I am in love. I have been reading a lot lately about Whole Brain Teaching and have fallen head over heels in love with it. I am no expert yet, but I have read many blog posts, ebooks, and their website and hope to be an expert soon! Whole Brain Teaching ebooks are absolutely free. If you’re not familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, here is a little bit about it.
There are 5 classroom rules and each one has gestures to accompany them. As with any set of rules, repetition is the key.
1. Follow directions quickly. (the gesture: make your hand shoot forward like a fish)
2. Raise your hand and ask for permission to speak. (the gesture: raise your hand, then pull it down next to your head and make a talking motion.)
3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat. (the gesture: raise your and, and then make a little walking figure with your index and middle finger.)
4. Make smart choices. (the gesture: tap one finger to your temple as you say each word.)
5. Keep your dear teacher happy. (the gesture: hold up each thumb and index finger out like an “L” framing your face; bob your head back and forth with each word and smile really big!)
<---See it in action!
In elementary school, rehearse the rules first thing in the morning, after lunch and after each recess. When you call out the rule number, your students respond with the rule itself and the correct gesture. Make the rehearsals as entertaining as possible; use a variety of voices (happy, robot, froggy) and tempos, fast, slow, super fast. For additional fun, ask of your liveliest students to lead the rules rehearsal.
Rule Two will be the most commonly violated, duh. You do not have to call anyone down; you do not have to mention names. If you are addressing the class and some kids are talking, you stop, hold up two fingers and loudly say “RULE TWO!”
Every kid in your class should repeat rule two energetically with gestures. This signals the violators to stop talking ... without you needing to scold them.
Rule Five is nuclear power. Think about it- keep your dear teacher happy. THERE IS NO LOOPHOLE! No student can convince you that they are making you happy. You are the world's greatest authority on what makes you happy. If they try to convince you they are making you happy, immediately inform them that does not make you happy.
If a student complains that they don’t know how to make you happy, tell them that following the first four rules will be just dandy.
Rule Five has no loophole.
If parents ask why their child should worry about making you happy, respond that you have the responsibility to teach their child and every other child in that class. The happier you are, the better you can do your job.
Now, let's think briefly, about how these five classroom rules relate to brain structure. The brain learns in five ways, by seeing, saying, hearing, doing and feeling. When you teach the rules with the Whole Brain signs, your students' brains are maximally operative. They see the signs, hear the rules, say the rules and make the gestures. If you are upbeat and entertaining in your presentation, and of course you are!, your students will also have the lovely feeling of having fun. Also note that for all five modes of brain learning to take place for your students, you have to engage in all five modes yourself. Whole Brain Teaching is as great for the instructor's brain as the students'!WBT has some steps that are used for classroom management. These are called “First Steps”. They are Mirror, Hands and Eyes, Switch, Teach-Okay, Class-Yes, and Scoreboard. Click HERE for the link to this information.
I created a pdf with the 5 rules and signs for several of the methods for classroom management. These can be used when teaching the class how to respond. Click the picture to download the file.
You can keep with with my WBT experience through the tab at the top of my blog!