Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Beauty of the Heart

At this special time of year, as we offer thanks for all our blessings, I would like to share a recent experience at my school.  On November 13th, my best friend and fellow 2nd grade WBT teacher arrived at school at 6:30 am to discover her classroom had been destroyed by vandals over the Veterans Day holiday weekend.  She was devastated by what she found!

To begin with, Robin’s room is a wealth of material accumulated and created by a 30+ year career in teaching young children.  In the last three years, she has also transformed it into a model classroom for Whole Brain Teaching.  Her students benefit from her amazing talents everyday! 

At this time of year, our school collects food cans for the less fortunate to be put into baskets for Thanksgiving meals.  Many of the recipients come from our own school population.  Robin’s class had also been collecting money for the Student Council for evergreen wreaths to be laid on Veterans’ graves the first week in December.  Her students had responded generously to both causes, even though it’s a sacrifice to do so.

When Robin entered her room that morning, she discovered that every inch from floor to ceiling had been covered by the contents of all those collected cans of food.  In addition, vile words and pictures covered walls and ceiling tiles.  Her computers were thrown about, along with the classroom projector she had recently purchased when the school funds did not allow for replacing her old one. Every cord to any machine had been cut and destroyed.  Every student piece of posted work had also been destroyed by the food or from being ripped down.  The classroom sink had been plugged and allowed to run for some time, evident from large pools of water still standing in the room.  Every teacher gift mug she had received and set out for display had been smashed and shattered across desk tops and carpet. Even her own family pictures had been drawn on.  After the police came to investigate and test for fingerprints, Robin was allowed to re-enter the room and learn that at some time during the vandalism, her personal collection of children’s books, over 800 books, had been urinated on and covered with food juices.  The shock and hurt to Robin was about more than the value of these lost items, but about the memories of all her students through the years reading page by page to find out, “what happens next!”

When Robin’s students arrived for class about an hour after she found this, she went into teacher mode to shelter them from this vision.  She was given an empty portable outfitted only in large 6th grade desks.  We quickly put supplies together collected from other classrooms.  She started her day with her normal, “Class!”, and was answered back with a hearty, “Yes!”   Student engagement and learning were off and running despite the circumstances!

Lots of questions that day from students wondering why their friends in that class had changed rooms.  When we explained in subtle terms that some very unkind people had ruined the classroom and books with the collected food, and yes, had taken the money collected for the Veterans, the looks of shock and dismay were heartfelt!

So now for the special part of this whole tragic story, I need to explain what happened the next two days before we left for Thanksgiving Break.  If you have ever had the opportunity to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life”, remember back to the ending when all the town’s residents showed up with gifts.  That’s exactly what happened at our school!  Students from across the school brought in bags of canned food, children’s books they had taken from their own shelves at home, and dollar bills for new Veteran wreaths.  Word spread to schools across the district and book drives were initiated!  Robin’s previous students that had moved on to middle and high school set up collections at their sites!

My very humble friend was overwhelmed by the immediate responses of caring and generosity shown to her and her class!  She will not get back into her classroom for awhile, but when she does, she knows the love of this generous and caring community will surround her students and help bring some normalcy back to their young lives.

This weekend was the infamous Black Friday weekend of shopping, but all I could think of was the heartfelt generosity of an economically challenged population, who gave from their hearts to a very special teacher and her 30 very innocent children!  Life is good!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

LADDERS to Critical Thinking!

Whole Brain Teaching is raising the bar again! “Total student engagement is a necessity in ensuring  students are participants in the learning process.”  Such a generic statement, but it is the buzz statement on the educational stage currently. Administrators have it printed prominently on teacher evaluation forms.  Teachers specifically notate it on daily lesson plans.  Parents see it under Study Skills on report cards.  I “googled” it and found 4,200,000 results!  Amazing!

Student engagement is one vital puzzle piece in enhancing the education of the individual child.  Educators need to seize those moments of engagement and, within a stimulating and well-planned learning environment, address the development of the child’s ability to think critically.
Developing a child’s ability to think critically and problem solve in a variety of situations must be recognized as a life long journey, beginning very early in life.  Whole Brain Teaching theory and practice acknowledges that and offers an intense program leading to increased student engagement and ultimately higher levels of critical thinking skills.

Two specific techniques offered to teachers by WBT for critical thinking development is the use of oral and written language within informal and formal settings.  The traditional classroom has accepted the quick question and simple one word answers as satisfactory.  Unfortunately,  answers as such stop there and never call upon the child to support the given answer.  Welcome the Cosmic Genius Ladder courtesy of Coach Chris Biffle and Whole Brain Teaching! (WBT Video Library #538)  In this arena, students are taught and given continuous practice in answering questions individually and in “choral” with the class, with complete sentence answers beginning with the subject addressed and the answer to the question. 


For example, “Why did Bob go home after the ballgame?”  “After the ballgame, Bob went home.” 
The next level is Critical Thinking.  Using the same method of question and answer, the student/class extends the answer with evidence.

