Saturday, March 15, 2014

Super Improver Wall Update

Back in December, I told you all about my new Super Improver Wall.  I met with each kids and made academic and behavioral goals for each.  I wrote them down on a clipboard and would ask them at the end of each day if they were closer to their goals.  If yes, they got a sticker.  If no, they didn't.  In my mind, this sounded like a good idea.  The kids loved the new board and I loved meeting with each and adding goals to their data binders.  However, I didn't love how they earned stickers.  I like to read part of a chapter book at the end of the day.  It makes for a calm dismissal and clean up instead of some kids cleaning and some running around the room because they are done.  So, I stopped handing out stickers.  For about a month.  And the kids kept asking "when do we get to earn stickers again?"

After chatting with some of my other Hawaii blogger buddies who use WBT (Tonya and Angelia), I got the idea of a sticker book.  The pages in the book match the levels on our board.  I can hand out stickers whenever they are on task, following directions, or even if they get a great score on a spelling test, or make progress in reading or math groups.  I like that it is flexible and can be immediate reinforcement of behavior or skills.

I made my sticker books with cardstock covers and backs, and white paper in the middle.  I put 2 staples on the side to bind them.

I bought some glittery star stickers at Office Max that I use.  Whenever students are doing what they are supposed to be doing, I pass out stickers.  I put them on their hands or on their pencil boxes.  Then they can transfer them to their books.

When they collect 10 stickers on one level, they tell me.  I count them, put a stamp on the page, and trade out their little person on our Super Improver Wall for the next color.  They get to take the old color home and share with their parents the progress they made.  They LOVE leveling up!

If you are interested in my sticker book, you can download one for free.  I made a blank page for you if you do not use my theme.  10 blank pages would work.  You could also hand write the names of your levels if you want.  I probably won't be making these in other themes just because the freebies I make are things that I am already using in my classroom.

How is the Super Improver Wall going in your room? 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Super Improver Wall - Tropical Style

It's been awhile since I've posted on this little blog of mine.  I am so so sorry!  But the good news is that WBT is going really great in my room!  The posters are up, the kids are great at Class Yes, Teach Ok, Hands and Eyes, and even Mirror (when I remember!)  I swear, this is more about training the teacher than it is about training the kids!

One big goal I had for quarter 1 was to get my kids' data binders up and going.  In the data binders, kids would keep track of their scores, but they would also make goals for themselves after looking at their graphs and seeing where they need to improve.  One of the goals was also a behavior goal.  I decided, instead of me remembering each kids' goal and giving them stickers for their Super Improver card, I would call them up at the end of each day and ask them if they made their goal.  I wrote each goal on a checklist so I could easily reference what the goal was.  If they thought they made their goal for the day, they got a sticker.  Let me tell you, kids are way harder on themselves!  And they are honest!  It's been a big motivator for improved behavior!

Here is my wall, all set up.  There are 10 levels that increase.  I used rainbow colors from red to purple and silver and gold being at the top.  Each card also has a Hawaiian sea creature on it and they increase by size, with ghost crab at the very bottom and humpback whale at the top.  The kids love this aspect of the wall!

The kids' cards are little surfer kids.  I copied them on colored paper that matches the level cards.  Everyone started off on red.  Once they get 10 stickers, they move to pink, and so on.  They love their little kid cards and get so excited when they get a new one and get to take home the sticker filled one!

 Our Super Improver Wall is directly beneath our TORCH board, which showcases our school's behavior acronym: Tenacious, Observant, Respectful, Compassionate, and Honorable.

 Here is the Super Improver Wall in color and black and white (for copying on colored paper).  Click the picture to take you to the download!

I also included a little blurb about the Super Improver Wall.  If you want to read more about it, head on over to the Whole Brain Teaching website!

How is WBT going in your room this year? 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tropical WBT Posters

I'm decorating my room this year with a bright colored tropical theme.  So of course I had to make new Whole Brain Teaching posters!

  • The 5 Rules
  • Class Yes
  • Teach? Ok!
  • The Tickler
  • Switch
  • Mirror
  • Hands and Eyes

Click the picture to download from Google Drive!

I hole punched the strategies and attached them all with a binder ring.  This way, when I am introducing and reading from the back, the students can see the poster on the front for a visual.

The best thing about these posters, is that I also made scripts for how to introduce each rule and strategy.  I made them in a circle outline to fit on the back of these circle tropical posters, but they will also fit on the back of any WBT poster you use.  
Click the picture to download the scripts from Google Drive

What theme are you decorating with this year?

