Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Crazy Professor Reading Game

I am amazed and honored with how many shares and comments I have received on this blog thus far.   One of my neighbors, a substitute teacher, downloaded the book onto her Kindle. I have also spoken to a few who got caught up in the YouTube frenzy too.  Even one of my friends, who is not a teacher, posted a video of one of the techniques used in Whole Brain Teaching called "The Crazy Professor Reading Game."  

You see, WBT is so much more than just a classroom management system.  It's about learning by connecting the mind and body.  In this video you will observe one of Whole Brain Teaching's finest and Directer of Certification, Nancy Stoltenberg, demonstrating this revolutionizing technique with a 2nd grade class.  The whole point is to get the students engaged.  Gone are the days we can just sit around and "round robin" read or play "bump".  With this technique, students become the story.  They question each other, forcing the student to dig deeper and answer why and how questions.  After a short period of time, each student can not only retell the story, but they can read it with inflection and fluency. In addition, they are reviewing grammar and identifying character's motives.  Who wouldn't want to read when it's so much fun?

Again, Chris Biffle has developed something so incredible that these techniques span the grade levels.  Here is a fourth grade example.

I also suggest your register for the WBT website.  It's free and during the school year Chris Biffle himself hosts live webinars on Monday nights.  During these sessions, you can talk live with the man himself.  Not only are the sessions free, but he has pages of free ebooks that are downloaded as pdf's you can use in class.  After you register, click on ebooks, order the documents by name and scroll until you find "The Crazy Professor Game" documents.  Here is "The Crazy Professor Reading Game" webinar.  It is about an hour long but so worth your time. Happy reading!!!!!!!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Getting Started

Who knew I would ever be the 'blogging" type?  Not me!  

I always admired my colleagues who could create and teach engaging lesson, manifest brilliant resources, be amazing mentors and leaders in our educational community.  On top of all those incredible achievements, they also blog their teaching journeys.  So admiration and, I will admit, a twinge of jealousy has brought me to this point in my life.

What brought me here you ask?  Three words:  Whole Brain Teaching.  

I am embarking on something incredible and I am eager to share it with anyone willing to join me on this train ride.  Last year, I discovered this fascinating technique.  

During our weekly planning meeting, a first year teaching colleague and I were perfecting some type of amazing lesson when she mentions this YouTube video of a young first grade teacher doing this technique called:  Teach-OK.  She went on to show me some hand gestures and was beaming with excitement relaying how much fun it was when she tried it on her kids.  (This is why I love working with young teachers by the way...they are a volcano of new ideas and techniques!  Go find yourself a novice teacher to bounce ideas off of.  What are you waiting for?!?!?!)

That night I went home and did a YouTube search.  What I found, started a three hour frenzy of bread-crumbing and watching my peers do something that engaged EVERY student and was FUN for both of them.  

I became obsessed with watching every video this teacher posted and found myself wanting teach just like that.  From her, I learned that this phenomenon was called Whole Brain Teaching and was developed by a brilliant man named Chris Biffle from California.  As I went from one demonstration to another, I found the best instructional video by the man himself.


In 9 minutes, I was ready to implement this in my kindergarten classroom.  

Genius is all I can say.  At this point, I was midway through my school year.  Classroom rules, routines and expectations had been established for months.  It didn't matter!  This was far better than any "One, two, eyes on you" rhyme.  My students took to the chanting and gestures with so much excitement and joy.  It changed the dynamics in my classroom immediately.  In 24 hours, I went from consistently reminding repeat offenders to pay attention, to being someone they couldn't take their eyes off of.  

I felt...EMPOWERED!!!!

This year, I spent the whole year using the Whole Brain Teaching approach disseminating my knowledge to my kinders.  It was an incredible experience.  As I became more confident in utilizing the techniques, I wanted to know more.  I started logging onto his website and liked the Facebook page.  Through these resources, I discovered that this was so much more than just rules for a classroom.  It is a method for teaching unlike anything I have ever observed or experienced.  Chris Biffle and his team have developed a tsunami of resources, tutorials and instructional techniques that I have used in math, reading, science, social studies and especially WRITING!

I started telling anyone who would listen about his techniques.  I urged everyone who crossed my path to check out Whole Brain Teaching.  So now, I have decided it was time for me to get certified.  That is how I got here.  Now, I am a blogger.  It cracks me up...I never...ever thought I would belong to the blogosphere, but here I am none-the-less.  As part of the requirements for the certification process, I must read Chris Biffle's book "Whole Brain Teaching for the Challenging Kids" and blog about my reading.  I would love for you to join me on this amazing journey to becoming a teacher who keeps her students engaged while deepening their knowledge and critically thinking.