Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Periscopes and Whole Brain Teachers United

If you haven't checked out Periscope yet, this is a great week to get started! Periscope is a live broadcasting app that teachers all across the world are using to share ideas.


Here is this week's schedule of upcoming Scopes from several WBT Executive Board Members for you to participate in! The times listed are all Central Time Zone. I will be broadcasting this Thursday 7/30 about how to get your year started with WBT in 2nd grade! Wahooo!! (Twitter and Periscope @NancyStoltenber) Please come!!! Please share this post!!!!

Tuesday 7/28/15
9am The Lesson Sketch and Microlectures (Sarah)
3pm Chapter 6 Class Yes in Upper Grades (Sarah)
8pm Chapter 9 Teach Okay (Farrah)

Thursday 7/30/15
1pm The Super Improver League for Upper Grades (Sarah)
7pm 2nd Grade Start of Year (Nancy)

Friday 7/31/15
Time TBD Upper Grades WBT (Andre)
8pm Chapter 10 Teach Okay (Farrah)

Impromptu broadcasts will also occur! Follow each Exec Board Member so you don't miss a single one!

Each broadcast can be viewed on a mobile device or computer for up to 24 hours after the broadcast has ended. If you have a mobile device, download the Periscope app on iOS or Google Play to receive a notification when a broadcast is starting! If you don't have the Periscope app, you can find the link to each broadcast on Twitter.to

Since Periscope is connected with Twitter, you can follow each Exec Board member through either app. Simply click the links below to go to their Twitter page and click "Follow", or search each name in the Periscope app.

Chris Biffle on Twitter and Periscope @ChrisBiffle

Kinder-2nd Grade
Andrea Schindler on Periscope @littlerocket
Farrah Shipley on Twitter and Periscope @MrsShipleyWBT
Nancy Stoltenberg on Twitter and Periscope @NancyStoltenber

3rd Grade - 5th Grade
Chris Rekstad on Twitter and Periscope @WBTChrisRekstad
Jasselle Cirino on Twitter and Periscope @JasselleCirino
Kate Bowski on Twitter and Periscope @KateBowski

Middle School - High School
Sarah Meador on Twitter and Periscope @MeadorScience
Andre Deshotel on Twitter and Periscope @WBTandre
Jeff Battle on Twitter and Periscope @Jeff_Battle

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

WBT Writing…All Year Long …and Beyond!

Teaching children how to write is challenging, but writing orally and in print daily makes all the difference!  When I introduced the WBT Writing methods, I found it made a huge change in my style of teaching and in the results of all my students, which included RSP and EL (English Learners)!

Here is the writing schedule I use in a 2nd grade classroom.  Don’t hesitate to contact me with questions!!  I have included lots of links in the orange highlighted terms!  Click away!!

Aug-Sep  They started the year with daily Genius Ladder sentence building on the first 2 rungs.  Many of my students had to learn specifically what a noun and a verb are, and of course, what a sentence is.  We honed in on the Power Pix for these 3 concepts right away, and revisit them often in the daily morning Power Pix Wall practice

As they became more proficient with the Oral Writing of the sentence, we moved into the Extender Rung.  It was very important to be introducing the Brainies along with this.  image

When we got to the Extender, the Super Speed Grammar practice was a great support to understanding how to build more detailed sentences.  Also, because they are 2nd graders, I had started the practice of having them write the Genius Sentence in a Journal they keep in their desk. 

Sep-Oct I found as I moved up, I was continually reviewing the basics of the Blah/Spicy.  This allowed me to set up a frame on the board for independent seat work.  This was great for learners at all levels. It was also a great way for me to assess individual progress.  They were, and still are, required to read their sentences back to themselves using gestures, including Brainy gestures, as they edit/add on to the sentence(s) they have created.  (Red Green Proofreading is part of this also).