THINKING!”   Chris Biffle


“Bob went home after the ballgame because (Pitty-Pat Clapper) he wanted to.”  This answer is an example of weak evidence.

“Bob went home after the ballgame because (Because Clapper) he had to finish his math homework for school.”  This answer is an example of strong evidence.


This is a student created sample from my 2nd grade class written independently after many various sessions of oral practice with the Genius Ladder and Cosmic Ladder format. 


The expectation of producing strong evidence in response to questions is becoming more automatic in my classroom with each day.  As an instructor, it is our responsibility to “set the bar” for our students.  Who will if we don’t?

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Leaves and WBT!

How can it be?  We’ve been in school for six and a half weeks!  Fall officially started!  District Benchmark assessments have been delivered for administering!  I’m scheduling Parent Conferences to begin next week!  In the midst of all this is WBT!  Oh, yeah!
My class is a shining group of WBT Stars!  Rules are now being led every day by distinguished Class Leaders.  The Scoreboard is in full operation, complemented by the Super Improvers Team!  We no longer have just white cards reflecting Level One.  There are now pops of red cards showing here and there for Level Two!  There was major celebrating the day that first student earned the 10th star.  Completed Level Cards are always sent home for the Family Celebration, followed by the “refrigerator posting”.
Procedures with 3peats can be heard throughout the day…Line, line, line!, Papers, papers, papers!, Page 136, page 136, page 136!  Breaking our time record is a daily goal!  The Scoreboard is a great source of inspiration here, as students know they have to get more smilies than frownies by the end of the day in order to earn that extra minute of Mind Soccer!
Having a strong WBT classroom management plan in place can only lead to one place!  That’s right, it’s Teacher Heaven in Room 4!  Enjoy the brilliant colors of Fall!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back To School Night with WBT

Every year, within a few days of school starting, most schools hold the traditional Back To School Night. Parents come to meet their child’s teacher and hear an overview of the new school year. At my school, there are often many children in attendance with their parents. This is usually because of child care, and sometimes because the child is the translator for the parent.

My 2nd grade team of four teachers started making this event a team presentation a few years ago, with all our parents in attendance in the same room. Our goals have been to educate the parents to grade level expectations, district and state mandates, and general school information.

Three years ago, Whole Brain Teaching entered the second grade classrooms of my school! Back To School Night has not looked the same since! Parents come in prepared for a “typical” listen to a short teacher spiel, grab a handout, and move onto the sibling’s classroom talk! They’ve just come from work, soccer practice, etc. Needless to say, they are weary and just want to check off the yearly “obligation box”!

Now, to better illustrate what’s coming, I need to back up to the first day of school. If this is the first time to my blog, please read the post prior to this one, where I describe introducing students to Whole Brain Teaching. By the time our school hosts Back To School night, our students have had five full days of instruction, rules, and procedures using WBT techniques. On the day of the parent event, each of the team teachers explains to her students that if they attend that evening, they might be called on to demonstrate what they have been doing in school so far.

Picture a packed cafeteria of parents, grandparents, children, siblings and the general loud echoes of voices bouncing off the bare walls.

“Class! Class!” “Yes! Yes!” “Classity, class!” “Yesity, yes!”

The 2nd grade students’ voices swell in unison, like a well oiled machine, from every corner in the room! And then there is silence! Oh, yeah! Parents are stunned, and students are beaming!

“Bodies, up!” “Bodies, up! Up! Up!” Every 2nd grade student is now standing! You can still hear a pin drop! “Line!” “Line! Line! Line!” The students make their way from their positions near family to the front of the room!

With almost 80 students now standing up front facing the audience, we start the presentation of the 5 Rules! What a chorus line! And then, the roar of applause and whistles fill the room! What a moment of celebration!

“Seat!” “Seat! Seat! Seat!” The students quickly and quietly return to their places in the audience. Let the teacher presentation begin!

The power of that quick student performance cemented the strength of the second grade team by showing the parents that our teachers and students, and now parents, will work as a team to reach the same goal…a fantastic education for the children based on state, district, and school site standards and expectations!

Each teacher then proceeds to explain a portion of the 2nd grade plan, and the use of Whole Brain Teaching to reinforce and individualize the instruction for each child. Not one parent left the assembly early, and the handouts were sought out!

The school year has now officially begun! First Hour! First Day! First Parent Team Meeting! It’s going to be a great year! No “bench warmers” in this crowd! Oh, yeah!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

And the New Year Begins…!

This is my third year starting the school year with WBT, but this has to be the best one ever! I have an amazing group of 2nd graders, who very eagerly responded to my first direction of the day, “When I say Class, you say Yes! Class!” “Yes!” “However I say Class, you say Yes. Classity Class!” “Yesity Yes!” Love, love, love that command! It never fails to get your group together!

Coach B recently presented webcasts on the First Hour and the First Day. (See the WBT Video Library #532 and #533) Using the suggested schedule for the day, I organized my presentation accordingly. I loved the flexibility it gave me to adjust it to my school’s schedule that day too!

