Saturday, April 30, 2011

The scoreboard

This week the scoreboard has literally been a life saver for me.  I can’t tell you how many points I gave out on both the smiles and frowns.  We’re talking more points than I’ve given all year.  The kids were even amazed.  We were giving out points for everything you can imagine.  I gave out points because I saw the kids using the brain toys that I had not even taught them yet.  Of course, we gave out points for doing wonderful while carrying out ordinary routines.  We gave them points for doing so wonderful in those routines.  I gave points for kids who spoke in complete sentences.  I gave up points because I saw one kid who didn’t typically participate, actually participate without me telling them to.

Like I said crazy scoreboard action.  Boy did they work for those points.  This week I implemented something, at the time we needed to stop the kids were responsible for keeping track of time.  10 minutes before our day was over every hand needed to go up.  This was my signal that it was time and we needed to wrap up.  10 minutes before the bell rings we look at our scoreboard, and see what our day was like.  Now, this is the hardest part of my day.  Cleanup has always been a difficult moment for me.  I don’t care if the kids talk, but I want them to actually clean.  So the deal was that they would continue getting points and if cleanup was wonderful and fast we may earn extra minutes for a game.  If we need to practice in the rules, this could be their moment, during cleanup they could earn back some smile points.  I had some of the best cleanups this week that I have ever had.  Every chair in the room was stacked, the floor was clean, and everyone was ready to go. I didn't have to remind them.

I have to admit, the class was not getting a game most of the week.  They were indeed going to practice the rules, we didn't practice once.  If they worked and cleaned instead of leaving me to do it I added smiles and they didn't have to practice. The class and I worked as a team, I got my wonderful cleanup and they didn’t have to practice the rules.

About Wednesday, it occurred to me that may afternoons we’re getting very nice.  But I still had one major gripe, student book bags are supposed to be any pile, they were not.  So one day I told them if the bags is messy again you start with three frown points, the horrified sounds that came out of this class would’ve made you think I assigned a 20 page paper.  I simply reminded them that all they had to do was follow rule five, keep me happy.

I am a very happy teacher, very happy indeed.  My bags are perfect in the morning, cleanup is beautiful in the afternoon.  Too bad it only took me all year.  We’re down to two and half weeks, they will be a very nice two and a half weeks.

There’s a reason why the scoreboard is level one of whole brain teaching management plan.  Without the scoreboard we would be fighting our students to do daily activities.  With the scoreboard literally anything can become a game to them.  When it’s a game and everyone wants to play life becomes very easy.  As WBT always says: teacher heaven!  O yeah

For more information on the scoreboard check out the website:

Love, luck, and lollipops

p.s. I am so excited, I have voice recognition software and I gave it a try. Next up, a voice blog or even video blogs. Fancy stuff

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brain Toys- ok maybe just a toy

Saturday I joined in on the webinar. It was wonderful to get some new ideas for involving our students on making conscious choices in speech and writing.

I decided to work on just the question and answer step of the brain toys. Simply get everyone excited and answering in complete sentences. My district is very big on complete sentences especially for ell students; I have ell students in my room. This is a skill I have used all year. My goal was always to get the students to correct the one word answer. While watching the webinar it began feeling like my approach had been backwards. It is easier to set the group up for success than it is to remember to correct the action after the fact. In other words; build the habit instead of trying to break one. Much more positive, I truly believe that the outlook makes all the difference.

I already had a hand gesture for the sentence so we kept it. The big change was that instead of waiting for a one word answer this gesture would be more of a reminder form the beginning.  My gesture is the sign language for sentence (link leads to a video demo). Touch both thumbs and forefingers together then pull your hands apart, like your stretching something.

It seems like a small focus, a minor change to my day. Why not more? I used what they already knew and monitored how we did with it. I noticed a few things today. When I did the gesture some were mirroring me making them aware of the sentences. I heard more complete thoughts in the teach-ok moments, which meant less questioning from the partner. I was not prepared for this, but it makes since. Consider that when they we were answering in complete sentences some students were naturally adding to their answers making their partner work harder to make sure that they covered all the parts I asked them too.

Oh did we give out the smile points. When I heard a student use because, adding to a thought, an example, or a conclusion I made sure to give a smile point. So of course my answers were getting longer and more thought out all day. So when I add more pieces of the brain toys they already have an idea because we have used it in class.

The webinar was fabulous. Please check out the information for next Saturday at: I plan on being there come see the power of toys for the brain.

Love, Luck, and Lollipops

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I currently teach 5th grade and even though I never want to give up my students they must go to 6th grade. This year one of the sixth grade teachers and I were talking, she mentioned that she knew right away who my kids were.

She was talking to the kids about expectations and about the class in general, nothing different than any of us. Randomly, she said the word class while talking and a small chorus of yeses issued from those who where once my students. All I could do was laugh.

It occurred to me I never use the word class unless I want a yes back. I call them folks or ladies and gentleman. Folks is my favorite, it's fun to say.

I guess they liked WBT enough to remember it. I think that sums up a lot about WBT.

Love, Luck, and Lollipops

Saturday, April 23, 2011

It Begins Here

My first experience with whole brain teaching was about two and a half years ago when I was actually looking for a reading game. I came across a video where the kids were begging to play this game (The Crazy Professor Game). The game looked like so much fun (and still is one of my favorites).

One great thing lead to many others, I found the other videos. I remember staying up late watching and making notes, planning the next few days. I was so excited I was dreaming about WBT. I had spent the first part of the year looking for something that would fit with me and my class. Power Teaching, as it was called back then, was the first thing I was super excited about.

We played the game and my class became a WBT room. I recall other teachers making comments about the overall change in me and the class. We were all happier.

Since then I have been a firm believer in WBT. I constantly show the videos and talk about how wonderful it is. I would like to share my experiences and show others how WBT can indeed change your class too.

Check out the site see for your self all the wonders of WBT:

Till next time ~
Love, Luck, and Lollipops