Monday, August 12, 2013

Chapter 25: Smart Cards

Smart Cards are a new addition to WBT strategies. Evaluate their effectiveness.

The Smart cards chapter had me running to my colored index cards with JOY! As soon as I read this chapter I was gluing green and red index cards and sending them through lamination. I have always been a huge thumbs up, thumbs down teacher. This is such a great way to facilitate the concepts of checking student’s understanding throughout lessons.

In order to begin this task, you will need 3X5 index cards, for your students, with yes/no written on opposite sides or green and red construction or cardstock paper. I chose index cards that were red and green (I just happened to have some on hand.) Once glued together, lamination helps to keep them together.

Smart cards are used in the classroom for voting or showing comprehension of taught lessons. I plan to use them in whole group, small group, and seatwork. When I ask a question, students quickly show their color in front of their body so that others around them cannot see very well.
This can be used for true/false, agree/disagree, yes/no and many other variations.
I also see using this as students are working at their desk. As I walk around, I can see the color cards on their desk either red or green. Green means they know what to do and are independent, red symbolizes they need help or are confused.
Within partners, if students don’t agree they can discuss and play Prove-It to finalize a solution.
Smart cards can also be used from the student’s standpoint when partners are retelling, summarizing, explaining their thinking… to their partner. If one student doesn’t understand what the partner is saying they can flip over their card to red and then flip to green when they understand.
The possibilities are endless!

Chapter 23-24: Whole Brain Teaching and Critical Thinking

Pick any three techniques described in these two chapters and describe how you would use them to improve the critical thinking skills of your students.

Critical thinking is defined as “the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion.” Many students are great at surface level questioning yet lack the ability to actively use critical thinking skills to reach an answer. Students want the quick, fast, answer. In order to have students critically thinking we must arm them with the tools necessary to complete these tasks to the highest level. Brain tools are just the way to engage students thinking to be able to respond to their learning in critical thinking manners.

In the past year, I have employed many of the Brain tools such as The Because Clapper, Air Whiteboards, Sockless Hand Puppets, Props, and Story Gestures. This year I plan to implement some new favorites. My new favorite Brain Tools are Vocabulary Candy, Two Finger, All Terrain, Action Figures with Anti-Gravity Boots, and Prove It.

Vocabulary Candy: This ‘sweet’ game has teachers and students popping imaginary candy into their mouth shouting YUM! Instantly in the next sentence spoken is a vocabulary word, in context, with a because clapper and air punctuation. Oral writing at its sweetest moments! This activity is not exclusive to teachers, students teach the class as well. This can be extended as the year goes on to add complexity to simple vocabulary work. Students activate motor, prefrontal visual and auditory cortexes to engage in this game.

Two Finger, All Terrain, Action Figures with Anti-Gravity Boots is a spin off of using story gestures. Students are able to tell a story using their fingers to fly through the air and the story. By activating a students prefrontal, motor, auditory, and visual cortexes, students will fly through story summarization! Their retelling, critical thinking and story reflection will SOAR as well.

Prove It is a huge critical thinking activation. Students are given multiple-choice questions. Instead of just proving that one answer is correct, they also have to PROVE the other answers incorrect. This is HUGE! Students might have to go through more work, but they are showing their thinking and creating conceptual sense of their work. This elicits in depth thinking to prove answers correct and incorrect!

All of these Brain Games make me excited, not burdened with teaching critical thinking. With the right tools we can deepen our students thinking!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Super Improver Wall Chic Black and White

Changes have been made as of August 2013. I changed my classroom theme to Chic Black & White so I changed the boards as well. The level names have changed. Each level has a black and white printed background which I also created in Powerpoint as I did in the above message. Have fun with the Super Improver Wall. The more enthusiasm you have about your classroom, the more your students will have as well!

 The levels are as follows:
Super star
Whiz Kid
M.V. Kid
Team Leader
Team Captain

Each level has its own color. I will put a picture of each of my students on their square. Everyone starts at white (Beginner). I place the super improver stars on the outside boarder of the squares and when they move up a level I take down the square, write a quick note, then change to the next color. They love this!

 Each level of the WBT management system has its own added fun. Practice cards are the next level to the Scoreboard. This is where certain students continue to need practice following the 5 Class Rules. If a student needs more practice, I place the rule card in their pocket and they get to practice this rule for 2 minutes at recess. I send home a note that their parents will sign. I will often have them practice reciting the rule for a minute when I place the card in their pocket to give immediate feedback.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Back in Black...and white

It is the first day of August and I have been busy at work in my classroom. I am relaxed (yeah right),  refreshed (who am I kidding my kids played sports all summer) and ready to take on a new year (wait that is so!) The last few days I have assembled many new classroom bulletin boards. Here is a sneak peak at them. I'm loving the black and white with a pop of color! Very Chic!

         Super Improver Wall   (Left)                                            Practice Cards (right)



                           Boggle Board  

I plan to use this for spelling/word works/free time. The students will attempt to spell as many words from the board as they can each week. They will also have to total the sum of their letters for each word they create!

                           Objective Wall 

Ch 22 The Agreement Bridge

Compare and contrast the Agreement Bridge with any counseling technique you have used, or have heard about, for dealing with a challenging student.

In times of high stress with our most challenging students, WBT comes to the rescue with another level (level 7) of the scoreboard. This level is in format of a game, a game that the teacher and the student play. Few resources are needed but change is what comes of this strategy.

Resources Needed: ruler, two markers, two coins, two copies of Agreement Bridge game board, and an Agreement Contract.

Process: The teacher and student sit across a table from each other. They begin by placing the Agreement Bridge game in front of them as well as a coin on each end of the ruler. The game board has the following words and steps:
Hello: Talk about anything other than the behavior. Get to know the student/teacher at this time.
Problem: Each person gets to describe the problem from his or her point of view. This is the time to see how each person sees the problem.
Swap: Using the other person’s point of view, tell the problem in their eyes.
Smart: Describe the smart choice that can be made about the problem.
Foolish: Describe the foolish choice that can be made about the problem.
Change: Tell what changes you are willing to make.
During the game, each person takes turns going through the steps of the game. A ruler lies on the table in between with a coin lying at the ends of the ruler. As the teacher and student engage in dialog, when one person feels they are reaching closer to coming up with an agreement, they move their coin towards the opposite person. When both people have their coins touching, and they feel better about the situation, it is time to make an agreement that they will follow. An agreement statement will tell who the two people are and what each person will do to come to this agreement. A timeline will be set.

Similar to behavior intervention plans, which I have completed, and ‘triaging’ with students before and after school, I have never used a program like this. Triaging is where the student checks in with a trusted adult to go over their goals when they are at risk. Behavior plans put in action the goals that the student and the teacher agree to work on to help the student become successful. Both are so small compared to the Agreement Bridge.

Once again, we are seeing non-evasive discussions going on where a student and teacher are partnering together to come to a common goal. Both parties may decide to change things about the problem. However, the most important thing, in my mind, is that they see the other person’s perspective and make compromise. Compromise is a skill that counselors try to teach in conflict resolution.