Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Whole Brain Teaching-Bring on the cheese?

I am making cheese! Will the Whole Brain Teaching method be too cheesy for me?

My first school was into Love and Logic, my second two schools were/are into PBS (CHAMPS)
While there are great aspects to each of these programs they require EVERYONE in the school to be on board and follow through.

After two years on the PBS "team" and I use that term loosely, I know that my school has a long way to go before it PBS works for us. PBS doesn't work unless the expectations are consistently enforced, taught and re-taught. We only have about half the school on board right now and a small rouge group of teachers who outright reject the program. I'm not loving a program where so much of my success using it depends on other people's choice to use it or not.

So I'm going to jump on the bandwagon with the Whole Brain Teaching method. If it is a flop...oh well. If it works, sweet. I can see it working really well for 3rd and below, maybe even 4th...not sure how the 5-8th graders will feel about it.

I can see how parts of the whole brain program will fit in with and support parts of PBS. I won't have to give up the things I like from one program to go to another method. The WBT system also has more defined ways of doing some things that I have tried in the past... point charts, repeat after me and lots of hand movements.

I first read about the program and watched videos last year and was worried that it would be too campy and fake for my personality....but after watching videos of how high school and middle school teachers use the program I see that is doesn't have to be soooo cheesed out, so I'm going to give it a try.

The method uses a lot of repeat after me, hand movements, transition cues, pair/share/check and repetition, repetition, repetition. After spending a day on the Internet reading and watching videos I have come up with my Lucky 7 class rules and the movements to go with them. All the rules directly support our school PBS expectations.

1. Listen when the teacher is talking (wag finger)
2. Raise your hand to speak (raise hand and make talking motion with hand)
3. Follow directions quickly (running/swinging arms motion)
4. Make smart choices (tap side of head)
5. Respect other, yourself and the school (point outward, point to self, draw a heart with two fingers)
6. Clean up after yourself (make circular motion with flat palm in front of body)
7. Be willing to try! (not sure of the motion yet)

Maybe that is too many rules...I can't figure out which ones I would get rid of though, I could have the super 6 rules or fantastic 5 rules...but what rules to let go of?


  1. I'm studying to be an art teacher, so I don't have experience implementing Whole Brain Teaching in an art class room.

    That said, I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching. I use it in my Sunday School classroom (1st-3rd grade class) and I teach a Virtues Through Arts summer day camp for grades K-5 that I also use Whole Brain teaching.

    The children love the rules. They also love the "class" "yes" and the smiley/frowny face board. It is a great simple way to keep the students engaged in the classwork.

    Please post and let us know how it goes in an art classroom!

  2. I have been repeating my lucky 7 rules to myself and always forget "follow directions quickly" so I'm thinking I will nix that rule (the kids know we are on a time crunch and already get right too it so why have a rule about something they already do. So we are down to the super six! rules

  3. how about a thumbs up for being willing to try...just an idea. I like your rules & the motions for'll be easy for your students to remember them like that. I have respectful, be safe, be responsible...but I am thinking of changing them up this year.

  4. I totally understand the CHEESE FACTOR! I was so worried that I would lose the kids that I only tried it with 5 of my tougher classes last year. Some resisted but after a while they all got really into it! It was weird. I was thinking in the back of my head, really, why is this working??? But I sold it and they bought it. I am a totally mellow person and it was fun to be really vocal like this for me too. If I have a small class of older kids I definitely don't do it. 5th graders might not buy it. Let me know how it goes. I posted some stuff about it on my blog too.