Hi! My name is Nancy Stoltenberg and I teach 2nd grade in Palmdale, CA. I am so blessed to live in the Antelope Valley right next to the California Poppy Preserve! Every Spring the desert comes alive with color here! Just like the desert, my second grade students put out their beautiful blossoms of growth after all the hard work of the year! They are a sight to behold!!
Happy Holidays! May the blessings of this beautiful season be with you all! It's an amazing time to be a teacher! When you are able to regroup from the hectic pace of these past three weeks in your classroom, may you realize it's also the time to take a deep breath and reflect on teaching habits and patterns. What's working? What needs to change in order to encourage and nourish growth in our students? WBT encourages educators in this practice of self evaluation in order to bring our students to higher levels of engagement and critical thinking. It's too easy to become "comfortable" and fall back into old ways. With the beginning of 2012, the weekly Live Webinars will resume on-line every Tuesday at 5pm PST with Coach B! It's the perfect opportunity to listen and personally interact with WBT staff and teachers from around the world! I always learn something new, and am so motivated by the input from fellow educators to Step it up! Check out wholebrainteaching.com for the latest updates! Happy New Year!!!!!!
December is here! Amidst the hustle and bustle of the holiday expectations, another quarter of school is ending...District Benchmarks, Parent Conferences, Report Cards! Thanks to Coach B, the WBT gifts are arriving just in time! You have got to see his new edition of Genius Ladder complete with a Cookie Tray of sample Extenders! Yum! We spend a great deal of time using Oral Writing in my class to model language, grammar, and mechanics. Now, thanks to Coach B, we will be able to enhance our Adder Sentences with Dice! Let the games begin! Go to wholebrainteaching.com today and pick up your FREE gifts!! Jingle, Jingle, Jingle with a big pouf of Glitter!
What a special time of year to reflect on all our special blessings. As educators, this time of year is often the time we count down the hours 'til Thanksgiving Break! I know I can find myself wearing thin with all the behaviors that seem very exaggerated by the approaching holidays. Now, more than ever is the time to reach into those "back pockets" and pull out all those special tools that WBT offers! The Super Improvers Wall has been a lifesaver right now! I have 5 students who just reached the Iguanadon Level, which means, PICTURES!! I now have students suddenly trying to earn extra stars, so they can get to that Picture level! Universal Homework Model is on FIRE right now! Students are ASKING to write Poetry!! Yes, those are tears of joy! It's so big that the 2nd Grade classes are competing to earn those Team Stars so we can have a major Grade Level Mind Soccer game! Bring it on, Mrs. Blaze and Mrs. Kackley! Power Pix are swallowing up the wall! Daily Practice is a requirement every morning! And don't I know it if something comes up to change that morning routine! Genius Ladder is the common language for writing! Today, I had a student running into class waving her Homework, "I wrote three Because Clappers in my story last night!" Yep! Tears of joy again! So, in conclusion, I am counting my blessings this season, all 31 smiling faces!! Oh, yeah!!!!!
This plan works for teaching the most complex concept, to how to line up for lunch in a straight line! "Teachable moments" become more meaningful by following this Five Step Lesson template. Teaching the Power Pix is based on this plan. Not only does the format provide repetition and practice, the Evaluation Step provides immediate feedback on student achievement and need for reteaching. Critical Thinking Skills instruction allows for transfer of knowledge across subject areas. By using a variety of Brain Toys, the Golden Thread of Fun is woven through out to heighten student engagement. Go to wholebrainteaching.com to download the free E-book, Lesson Design and Delivery.
Making this the standard format for lesson delivery allows my students to anticipate the instruction, and also the FUN!! Let's DANCE!!
Props! Action! After watching Coach B's Webinar on Brain toys, I realized it was definitely time to put another toy into play. So far this year, my students have used the Air Whiteboard, the Because Clapper, the Sockless Hand Puppets, and the Example Popper to further their critical thinking skills in a variety of subject areas. They are fun and encourage great student engagement. For the intro to Props, I followed Coach B's suggestion to just hold up a pencil and ask, "What is it?" After modeling and asking for complete sentences for responses, I heard, "This is a stick." "This is a ruler." We had been reading a story about a young girl in New York City whose grandma worked in a NYC subway token booth. Now each student and his partner used their pencil props to create sentences about the story, using Tag Team to allow each partner to finish his sentence before Switching. "This is the subway train track." "This is the subway car." "This is the pole in the subway car to hang onto." Each student's response inspired his partner to raise the bar and get more creative with her response. On Day Two of Props, we extended our sentences with Because Clappers, still focusing on our NYC story about the subway. "This is the subway car because it is long and smooth." Day 3, of course, was Genius Ladder! As a class, we started with a Prop sentence from Day 2 as our topic sentence, and began to create Adders with Spice! I challenged my class to "Go for a Quad!" So glad I've got another Brain Toy in my back pocket! Does the fun ever end...not in WBT!
Conferences are finished! Intervention plans formulated! It was great to be able to offer and demonstrate WBT methods for parents that they could use to extend critical thinking skills at home with their children. Parents have great desire to help their child, but are too often unsure about the most efficient and effective way to do that within time and energy constraints. The parent's "after school" experience may not begin until evening due to work, commute, and general family needs, like getting dinner on the table. By then, both parent and child are not usually in their prime for reviewing homework, that was usually completed in an After-school or Daycare setting. I am showing parents how the use of gestures when reading encourages better comprehension and vocabulary development, and it's fun!! One on one interaction through Speed Read and Speed Math activities has been another outlet for parents to help their child grow in reading and math fact fluency. Quick, efficient, and effective! Parent and child alike take pleasure in seeing the improvements through daily repetitions. I receive good feedback from parents about their child's enthusiasm for going to school everyday because "Learning is fun!" Oh, yeah!!!!!
