Saturday, September 7, 2013

A month already

I can't believe its been a month already. Talk about time flying. I knew I would be a bit rusty. I was right I was a bit rusty, but not as out of practice as I was worried about.

Being a believer in WBT, day 1 I walked in planning on starting with a bang. We did class-yes, teach-ok, scoreboard, the 5 rules. It was a disaster. I can't even imagine how I could have improved it. The fight was almost immediate. I had some that loved it, some that were just too cool, and some that would never do it, not ever! Ok I'm exaggerating it wasn't all a flop but my challenging students came floating to the surface and made themselves know right away. All the better though, I don't need wasted time.

Class- yes is fun for all, but we're just now, 4 weeks later, really getting it the way I like it. The school standard is a hand up and all hands go up. I prefer the class-yes because the class has a

Teach-ok was the biggest flop, turning and talking was confusing to them even with me giving them the words to say. I had to back off and really build them up. My focus has been math, easy to break down and give a small chunk too. Ironically enough teaching your shoe or pencil was what made it start working for them. In the past that part was too silly and groups needed to be really comfortable before that would work. I guess when your pencil can't talk you have to do all the work.

Scoreboard has won me over again. If my students have taught me anything I know not to ever let it drop, my worst days are when I don't use it enough. Although I'm still working on what really motivates them to win.

The five rules worked differently this year. All my belongings are still in Michigan (whole ordeal way to crazy to tell you now), so the kids helped me out by drawing the rules in groups. We went through the rules, with the normal half-hearted hand gestures. We practiced and got it right, even with a few who didn't want to participate. Then in their groups, they designed the posters. One expectation, everyone had to equally be involved in the drawing/writing. I can honestly say that while every group went about it differently all my students are represented in the posters. Some groups had each student draw a picture, some groups drew one picture and painstakingly divided up the work so everyone did exactly the same amount of work. It was golden to see the solutions.

It has taken a while to get the rules down and everyone participating. I held off on mirror until we had the basic gestures for rules down.

Magic has happened. More of my class is willing to try when I introduce things. I introduced mirror, most of the group tried it out. We giggled at each other, some did very tiny gestures. Some tried not to do any. A couple refused to try, "Ok then please sit over there" was my response. By the end of the week even some of my tough cookies were trying. But Friday, one of my toughest kiddos decided to take my words literally and mirror me even after our fun had passed for the moment. That was the magic, she was so into it she was listening better that I had seen. In her mind I was going to be bugged by it, I know she was trying to irritate me. Honestly thought it was one of the best lessons I've had with her. What she didn't realize was that while her hands were moving she wasn't trying to talk to someone else, or messing with her stuff, and if others looked at her they had to look at me to see what she was doing. I love it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Class Dojo

I found this site called class dojo, through some wonderful teachers that have had great success using it, looks interesting and has some awesome features.  Like students and parents can set up accounts.  Parents can get regular updates and somewhere you can leave comments for them.  Oh and paperless I love that part.

I'm trying to figure out how to incorporate this site to the scoreboard.  I'm looking for ideas or thoughts.  Any WBTer's out there using class dojo? Any who have ideas?  Comment and share please!

Thanks in advance all

Saturday, June 22, 2013

WBT first attempt so long ago

I've never really talked to anyone about why I started using WBT. The day I discovered it for myself was a memory that popped into my brain recently. So I'll share.

I learned about WBT when it was called power teaching. Actually the first time I heard about it was from the teacher next door. She had just begun to implement it in her room and told me a little about it. Honestly that was my first year and I'm not sure I fully comprehended that she was talking about a whole movement. I think it sounded like a few things I was starting to do so it never sunk in as something different.

A few months later I was looking for games to use while students were reading. I found Crazy Professor Reading Game. It's still my favorite for reading. I think I watched that video about 20 times. I even showed it to my students so they had an idea of dramatic reading. When we tried it I instantly loved that I could survey my entire class and see who wasn't using hand gestures. Gestures were a clue that they were probably on task while, no gestures usually meant a teammate was off task.

