Monday, November 21, 2011

Crazy times in 3rd grade!

Another month has gone by, and it is getting harder to find the time to post on my blog!  I'm so sorry it has been so long.  We've been busy here in 3rd grade using our Whole Brains!!!!! 

I'm happy to say that I've had the pleasure of having several guests in my classroom to see the use of WBT, and have had positive responses from all of them.  Everyone has said that they are taking WBT back to their classrooms, and then they've been e-mailing with questions after their visits!  To date, I think I've had around 11 teachers in my room this year, and I know I have at least 4 more coming in the week after Thanksgiving break. 

I also have an update on my student teacher who was with me the first 8 weeks of school as well.  She is now in her second 8 weeks of student teaching, and is currently placed in a 5th grade classroom in another district.  She e-mailed me and said WBT works and it's amazing!  She wasn't using it at first, but then was asked to review the parts of speech with the 5th grade class, and she decided that she would use WBT.  The class's response to WBT was astounding, and she said they loved using the gestures and teaching each other.  She even commented on the fact that their behavior improved after introducing the PowerPix and gestures.  I told her I wouldn't steer her in the wrong direction, and that WBT couldn't be beat!!!

I can't wait to get even more teachers in our district on board and using WBT! 

I hope everyone has a very blessed Thanksgiving, and enjoys the time off with family!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Sorry it's been awhile!

Hey everyone! 

So sorry that it has been so long since my last post!  Things have been crazy here.  I have now taken back over my classroom, since my student teacher has moved on to her next assignment, and am still busy mentoring our new 3rd grade teacher, writing up articles for our district newsletter, and presenting on WBT!  That doesn't even top being a wife, mommy of 2 boys, and expecting baby number 3! 

I have my Super Improver Wall up and running.  I have included a picture of it, so you can all see how I have it working for me!  I also included some updated photos of my PowerPix walls, and my Class Leaders board to show how it works for me to rotate pictures. 

Class Leaders Board:
 My Math PowerPix Wall:
 My Communication Arts PowerPix Wall:
My Super Improver Wall:

As for my Super Improver Wall, every student has their own card with 10 different colored levels.  They get to place their stars on the bottom color, which I have labeled as Fiery Red.  Once they earn 10 stars, they move up to the next level, which is Sunny Yellow, and so on.  After four levels, they get their silly picture taken, which is turned backwards until they earn 5 more stars.  Then they get to flip it over and continue up their card!  This is working wonderfully for me, so I wanted to share it.  It keeps me from having to change their names on different colors, and it saves on stars because they can pick whatever color star they want to place on the different colored levels!  I love how they applaud each other when someone in the class earns a star. 

Please feel free to share your feedback.  I love to hear other Whole Brain Teaching ideas!


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Class Leaders

Last week I posted some photos of my PowerPix walls, Class Leaders wall, Genius Ladder, Scoreboard, Practice Cards, and Rules.  I've had a few questions about how my Class Leaders wall, and I'm thrilled to share! 

My Class Leaders wall has a Class/Yes leader, Mirror leader, Teach/Okay leader, Rules leader, Hands and Eyes leader, PowerPix leader, Mighty Oh Yeah! leader, Mighty Groan leader, Human Counter leader, and Stopwatch leader.  I don't utilize every leader every day, however I do use a Class/Yes leader, Mirror leader, Teach/Okay leader, Rules leader, Hands and Eyes leader, PowerPix leader, Mighty Oh Yeah! and Mighty Groan leaders daily.  I put one Velcro dot on each leader spot on my wall, and then I took pictures of my kiddos by themselves.  I then laminated the pictures and put a Velcro dot on the backs of their pictures.  When I choose my leaders, and I choose them according to leadership quality and homework, I place their picture on the leadership position they are going to hold that day.  I then place a button on their desk that they will wear throughout the day.  They are super pumped about seeing their pics on the wall and getting to wear the buttons.  I don't use them every time I need something, so I can keep them on their toes a bit.  When I need a Class/Yes, I simply point to or tap that class leader on the shoulder.  This goes for all my other leadership positions.  My PowerPix leader is one I'm really excited about because they can get up in front of the class and review PowerPix we've already learned about so far this year!

I have a few students that haven't been able to be leaders yet this year, but they really want that leadership position.  I have explained to them what it takes to be a leader in my classroom.  This has improved their behavior in my room...not to the point of leadership yet, but they're getting close. 

I hope this helps explain my leadership wall a bit.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Busy times!