Yes, First Quarter is over! Parent Conferences are going full speed! It's a reflective time for parent and me alike as we come together to discuss student progress and next steps for instruction. It is so exciting this year to be able to offer new WBT strategies for parents to use at home including Universal Homework Model (UHM), Speed Read, and Speed Math. All allow their child to challenge himself at his own individual level. Through the UHM, students are stepping up their efforts to complete homework more carefully, and choosing to do EXTRA WORK with a reward of Mind Soccer for all those extra earned stars. Here's to Quarter Two!
Tomorrow we play.....Mind Soccer! My class earned its fifth star for winning the Scoreboard Smilie count this past Tuesday, so anticipation is high for TWO minutes of LEARNING! Awesome! The class will be divided into odds and evens by student numbers. Questions will focus on our current study of Nouns and Coin Values. In preparing for Friday's game, it's very important to have LOTS of short answer questions prepared, as this is a fast moving game. Go Team! I can hear the Cheers and Groans now! Let the game begin! To be continued...
Note: Great sources for information about Mind Soccer can be found at wholebrainteaching.com in the Video Library:Mind Soccer Program 507 Check it out!!
There are so many great tools in WBT for classroom management, and the Super Improvers Wall is an amazing way to reach ALL students! I remind them that the only person they are competing with is themself, and I will be watching to see how each is growing and improving. This week we had two students move to Level 2! What an exciting moment! We all stopped at the end of the day to gather round as the two white cards were exchanged for red! Each student received a Ten Finger Woooo with a Sizzle and cheers! Levels are labeled as dinosaur names, so the Brachiosaurus just became an Ankylosaur! The T-rex is the ultimate level, of course! When the white cards were pulled out, I wrote a note of congratulations on the back and sent the card home to be displayed proudly!
My teaching career took on a new dimension this past Monday when I received an e-mail from Coach B and Chris Rekstad notifying me of my acceptance into the WBT Intern Program for 2011-2012. What an honor!!! Thank you! Thank you!
This Saturday, 9-24-11, my school district, Westside Union in Lancaster, CA will be hosting the Multi-Breakout SoCal WBT Conference! The amazing Coach B, Chris Rekstad, Andrea Schindler, and Angela Macias will be presenting the latest and greatest techniques in classroom management and critical thinking. Let's hear a mighty "Oh, yeah!" For those of you who are not able to attend this one, watch the Events Calendar at wholebrainteaching.com for the latest info. Each Conference is powerful and worthwhile for every educator, no matter the level of experience.
This past week, my class and I had the amazing experience of having Coach Biffle come to our classroom to not only observe, but also to teach a lesson in Oral Writing using complete sentences and adders. I am so privileged to have had the creator of WBT personally impart his wisdom and knowledge to my class and myself. Unforgettable!! It brought a tear to my eye to watch one of my EL students stand, and with Coach B's guidance, produce and recite four complete sentences on his favorite sport to his peers. Ten Finger Wooooo with a Sizzle! Many thanks Coach B from my class and me for making a difference in Education. You are touching so many lives in ways we have yet to imagine!
Just finished Week 3! That always seems to be a good marker for settling into routines. New students are beginning to feel more at home with their new school, and parameters have been set to create a sense of security for all students...5 Basic Rules and a Scoreboard! Whole Brain Teaching allows for the variety of 32 personalities coming together to create and thrive in a unique culture called "SECOND GRADE!"Love my job!
Power Pix are going up! The visual clues of the signs and the daily practice of gestures enables everyone to participate and learn! The ready-made 5 Step Lesson Plans for each of the Pix make it so easy to plan and prepare for mandated curriculum.
The Writing Game is awesome! We are working really hard on Blah and Spicy to encourage good foundations in writing. Using our Air White Boards is a great tool for oral writing. I like how these encourage those writers who can get "hung up" on holding that pencil just right, to just let their hair hang down and let the writing juices flow! "Adders, here we come!" And have I said, "I love my job!"
It's Week Two in second grade! Procedures! Procedures! Procedures! The five classroom rules, class-yes, scoreboard, and hands and eyes have become the mainstay of our classroom unity. I love how quickly these have become a natural part of their response to instruction. Mirror, teach-ok, and switch are keys to student engagement! Have been following Farrah Shipley's advice for speeding up response times with bodies up, lines, seats, papers 3peat!. It's amazing how even my slowest little snail can "Move It" under team expectations, and of course, "Oh, yeah!" If you haven't tried it yet, get a small portable scoreboard to carry with you! Power! Just got the latest version of WBT Model Classroom! Checking out the section on Super Improvers Wall! Tomorrow is Back to School Night!
After an amazing summer, the "greased" wheels are spinning as I prepare for a new class of second graders. Since returning from the incredible conference in Phoenix, I can't work fast enough to absorb all the new info and develop a classroom layout to fit the model classroom. I am so fortunate to be working with other 2nd grade teachers at my site who are following the same WBT program. Our entire grade level team is excited to begin our second year in this program using Genius Ladder, Crazy Professor, Mind Soccer, and the list goes on! Here's to a great year of learning and growing!