) whenever we used "Teach/Ok" and were to give friendly reminders using rule number 'sign language' whenever needed. I watched as I placed students with their new partners and explained the importance of this. Even though students (as most middle school kids would) did not always like the partner I placed them with, they did much better than they would have had I not used the WBT Behavior Assessment to group students. WBTs Teach/Ok has encouraged me to think more when I pair students. Several groups need adjusting though. Two of these groups even informed me they would 'talk to much because they were good friends." I will continue rearranging student groups periodically. Last weekend, I viewed Chris Biffle's WBT Scoreboard YouTube video several times. Students were reintroduced to the Scoreboard. I made certain students understood the +/-3 rule, how I would be observing even the smallest positive and negative behaviors, and how they could earn one free minute at the end of class if they beat my score. I was very consistent this week with awarding points. I watched students reminding others not to break Rules 2 and 3, I noticed student enthusiasm increase, and I counted fewer times I had to speak to individual students. As a result of the 'combined use and focus' of the Five Classroom Rules, purposeful seating, and the Scoreboard, students are behaving better and participating more, ultimately because they want those Scoreboard points. As a result, more challenging students are breaking the rules less frequently. Individual students, many of those challenging and fence sitters, are 'without words' telling others what rule not to break. Results also indicated, I have complete control over the scoreboard score. The first two days, I allowed students to win, to earn a minute of talk time at the end of class. By doing so, it built student enthusiasm for earning points and a free minute. Time at the end of class did not always allow for one full minute of 'talk time' though. The action research plan was adjusted by switching the minute to the beginning of class. (Note: I have tried the minute at the end of class before. A minute at the end of class seems so much better than at the beginning, but even trying it with a conscious effort for three days this week, it did not work. Thanks to Melissa Bonk for suggesting I try this at the beginning of class! The idea had not even crossed my mind.)

Week Three: Rule Review, Assessment, and Scoreboard Here I Come

Originally posted: January 26, 2013

It is important to know that I added the 5 Classroom Rules to my research question.  With that, here is what I focused on this past week.
In my last post, I discussed the fact that my sixth graders have been extremely talkative and in some instances feel they can just get out of their seat at the drop of a hat, so the need to review the five classroom rules was in order.  After viewing Coach Bs rule videos myself, I used his ideas and reviewed Rules Two and Three with students.  Raising your hand to speak and leave your seat were weak areas in all of my classes.  I told students we were going to purposefully break the rules, and I called on students to do just that.  This activity incorporated humor, an idea also mentioned in the read this week, and the kids responded well to this.  Tuesday and Wednesday I took each of the two rules (rule two Tuesday and three Wednesday) and allowed students to break the rule.  I praised them for the wonderful job they did, and we discussed this as a class.  We talked about respect and letting me know they needed to get up and/or speak.  By the third day, students were asking me if they could be the rule breaker.  Ha.  Ha.  This has been a really good focus and reminder for students.  I purposefully chose 'repeat offenders' to do perform the rule breaking demonstration, and this worked like a charm.  Results showed a significant drop in these rules being broken.  On two occasions, students even quietly correct the rule breakers.  Yes!!!  
As a novice WB teacher,  I wanted to review the basics well with my students.  I was pleasantly surprised with how well Coach Bs suggestions about rule review worked.  So, what's next you might ask?  I have so many plans, I, honestly, do not know where to begin.  First, I am going to reintroduce the Scoreboard.  I have purchased the iPhone/iPad Scoreboard app, and I believe this will help me add points to the board no matter where I am at in my classroom.  I am thrilled there is an app.  :)  I have viewed Coach Bs YouTube Scoreboard video and as he suggests, I am going to make sure students know, upfront, the score will always be close (+/- 3).  I did not do that the first time.  Since students like to talk and we don't have daily recess, I am going to allow the students, if they are ahead, to have one minute of free talk time at the beginning of each class.  I also going to set a daily/weekly goal for classes beginning with Rule #2.  
Update on data collection:  
Besides administering/reviewing a student quarterly assessment test, I conducted the WBT Behavior Assessment.  I found this very interesting.  This assessment made me think about each of my 87 students in all four of my history classes.  I do not have leaders in every class.  I followed the directions in the assessment guidelines exactly.  I discovered I have many leaders, model students, go alongs, fence setters, and yes, challenging students. Every class is a mixture of behaviors, but every class does not have all 5 behavior types. This varies from class to class. I am going to incorporate the Super Improvers Wall for one class of students.  I plan on setting individual goals for all students in this class.  I may implement this with the other classes later in semester, but for now I want to test the wall with students who need it the most.  It will be interesting to see if they improve more with the wall than without it.  I also plan to have students in my other three classes set one goal for themselves for the week.  This goal will be kept on post-it note inside their interactive notebooks.  Finally, I plan to use the behavior assessment when I design my seating chart next week.  Leaders and Model students need to be partnered with the Go Along, Fence Setters, and Challenging students.  By doing so, students will be have good examples and models when I use Teach/OK.
There's a lot to be done!

