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Whole Brain Teaching
15 Jun, 2012. 2 Comments. Uncategorized. Posted By: Kristen Smith


Mrs. Hudgeons over at Smitten with First has presented a question:


Do any of you implement Whole Brain Teaching into your classrooms?? If so, what do you love about it…..pros and cons to it?? Does your class respond well to it???


I *DO* implement WBT in my classroom and my class LOVED it. When I was deciding how and what to implement I joined the WBT webpage ((which is free)) and researched what they called “the first steps.” I also went crazy overboard watching   watched a lot of videos from youtube!  There are so many great videos floating around there showing teachers in action using WBT. 

In my class I use the “class, yes,” “teach, okay,” “hands and eyes,” “the rules,” “the scoreboard,” and “super speed math and reading.”  {If those terms don’t make sense to you yet, keep reading as I will try to explain what they are and how I use them in my class.} 

I started by introducing the rules. I wrote a blog about those here: WBT The rules! and also made a free copy of them that you can grab!!  A free copy of the rules!  

My class picked them up really quickly. We would review the five rules about three times a day when I first implemented the program and then it became a once a day review. However, when a rule was broken we would state the rule that was broken. 

I also introduced the Scoreboard on the first day. The Scoreboard is WBT’s behavior management system. Every time the class performs well, they get a point for the smiley side. When this happens, the class enthusiastically calls out, “OH YEAH!!” However, when the class does not respond correctly or quick enough, they earn a frown face. In turn, when they get a frown they all give a “mighty grunt.” I would put the smiley and frownie on my board at the beginning of the day. As the weeks progressed, we began ‘playing for something.’ I would say something to the effect of, ‘today we are going to play smiley/frownie and if you can earn 15 smileys before recess you will earn an extra 5 minutes of recess time.’ We would also play for 5 minute dance parties, 2 minutes of talking time, the ability to pick where they sat, take their shoes off, listen to their favorite song… etc. It was a fun way for the kids to work together to earn a group reward. 

“Class, yes”  was another step I taught right away. “Class, yes” is a way to get your students attention super fast. Whenever you say CLASS, the class responds with YES. However you say the word class is how the class responds! We sing it, clap it, dance it, say it in funny voices etc. etc.! I love this little gem.  When my class responded quickly with class, yes, they would earn a smiley. When they did not respond quick enough, they would earn a frown face. This taught them to respond QUICKLY and I tell you what, they did!! No matter where we were (even at the zoo!) as soon as I would say, “class” my class would stop what they were doing and say, “yes!” 

After about a week of solid practice with these few items, I slowly began introducing “teach, okay” and “hands and eyes.” Hands and eyes was something I would say when I wanted the classes COMPLETE attention. When I would say hands and eyes, they would have to stop, turn, fold their hands, look at me and say “hands and eyes” signifying everyone was looking at me and paying complete attention. 

“Teach, okay!” was something that took a little more time. Very similar to the Daily 5, this took lots of modeling, practice and repetition. ((However, SO worth it.)) Teach, okay is a method used when you want your class to teach their peers what they just learned. Students will actually turn and teach their peers in their own words the concept you just taught. This is so great because it keeps students accountable for what they are learning and they have to put the concepts into their own words. 

Because we work and learn at different areas of our classroom, I had to teach and model this in each area. I would show kids WHO their partner would be dependent upon where they were sitting and then we would practice, turning and teaching in each area. In our math meeting area, kids would turn and teach each other the pattern of the day, the day of the week, brainstorm different ways to make a number and items like that. On the rug during language (a different part in my classroom) we would practice turning and teaching our friends what we just heard in the story, who the main character was, if we AGREED with what the main character was doing.

The possibilities are endless with teach, okay! because students have learned that they have to be good listeners and also how to talk to their peers! (This is why it takes a lot of practice and modeling in the beginning) 

Finally, I also used Super Speed math and reading. Boy, oh boy did my kids LOOOOOVE super speed reading. We would play really fun games to see who could read the most words in a minute boys vs. girls and all other sorts of challenges. Students would use the program when they were on the computers and see how many sight words they could read. Best of all, the program  is FREE once you become a member (which is also free) on WBT’s website!! Just look for super speed reading and you’ll get a powerpoint program that has 1,000 (I think) sight words that your kids need to know!! They also have a super speed 100 version with 100 sight words!! 

I think that describes the Pros pretty well, as for the Cons, I will admit, my kids got a little bored with the scoreboard by the end of the year and that’s why I started switching what we were playing for so frequently.

I really enjoyed using WBT because it gave the students more opportunities to verbalize and use what they were learning during a lesson. It makes whole group teaching more interactive and puts the ownership back on the students. Plus, as a teacher, you can hear what you need to reteach right away dependent on how the students are ‘teaching’ their friends!

Here is a video of a teacher using WBT! She has a bunch of videos at Freundlichteaching’s channel
on youtube. Check her out!!



2 Comments
  1. This is amazing. Thank you so very much for posting about this! I am so interested in implementing it fully next year.
    Michelle @Smitten With First
    I will send you the sight word cards as soon as I get to my computer! We are on the road headed home from Colorado!

  2. I tried to download the rules, but I have to get a premium in order to receive them. Can you e-mail them to me?

2 Comments

  • This is amazing. Thank you so very much for posting about this! I am so interested in implementing it fully next year.
    Michelle @Smitten With First
    I will send you the sight word cards as soon as I get to my computer! We are on the road headed home from Colorado!

  • I tried to download the rules, but I have to get a premium in order to receive them. Can you e-mail them to me?

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