I moved into the Triple Whammy frame, and did a lot of Oral Writing practice.  We started very simple, as shown in The Writing Game download.  Again, the Brainies are big here.  Just like the original Genius Ladder, the beginning Triple Whammy frame was rather blah/simple.  These became more elaborate with practice.  Coach's webcast #589 on this subject is excellent!  They worked with a partner and created several Triple Whammy sentences from a list of topics. Using a Who, What, Why, Where, When question on a topic, students created an appropriate Triple Whammy response, thus creating a Topic Sentence.

Oct-Dec  With the experience of creating lots of Triple Whammy topic sentences, it was an easy transition to move on to the Micro-essay.  I used a color coded cue system on the board to help students get a format going. I leave this up on my board.  I find my higher learners grasp the pattern fairly quickly and don't need the visual as much as the slower learners.  Look at webcast #589 again.  Here is how I set mine up.  I indent my model on the board, and we use the Brainy, "New Paragraph" and gesture, when we start to read the paragraph. To help students avoid "getting stuck" with the problem of creating different sentence starters each time, I initially start with the ordinal transition words.  Later, I will move them into choosing their own sentence starters.

     ______________________  ______________, ______________, and

_________________First, __________________because_______________

_______. Second, _________________________  because _______________

__________________________. Finally, ________________________________

because ___________________________. In conclusion,  __________ ___________,

_____________, and ______________________.

We use this pattern every day, initially as Oral Writing, and then as print together, and finally as independent seat work. Based on your students' progress, you will decide when to move to the next level.  

The next step, was to put an Adder/Extender sentence with each of the color coded sentences.  By then, they had had lots of experience with the Brainies. Now the cue system looked like this on the board (Note: each Adder is expected to be different within the paragraph):

     ______________________  ______________, ______________, and

_________________First, __________________because_______________

_______.  Adder Second, _________________________  because _______________

__________________________.  Adder  Finally, ________________________________

because ___________________________.  Adder  In conclusion,  __________ ___________,

_____________, and ______________________.

Dec-June  Now we move to the 5 paragraph essay!  Now the cue system has changed to this:

   ______________________  ______________, ______________, and


    First, __________________because_______________

_______.  Adder

   Second, _________________________  because _______________

__________________________.  Adder

   Finally, ________________________________

because ___________________________.  Adder

    In conclusion,  __________ ___________,

_____________, and ______________________.

When I first go to the multi-paragraph format, my students learned that each time the color changed, they had to "Drop and Shove! New Paragraph!"  They literally would drop their body down a little and shove their hand across their body to emphasize the format change of the essay.  They love the FUN of this! 

We stick with this for a couple of weeks and then it changes.  They are now expected to write a total of 3 sentences in each paragraph...2 Adders. Each Adder had to be different.  They have a Brainy cue card on their desks to help them with variety.

  ______________________  ______________, ______________, and


   First, __________________because_______________

_______.  Adder Adder

    Second, _________________________  because _______________

__________________________.  Adder Adder

    Finally, ________________________________

because ___________________________.  Adder Adder

    In conclusion,  __________ ___________,

_____________, and ______________________.

(This is also the format you will be using as you begin Competition Brainies in your class.)

One element is different for me.  In my district, because we are using district writing guidelines, I had to change up the last paragraph.  My paragraph does not restate the 3 Whammies, but is a statement of reflection about the topic instead.  It looks like this:

     In conclusion, I think _____________________________________________.  I learned _________________________________________________________.

In my classroom, there is a question on the board every morning for them to respond to.  When I tell them the question (which is based on a story, science, social studies, whatever is current in your lesson plans) I say it, then say Mirror Words, and they do it with me.  I then have them turn to their partner in a Teach Okay set and talk about some possible answers to the question.  I use Uh, oh Switch! to give both partners a chance to orally participate in this discussion. (By doing this, students have a chance to get some ideas to help get their writing started...especially important for slower learners!)  I call them back with Class!  The next step is to ask them to decide what the Target words are in the question that they will need to use in their Triple Whammy topic sentence.  They just call out the main vocabulary words, and I underline them with a blue line.  For example:

How does your family celebrate Thanksgiving?  I would underline family, celebrate, and Thanksgiving.  They would be expected to write something similar to:  My family celebrates Thanksgiving by ______, _________, and ___________.  They would then proceed with the 5 paragraph essay format shown above.  They are reminded that when they finish, they are to reread with gestures (Brainies included) and edit as needed.

