Sunday, June 22, 2014

WBT National Conference

As you may know I was able to attend the Whole Brain Teaching National Conference 2014 in Pineville, Louisiana this past week, despite it meaning I missed every day of the last week of school except the very last day.

So that meant, I got in Thursday, relaxed for a bit with the hubby, dug for clothes that were clean & wearable for the last day of school then fell asleep only to wake up for the craziness that is the last day of school. It has seriously taken me until today to feel somewhat refreshed... but (un)lucky me we have a make-up PD tomorrow, so it's not summer quite yet :(

So anyway, back to Louisiana, Mrs. R (remember her from my Daily 5 posts? here & here) another teacher from her school & I flew to New Orleans Friday night, spent the weekend there, then drove to Pineville for the 3-day National Conference. I'm gonna have to say Cafe DuMonde was definitely a highlight of the Pre-Conference mini-vacation!

 Oh & holding a baby alligator on our swamp tour just outside of New Orleans was a VERY close 2nd!

But, back on topic... Here's the 3 of us with Chris Biffle, the founder of WBT!

We learned a lot, had a ton of fun and have way too many ideas for next year! We all joked that we wished the new school year started next week so we could use all we learned! (But let's be honest, I'm not giving up my summer!)

 I'm going to give you a little overview of our 3 days as well as a few of my take-aways. I hope to do 1 WBT post a week throughout the summer to share even more from the conference!

[Day 1]
Classroom & Behavior Management

Mrs. R & I decided to go to the "advanced" class during breakout because we have both been using the behavior management strategies that are a part of WBT for over a year (2 years for Mrs. R & about a year and a half for me). Our prize for being brave enough to go to the advanced class was getting about 4 hours in a classroom with 30 or so teachers and Chris Biffle "Coach B" as our instructor.

Coach B is SO high energy that we were EXHAUSTED & earned ourselves some pool time when we got back to our hotel haha!

We learned a lot about super improvers (Mrs. R. used it but not as effectively as she would have liked and I have been wanting to start using it & will this coming year!)

We also learned a whole bunch about brainies which are gestures students can use when talking in class to improve their critical thinking. The brainies stand for words such as: because, however, in addition, and, for example & TONS more. I can't wait to use those with my kiddos for both critical thinking & oral writing next year. I will definitely do a post dedicated to brainies this summer.

We learned a ton more, but we'll save it for a later day!

[Day 2]
WBT Writing

Between Coach B & grade level breakouts, we learned more about the Brainies I talked about in Day 1, and how using those brainies helps kiddos improve their writing. I was BLOWN AWAY by this video of kindergarteners using brainies during oral writing and further BLOWN AWAY by the writing they were able to come up with at the end of the year... WOW! It is a long video, but it is well worth every second of the 25 minutes if you are a K teacher, want to use WBT, etc.

[Day 3]
WBT Lesson Planning
Although I TRY really hard to stick to this format of teaching, especially when introducing something new, I really want to get better at it, so day 3 made me feel more confident moving forward next year.

As one of my TEAM modules for beginning teachers in CT, I focused on using the 5 step lesson template to plan a math unit. It really forced me to decide on any gestures, examples and QT (quick test) questions ahead of time (rather than on the spot & by the seat of my pants while teaching). Sadly, after completing that module, I didn't stick with using the template. However, after a day filled with the importance of shortened teacher talk time and using this type of format to present information to students, I'm revived and ready to use these steps next year.

For my TEAM module, I created this easy template, click the picture below to get your copy. If you're new to WBT I promise to post more about the lesson template this summer, so that it makes more sense :)

Mrs. R & I are getting together later this week to do some note sharing and creating of WBT things for our classrooms next year, so definitely stay tuned as I will be sharing some of those resources (for free!) as well as going more in depth about some of what I learned at the conference.

But before I go... 3 big take-aways from the conference.

#1 Coach B has the most energy out of ANY teacher I've EVER met!

#2 I am getting rid of my clip chart!!! As scary as I thought this would feel I am BEYOND excited to take it down and never put it back up! I'll be posting soon about the Super Improvers Wall & Practice Cards that will be WAY better than ANY clip chart!

Read more about "divorcing" your clip chart on Mrs. Shipley's Classroom here. Mrs. Shipley is the first grade leader for the WBT team so she was presenting at the WBT National Conference, wooh!

#3 Loud=OKAY! The past year and a half I spent a lot of time asking my kiddos to use whisper voices during "teach-okay" and although sometimes that kind of quiet tone in the room is a GOOD thing (& oh so necessary when Mrs. K has not had enough coffee hehe), these kiddos need to just GET IT OUT! And what better way for them to get that loud, crazy, fun energy out than through on-task learning. Mrs. A better get ready for some LOUD NOISE coming out of my room and across the hall next year... maybe I'll close my door a little more often ;)

Hope you're as excited as I am for more WBT posts as the summer moves forward!!!

Teach Run photo ScreenShot2013-07-29at32149PM_zps10463e60.png


  1. Great post!! I love NOLA and know you had a great time. I look forward to more WBT posts from you. I have been slowly implementing more and more strategies over the past two years. I am getting rid of my clip chart this coming year too. My biggest question/concern is sending home a daily behavior report. How are you going to navigate that? Thanks again for the great info!!!!
    Mrs. Spriggs’ Kindergarten Pond

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog!
      As far as behavior reports, I won't be sending home daily behavior reports at all. However, when students break a rule, they will be sent home with a note explaining the rule they broke and asking a parent/guardian to practice the rule with them at home, sigh and send back the note. I will post more about this soon (Look for Rule Cards)!


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