Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Using Teach Okay!

Teach Okay is my LIFESAVER!

It is one of those years, my class would talk ALL day if they could.  They all have opinions and want to share ALL the time!  I also have those students that don't seem to be listening at times.  My solution?  Teach Okay!

Using Teach Okay
Teach Okay can be used all day in all content!  The key to Teach OK is to give information in short chunks then have students turn and repeat the information.  I follow the WBT lesson design format below and it keeps students engaged the whole lesson.

1.  Content Question:  The question today is, What is ___?   (Think objective, learning target, etc)
      Teach OK:  Students turn to partner and share the question.

2.  The answer:  The content or objective you want students to learn.  This may be a simple sentence or a series fo sentences for more content.  Ex.  A cylinder is a 3d shape with a circle at both ends.
       Teach OK:  Student turn and share the answer.

3.  Examples and Expansion:  This is were you will expand to give all the information that you want students to learn and give examples.  You should start simple and increase content complexity to increase critical thinking.  It is important to teach the material in small chunks and then do teach okay.  

4.  Students give examples to each other using teach okay.

Variations:  Predict, Summarize, Anaylze, etc
In order to increase my students critical thinking skills I teach them the critical thinking skills of predict, summarize, analyze etc.  Then instead of teach I will use one of those words.  An easy way to teach this is during read aloud.  I start with predict.  While reading a read aloud, we will stop to do "predict okay."  This is where it is a lifesaver.  My students love getting to share and get that opportunity multiple times without having to wait for a turn.  You can use summarize, analyze, etc in place of teach when that is the goal of your lesson!

Here is a great video by WBT staff member Kate Bowski.  It is brief but gives great ideas for how to get started using Teach Ok and how to keep it exciting for your students!

You can also check out pages 27-29 of 122 Amazing Games or Chapters 8-10 of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

Monday, October 12, 2015

Problem solving, Mirror Words, and Brainies

We are nearly 6 weeks into the school year!  Hopefully you are feeling more confident using the classroom rules, class yes and scoreboard.  Be sure you keep practicing those rules EVERYDAY! 

 When you have a few kids consistently breaking a rule you need to spend extra time practicing the wrong way right way as a class.  Use your leaders to model wrong way right way then have your class do it.

If you are not using Super Improver yet, you may want to consider it as a way to increase better behavior.  You can use one of the rules as your goal for improvement.  

If you are only using a few WBT strategies, use your judgement for consequences for inappropriate behavior.  I have some students who BIG TIME break rules so they may need to be removed from the group, have a longer "time out" during playtime / recess, etc.

I will be blogging more about the Super Improver next week.

I LOVE Mirror Words.  I am not sure if anything works better for keeping my students engaged and out of trouble during any whole class or small group activity.    

Don't let the idea that you must use "the right" gestures keep you from trying mirror words.  You can use casual gestures which are literally made up.  Just go with what makes sense to you.  Ask the kids to help you if this is way out of your comfort zone.  Mirror words can be used in any lesson, project, or just teaching students a routine.  Right now my students are working on geometric shapes and the concepts of lines, corners, faces, etc.   Using gestures to describe these shapes has made all the difference in their retention.  

Think of gestures to go with vocabulary words that are new to your students.  

The Brainy game and gestures have completely transformed my students understanding of grammar, and has greatly increased their oral and written language skills.  Their ability to use the critical thinking aspects of the brainy game with BLOW your mind.  
PLEASE take a few minutes to watch Farrah Shipley's 1st grade students using the brainies to create an oral paragraph.  IF you teach upper el, I guarantee this will BLOW YOUR MIND!

I highly recommend that you download and print WBT Brainy Game and  Brainy Posters

 Brainy Game                                   Brainy Posters

Friday, October 2, 2015

WBT and other programs...

How does WBT work with....

I have had a number of people ask how WBT works with other classroom and behavior management programs that have been or are being used in the district.  That is a GREAT question!  I know in my years here I have seen many programs come and go, and to be honest I still uses pieces from a lot of them .  I will try to address two of the programs that are currently used or have been used in the past.

PBIS Positive Behavior Intervention Supports
Great news!  Whole brain teaching makes PBIS even BETTER!  The main features of Tier 1 of PBIS blend perfectly with the basic tools of WBT.  

1.  Define Expections:  Most schools have 3-5 expections in all settings.  You can use the 5 rules to EXPLICITLY teach what those expectations are (Your expectations will easily fit into the 5 rules) and what they look like.   As you are likely aware, we post the expectations and talk about them at the beginning of the year.  The problem is that we don't revisit them OFTEN!  In WBT you will use the rules to teach those PBIS expections EVERY DAY!  Teachers should be going over the class rules a minimum of 3x per day.  It should not take more than 1 minute!  

2. Teach/ Pre-correct:  Using the rule cues such as "Uh Oh rule 2" you are reminding all students of the expection and allowing them to fix / correct any behaviors.  You don't have to call out a student, just say the rule.  

3.  Model / Practice:  In WBT we use Wrong way / Right way to practice the rules.  We do this when we teach expectations and anytime that you notice your classroom behavior slipping.  First practice the wrong way then immediately the right way.  This teaches student to see and feel what the expections look like when done correctly.  

4.  Acknowledge and Reteach:  One frustration many teachers have is the time that the gotchas and tickets take with PBIS.  Some find the rewards a bit much for simply doing what they should be doing.  In WBT you absolutely acknowledge the following of expections but you use the scoreboard as a class and super improver for individuals.  The Super Improver wall allows you to acknowledge or set goals with the whole class or individual students. 

A key difference between PBIS and WBT is that WBT is embedded in your instruction.  It is not just about behavior but about all of your instruction.

Thanks to Sarah Meador a WBT exec board member for the Scope to help me articulate all of this!

Capturing Kids Hearts
There are wonderful tools from CKH that can easily be used with whatever classroom management system you are using.  We use Class Yes instead of the "timeout" signal because it is more effective and efficient.  It can also be varied throughout the year to keep it fresh.  WBT does not believe in stopping your teaching to address a specific student unless it is ABSOLUTELY disruptive.  You say the rule, practice then move on. Talk to the student later and don't create a battle.  If you love CKH, keep using it!