What is really great about this basic format, you can adapt it to any writing assignment!  They become very fluid in their writing, and you can easily move into more complex sentences.  Electronic SuperSpeed Grammar is used at least twice a week(more often at the beginning of the year). 

Hope this helps get you started on Day One, which will be here soon!  Watch for some writing samples to show you the difference WBT Writing can make with your students!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It’s Never Too Early…

Yes, I know school just got out for summer for most of us, so the thought of preparing your classroom is a distant thought!  Then why am I already getting so many school supply catalogs in the mail?!!  If you would like to get the latest and greatest new resource from Whole Brain Teaching, you need to hit this link:
Coach B has done it again!  Not only does this book give you updates on the original WBT techniques, it offers you over 100 learning games to highlight critical thinking skills and heighten student engagement in your lessons.  Biggest news of all…it just hit #1 Common Core Selection on Amazon!  Oh, yeah!! 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Power of a Teacher!

This is a repeat of a post from May 20, 2013.  I find it very appropriate to share again with the culmination of another school year!  Marie Everman is an amazing teacher, just like so many educators around the world, who works tirelessly and selflessly to enrich each child’s life on so many levels!  I hope her story is a special reminder of how much each of you were able to accomplish with your special class of students this past year! Happy Summer to you all!!

The end of a school year brings a range of emotions.  The demands of seemingly endless administrative paperwork, combined with a rise in student behaviors, can make one wish the last day would come a little faster.  On the other side of it, when you reflect back on your students’ growth, you realize how blessed you were to have been a part of it all!

Today, a very special teacher of very special children posted on the WBT forum an amazing reflection on the power of a teacher to make the difference in the long term success of a child.  Marie Everman is a teacher of special needs students in West Virginia.  This year she began to incorporate the philosophy and strategies of Whole Brain Teaching to help her students reach new heights!  Here is her story:

The Genius Ladder
“If a child
can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.” Ignacio Estrada

My teaching career as a Special Educator has spanned twenty four years and I have worked with students who have had Special Needs or handicaps including LD, ED, ADHD, ESL, and oral and visual Processing Problems due to trauma, malnutrition, cultural circumstances, and other causes. In my experience, the most difficult subject to teach these children has always been written language. During my career, I have tried numerous written language programs including 4 Square Writing, Traits of Writing, writing prompts, writing journals, sentence strips, photo cards, picture books, story cards, story starters, and others. I have attended many workshops near and far over the years, many specifically designed for children with Learning Disabilities. With the arrival of the digital age, there have been webcasts, podcasts and multiple CD’s and DVD’s that promised to motivate handicapped students and teach them to write cohesive sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Nothing worked! My students were still barely able to compose an interesting simple sentence and were still inconsistent with capitalization and punctuation. I felt frustrated because I had been unable to teach them this vastly important skill. Then, Teacher Heaven opened up! I discovered Whole Brain Teaching and the Genius Ladder.

The Genius Ladder is an engaging written language plan that uses a cartoon format to teach students to write increasingly longer and more interesting sentences. Then, they build on these sentences to compose paragraphs and essays. Because the pictures and sample sentences are fun, silly, and colorful, they grab and keep students’ attention. The “Blah” sentence is the bottom rung of the ladder, and it is composed of only three words, an article, a noun, and a verb. The “Spicy” sentence is next on the ladder, and it expands the “Blah” sentence by adding an adjective to describe the noun. Next up is the “Extender” sentence which adds an adverb. On the top level is the “Genius” sentence which further extends the sentence by using two adjectives and two adverbs. The final operation needed to complete this effort involves having the students write cohesive paragraphs using their Genius sentences as the main idea. Because it contains over 500 slides, the Genius Ladder pdf contains exactly what my students’ need: lots and lots of oral practice.