I'm linking up with Manic Monday!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Book Club - Chapter 12 Mirror, Hands and Eyes

To start at the beginning of this book club with me:
I'm back with my thoughts on two more WBT techniques: Mirror & Hands and Eyes.

Mirror is when you want students to mimic your gestures or to even repeat after you.  The teacher says "Mirror".  The students respond with "Mirror" and start to mirror the teacher's motions.  There are three main types of gestures that you can use while teaching:
  • Casual - the hands motions that you would normal use while talking
  • Graphic - motions that match what you are saying.  The gestures for the rules are graphic {Say "Raise your hand.." while raising your hand.}
  • Memory - these are gestures to help you remember a fact, concept, or standard.  When learning about the water cycle, you might sprinkle your fingers down like rain to remember the term "precipitation".  
 And as always, exaggerate your gestures, be silly, and have fun!

Some variations:
Mirror Words - This is like when the wedding officiate has the bride and groom repeat after him.  He uses short phrases and waits for the responder to finish before moving on.  We use this when you really want students to remember something (like the definition of an important vocab word or a daily I Can statement that you want students to remember).  When students repeat your words and mimic your gestures, they are using five areas of the brain: seeing, saying, hearing, doing, and feeling!  When this kind of quadruple learning happens, WBT calls it Teacher Heaven!  We want to get to this state as much as possible!

Hands and Eyes is when you want students to pay super close attention to what you are saying.  The teacher says "Hands and Eyes" and the students repeat the teacher and will fold their hands and put their eyes on you.  Make sure to note that you do not give your students a point on the Scoreboard for every time they successfully do Hands and Eyes.  The teacher is in charge of points and gets to decide when students earn them or lose them.  If you gave positive or negative points for following directions on Hands and Eyes, then the students would have the power, and that wouldn't make the Scorekeeper very happy, would it?

The assignment on the WBT Book Club website was to create 3-5 gestures for educational terms that you plan to teacher next year.  Here are my gestures:

  1. For “positive/negative poles” when studying magnetic fields in science, students will put their hands together (like a soft clap) and then pull apart.  This can also be used for “attract” and “repel”, two other words on our vocabulary list.
  2. For “growing patterns” in mathematics, I’ll have the kids start with their hands close together, then get farther apart, to show that the pattern gets bigger in a growing pattern.
  3. When studying geometry, we teach the terms “edge” and “face”.  I’ll have the kids put up their hand, then with the other hand point to the side of their hand for “edge” and point to their palm for “face”.
  4. In language arts, one of our words for speaking and listening is “retell”.  I’ll have the students put their hand towards their chest, then flourish their hand outward to show the words are coming out of their mouths as they retell something to someone else. 
  5. For “root word”, I’ll have the students put two hands about shoulder-width in front of themselves, as if to bracket a word, and say “word!”  Then they will make their hands smaller, as if to bracket a small part of that word, and say “root word”.  
By adding words to our motions, we will get to Teacher Heaven!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Book Club - Chapter 11 The Scoreboard

To start at the beginning of this book club with me:
The Scoreboard is WBT's classroom management tool.  They don't use clip charts, stoplights, or card-pulling systems.  They don't use stickers charts, prize boxes, or classroom money.  They use tally marks for when the class is good and tally marks for when the class is not so good.  They are explicit about the good and not so good behavior and they have kids working for the teeniest little reward - and the kids love it!  

I've created some pretty huge freebies for you - 50 pages worth of Scoreboards and introductions.  This freebie has two products - one that is just Scoreboards: portrait and landscape of 5 different designs, then additional Scoreboards for the variations, also in all the designs.  The second product is an introduction flipbook to keep by the Scoreboard for your reference, for when you are ready to implement a different version of the Scoreboard and you want to read really quick how to do it.  As a newbie to the Scoreboard, this little flipbook is going to save my behind next year!  

In chapter 11, we learn to give tally marks for positive behavior and also negative.  This is a group reward and consequence, not individual.  Students will need to work together to make good choices.  Always use the 3 Point Rule - don't let there be more than 3 points between the two positive and negative.  Tell the kids bout this, too.  Tell them that if they are 3 higher in positive, you will be looking for negative behaviors, no matter how small.  And if they are 3 higher in negative, you will be looking for the smallest amount of positive behavior.  Even if one kid is sitting in their seat like asked, point that out and give the class the point.  

As for rewards, start small.  Kids can work towards one extra minute of recess.  If they win on the positive side, they get it.  If not, they owe you.  This can go towards a one minute YouTube video, an extra minute of free time, or an extra minute of math centers (my class always LOVEs these!).  Make these rewards easy on yourself.  They shouldn't be too much prep and shouldn't cost you anything.  