From there it was love. I was completely sold, the more I tried the more I liked.

Guess I got to be done for now. I've got to go train my replacement so I can move in a few weeks.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Getting the ball rolling

I like to begin with something that teaches me a little about the kids and lets them get comfortable in the setting. In the past I've used a shoe "stepping into _____ grade." This year I wanted something different, so I drew a rocket ship.

Here's a link to the shoe and rockets I drew
shoe drawing are blank so you can add your own questions, while there are more options for the rocket:
shoe page        rocket page

*edited to actually make a clickable link.

planning and packing

Right now I'm still about 2 months from moving to Arizona. Planning for the move is well underway. Packing has begun, however we really don't have that much to pack. So what do I do? Plan. 

I will be getting to Arizona the weekend before I have to report to the new teacher stuff, my time before students start will be limited. My plan is to pull my ideas together for the first week, and create some of my class decor ahead of time. Once I get to meet my new team and my see my class schedule I'll hammer down the exact plans. I'll over prepare until them. Plus I like being able to change things up once I've actually meet the kids, you just never know what they need.

I'll post stuff for you as I create it, or I'll link you to resources once I find them. 

Happy summer all!

Friday, April 26, 2013

New Stuff

Start looking for posts again from me. I just got a teaching job in Arizona. Of course that means another cross country move for me but my husband, David, seems to love the drive (not joking he really likes it) so off we go. In august I'll be starting my year with 4th graders and couldn't be happier. Just got to quit my current job. Which is always hard, sort of like breaking up with someone.

So I'll be posting again for now probably setting up my class or rather preparing to set up my class. I'm moving in July, I have to report July 22, and school begin August 5th or something like that. Money will be tight, with a move that's about 80 days away, that makes it fun.

This year I'm making a lot of my class decorations ahead of time. So I'll be posting whatever happens to be my focus of the moment. Anything I think will help others or that I happen to really like.

Monday, August 8, 2011


Well I've been feverishly looking for a job here in Michigan, no luck so far. There are a lot of teachers looking right now. That's life. It'll happen when the time is right. :)

I haven't forgotten about all my fellow Whole Brain Teachers out there, and I wanted to check in and say hey. I hope everyone is having fun preparing for the new year. May it be exciting and full of wonderful WBT moments.

I'll be focused on finding the job so please don't give up on my blog. It comes down to the fact that finding a full time job has to be my focus. I have a job managing a restaurant. They have been resistant to WB resturanting (I think I just made up a word-- cool). Not really prefected yet anyway. Its a good thing I don't care what they think, I'm probably the crazy manager. WAIT I was that crazy teacher too, it must be true. :)

I'll be tutoring and subbing so I'll report back with WBT on a small scale and as a sub. It'll fit somewhere I'm sure

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

weeks ago

It has been far too long since I posted last. I am sorry for ignoring you all. Honestly it only feels like a few days since school was out. I've been very busy trying to pack and prepare for the move. Since I might not have mentioned this before, I am leaving Arizona and going back to Michigan. Hopefully I will find a job and all will be well.

Currently though, I am going to be working at East Side Mario's an Italian Restaurant. I worked there while in college, I was a manager while I finished Grad School. I'm excited to go back and see people again. I was so happy when the owner was glad to have me back. Even though I don't know what my job will be exactly. Surprise is the spice of life, right?

The bonus is that I have a job. If I get a full time teaching job I can continue at the restaurant and get a bit more in my savings account. If I end up as a sub I can work there still too, so I'm not without employment on breaks and slow weeks (if there are any). Plus the restaurant is a family that I miss. I didn't realize how much I missed some of those people until I spoke to the owner.

Now to tie all this into WBT. Oh yes I can. See WBT changes how you approach things and how you approach a class. There are so many tricks and backup ideas that you always have something waiting for you to use.

I believe as a sub I will stand out. You don't have time to implement all the WBT fun but you have time to do plenty of it. So many of the things we do in WBT are fast and enjoyable I would love to be a kid with a WBT for a sub.