First Day Schedule

I posted this list on my board for the students to see as they walked in. Not only did the schedule keep me on target throughout the day, it kept the interest of my students up. This schedule contained terms that were brand new to them. They quickly found that just learning a rule also required participation with gestures and lots of repetition!

Rule #1, “Follow directions quickly!” was introduced and practiced several times then, and often through the day. Teaching procedures using 3peat, involved the repetition of this rule several times. Setting your expectations is very important that first hour and day! We repeatedly used “Seats, Seats, Seats”, “Bodies up, up, up”, and “Lines, lines, lines” during the day.

Three peat

By introducing the Scoreboard, and emphasizing that the students in my class work as a team to support each other, student participation went even higher! Smilies were not easily given, which made students work very hard to earn them. They had to learn how to “wait for it” before giving a quick clap of hands with an, “Oh, yeah!” after I made the tally mark. When I gave a Frownie, “Hug those ears!” meant a very quick “Uh!”, as they raised their shoulders up to their ears. Note, Smilies can be earned as a result of even one student’s special efforts, but a Frownie may only be given for a Team mistake, not an individual error.

Coach B’s new Name Game was not only fantastic for learning my students’ names quickly, it was a great way to set my expectations for getting students to answer questions with complete sentences!

Name Game

When I asked, “What is your name?”, I modeled how I expected them to answer. “My name is …” Since I expect “college talk” in my class this year, we get the ball rolling with the expectation of answering in complete sentences the first day!

After lunch, we worked on the other 4 Rules, and I introduced Teach/Okay and then Mirror to model and reinforce the new procedures. Modeling the right and wrong way is especially important to demonstrate your expectations also! With these “tools” in their back pockets it was time for a Fun Burst!

fun Burst 2

Fun Burst script

Fun Burst Warning

The Fun Burst in the afternoon was especially effective in helping students release some energy, while also keeping the learning mode intact! As Coach B states in the slide above, the Class/Yes is a must for instant control!

blah Oral writing

Oral Writing was the finale of the day. We worked on Blah and Spicy sentences! I used a frame sentence, “The dog is big.” Students, working with their partner, came up with as many words as they could to replace dog. I was able to incorporate Teach/Okay into this activity since they had used it earlier with the rules. For Spicy, we switched to, “The brown dog is nice.” Again, students worked with their partner to replace the word brown with as many words as they could. Working with a partner encourages participation from everyone, especially children who are not comfortable sharing with the whole class yet.

“Backpacks! Backpacks! Backpacks!” Off to waiting parents with lots of experiences to share about the first day! Oh, yeah!!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Prep Week…WBT Style!

On Monday, the school year began with the presentation of the Keys to The Classroom! Well, actually, it was just a matter of signing a district form and getting my keys back from our awesome secretary! This is my 27th Key Signing! I have to say, no matter what number it is, the same feelings of anticipation and excitement swelled up this year as they did so many years ago!

Turn the key, step in, and voila!

room prep

The “blank canvas” of the classroom can be a little daunting at first! Where to begin?! That “take a deep breath” feeling eased up a lot 3 years ago when I made the plunge into Whole Brain Teaching! Yes, I still haunt the local teacher store, dollar store, etc. for great deals on supplies. I joined TPT and TN this year too! The big difference now is that my walls aren’t just meant for eye-catching posters and decorator apples!

The elements of a WBT classroom allow for the creative style of individual teachers, but the five most important elements that go up first are the Super Improvers Wall, the Power Pix grid wall, the Genius Ladder, the 5 Rules, and the Scoreboard.

Super Improvers Wall



The Super Improvers Wall is the “heart” of my room! 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. There are 10 levels, each labeled with a different dinosaur. The T-rex is the ultimate level, of course! Check out the Video Library #503 at WBT for a more detailed explanation.

Power Pix Grid Wall


The Power Pix grid wall is one of the most interactive tools in my classroom! It is a work in progress as students are taught core standards. This will be used daily to ensure all students are not only introduced to the standards, but are able to internalize them using critical thinking skills. View #529 in the WBT Video Library, and see my previous post regarding Power Pix.

The Genius Ladder


The Genius Ladder is a model for creating oral and written language. Students work from the bottom of the ladder, simpler sentences, to the top of the ladder, a paragraph. Check out The Writing Game, a free Ebook at WBT and #504 in the WBT Video Library

The 5 Rules


The 5 Rules are the “cover all your bases” rules! These rules are practiced orally with gestures EVERY day! Initially, I practice them at least three times a day. A complete set may be purchased at the WBT store. Go to the WBT Video Library #515 for information.

The Scoreboard


The Scoreboard is the Motivator in WBT! It is used to reinforce positive behavior throughout the day in an energetic and fun environment! My scoreboard is drawn on my whiteboard very simply each day. See the WBT Video Library #517.

Desk Arrangement


With my five WBT elements in place, I move to desk arrangement. I have found that keeping my desks in groups of two facilitates Teach/Okay. Students do not have to decide partners, and they have already been told if they are a One or a Two. This placement also allows me to move between students easily while they teach one another.