This school year I am a collaborative teacher in a 3rd grade remedial RLA class, so the general educator and I both claim these students. The first week these children were introduced to the “Blah” sentence and learned to orally substitute the noun and/or the verb. We also used gestures to teach the definition of the sentence as well as the required capitalization and punctuation. The class worked as a whole with us, but also spent much time working with a partner. Then they wrote as many sentences as they could in fifteen minutes on the computer. The computer was chosen because writing on paper was such a laborious task for them, and they had rarely been successful with paper and pencil assignments earlier in their school careers. But the computer was neutral and had no prior associations with failures. The next few weeks the same teaching strategies were followed with the “Spicy,” “Extender,” and “Genius,” sentences. The day that all twenty-two of these children composed, capitalized, and punctuated complete “Genius” sentences pandemonium broke out in the computer lab! The children were out of their chairs hugging and laughing and dancing along with their teachers. The joy on their faces and in our hearts was indescribable. Coach B said teachers who use this program need to have big hankies close. (But I only needed two tissues.) That was my most wonderful day in teaching! Funtricity at its highest.

Critical thinking develops slowly in handicapped children, is an ongoing process that is measured in baby steps, and requires repetition in varied ways. Now that the students can construct sentences mechanically, they need to use higher level thinking to enable them to build cohesive paragraphs to form essays. (After mastering Genius sentence composition, we had the students begin using paper and pencil to record their thoughts.) Our strategies are to use lots of teacher prompts, to continue to write orally in whole class and partner situations, and to use gestures and onomatopoeia. What seems to work best is using examples taken from fairy tales so the children can relate their own stories to the characters and events from those stories. Of course, we use real life situations too. One of their assignments was to persuade the principal to lengthen their recess time. Their progress with the paragraphs and essays is increasing, albeit slowly. We all had to learn to walk before we could run. But they have come so far during this year, they get lots of ten finger woos from us.

In March, the Mother of All Tests, the online writing portion of the WESTEST, appeared. This requires every student in West Virginia to respond on the computer to an unknown prompt with an essay. In past years, most of the SPED students wrote a couple of sentences and quit or just gave up. But this class spent two hours writing rough drafts and typing in their essays. They insisted that we read their drafts before they were shredded because they were so proud. We won’t know how truly well they did until September when the scores are returned. But each of them is a gigantic success story to us.
“When something can be read without effort, great effort has gone into its writing”
Enrique Jardiel Poncela

The Genius Ladder rises to the summit as the crème de la crème of all writing programs which enables students with Special Needs to master the skills needed for composing sentences, paragraphs, and essays.
Thanks, Coach B and all of those great folks who work with you to make teaching successful and fun for teachers as well as students.

After I read this, I was so inspired and reminded why every day of the school year is not to be taken lightly!  Our students depend on us, even as they are leaving us on that last day of school, to always seek out the best programs and strategies we can to help them realize their full potential!  Thank you, Marie for that extra punch of energy we all need at this special time of year!

For more information on the WBT Genius Ladder, go to http://wholebrainteaching.com/

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Power Stars and the Grand KaSlami!!

Here's the latest and greatest from Coach B...." Power Stars!”  Every day put up a Power Star ... a star with a word on it. For example, Capitals or Because Clapper or Also or periods or compare, etc. This means all day when the kids are talking to each other, you are looking for them to ADD the gesture/concept during Teach-Okay. We want to move Teach-Okay beyond the crucial skill of paraphrasing and into Oral Writing and/or Critical Thinking. We will use Power Stars to get way more Oral Writing and/or Critical Thinking reps.  When you see kids using the Power Star concept, then praise them ... you see them continuing ... you can give them a star on the Super Improver Team Wall. In other words, Power Stars connect lots of our stuff to Super Improvers Team. This is easy to implement and "powerful"!  So, after you do individual Power Stars, then you can have them work on two or more ... then, Freebie Power Stars!  Tell your students, "You pick the ones you and your partner want to work on ... and let me see if I can guess which ones you picked."   Finally, there’s the Grand KaSlami!  A Grand KaSlami is when the teacher selects five Power Stars and the kids try to use them all ... oh, what a Grand KaSlami that would be ... "
Check out these pictures below of three of the Power Stars my students used during Teach-Okay! I started with the Capitals Star, then added the because Star, and finally put up the For example, Star.  Even though my students have been utilizing Oral Writing and Air Punctuation techniques all year, the Stars became COOL visual cues! The CHERRY on TOP was the SIT (Super Improvers Team)!  This winning combination together inspired them to elevate their participation with their partner.  The best result was the higher level of critical thinking I observed as I moved around the classroom during the Teach-Okay sets during the day.  Each day, I changed the Stars out and built back up to three on the board at once.  We are working toward the Grand KaSlami!
Power Star Pic 1             Power Star Pic 2