Love, luck, and lollipops

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last week of school

Today was the last day of school. I can’t believe it’s been a week since I last blogged. Sorry all, I dropped the ball and left ya hangin. I did miss my entries. I’m sure you know how hectic the last few days can be. We made it worse on ourselves by adding to the week. We added an awards ceremony and trip to the park. Oh and I’m moving so my things need to be out of the classroom. Grades are due, too. I’ve barely stopped long enough to take care of myself let alone blog.

I’m not complaining just thinking out loud, well in writing. It has been a wonderful week, and the kids have enjoyed it.

Last week we worked a lot on our planet projects. The kids were studying a planet (or the sun) and had to use their research to sell us on a trip to the planet. Believe it or not the hardest part was them “pretending” we could go to that distant planet or sun. It really stumped them, but opened up the teachable moment that at one time most of the things around us was not possible. We made it to the moon, before that people thought it might be impossible. We routinely ride in airplanes, so many planes we see them all the time, crazy idea long ago. We worked through it and they were getting really creative. Monday we presented to various students around our school. Hectic day would be an understatement; we played games in between presentations. Thanks to whole brain teaching, easy to set up and keep academic. Mind Soccer is my new favorite, but also super speed, and I threw in some logic puzzles for them.

Tuesday we did a little review work and finished our certificates. Everyone in my class works hard not only academically but also at becoming a better person, so I have the class decide what everyone worked hardest on or demonstrated and we handed out character counts certificates. They always impress me on how hard they are on each other. I might not completely agree with their choices but their reasoning makes since. Then we did the ceremony and toasted with sparkling cider to celebrate finishing the year. Of course no celebration is complete without a trip to the water park, complete with some fun in the water (a fancy sprinkler set up by the park, they are all over in AZ).

Today we finished off the year by writing some letters. One to the 6th grade teachers, and one to the fifth graders coming in. We did a bit of cleaning, some remember when, and handed out report cards. I’ve never had tears but this year I did. In fact I had a bunch of students crying. Some repeat hugs, and more hugs. Some really surprised me; I just didn’t expect it from a few of them. That’s the best part of working with kids, they are amazing!!!

Not much about WBT except that it permeates into every aspect of my teaching. It just comes naturally that building a positive class builds relationships too.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Low cost document camera

Technology is another thing I love. Using it in my class equals instant engagement and that is totally a WBT philosophy. Plus I think we all should be able to use and get technology easily and for a reasonable price. I’m sure my school has figured out that if they don’t have technology I will acquire it myself, it’s that important to me.

If you have a computer and projector hook up in your class and you are dying for a document camera I have successfully got one set up without getting an official document camera (too much money if you ask me). You will need a standalone web cam. I mean one that attaches to you computer not that cheap one that comes built in. I picked up my camera a while ago because my built in web cam was bad. I like things being mult-talented, technology is expensive I like to be able to use it a lot.

1.) Get a webcam get one you would use for other purposes besides a document camera. Later I will post a list of ideas for doc cams and web cams. Don’t set yourself up to need a different camera later to do other things. I waited until a nice one was on sale at Best Buy. Consider an HD or high resolution cam to make it easier to read words on paper.
2.) Get a tripod. At least a table top one. Target has options between 15-40 dollars. Some are table top and some extend farther. It needs to be about 10-20 inches from the table top depending on the camera’s zoom abilities and resolution. Personally I would get one I can set on the table, I have visions of my students tripping on the tripod legs.
3.) Install software that came with your camera. You can probably use any software but I find the basic software works fine.
4.) Turn it all on. Once the camera is on it will show you in real time whatever is in front of the lens. It will not save unless you record or take a picture.
5.) You will need to have the camera on in order to find the best arrangement. If possible get the camera and tripod to the side or behind the paper location. I truly believe that students will be careful but I wouldn’t want to constantly rearrange the setup. You might want to have the kids write while under the camera, it should be useable.

Love, luck, and lollipops

P.S. I’m also working on an interactive whiteboard for less than $100. Let me get it working and then I’ll post all the details.