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Whole Brain Teaching

I'm a little late to the whole brain teaching party but I think I'm going to try it next year, at least a modified version of it.  I read a little about WBT last summer on many of your blogs but I had enough on my plate with a new, very different position.  As I'm wrapping up my first year as a classroom teacher, I realized that using some of the WBT ideas may have helped eliminate some of the we-had-spring-break-and-now-it's-summer behaviors I'm seeing now.  Here is how I'm modifying WBT to fit my special education classroom.

First, I'm not a fan of all of the whole brain teaching rules like make smart choices & keep your dear teacher happy.  Those are not specific enough for my students.  I changed them around a little and here is what I came up with: 

1. Listen when someone is speaking
2. Follow directions quickly
3. Raise your hand to speak or stand 
4. Work quietly (with all of the adults talking to kids during independent work time, it gets noisy - this way I can remind everyone to work quietly)
5. Be kind, be safe, be honest 

I am going to have the class recite the rules each morning with hand motions.  When the class is getting noisy, I'll call out "Rule 4" and they will recite rule 4 with hand motions as a reminder.  This year, we don't really revisit the rules a lot and there isn't a system for doing it.  I think that the repetition of the rules will help keep the kids in line throughout the year.

Next, I am also adopting the Whole Brain Teaching class-yes call and response as well as the "hands and eyes".   I like that the students have to respond with the way I speak so if I whisper, they whisper.  

I think that Mirror would be too hard for my students.  They would be so focused on copying my hands that they would have a hard time listening.  I'm also not doing teach-ok, switch, or the scoreboard.  
I've made posters for my rules in a few themes (all editable) if you are interested.
                                        Cats                         Super Heros                      Dinosaurs

                                                Wild Things/Monsters         Frogs in a Pond

Click the pictures to be taken to the items.  If anyone wants a different theme, let me know!  I'll be adding more as I get free time.

Is anyone else trying WBT next year?  What classroom theme are you thinking about doing next year?

4 comments on "Whole Brain Teaching"
  1. I did the hands and eyes at the beginning of the school year, and I noticed that about 2 months in, my kids got tired of doing it. It wasn't as effective because they were bored with it. Did you use "hands and eyes" daily or just every once in a while?


  2. I like your revised rules! I also teach special ed and didn't like the "keep your dear teacher happy" rule- my ED students don't really care if I'm happy all the time! I'm also going to try some of the WBT procedures in my room next year! Good luck!

    Teaching Special Kids

  3. Sarah - My fear is that students will get bored with repeating the rules and it won't be meaningful anymore.
    Mary - My students with autism would have a hard time with the "keep your dear teacher happy" rule and the "make smart choices" rule because to them, they are making smart choices!

  4. I've been using Whole Brain Teaching for the last five years and it has been so successful! As soon as my students get bored with Class, Class, I go on to new ones such as Classagator, Wassagator and the children say Yesagator, Wessagator. We repeat the rules every single day, and the children have never been bored. I just change it sometimes, like saying them in different voices. As long as you aren't bored with Whole Brain Teaching, the kids won't be!


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