With all great inspiration comes great learning. I was first brought into Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) in the Fall of 2011. A great friend of mine came back from a conference and was so excited to share her experience (thank Lee Clark). As we sat around my kitchen table she showed us countless videos of incredible classroom management, student engagement, and increased retention of learning. I was hooked but didn't know where to start.
With technology advancement and the amount of free, yes I said free, resources made available by Chris Biffle and his team, I began to study and read up on this new information. Less than a year later I had written my Professional Development Plan to study this program. One free conference, 5 downloaded FREE eBooks (there's that word again), and one determined group of professionals I was ready to begin this journey.
During the summer conference (once again FREE) I spent 3 incredible days learning how to transform my classroom into a lean, mean, learning machine (not really mean, you get the picture). I was absolutely amazed at the ability of Chris and his staff to command the attention of over 600 adults (in bleachers) to learn his methods of WBT in the WBT style. Yes, we learned how to teach and use each strategy by living it. INCREDIBLE! During the conference we learned each of the levels and when to use each level of the system. The biggest aha moment for me was to start small and pull out each level of the system when you notice the previous method needs a little support to enforce the expectations in the classroom. So I took these steps back to school. I began small and added new strategies each day! Here are the tools I used in my classroom within the first week:
- Class, Yes
- 5 Class Rules
- Teach, Okay
- Hands and eyes
The resources I set out to make in the beginning were customized rules signs and super improver wall in my jungle theme. Bellow are links to free resources which I have found but if you don't see what you want, Internet search it and you will be amazed all of the resources you will find.
Up next I will post how I began to implement teaching strategies with gestures to increase understanding and retention of skills across all curricular units.