Thursday, October 29, 2015

The AMAZING Brainies!!!

SuperSpeed Brainies Banner

"The Brainies!”  are powerful WBT tools used to help elevate reasoning, critical thinking, and Funtricity in the classroom!  These simple and fun cue gestures better enable students to grasp abstract concepts by activating the motor cortex, visual cortex, and limbic system.

In addition, Chris Biffle, founder of Whole Brain Teaching, states, “The Brainies are a combination of sounds and gestures that when used are guaranteed to develop amazing writers. By using these Brainies, students WILL be college ready and prepared to write exemplary 10 page college term papers.”


I introduce this activity the first day of school, so I need to have my materials ready for each student.  Above is an example of the Brainies Desk cue card, reduced in size, for each student. Below are directions for preparing the Brainies and introducing them.

I copy the sheet on card stock, cut apart, and laminate. Each student receives a copy for personal use at their desk. I tape it below their Name desk plate for a quick visual reference. Students use this as a cue card during Oral Writing, writing assignments, Prove it!, and Brainy Competitions. As students learn the Brainies, they become less dependent on the card as they speak and write. I make several extra cards to have ready for small group instruction as well.

I introduce Brainies the first week of school to set the expectations in my classroom. I introduce the end marks, comma, capital letter, because, and For example first. The students love the gestures, and they are asked to teach their families the gestures as well. If you can afford the colored ink, I send an extra card home for use.



Every day put up one or two Brainies: Capital Letter, Because Clapper, For example, Also, Compare, etc. When the kids are talking to each other during a Teach-Okay set, you are looking for them to add the gesture/concept . We want to move Teach-Okay beyond the crucial skill of paraphrasing and into Oral Writing and Critical Thinking.  When you see kids using the Brainies, then praise them ... you see them continuing ... you can give them a star on the Super Improvers Team Wall. 

The Brainies are easy to implement and "powerful"!  So, after you do individual Brainies, then you can have them work on two or more!  Another extension is to 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."  

For more information on how to use the Brainies in your instruction, see Webcast # 579 and download the free ebook at, The Brainy Game.  I encourage you to also check out Chris Biffle’s newest book, 122 Amazing Games!  This includes the game, The Brainy Minute! which is a fun way to get your students started on using the Triple Whammy! 

Here are some videos demonstrating the use of Brainies in the classroom.  Don’t hesitate to leave questions! (see minute 33:30)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Engager!! Mirror Words!!!

There is never a bad time to pull out your MIRROR! Oh, yeah! There are three kinds of WBT Mirrors, but for the first of the year, our focus is on Mirror Words. You will be using this amazing technique from the first day of school until the last day of school! It is that powerful! This can be used for teaching and reinforcing any concept or procedure throughout your day! You will get an instant read on who is participating and who is not! Informal assessments start here, on the first day of school!!
Here is a script for introducing mirrors to your class:
Teacher: Class! Class! Class!
Students: Yes! Yes! Yes! (Reminder: Students should fold hands quickly and look at you intensely! I call it Laser Eyes! Remember, use your Scoreboard!)
Teacher: When I say Mirror Words, you say Mirror Words and pick up your hands like me. Mirror Words! (Your hands should go up quickly with palms facing forward.)
Students: Mirror Words (Students raise hands with palms facing forward.)
Teacher: That was pretty good, but you need to go faster! We don’t waste any time in 2nd grade! Mirror Words!
Students: Mirror Words! (Students raise hands fast this time!)
Teacher: Great job! Mighty Oh, Yeah! (Mark the Scoreboard with a tally on the Smilie side to reinforce their response.)
Students: Students clap quickly and call out, Oh, Yeah!
Teacher: When I say Mirror Words, you say Mirror Words and raise your hands quickly. Whatever I say, repeat back. However I move my hands and arms, move your hands and arms the same. Mirror Words! (Quickly raise your hands, palms forward.)
Students: Mirror Words! (Students repeat and quickly raise hands, palms forward.)
Teacher: Today is (Sweep your arms wide with lots of energy. This is not only more FUN, but it gets everyone engaged in your energy!)
Students: Today is (Students repeat and sweep their arms wide.)
Teacher: the first day of second grade. (Hold out one finger and then switch to two fingers out.)
Students: the first day of second grade. (Students repeat and hold out one finger and then switch to two fingers out.)
Teacher: I am so glad (Pat your hand rapidly on your heart!)
Students: I am so glad (Students repeat and pat their hand rapidly on their heart!)
Teacher: that we (Circle your hand towards them and back to yourself, dramatically.)
Students: that we (Students repeat and circle their hand towards you and back to themselves, dramatically.)
Teacher: will be learning together this year! (Touch your fingers to your brain and massage it!)
Students: will be learning together this year! (Students repeat and touch their fingers to their brain and massage it!)
Teacher: Mirrors off! (Drop your hands and fold them together so they can see what you did.)
Students: Mirrors off! (Students repeat, drop their hands and fold them together.)
Note: ‘Mirrors off’ will signal the end to this activity. Students’ hands are folded and their eyes are looking at you! Oh, yeah!
Coach B says, “Your kids will magically repeat after you and imitate your gestures. You now have everyone’s mirror neurons locked into yours. 100% STUDENT ENGAGEMENT!”
Here are some Video Resources to see how to introduce Mirror Words to your students, and to see students in action:

2nd Gr:  Classroom Tour (Check at Minute 13:52)
2nd Gr: 2nd Grade Reading

2nd Gr: Brainies in 2nd Grade