I know it's been a few weeks, but I think we're on track now.  My classroom has been a whirlwind since the first week.  I have added a student teacher to the mix, and have learned rather quickly that I have several challenging students this year.  We're getting things rolling and WBT is proving effective with classroom management.  I'm trying to mentor the new 3rd grade teacher and train her in the ways of WBT, while also trying to train my student teacher as well!  Both of them are totally on board with WBT and loving every minute; however, they are both trying to learn the curriculum and a teaching style at the same time. 

My PowerPix walls are up and being added to almost daily.  I've also created some science and social studies PowerPix and they are up on some other walls.  They don't totally have the grid system added to them, but they are proving to be very effective.  My kiddos love the PowerPix!  If I don't have one for a skill we are teaching, they get a little upset!

I need to get started on the Improver Wall as well, as I think it would be beneficial in my classroom.  It would be a great tool to use with some of my more disruptive learners. 

Adding some pics of all the stuff I have up and running so far.  Please be sure to give me some feedback.  Looking forward to hearing from all of you!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Off and Running!

Well the school year has officially started with students.  On August 11th, Susan Floyd and I presented to the new teachers in the district over WBT!  We had such a good time, and were so excited to see the faces of the new teachers and their excitement over WBT.  I then got into my room the next week to organize all of my walls!  I have up my PowerPix walls, my class leaders wall, my genius ladder wall, and a spot for my homework wall (although I don't have anything on it yet). 

My kiddos are already loving WBT in my classroom.  I came in full force last Thursday teaching the 5 classroom rules!  Today was the first day that I utilized class leaders, and it has worked wonderfully.  We've already introduced several PowerPix for only being in school a week!  We have author, illustrator, title, sentence, and noun up on our Communication Arts board so far, and the place value PowerPix on our Math board so far.  I'll try to upload some pics to my blog.  Hope everyone is off to a great school year!  I'm looking forward to hearing how it's going for everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Model Classroom Readiness

So I went by school yesterday to work in my room for a bit.  The boys were with grandma, so I had a little time.  I printed off my Whole Brain Teaching Model Classroom eBook and got to work.  I have now found a spot for my Class leaders board, my Genius Ladder, my PowerPix Walls (for both Communication Arts and Math), my Scoreboard, and my Practice Cards.  So much to do before school starts.  I have all the spots picked out, and now I just have to put it all together.  I'm thinking a couple more afternoons and I'll be ready to go.

Also on the list of things to do...get ready for a new teacher back to school presentation with Susan.  Planning on getting together with her, so we can get all our ducks in a row.  Busy times.  Where has the summer gone?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Had to Learn More!!!!

So, I had been using WBT in my classroom, reading the eBooks, and checking out the website, but I still had to learn more!  Another colleague of mine approached me about attending a WBT conference in Phoenix.  I was all for it!  We checked with our principal and were given permission to go.  Of course, we had to pay our own way, but they wouldn't dock us the days we were gone.  We checked into the conference and ended up making all of our arrangements for a January conference in Phoenix!  We were pumped. 

WBT was running fairly smoothly in my classroom.  The scoreboard was keeping my class on track with behavior.  The PowerPix were proving to be very effective, and the Teach/Okay was a huge hit with all of my kids.  They would constantly tell me how much they loved third grade because they got to teach each other and talk.  This was the first year that discipline problems were almost non-existent.  I was so excited about the upcoming conference in Phoenix and learning more about WBT!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Another Amazing Conference!

I returned last Thursday evening from another amazing WBT conference in West Plains, MO!  What an amazing learning experience.  How quickly things can evolve in WBT.  The Sentence Ladder, which I learned about in Louisiana, is now the Genius ladder!  How much fun are students going to have constructing genius sentences!  The five step lesson template was reinforced for me, and clarified a few steps that I wasn't fully implementing.  I now feel that I have a clearer understanding of how my model classroom is going to look when I return in August.  I went by school yesterday and tried to get a vision in my mind of where everything is going to go.  I think I have a spot for my PowerPix wall, my class leaders, my genius ladder, and my scoreboard.  I'm anxious to get started working with my 3rd grade team on the Prove It game.  We've already started discussing core concepts that we need to be writing up questions for in math.  What a busy and exciting time!

I guess I should get back to how my classroom was running during the 2010-2011 school year though.  I started to incorporate some of the math PowerPix, and again was amazed at how quickly my students were picking up various concepts in both Communication Arts and Math.  The best part was that they remembered what we learned about when we came back to it later.  I got more in depth with the eBooks, and introduced some of the WBT games.  My kiddos loved SuperSpeed 100, and I could tell a difference in their fluency.  The main thing I needed to remember was that I needed to learn more about WBT, so we would all be successful!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Incorporating PowerPix

So, my students had mastered the 5 classroom rules, were loving the scoreboard (especially when they won), and seemed to be totally on board.  I was still learning about Whole Brain Teaching myself, so the best key to my learning was the website.  I found the eBooks to be especially helpful, the PowerPix were awesome, and the forum was there to answer questions.  I didn't start posting on the forum until January, but I was still able to get some great ideas from others who had posted.

