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.

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