Thursday, July 25, 2013

Whole Brain Teaching

I am a Whole Brainer!

I want to share some of the Whole Brain Teaching techniques I used in my classroom this past year. I plan on using a lot more of WBT this year as well as to start from day 1, which unfortunately I was not able to do this past year. Once again I'm wishing I had kept this blog running during my first year's teaching journey, but it is what it is and I will try to remember as much as I can about my WBT implementation in 2nd grade.

So first, how did I hear about WBT?
Well the AMAZING 3rd grade teacher across the hall from me uses WBT, but I didn't know a lot about it and, honestly, when was I going to find time to research it? With it being my first year teaching I constantly felt like I was chasing my tail, no time to catch my breath, never mind research a new way of teaching!

See? Sooo much snow! Fellow New Englanders, did you get this much snow too?
Well then came all the snow, and far too many snow days (we didn't end up getting out of school until the mid 20's of June!) A few of these snow days were in a row, so I decided, what better to do with my "stuck inside" time than to research this awesome teaching style that I was constantly overhearing from across the hall... not only was I hearing the kiddos excitement level but I was also hearing the bragging on WBT from the teacher across the hall using it.

So I got my research on, hot cocoa in hand and simply googled "Whole Brain Teaching" and to my surprise found that WBT has an AMAZING website. I learned so much from watching the founder's (Chris Biffle) webcasts, instructional videos, etc. After I watched all of his videos on the basics of WBT, I had a BLAST watching videos of teachers using WBT in their rooms. I was BLOWN AWAY at the level of engagement (even kindergarteners able to ignore the video camera in their room and stay completely engaged in the learning that was happening). You can go to youtube and type in whole brain teaching and find tons of examples of WBT classrooms, there are also some posted on WBT's site. I also learned so much from bloggers who are whole brainers. That's the amazing thing I've found about WBT. Whole Brainers are willing and excited to share! So many programs, ways to teach, resources, etc. cost money (sometimes even to just read about them) but WBT is completely free (even their professional development sessions are free, if only I lived closer to Cali or had the $ to fly there!) AND so many whole brainers offer their WBT resources and ideas for free on their blogs in Teachers Pay Teachers, etc. It's fantastic, because who doesn't love free?!

So anyway, back to my classroom... Luckily we were merely days away from 100th day when I was doing all this WBT research! Wooh! So I had the PERFECT excuse to start integrating WBT into my room. I told the kiddos, "well, now that we have been 2nd graders for 100 days, I know that we are all ready to try a new type of learning!" I made sure to tell them it was new for me to and might take some getting used to, etc. I also ensured them that the process would be FUN FUN FUN! They bought in and *bam* I had a WBT classroom (or at least the start of one)!

Okay, so it wasn't as easy as *bam*, and I still have some learning and growing to do as not just a whole brainer but as a teacher in general, but truly WBT did amazing, amazing things for my classroom.

Okay, so this is just my intro to: I *LOVE* Whole Brain Teaching... more to come! I promise!

To come (get excited!)...
What parts of WBT did I implement? & how?
In what ways did WBT help my students? help me?
Where did I get the AMAZING WBT signs/resources for my room? Links to these Freebies!
How did other teachers/adults in my room react to WBT?
WBT sub plans!?
What parts of WBT do I plan on implementing this coming school year?
WBT freebies from me!

Happy Whole Braining (& Running)

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