Action Research Cycle: Weeks 1 and 2 (Module 1)

Originally posted: January 21, 2013

I felt the need to record, specifically, what I have completed during the first two weeks of this workshop.  I am now constantly thinking of what I can do to make WBT strong and successful in my classroom.  I love this challenge, and I love thinking (and knowing) I am a pioneer of WBT in my district!  What follows may seem small compared to other WBT research plans, but I want to test CoreFour in part, adjust, and add to it as necessary before introducing more advanced techniques.  I am predicting WBT techniques work best when combined.  However, sometimes less is more, and I will work to add all four CoreFour techniques plus the Super Improvers Wall by the end of this 16 week class.
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?”  During weeks one and two, the WBTs five classroom rules were reintroduced and reinforced.  By doing so, I expected students to consistently follow all five rules.  I observed students stating Rule Two, “Raise your hand for permission to speak,” then a majority of students in all four classes would break the rule.  I did notice an increase in three out of five classes following Rule Three, “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.”  The outcome of implementing the Five Classroom Rules was inconsistent.  While students are following some of the rules they are still not consistent with all five in all four of my classes.  During weeks three and four, the action research plan will be adjusted by using Chris Biffle’s Rule Two and Three YouTube videos.  Selected students will be allowed to purposefully break rules two and three to show the class examples of what not to do.  The Scoreboard will also also be reintroduced and used consistently in hopes that setting group goals, like following rules two and three, will help students follow the Five Classroom Rules consistently.
If I have inserted the YouTube videos correctly, perhaps they can give you a better understanding of how I am going to focus on Rules 2 and 3.  I will check them at work, and if they were not embedded properly, I will try again.
Here is the link for the video about Rule 2:
Here is the link for the video about Rule 3:

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.

Walsh University EDT: 6454 Scholarship Outreach Initiative

This spring I took a leap of faith and enrolled in a 3 credit hour, online course. The class has focused on 'Active Learning and Whole Brain Teaching,' and it has been one of the best professional development choices of my career! I had been reading and viewing Youtube videos about WBT, and I had even introduced several of the techniques with my students, but this class has allowed me to grow professionally than I could have ever done so by myself. Working with an online community has allowed me to share my ideas and learn a multitude from others. Through action research, I have implemented many Whole Brain Teaching and Brain based learning strategies that have allowed me to become a better teacher while helping students learn and have fun. During the course, I read, 'How the Brain Learns' (fourth edition) by David Sousa. And, yes, I thought the book was going to be horrid, but boy, was I ever wrong. The text was engaging and specific to educators. I cannot begin to describe all of the brain facts I learned, but I can say one thing, "The brain is a novelty seeker," and Whole Brain Teaching allows the teacher to have an organized, structured classroom and students to learn and recall information in a meaningful fun way. WBT is very much connected to current brain research, and it has forever changed the way I structure and run my classroom, and I am more energized about teaching. I cannot imagine teaching without Whole Brain! The following blog post were taken from my online class. I hope readers will enjoy reading about my experiences using WBT techniques. My learning continues, and this blog will allow me to share my experiences as I become a Whole Brain Certified Teacher.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That

This blog will allow me to share the many ideas I have about teaching and learning. I really want to share and document my journey as a classroom teacher. I have a passion for teaching, technology, and finding and using new approaches to learning that will maximize the probability that my students will learn required material and love learning. The brain is a novelty seeker, and I want to make learning fun and enjoyable for my students and myself. One current goal I have is to become a Whole Brain Certified Teacher, and this blog will allow me to document this journey. I hope my readers will be 'a little bit' inspired!