Here is the FREE download of the complete set of Power Stars!  Share your experiences with us!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Crazy Professor Reading…Un-silent Reading!

The Crazy Professor Reading Game is a multi-step program that engages a student into the world of written language in a whole new way! In the Silent Reading segment of the game, Chris Biffle states, ”A major problem with silent reading as an in-class activity is that students drift off into their own worlds. If you’ve instructed your students to quietly illustrate what they read with gestures, you can easily tell who is on, or off, task. In addition, using gestures as they read will increase students’ comprehension. Instead of glossing over phrases, they must find a physical equivalent of the meaning of what they’re reading.”

Now here is a change! For young students…take the ‘Silent’ out! Beginning readers need to HEAR the language as they read. They need to bring BIG kinesthetic movement through gestures to the process to increase the understanding of the printed word. Later as a student matures in the reading process, ‘Silent’ reading takes its place!

So how do you get a student started in this method of UN-silent reading? Model! Model! Model! When you introduce a selection, use Mirror Words and pull your students into the wonder of the words. Create dramatic gestures that imprint meaning into the vocabulary. This is not only important for English Learners, but for all learners of the written language! Don’t limit this method to just literature. Bring math, science, and even the Lunch Menu to life! If it’s in print, bring new meaning to it!

Here is a short sample of the Crazy Professor Reading Game in the Un-silent mode with a group of second graders.


The next level of the Crazy Professor Reading Game is Paraphrasing…Yes, 2nd graders CAN do this!  After many readings, students are now ready to retell the story to a partner in dramatic style with their own words!  Amazing!  I incorporate ‘Switch!’ to keep the engagement and energy high!  The print comes to life again through the words and gestures of each individual student!  Watch again as this same group of students retell the story!

For more information, go to http://wholebrainteaching.com/

Sunday, February 23, 2014

WBT Word Problem Solvers…Prove It!

All through the year, my students are given a variety of problem solving scenarios in their Math studies.  Word Problems have been interwoven to bring specific application of math strategies into real life settings. This not only requires students to read and solve the problem, but also to justify their solution…Prove it! 

‘Prove It!’ in Whole Brain Teaching is used across the curriculum to encourage higher levels of critical thinking skills.  We incorporate Oral Writing techniques to raise the bar on communication skills.  We add in the Because Clapper to extend the responses beyond simple memorization of facts.

I use the WBT 5 Step Lesson Template to get the foundation of solving a word problem established.  The Critical Thinking step of the lesson is based on Oral Writing and WBT Writing. Below is a script I used for my class:

Question: How do I solve a math word problem?

Teacher: Class! Class!
Students: Yes! Yes!
Teacher: Today, we are going to learn how to solve a word problem!  Today, we are going to learn how to solve a word problem! Tell your partner how extremely excited you are to learn how to solve a word problem! (Students quickly turn to their partners and share their anticipation to learn how to solve a word problem. Get the Limbic system pumped up right from the start!)
Teacher: Class! Class! Chicka Boom Boom, Class!
Students:  Yes! Yes! Chicka Boom Boom, Yes!
Teacher:  How do I solve a math word problem? How do I solve a math word problem?
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: How do I solve a math word problem?
Students: How do I solve a math word problem?
Teacher: Teach!
Students: Okay!
Teacher: Oh, class!
Students: Oh, yes!

