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: www.wholebrainteaching.com I plan on being there come see the power of toys for the brain.
Love, Luck, and Lollipops