Now, on to the posters and decorator apples! Oh yeah! To be continued…

Friday, July 13, 2012

Power Pix and Core Standards

A hot topic on the Whole Brain Teaching website forum and blogs is Power Pix! What are they? How do I use them? Are they appropriate for all students?

Each year, my school district has grade level teams meet to create and organize curricular pacing plans for each area of study. These plans are developed to align curriculum with state standards, now to be labeled Core Standards. The pacing plans provide teachers a unified time table of instruction, using specific district approved materials. To ensure the continuity of instruction across the district, the plans include quarterly benchmark assessments, which later lead into mandated state testing in the spring.

My experience with pacing plans through the years is that they never allowed for the time needed to fully develop certain concepts. In addition, the time required to meet the remediation needs of certain students, based on different learning styles, was not included in that time frame either. So what's a teacher supposed to do? Enter Whole Brain Teaching and Power Pix!

Chris Biffle, a creator of Whole Brain Teaching, states, "A significiant quantity of modern brain research demonstrates that we learn best by seeing, saying, hearing and doing. When we see information, we employ the visual cortex near the rear of the brain; when we say and hear information, the language centers, Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area in the brain’s left hemisphere are active. When we engage in a physical learning activity we employ the motor cortex, our most reliable memory storage area, located in a band across the top, center of the brain" ("2nd Grade LA Power Pix" 4). Mr. Biffle goes on to say, "We want our students to see, say, hear and do … we want them to experience the joy and power of learning with their whole brains. Power Pix, as you will see, employ all four learning modes, and are designed to solve a very practical problem, how to teach the state standards in Math and Language Arts" ("2nd Grade LA Power Pix” 4).

Using Power Pix in my classroom helps to ensure my students are not only learning and comprehending the state standards, they are also able to articulate them within the district guidelines for curriculum and the district pacing plan. I introduce the Pix in the order of the pacing plan, using the 5 Step Lesson Template (WBT Video Library). Then, instead of setting the Pix aside when we move into the next chapter or unit of study, they remain posted on a grid wall for daily review. No more having to say to your class, “Remember when we were learning about synonyms last October?” No, now it’s, “C7! What is a synonym?” The gesture and answers become automatic for all learners because of the visual, verbal, auditory, and physical participation by every student in the repetition of each Pix daily!

When the school year begins, I have already set up a blue grid wall for Language Arts and a red grid wall for Math. These walls are initially empty of Pix. I start with two Pix from LA and two from Math. They are posted on my front white board and introduced using the 5 Step Lesson Template. (When you download the free Power Pix, you will find they even come with a script to help you!) The Pix stay on the front board until the majority of your class has grasped the concept. I usually allow one week. At this point, I have a duplicate, reduced size Pix ready to go on the grid wall. (I have to reduce the size because I have limited wall space, and I want to make sure the Pix stay visible for the year.)

The grid wall becomes a major cue system for recalling the standards. I make Power Pix practice a standard part of our daily morning routine. After I feel like the procedure for morning practice has become routine, I start choosing two student leaders each day to go up and call out the grid info. These students will each choose a Pix from the Math and one from the LA. For example, “B2!” The class responds back, “B2!” The student leader and the class will then recite together the Pix question with a gesture and the answer. Repeat this procedure for each of the choices the student leaders have picked that morning. Because the Pix stay visible to the class all day, they can easily be used for small group or individual instruction and review as needed.

There is no limit to how you can incorporate the Power Pix into that pacing plan! Now when you come to that state testing period, and have to cover up or remove any instructional materials from view, your students will be ready! Step back and enjoy the view of your students gesturing as they work through the test! Teacher Heaven!!.

The Power Pix are a free Ebook download at the WBT site. They have been made for K-3, but many are appropriate for other grade levels. Check the WBT forum for teachers who are currently constructing templates to create their own Power Pix.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Another Award...Oh, Yeah!!!

Thank you so much, Farrah at Fabulous Firsties for giving me the Versatile Blogger Award! Farrah just put up a great WBT tutorial video on her blog...check it out!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2. Include a link to their site.
3. Include the award image in your post.
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6. When nominating, include a link to their site.
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated.

Okay, seven random facts about myself...
1. I have taught for 26 years, with the last 15 in 2nd grade.
2. I love traveling to new places with special friends!
3. WBT has opened new, exciting doors in education for me.
4. I have two amazing grandchildren!
5. I LOVE coffee!!
6. I think, okay I know, I'm addicted to Pinterest!
7. Love, love, love meeting new people!

Here are some amazing bloggers I'm sending this award to. You have to stop by and say, "Hello" for me!!
1. Down Under Teacher
2. EduKate with Whole Brain
3. Joy Button's Amazing Journey with WBT
4. Mrs. Slatton's Kindergarten
5. Wolfelicious
6. 2nd Grade Pig Pen
7. Musical Musings with Mrs. Lukow
8. Whole Brain Paradise
9. oneiswonderful
10. Welcome to the ELL Jungle
11. Shepherd's Shining Stars
12. Southern Teacher WBT
13. PAWSitively Wild For WBT
14. Whole Brain with Roxi

15. The Tattooed Teacher

A big thanks to Farrah again!! Have a great Monday!!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Live Chat!!!!