Answer the Question

Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: To solve word problems in Math, I need to read the problem twice while using lively gestures. (Use Air Punctuation gestures to note capital letters and punctuation.)
Students: (echo) To solve word problems in Math, I need to read the problem twice while using lively gestures.
Teacher: Teach!
Students: Okay!
Teacher: Classity, class!
Students: Yessity, yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: After I read the word problem two times, I need to follow six steps to solve the problem.
Students: After I read the word problem two times, I need to follow six steps to solve the problem.
Teacher: Tell your partner, ‘You need to follow six steps to solve the problem!’
Students: You have to follow six steps to solve the problem!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 1 Circle Key Numbers!  Step 1 Circle Key Numbers!   (Gesture: draw a circle up high)
Students: Step 1 Circle Key Numbers!  Circle Key Numbers!  (Repeat gesture)
Teacher: Teach!
Students: Okay!
Partner 1 rises quickly with hands up and teaches Step 1. Partner 2 mirrors the gestures. Teacher calls out, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Students respond, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Partner 1 quickly sits down and raises hands preparing to Mirror Partner 2, who is quickly standing to teach Step 1!
Teacher:  Class!
Students:  Yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 2 Underline the question. Underline the Key Words. Step 2 Underline the question. Underline the Key Words.  (Gesture: Sweep hand across to underline for the Question and again for the Key Words.)
Students: Step 2 Underline the question. Underline the Key Words. Step 2 Underline the question. Underline the Key Words. (Gesture: Sweep hand across to underline for the question and again for the Key Words.)
Teacher: (Clap Clap) First two steps! Teach!
Students: (Clap Clap) First two steps! Okay!
Teacher: Oh, Class! Oh, Class!
Students: Oh, Yes! Oh, Yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 3 Determine the Operation! Add Subtract Multiply Divide Step 3 Determine the Operation! Add Subtract Multiply Divide  (Use gestures to designate each)
Students: Step 3 Determine the Operation! Add Subtract Multiply Divide Step 3 Determine the Operation! Add Subtract Multiply Divide (Use gestures to designate each)
Teacher: (Stomp Stomp) First three steps! Teach!
Students: (Stomp Stomp) First three steps! Okay!
Partner 1 rises quickly with hands up and teaches Steps 1-3. Partner 2 mirrors the gestures. Teacher calls out, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Students respond, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Partner 1 quickly sits down and raises hands preparing to Mirror Partner 2, who is quickly standing to teach Steps 1-3!
Teacher: Math! Math! Class!
Students: Math! Math! Yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 4 Write an equation! Step 4 Write an equation!  (Gesture a pencil writing in the air)
Students: Step 4 Write an equation! Step 4 Write an equation!  (Gesture a pencil writing in the air)
Teacher: (Snap fingers twice) First four steps! Teach!
Students: (Snap fingers twice) First four steps! Okay!
Partner 1 rises quickly with hands up and teaches Steps 1-4. Partner 2 mirrors the gestures. Teacher calls out, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Students respond, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Partner 1 quickly sits down and raises hands preparing to Mirror Partner 2, who is quickly standing to teach Steps 1-4!
Teacher: Smart! Smart! Class!
Students: Smart! Smart! Yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 5 Solve the equation! Step 5 Solve the equation! (Gesture pencil writing in the air)
Students: Step 5 Solve the equation! Step 5 Solve the equation! (Gesture pencil writing in the air)
Teacher: First five steps! Teach!
Students: First five steps! Okay!
Partner 1 rises quickly with hands up and teaches Steps 1-5. Partner 2 mirrors the gestures. Teacher calls out, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Students respond, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Partner 1 quickly sits down and raises hands preparing to Mirror Partner 2, who is quickly standing to teach Steps 1-5!
Teacher: (Clap Snap) Class! (Clap Snap) Class!
Students: (Clap Snap) Yes! (Clap Snap) Yes!
Teacher: Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words!
Teacher: Step 6 Prove it! Step 6 Prove it!  (Gesture is clap hands together quickly twice)
Students: Step 6 Prove it! Step 6 Prove it!  (Gesture is clap hands together quickly twice)
Teacher: First six steps! Teach!
Students: First six steps! Okay!
Partner 1 rises quickly with hands up and teaches Steps 1-6. Partner 2 mirrors the gestures. Teacher calls out, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Students respond, ‘Uh, oh! Switch!’ Partner 1 quickly sits down and raises hands preparing to Mirror Partner 2, who is quickly standing to teach Steps 1-6!
Teacher: Class-a-doodle doo!
Students: Yes-a-doodle doo!
Teacher: Give yourselves a Ten Finger Rolling Woooo for learning all the steps to solving Math Word Problems!
Students: Wooooooooo!