Since I was still learning myself, I decided that I would pick out a couple of different PowerPix to incorporate into my teaching.  I really liked the Nouns PowerPix, and thought that it would be a great place to start with my students, since that is a review skill.  So, I familiarized myself with it, and jumped right in.  They loved it!  They got to move, talk, teach, and thump on their desks for the "thing" in "a noun is a person, place, or thing!"  I was ecstatic.  Of course, what made it even better was when I asked them what a noun was during our shared reading lesson, they could tell me, show me, and then identify nouns in our reading!  Wow! 

My class was active, engaged, and loving learning!  I was having the most fun teaching that I had ever had in my 6 years!  I wasn't coming home frustrated about my day, because I really had very little discipline to deal with.  The scoreboard was taking care of pretty much all of the discipline problems!

So, what about math!?  We were working on place value, and low and behold there are PowerPix for place value.  That was going to be my next step. 

Friday, June 17, 2011


Okay, so I know that I'm taking you on a journey in my classroom during the 2010-2011 school year, but I have to take a short break to tell you how excited I am about the upcoming school year.  I just returned home from the WBT National Conference, and I have to say what an amazing time I had!  I picked up some new ideas that I'm pumped to use in my classroom this year.  The sentence ladder is going to totally transform my students' writing.  Super Speed Spelling...can't wait!!!!  Thanks for all the great tools to use in my classroom to help my students learn and be more successful!

Okay, back to my 2010-2011 school year.  I felt that my students had a good foundation with the classroom rules and the scoreboard.  Of course, I had used "Teach-Okay" to teach the rules!  This was huge.  From the beginning I had students telling me that they were loving 3rd grade, because they got to talk to each other and move during class time.  Our building only has one recess a day, so it is extremely important for me to incorporate movement into my lessons.  Let me think about this for a minute...students move in WBT!  What a perfect tool for a teacher to use in their classroom when their students have very little opportunity to get out of the classroom and move!  At our first parent/teacher conference, I had parents telling me that their children loved school, and that this was the first year that it wasn't like pulling teeth to get them to school in the mornings.  Again, I have to give props to WBT for this.  My kids were talking and moving, but they were moving and talking about stuff I wanted them to talk about!  Ooooh, what a great year this was going to be!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Starting the 2010-2011 School Year

The beginning of my school year was sure to be somewhat crazy with an original roster of 29 third grade students.  I wasn't sure where I was even going to put them all, but it all worked out.  Three of the 29 didn't even show the first day, so I was left with a little uncertainty of my actual numbers until after the first week.  I ended up starting the school year with 26 kiddos and kept the same 26 until after Christmas break. 

I had the scoreboard up in the classroom and ready to go and dove right in with the 5 classroom rules.  Rule #5 quickly became my kids' favorite.  We mastered the classroom rules quickly and they could tell me right away what every rule was, what it meant, and could show me how they all looked!  We were well on our way.  My kiddos loved the scoreboard right away...something about competing against the teacher! 

I had looked at several of the WBT eBooks, but still wasn't entirely sure where I wanted to start.  I loved the PowerPix and was anxious to start finding ones that would apply to our district curriculum.  I was amazed at how many correlated perfectly and would be useful in my classroom!  So, I had a lot of learning that needed to take place on my part and on the part of my students.

This was just the beginning, but I felt like this was something that I had to give a try and follow it through.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Here it goes!

Okay, so this is my first attempt at blogging, so we'll see how it goes! I am a third grade teacher who loves Whole Brain Teaching, and am excited to share the successes I've had with fellow educators and get them on board for Whole Brain Teaching.  I'm going to take you on my journey of Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom, and what a difference it has made for me as an educator!

I was first introduced to Whole Brain Teaching when I returned from maternity leave in November of 2009.  I wasn't sure exactly what to think at first, because I was only getting bits and pieces from co-workers.  I had missed the big presentation everyone else received because I was spending some quality time with my new little guy! 

I decided that I would attend a workshop on May 21, 2010 (the day after school got out) with Chris Biffle.  That is when everything changed for me, and I knew the 2010-2011 school year was going to be totally different...and different it was! 

The 2010-2011 school year was fabulous all thanks to Whole Brain Teaching!  I could sit here and write all night, but I'm a busy mommy of I'll return later to continue to take you on my Whole Brain Teaching journey!