Yes, it's true! Teachers just love to TALK!! Oh yes, and TEXT too!! Lucky us, because Coach Biffle is handing over the Tuesday webcast text mic to us for an Open Chat! Bring your "texting" voices over to for an hour of lively, energetic discussion with other WBT teachers!

Here's Coach's official invitation!

To meet grade level teammates live, join Nancy Stoltenberg, Director of WBT Certification, this Tuesday, July 10 for a special, text only, electronic get together

July 10, 2012

5 PM Western

6 PM Mountain

7 PM Central

8 PM Eastern

Wib On!,

Chris “Coach B” Biffle

If you haven't heard, the new WBT Grade Level Facebook pages are going strong! Run on over and check them out! Bring your friends too!

Pick your grade level and join a WBT Facebook team!

I look forward to TALKING with you all soon!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Lovely Award

A very special THANK YOU to Brandi at Success in Second Grade! Brandi made my day and awarded me the One Lovely Blog Award! What a special honor, and I can't wait to pass it on! Please be sure to stop by and meet Brandi!!

Blog Awards

Here are the rules for this award:

Once you receive the award you have to pass it on to others! Here are the 3 rules to follow:
1. Follow the person that gave you the award.
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award.
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

Here's who I'm passing the award to. Please make sure to stop by their blogs!

Friday, June 29, 2012

WBT Welcome

“Knowing there are people in the world who want success for you and are willing to help you even though they don’t know you changes your future and makes anything seem achievable.”- Kendra Kavan

Whole Brain Teaching, led by Coach Chris Biffle, is an amazing collaboration of educators from around the world who step up daily to offer and seek advice on how to be the very best in their profession. There are currently over 66,700 registered members and many, many guests!

WBT is a treasure trove of FREE E-books, Videos, Live and Archived webcasts, and of course, the invaluable Forum. Check the Calendar of WBT Upcoming Events. Coach B is on a summer, whirlwind tour of the USA presenting outstanding, energetic, and always free WBT Conferences!

It’s so exciting to see how many of you are participating or considering the WBT Certification Program! An explanation of the process is on this page. Let me know if you have any questions at Kate Bowski, Assistant Director of WBT Certification, is also ready to help at Please note, there is no deadline to starting or finishing the program! Check the Whole Brain Teaching Facebook page. Coach B is working on forming grade level teams!

The WBT site is a great place to meet and greet some of the finest educators from around the world! So great that you’re here today reading this! Welcome!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

It's a New Me!!

Today my blog went to the Spa and came out looking AMAZING! A big THANK YOU goes to the awesome talents of Diana at Custom Blog Designs! She was the best to work patient with all my questions!!

My new design is reflective of where I live! 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!!

Thanks, Diana for reflecting that vision!

Monday, June 18, 2012

My First Blog Award!!

Just got back from an amazing vacation, and found this special award waiting in my blog for me! WOW!  Thank you, Melissa at Mrs. Smith's 1st Grade Class.  Melissa has an amazing blog filled with valuable educator  materials.  

So, the purpose of this award is to highlight new bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here are the rules:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
2. Thank the giver and link back to them.
3. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

  1. Farrah at Mrs. Shipley's Fabulous Firsties    Farrah has invaluable WBT materials that will motivate all educators to "step up their game"!
  2. Deb at Joyful One   Deb will inspire you with her insight and great videos!
  3. Miss L at Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching  Miss L's blog is a TROVE of current educational information!
  4. Pinetreelia at My Whole Brain Teaching Blog   Pinetreelia shares awesome materials on her blog to illustrate the Power of Whole Brain Teaching!
  5. Laura at Laura's WBT Journey   Laura has been an Intern for WBT this year and shares her personal thoughts and experiences!                     
Thanks again, Melissa!!!  Oh, yeah!!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

End of the Year? NO! NO! NO!

It's the end of the school year...walls are bare...rooms echo back...lights switched off...keys turned in...driving into the sunset!  Well, not exactly...not in the Wonderful, Crazy, Extremely  Exciting World of Whole Brain Teaching!  WBT goes strong YEAR ROUND!!

WBT teachers are an amazing group of educators from around the World who don't know how to STOP hitting the WACKY FUN STAR BUTTON...even after the ROOM KEYS are turned in!  No matter where you travel this summer, WBT teachers are as close to you as your Smart Phone or Computer!

Summer WBT Educator Collaboration may mean attending an AMAZING WBT Conference or participating in a High Energy LIVE WEBINAR broadcast on the WBT site every Tuesday (see schedule of times for your Time Zone).  If you're not able to do that, remember to STAY TIGHT with  the WBT Forum!  It's LIT UP right now with amazing posts of WBT experiences from around the world!  The Video Library is packed with archived Webinars loaded with invaluable guides to using WBT...and it's FREE!  Hit that WACKY FUN STAR BUTTON again!!