Using a math word problem preprinted on a student worksheet, work with students to follow the steps below to solve the problem. Use Mirror Words with gestures to read the printed problem twice before starting Step 1!
Step 1: Circle Key Numbers (KN)
Step 2: Underline Question Underline Key Words (KW)
Step 3: Determine the Operation(s) Add, Subtract, Multiply, Divide (write and circle after the question)
Step 4: Write an equation
Step 5: Solve the equation (includes student work, such as student-drawn pictures, used to determine correct answer)
Step 6: Prove It! (Student must write complete sentences explaining/justifying the solution to the problem. Academic language [College Talk] is a must to receive credit for this step.) I have the example frames below posted on the white board to model the expectation.

Example: My answer makes sense because I___________ and I ___________. Also, I ________________. Therefore, _________________________________.

When a student finishes writing the Prove It sentences, he then uses the Sockless Puppets (Brain Toy) to read his sentences out loud to himself. When the majority of students are finished writing, I will call out Class! They respond, Yes! I clap my hands together twice quickly and say, Prove it! They clap twice and say, Okay! Students will then turn and Partner 1 stands quickly to begin proving his answer, while Partner 2 mirrors his gestures. Call out, Uh, oh! Switch! Students respond, Uh, oh! Switch! Partner 2 quickly rises and begins speaking as Partner 1 mirrors him.

Reminder…you should be walking among the students during the Teach-Okay to Praise, Prompt, and Leave! You will be able to quickly informally assess student engagement and progress.

At this point, I may Call Out a student to share their Prove It comments with the class:
Teacher: All eyes on Mary! (I point to Mary with arms outstretched.)
Students: All eyes on Mary, Mary, Mary! (Students are turning and pointing to Mary with arms outstretched.)
Mary: Class! Students: Yes! Mary: Mirror words! Students: Mirror Words! Mary will begin to speak in short phrases to allow students to echo and gesture with her. If Mary has difficulty, she has been taught to say, Help me! The class may call out suggestions to her. When she hears one she likes, she calls the class back with Class! They respond, Yes! She proceeds as before. Upon completion, I will ask the class to give her a Ten finger Wooo!

The Explore step of this lesson will require many examples of word problems for students to become fluent with the process. Model!  Model!  Model!  When you feel the majority of your class is proficient, go to the next step of this lesson.

Assessment: QT! (Quick Test)

Create a set of True/False statements about the steps to solving word problems. When you call out QT, students will bury their eyes into their arm on desk and place other hand flat on the desk top. When they agree with your statement, they will raise their thumb up. When they disagree with a statement, they will point their thumb down. Have a student roster handy to note students who answer your statements incorrectly.

Sample Statements:
1. Read the word problem at least two times before solving the problem. (True)
2. The last step to solving a word problem is to circle the Key Numbers. (False)

Critical Thinking

Have students explain why the order of the steps to solve a word problem is necessary by using a Triple Whammy response. Post a sentence frame on the board to encourage participation from all styles of learners.

You need to solve a word problem using all six steps in order because ________, ________, and ______. First, _______________ because ______________. Second, _______________ because _____________________. Finally, _____________________ because ________________________. In conclusion, you need to solve a word problem using all six steps in order because _______, ________, and __________.

(To see an example of a 5 Step WBT Lesson, watch http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuuBtwMyB4w)