Sunday, October 30, 2011

Brain Toys!

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!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Parents and 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!!!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Parent-Teacher Conferences!

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!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mind Soccer!!

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 in the Video Library:Mind Soccer Program 507 Check it out!!