If you are interested in becoming a WBT BOARD CERTIFIED EDUCATOR, be sure to TAP the TROPHY on my Blog, or on the website, www.wholebrainteaching.  You earn it at YOUR OWN SPEED!!!  Check it out, and let me know how I can help you earn those CP'S (Certification Points).  Coach has created the Coolest Certification Point Medallions ever!  Get yours now!!

SUMMER:  Shorts, Sandals, Sun Screen, BBQ's, and WBT!!!!  Can it get any better?!  Hit that WACKY FUN STAR BUTTON for the BEST time ever!!

PER ASPERA AD ASTRA  (Despite Hardships...To The Stars)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

"Breaking down the Set..."

Doesn't it seem like we were just putting our Whole Brain "Stage" together for the year?!  If "Walls Could Talk!"...what stories to share!  As I remove the Power Pix from the Grid wall, I hear the echos of, " B7! What is a noun?  A noun is a person, place, or thing!" I see 32 students echoing and gesturing in unity!  The Genius Ladder...Spicy!!  Tears of joy as I read my little EL's letter to the Principal last week using the 5 parts of a letter with complete spicy sentences, capitals, Zoops, periods! The Super Improvers Wall is a piece of Art now with a rainbow of colors all the way to the Gold!  So many celebrations of improvement as we would gather and cheer for each student as they moved up another color level!  The Class Leader Wall with all the great "Silly Pals" pictures comes down to sighs and aww's, as students recall the day they got that picture taken! Oh, yeah!!  The Mind Soccer "nets" are all faded on the board now, but the spirit of the Game never will!  Who knew how hard students would work to earn minutes of "Learning" time, not recess!  So many wonderful memories of a great Team of students and the legacy they take with them for the next Season of Learning!  Letting go is tough, but so much satisfaction in knowing their "back pockets" are full of WBT strategies to help them climb the next big hill in life!  A Rolling Ten Finger Wooo with a Sizzle and a POP! POP POP! of fireworks to my AMAZING 2nd Grade Class of 2012!!!  You ROCK!!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

We Did It!!!

Testing is done!!!!!  Seems like we all just ran a marathon...but with the best time ever!!  I am so proud of each student's efforts to do his/her best!!  Yes, tears of joy!!  I can not stress enough the importance of starting testing strategies at the beginning of the year!  Get the Power Pix up and practice them daily!!  Super Improvers Wall is mandatory!!  I don't know my scores yet, but I know my class is All Winners!!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Showtime...Day One!!

Testing officially started in my classroom today!!  All the practice, review, "dress rehearsals", Super Improvers Post It notes on each student desk for "test strategy stars"  came together for THE BEST State Testing Day I have ever experienced in my many years of teaching.  I have never seen so much "heart" in my students' desire to give it all they have!  The Language Arts section started the day.  Yes, the dreaded PASSAGES!  But wait!  Everyone's underlining those important words!  Now they're reading the passage again and DOUBLE underlining!!  They are checking their test answers! Thirty minutes goes by and everyone's still working! The last test turned in at 45 minutes!  Recess and then back in for Math!  Can they do it again?!  Oh, yeah!  All those test simulation sessions worked!  The scratch papers are covered front and back with  numbers and calculations as each student works quickly to solve the problem before the next question is given.  I have to pinch myself!!  Students off to lunch and I'm dancing my way to Teacher Heaven...until the next tests tomorrow!  Go Team!!  To be continued...!!!  Whole Brain Teaching is the BEST!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Double Linin' to Success

Watching your students open  those Big State Test Booklets can bring on mixed emotions!  Those Dreaded Reading Passages seem to "jump" right out at them bigger than life!  To help ease some of their anxiety, and mine too, my students have been required to read sample passages and attached questions twice and underline important words and phrases as they went along.  I felt confident that this would be the "best" strategy they could use to be successful.  Enter Stage Left...Coach B!!!  Oh, yeah!  It's the Double Lining Strategy!  My strategy was on track, but I had failed to get my class to the Finish Line!  With Coach's direction, my class now reads the passage a THIRD time looking for The 5 Most Important Words in the passage and giving those words a second underlining!  Having that specific goal has everyone reading those passages more carefully and 3X!!  Looking at questions, they check for Doofus, Trickster, and the ultimate Smarty answer.  Previously, they had to Prove their answer choices to their partners, but during Test Simulation, they have to prove it to themselves!  Our testing motto is, "Be the Tortoise, not the Hare!"  Take your your best! Coach B, my class and I say, "Thanks!!!  You Rock!!"

For an extended explanation of Testing Strategies, go to and check out #521 State Test Prep in the Video Library.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Test Prep and The Wall!

