Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Tried it Tuesday: Whole Brain Teaching!

Today I'm linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday. This particular tried-it is something that I have tried in the past, but this year has been the first time I was really successful.

Whole brain teaching! Have you tried it yet?
I was first introduced to whole brain by a colleague two years ago. I thought it sounded great, but it was the middle of the year so I just implemented a couple of pieces here and there. We did class? Yes! But that was about it. Over that summer, I read Chris Biffle's book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids. After reading the book, I was hooked. I knew that this was a better way to teach and keep students engaged in the learning process. I was so excited to start using whole brain in my class that fall.

If you aren't familiar with Whole Brain (WBT), here it is in a nutshell...
WBT is a combination of classroom management and teaching techniques that uses call & response and gestures to activate all areas of the brain while learning. The basics are the 5 class rules, "Class?" "Yes," "Hands & Eyes," "Mirror," "Teach" "Ok!," and "Switch." You can read more about each of these in the book or on the Whole Brain Teaching site (free!)

I made posters for my classroom (You can grab them free in my TPT store). I thought I had wrapped my head around this whole idea. I was ready to go on the first day of school. We started strong, but as is the case with many new things, I eventually lost steam and started to forget about using Whole Brain techniques. Before you knew it, we were down to only using Class? Yes! and Hands and Eyes.

Fast forward to this year. I didn't reread the book over the summer like I thought I should, but what I did was actually even better. I spent the summer watching other teachers use whole brain in their classes on YouTube videos.

I cannot begin to express what a difference it made to watch the videos rather than just reading the book. I walked into school last Monday excited about the whole brain and with a plan for how to implement it during the first week of school. It's been a week and a day, and it is going so well! Students are engaged and having fun like they never have before. I'm learning to adjust to a much louder class than I am used to, because students are teaching each other concepts. (I call it organized chaos!)

It's definitely still a work in progress, but I am loving the way it's going so far. Yes, we're loud. Yes, we're out of our seats. Yes, it might look a little chaotic at first glance. But YES, we are learning! My students are more engaged than ever, and it's paid off in big ways already!

If you want to check out some of the fantastic videos that have helped me get started, check out our Pinterest board! It is full of helpful blog posts, resources, and videos, and I am constantly adding to it as I find new things this year. On a side note, there are tons of fabulous Whole Brain resources out there, and they are all supposed to be free due to copyright (lucky us!).

Follow Teaching Trio's board T3 Whole Brain Teaching on Pinterest.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the link to your Pinterest board. I'm fully implementing WBT for the first time this year. I did pieces of it last year (picked it up mid-year, too!). I'm super excited about all the possibilities with oral language and writing.

    What I Have Learned


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