As you know, kids and teachers alike can get sick of the mundane.  This Scoreboard is anything but mundane!  There are 15 variations for how you can shake up your behavior system throughout the year. Use these sparingly, though.  3-4 of these spread out throughout the year is plenty.  Even though we can get sick of doing the same thing over and over, we also know that kids thrive on structure and routine.  Don't change it up on them too much.  

At my previous school, the counselor would use a type of behavior system like this with my classes as she would teach counseling lessons (about building friendships  bullying, etc).  She would label one side "Teacher" and the other side "Students".  She never gave any reward at all!  The kids were always just so excited when they beat her and got more points!  I think I may start the year with this system of Teacher v. Students and no reward.  As we progress through the year, I'll change the board to Smiley/Frowney and start adding in small rewards, like the ones I talked about.  I am actually going to giveaway my beautiful clipchart and go all out with this.  I'm excited for the collaboration this will bring!

Are you ready to start using the Scoreboard?  Watch Coach B's YouTube video, grab my freebie, and get started!  

Click here to download from TpT! Leave me some feedback while you are at it! ;)

I'm linking up with TBA Freebie Friday!
Freebie Fridays

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Club - Chapters 8-10 Teach Okay

To start at the beginning of this book club with me:

Teach Okay is WBT's main strategy.  We know that research shows that kids learn best when they teach each other and work in collaborative groups.

In order to do Teach Okay, the teacher talks for about 30 seconds, says "Teach", the students say "Okay" and teach each other what the teacher said.  The teacher and students both use big gestures while teaching.  There are four reasons for this: First, if students are suing gestures, then the teacher can easily see who is on task and who is not.  Second, this brings in some kinesthetic learning and activates more areas of the brain.  Third, this gives students who are antsy, overly active, or have ADHD some movement instead of being forced to still still and listen.   And fourth, it's fun!  Teach Okay brings laughter and fun into teaching and learning.  Using gestures amps up the energy and gets everyone involved in learning! You can also add emotional content to your lessons while using Teach Okay and tap-into the limbic system, the emotional center of your brain.  To do this, tell your kids "We're not afraid to learn this hard concept, actually it's easy!  Tell your partner how easy it is." Or try "We're so excited to learn about ---- today.  Tell your neighbor how excited you are."

The best ways to use Teach Okay (In my opinion):
  • Teaching the lesson or daily objectives - My students need to be able to verbalize these if the principal comes in, so I will be using this strategy daily!
  • Introducing essential vocabulary - My school uses the Marzano Vocabulary program, and I can really see the Teach Okay strategy going well for initially teaching each word.
  • When teaching language forms - I taught English Language Development to a group of intermediate language learners at my old school.  My students had language partners that they sat next to on the carpet and had to practice using sentence frames to teach the weekly language form or function.  Using Teach Okay would be a great way to do this practice!
Other variations: Switch!
The Switch technique is for students to practice both listening and speaking.  Number your students 1 and 2 in each partner group.  Tell the 1s to be teachers and the 2s to be listeners.  Then loudly say "Switch!"  The students repeat "Switch!" and switch roles.  This is a great way for both students in a partner pair to verbalize the content being learned.
  • Teachers - use big hand gestures while they teach
  • Listeners - use listening gestures while they listen, such as holding a hand to their ear, nodding heads, silently mirroring the gestures of the teacher, or rolling hands as if to say "tell me more."
Other variations: The Tickler!
The Tickler is just a way to bring fun and laughter into lessons.  Clap, tap, stomp, rub, whatever you want to do before you say Teach, then students repeat and say Okay.  Guaranteed to get your class laughing and having fun!  Most WBT teachers only do a few claps with the regular Teach Okay lessons and add in the wacky variations when they want to add in an extra spice of fun.  Here are some extra Tickler ideas:
  • Disco dance moves (think: Saturday Night Fever)
  • Whirl a lasso over your head and say "Yeehaw Teach!"
  • Flap arms like flying
  • Air guitar
  • Chicken Dance
  • Hand jive
In Kinder or 1st grade, it is recommended to begin Teach Okay the second or third week of school.  In higher grades, you can begin it on the first day.  Once I finish this Book Club, I'll post my plan of how I will introduce each element of WBT, so stay with me until the very end! :)

For the book club, our assignment for this set of chapters was to create a lesson using the Teach Okay strategy.  Here is the lesson I created to teach standard 2.NBT.A.1a: 100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens — called a “hundred.”