Super Improvers Wall August


Super Improvers Wall March

In my last blog entry, I talked about the value of using the Super Improvers Wall with Test Prep for State Testing. My SI Wall has been one of several positive Constants in my WBT classroom this year. While it has unlimited uses for encouraging individual student improvement, it has been especially valuable most recently for encouraging positive test taking behaviors in test simulation. The instant reward of a Star on a card is amazingly powerful! Telling students a specific behavior you're "watching" for lets them focus in on a goal. Coach B has just posted a new video in the Video Library, #521 State Test Prep, that should not be missed. The Super Improvers Wall video (#503) is there also with a complete explanation of this tool and its many uses. In the pictures above, you can see the evolution of my Wall from August to March using the Rainbow colored levels labeled with dinosaur names. The goal is to reach Gold, T-rex! State Testing is 3 weeks away now, and it's exciting seeing all the students' hard labors coming together. As educators we want to think we've given them every opportunity to Shine. WBT methods have definitely improved the odds of success!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring! Spring! Spring!

Happy Spring Everyone! It's a beautiful season for reflecting on the blessings of Life!!

Third Quarter has ended! We're rounding the corner of the School Year and heading into the Infamous Fourth Quarter! Scary and exciting in the same breath!! If you're reading this and wondering if there's still time to jump into Whole Brain Teaching, I have three words for you...YES! YES! YES! It is Never too late to start! There are some great videos in the Video Library at to help you, or send me questions also.

Test Prep and Test Simulation are very important for your class. Students need to know content, but they also need to understand how to solve! Test questions come in a variety of forms, so being able to read a variety of Directions and Test Vocabulary is a crucial element of test taking strategies. Prove It!, #506 in the Video Library mentioned above has some excellent suggestions you can use to help your students recognize Kinds of questions and strategies to solve. If you're using the Super Improvers Wall, use it to encourage good testing habits during your practice testing sessions. For example, give the students a goal for that session such as simply bubbling neatly. "I really like how neatly Mary is filling in her bubbles today." Then put a star on her card. They may not have the strong interest in that State Test, but they do want those stars on that Wall! The simple step of completing the test neatly "Slows" the student down in order to avoid careless mistakes. You're looking for visible effort by your students that they are using testing strategies to analyze each question and answer carefully during practice sessions. Then you give them that star! Practicing the strategies helps students use them more automatically during THE TEST when you have to step back and "Let them go!" Telling your students to "Do your best!" is not nearly as helpful as saying it and knowing they have a "back pocket" full of testing strategies they can choose from! Help them fill those pockets!!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fasten Your Seat Belts!!!!

Coach B has been very busy "greasing" those Electronic Superspeed Tracks for an amazing Spring season of Fun and Learning!! Just when I thought Electronic SuperSpeed 100 was the "Cherry on Top", Coach premiers Electronic SuperSpeed 1000 featuring Nightmare Roller Coaster! Using 1000 words presented in colorful power point slides, arranged by order of frequency in the English language, my students are able to build word recognition and fluency in a fun, engaging activity that encourages success for all! But wait! There's more! Coach has now released SuperSpeed Rhymes! Oh, yeah! Phonics and literacy skill builders never looked so beautiful and so powerful as they do in these series of power point slides! 3PEAT with me, "FLUENCY! FLUENCY! FLUENCY!" But wait! There's more! I know! You better put that shoulder harness on too!! "SUPERSPEED GRAMMAR!" This latest "Coach B Created Program" takes students into the world of "Parts of Speech" from nouns to appositives, helping each student to identify, use correctly, and generate original, complex sentences! My class can't get enough of the variety of activities these programs allow me to utilize as I weave the Golden Thread of Fun through an amazing myriad of learning experiences. Usually, at this time of year, it's not uncommon to see students drifting off into their dreams of the approaching Spring Vacation! The class can reflect lethargic to extreme hyperactive qualities, which I find very challenging and tiring . These Speed games are definitely the antithesis to this age old problem. Keep those "Tracks" greased, Coach! The line of students waiting to ride is growing by the minute!!
For your FREE copies of these amazing programs, go to Your class will never be the same!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Testing! Testing!

Teaching to the highest level of student growth requires consistent collection of student data through formal and informal student assessments. This process can be overwhelming at times. Built into the Five Step Lesson Plan (WBT Video Library: 5 Step Lesson Template Program) is a fast and efficient way of assessing your class to determine mastery and need to reteach individually, small group, or even whole class. Helping students be "Prepared" for testing takes practice and modeling in a variety of situations. This year my school uses a daily rotation of leveled academic groups within each grade level to reinforce Math and Language Arts skills. Using the Whole Brain Teaching methods for student engagement and critical thinking, I include the Prove It (WBT Video Library: #506 Prove It!) process in a multiple choice question activity each day to reinforce academic language and problem solving strategies. My students are young and limited in testing experience, so setting up these scenarios is a necessity for creating student confidence and ultimately student success in mandated standards testing. This third quarter of school, our Rotation groups are focusing strongly on Test Simulation during this period, using Released State Test questions in a similar physical environment they will face later. For example, using scratch paper is a new skill in math. Our second graders may not mark in their test booklets because the booklet is actually a scantron, meaning no marks except bubbled answers. There is always the student who is so proud because he didn't "have to use" his scratch paper during the test. Oh, dear! As a teacher, I go through a variety of emotions as I observe students using their critical thinking skills in a deliberate way to solve a set of problems. It is exciting to watch a student's success, but very tough to watch another's lack of. Teacher observations are invaluable for evaluation of individual student needs and lesson design for further instruction. The time is getting closer for "The Tests"! Watch your team! Reach out to your players! They're counting on you!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Interventions for All!! Oh, yeah!!

