My Whole Brain Teaching Conference Takeaways

I am back and refreshed from the Whole Brain Teaching conference in Canton!  When I finally got into bed last night, all I could think of was 323546 ways to say, "Class, yes!"  I was exhausted!!!  Now that I am refreshed, I wanted to share my seven favorite takeaways from the conference {believe me, I have a LOT of takeaways}.  The only downside is, I wish I could start teaching this week while everything is fresh in my memory... however... I am slightly glad there is still a lot more summer left!  Ok, here are my thoughts!


1) Gestures, gestures, and more gestures!  I need to start using more gestures with my students.  Here are my favorites: 

  • Example Popper:  Students say "for example" and act like they are pulling the idea out of their brain.
  • Because Clapper:  Students use one palm to hit the other arm and say "because" to demonstrate a strong "because."  Teacher (and students!) can use two fingers of one hand to hit the other arm to demonstrate a weak "because" (ex: I like soccer because it's cool).
  • Brain Toys:  There are a million of these!  Basically, there are a bunch of gestures students can use to talk about content while you check for understanding.  Students can use an "air whiteboard" (I will use an air SmartBoard!), sockless hand puppets, 2 fingers in arm world (walk 2 fingers along the other arm while explaining the sequence of something... would be great for retelling!), or an air cell phone!

2) The Scoreboard!  I am going to put up a small dry erase board by my SmartBoard and keep track of student points and teacher points.  Students will be playing to win items like a 2 minute dance party, extra recess time, SmartBoard game time, heads up 7 up, and more!  Anyone have any other simple ideas of what students could be playing for each day?  

3) I am going to be implementing the 5 classroom rules... especially Rule #5! (Keep your teacher happy!)

4) I am going to work on better classroom transitions.  I will explicitly teach the transition, we will practice it over and over, and then we will start setting records!  I loved the idea of writing class records on the board and trying to break them!  For example, it has always driven me crazy how long it takes students to open up their books to a specific page... I bet setting a record would knock a lot of time off of this process! 

5) Empowering student leaders!  I am definitely going to try to have students stand and then have the rest gesture when it is Q&A time. My students are great at looking at ME when I'm talking, but it has always frustrated me that they don't look at their peers who are speaking.  Eye contact is so important and gestures will keep them focused!  

6) Red and green marker writing time!!!  This sounds brilliant.  It has the same concept as CAFE where you explicitly teach mini lessons, but then you focus ONLY on the specific skill you are working on that day/week.  For example, let's say your first focus of the year is neatness.  Your students start writing and you remind them that the focus is neatness.  As students write, you go around with a red and green marker and circle each student's neatest word in green and sloppiest word in red. Then, the student acknowledges what you circled.  This is a great way to show students your expectations!  {I feel a writing focus wall coming on!}  If you want to know more, watch the WBT TV video on the topic!  Click on Prog 531 Red_Green Maker when you get to the page.


7) The Super Improver Wall... eek!... this is a hot topic for me and I would love to know your thoughts!  If you have been using the Wall, please comment and let me know what you like/dislike about using it!


Ok, that's all for now!  My Google Reader feed is calling me... it's time to catch up on all of your blogs!!


PS:  My 100 Follower Giveaway ends in 3 days!  Click below to enter!



22 comments

  1. Awesome! I head to the conference in less then a week in Missouri! I can't wait!!
    :D angie

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    1. You will love it! I hope you post about it :)

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  2. Ah so jealous! I have been hearing about the red and green marker thing. I need to watch the video! I love gestures too. I use my hands so much when I talk. For scoreboard rewards I stole my teammates idea. She and the class came up with things like you tube video, childhood story about the teacher, etc. we cut them into slips and chose one each morning. I think they have to know what to work for
    Rachel

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    1. That's a great idea! I love the childhood story about the teacher... I'm sure they get a kick out of that!

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  3. Sounds fascinating, esp the Jesus part! As a teacher in a Christian school, I will definitely have to look into this to share with my teachers! Some of what you shared sounds similar to the songs and gestures I learned in a Dr. Jean workshop. Thanks so much for sharing! Lauren
    Teacher Mom of 3

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    1. It is definitely worth checking out! You could teach it in small chunks to your students!

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  4. Checkin' you out girl! Thanks so much for becoming a fan. Any time you would like to guest post, let me know.

    You're off to a great start!

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    1. I would love to! I'm still figuring out how to do my own posts ;) but I would definitely be up for guest blogging for you soon. Thanks for the offer!

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  5. Sorry about that! Here goes again! First of all, so glad you were able to attend the conference and hear all about WBT first hand! Regarding the Scoreboard and Super Improvers Wall, check out some of my posts on my experiences this past year. I also posted on Power Pix today.

    http://nstoltenbergwbt.blogspot.com/search/label/Mind%20Soccer
    http://nstoltenbergwbt.blogspot.com/search/label/Super%20Improvers%20Wall
    http://nstoltenbergwbt.blogspot.com/search/label/Power%20Pix

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    1. Thanks for the links, Nancy! I went back and read a lot of your old posts. I am going to email you with some Super Improver questions!

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  6. Hi Kate...I am passing on an award to you. Please visit my blog to pick it up (and while you are there, enter my first giveaway.
    Amy
    www.adventuresinteaching.net

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  7. I love the red and green marker idea. What a tangible way for students to see the concept within their own work. I'm a new follow. So glad I've found your blog!

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    1. I agree! Can't wait to try it this year!

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  8. The red and green marker idea is powerful! I can't wait to use it. I just found your blog and am your newest follower:)

    Tammy
    The Resourceful Apple

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  9. I am going to the WBT Conference this week and can't wait!
    I also wanted to tell you that your date for New Teacher Blog Tuesday will be July 24th!
    Dana
    Fun in 1st Grade

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    1. Great!! I hope you post about it! And thanks for the date update! I'm excited :)

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  10. I use music to help with my transitions. I don't even have to say a word by the third week of school. My students are taught specifically what I want them to do and we practice a lot and then they just do it. Throughout the year if I notice that they are slack we will practice it until they get it right and if it becomes ridiculous we use recess time in order to get it right. Transitions are a great help when they do them correctly and efficiently.

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  11. I was at this same conference. It was fantastic! I am your newest follower.

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