T: Oh my Class!
S: Oh my Yes!
T: (Using big gestures) Today we are going to learn about place value.  Place value is the place, or position, of each digit in a number.  (Clap clap) Teach!
S: (Clap clap) Okay!  (Students repeat or paraphrase the definition of place value, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: (Holding up 1 finger) The first position is called the one’s place.  These are numbers from 1 through 9 (drawing the numbers in the air with pointer finger).  Teach!
S: Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: (Holding up 2 fingers) The second position is called the ten’s place.  These are numbers from 10 through 99 (drawing the numbers in the air with pointer finger).  Teach!
S: Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: (Holding up 3 fingers) The third position is called the hundred’s place.  These are numbers from 100 through 999 (drawing the numbers in the air with pointer finger).  Teach!
S: Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: Class-a-doodle-doo!
S: Yes-a-doodle-doo!
T: When thinking (point to brain) about place value, we can use concrete objects.  We can think of one as one little cube, sometimes called a unit (holding up a cube).  We can think of seven as seven little units (count out seven cubes).  Teach!
S: Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: We can think of ten (drawing ten in the air with pointer finger) as one strip of ten units, sometimes called sticks or rods (holding up a rod).  We can think of forty as four rods (count out four rods).  Teach!
S: Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: We can think of one hundred (drawing one hundred in the air with pointer finger) as ten strips of ten units, or ten rods.  These are sometimes called flats (holding up a flat).  We can think of six hundred as six flats (count out six flats).  (Clap, foot stamp, clap) Teach!
S: (Clap, foot stamp, clap) Okay! (Students repeat or paraphrase, using big gestures.)
T: Switch!
S: Switch!
T: Great job today!

Since you made it to the bottom of this post, I have a freebie for you!  Remember those adorable owl posters I made?  Well, silly me, I forgot the Teach Ok poster!  I updated the file in my TpT store, but if you already downloaded and just need the Teach Ok posters, you can snag them here from Google Drive

{click the pic to download in Google Drive}

{click the pic to download in Google Drive}

{click the pic to download in Google Drive}

How do you think the Teach Okay strategy would help your instruction?  Do you have any ideas or insights about implementing it?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Book Club - Chapter 7 The Five Rules

To start at the beginning of this book club with me:

When I first heard about WBT last year, I taught the rules, did the scoreboard (just the first part of it), and also used Class Yes.  I taught the rules, but I didn't always reference them, practice them, or even understand them!  After reading this chapter, I am much more prepared to introduce them and I appreciated how Biffle goes through and explains WHY the rules are the way they are.

Rule 1: Follow directions quickly.  This one is a no brainer.  Of course we want kids to follow directions quickly.  The quicker they do what we ask, the learning can be done and the less room for misbehavior.

Rule 2: Raise your hand for permission to speak.  This is another one that I enforce on a daily basis.  I can't stand when children call out, interrupt, or talk over each other.

Rule 3: Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.  This is the one that I didn't enforce.  I felt that i ha kids constantly raising their hands and asking me to get tissues, put a book away, sharpen a pencil.  With 28 kids, it was too much!  BUT, it makes sense if you don't want students wandering around the classroom, getting into backpacks or things they shouldn't be getting into during work time, or up talking to someone at another table without permission.  Biffle gave the idea of putting up a sign on the board to indicate times when it is allowed to walk around without permission, like during certain activities and lessons.  I like this idea!

Rule 4: Make smart choices.  I like this rule because it encompasses so much!  It's self explanatory and works inside school and out!

Rule 5: Keep your dear teacher happy.  At first, I thought this one was weird and egocentric.  But when I really think about it, I DO want students to listen to me and make me happy.  It's not so bad :)  Biffle says that this rule can be used when a student *thinks* they made a good choice, when in actuality is was rude, sarcastic, or generally disrespectful.  All you have to say is, "Well, that may be a good choice to you, but it doesn't make me happy because of yada yada yada".  That stops all arguments because who is the leading expert on what makes the teacher happy?  YOU!  The funny thing is that Biffle agrees with me that this rule is egocentric, but he goes on to explain how it helps students to learn how to respectfully talk to and treat adults.

And the never fail way to make sure your students know these rules?  Rehearse!!  Print signs from the WBT website or find some for free on TpT.  Hang them up and practice every day.  Your students will learn the rules and your will be a happy teacher!

I have two versions of rules in my TpT store for free.  I'd love it if you checked them out and could use them in your room!

What do you think about these rules?  Would you change anything about them?