In my classroom, and I know yours too, there are students each year who struggle greatly in academics and socialization. Meeting these students' needs requires daily diligence, perseverance, and patience as The Daily Plan often requires updates and changes, oft with no notice! As an educator working in a self-contained, regular ed class of 32, the odds were high that there wouldn't be just one or two students requiring an individualized plan. No, in fact I have eleven students who mandate specific Documentation of Interventions and Progress in a District designed folder. What has been so wonderful in the midst of all these folders, is the positive results shown through the use of WBT strategies and techniques. Where previously I would go through a standard short list of interventions, now with WBT the list is more specific and easier to initialize to individual needs. Sitting in Student Study Team, Child Study Team, and IEP meetings, it is not only up-lifting to me to be able to point out and explain the positive results of using WBT, but to also be able to show through collected data that even with students who may have been diagnosed with a specific learning disability or Other Health Impairment, academic and social growth has occurred and is occurring! Identifying students with specific needs is critical, and even more so is what one does to meet IEP, District, and State goals for those students. Each day of instruction is crucial, and using WBT ensures student engagement and promotion of critical thinking skills for ALL learners. Sharing WBT with Resource Specialists, School Psychologists, and Administrators has met with many positive responses and requests for more information. Everyone grows with WBT!! Oh, yeah!!!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Electronic SuperSpeed 100!!

My Classroom has entered a new Dimension of WBT learning...Electronic SuperSpeed 100! Earlier this school year, I described the Universal Homework Model and the daily practice of Superspeed Reading. Students work daily at school and at home learning to read the 100 most common sight words as quickly as they can in one minute, breaking individual records as they go! Now, thanks to Coach Chris Biffle, my class has been able to step up that practice with the creation of Electronic SuperSpeed 100! Oh, yeah! Using a power point collection of 100 slides projected on my classroom board, my WHOLE CLASS is now able to participate together in beating Class Records in SuperSpeed 100! Just when I thought student engagement was on high, I find this program bumps it up another notch!! Oxygen, please!!We are practicing this twice a day, and the excitement and anticipation is awesome. No one loses in this arena! For a full description of this program, go to and watch Program #511 SuperSpeed 100 in the Video Library. Then go to Free Ebooks and download Electronic Superspeed 100. Now get ready to engage and learn! The fun is even Sweeter now! SuperSpeed and beyond!!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

POWER PIX!!!!!!!

P is for Improved Performance on State Standards!
O is for Optimum Student Engagement!
W is for Whole Brain Learning!
E is for Energized Students!
R is for Robust Gestures!

P is for Positive Picture Clues!
I is for Increased Test Scores!
X is for eXtreme Academic Achievement!

An amazing Wall has been building in my classroom in the format of a Grid based on Language Arts and Math State Standards. Starting with the first week of school, my students have been learning and practicing all the required State Standards for Second Grade. We are posting the last ones this week! Wahoo!! They are so proud and rightfully so! Power to the Students! Their little "back pockets" are filling up with academic tools, a.k.a. Brain Toys!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

We're Back...!!! Oh, yeah!!

The first week back after a great three weeks of Christmas Break was exciting, inspiring, amazing, interesting, and even a little tiring!! Oh, my! The first time I said, "Class! Class!", I heard the beautiful music of my students enthusiastically responding, "Yes! Yes!" It was like we had never left! Whole Brain Teaching keeps that Golden Thread of fun weaving through sun, rain, snow, and even extended vacations!! I always find students and teachers alike are always glad to be back to "routines". "Coming HOME to school is a Good place to be! Not only is it a secure environment for many, it's also a stimulating one as consistent student engagement allows those brain cells to activate, stretch, and produce amazing ideas and strategies for learning. My class even had the opportunity to demonstrate in-class their WBT techniques for our District BTSA Coordinator and another guest teacher on our first week back! They were awesome! Oh, yeah!

"Ten Finger Wooo!" to Coach B! He was very busy over Break preparing the new Electronic Speed Read 100 and 1000!! His January 3, 2012 Webinar is in the Video Library #511. A great presentation on Speed Read 100. This Tuesday, January 17, 2012, he will be presenting another Live Webinar at 5:00 PST at on Speed Read 1000. Another great opportunity to learn from the Best!

We're Back!!!!!!!!! 2012 is going to be a Leap Year of celebrating! Oh, yeah! Oh, yeah!"