Sunday, January 6, 2013

Practice Cards!

I have started using Practice cards in my classroom... and I am loving it!  My students know our 5 class rules inside out and when or if they misbehave they know exactly which rule they broke and so does everyone else.  Whole Brain Teaching creates a fun and positive atmosphere so when a rule is broken it is approached as if the student simply needs more practice with that specific rule.  They would never purposely break a rule to be malicious.  :)

"Johnny, because you continue to shout out and not raise your hand, it makes me think you needs more practice following rule number 2.  Please place rule number 2 practice card in your chart pocket."

Now here is the BEST part about practice cards...

Johnny will practice the rule he broke at recess for 2 minutes.  Johnny will repeat the rules with gestures for two minutes before he goes and plays.  Yes, he may feel funny doing this but just think he is becoming an expert with this rule!  LOVE IT!!

For more information click this link Whole Brain Teaching

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Super Improvers Wall!

Okay... so I am starting the Super Improvers Wall with my students!  Oh sweet mamma, I am so excited!  After searching the internet for great examples and free resources, I have created my own wall...

The Super Improvers Wall motivates students to improve beyond their current academic and/or behavior performance.  Each student is trying to move up the top level, genius, by showing improvement.  This is not a race with other students.  Students will be focus on their own progression and improvement.  My classroom has an extremely wide range of learners and the Super Improvers wall will be able to hit everyone's needs!  It will challenge every student no matter their academic/behavior performance.  It is all about ... IMPROVING!      

Everyone starts with a white star chart - the color of the star charts will reflect what level they are on.  Once they have earned 10 stars by showing improvement they will move up to the next color level.  There are special surprises at different levels... picture time!  

To learn more about the Super Improvers Wall - go to

The cute level signs were found on TPT!  Teacher Pay Teacher

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Notes on Oral Writing

First of all, I apologize for the note taking formate.  I am starting to implement oral writing in my classroom and I will be using this post as a resource to help guide my teaching!  

The goal of Oral Writing - To verbally practice writing skills

 question — answer — adder — concluder 

1. Teach kids to answer in complete sentences!
Teach the wrong way to answer questions first.  Makes the right way so much more obvious.
The answer must repeat part of the question.
Cuff your hand behind your ear – That means I didn’t hear your complete sentence…silent prompt

2. Teach kids to add details to their answer – the adder  
Point index fingers towards each other in a spinning motion — that means give me more details... silent prompt 
The answer to the question is the topic sentence! 

3. Teach kids to add a conclusion — the concluder
Umpire Safe gesture — means conclusion... silent prompt
“in conclusion…”

What if a student needs help, doesn't know what to say? 
The student can shout out “help me” and other students may then give suggestions. 

Fabulous Gestures...  

Because – clap
Adding more details – roll fingers (also, because…etc)
Periods – honk
From example – pull from head
Adjectives – kiss fingers… spicy
Off topic – walk your fingers down your arm, jump off if it’s an off topic sentence - shout Aiii.  

Friday, November 16, 2012

Getting organized!

Yes, Whole Brain Teaching is Notebook worthy!  As I start collecting and gathering all the amazing resources, games, and WBT ideas I think it is time to create my own Whole Brain Teaching Notebook.  So far I have a few games to help with math fact fluency, sight word fluency, and reading comprehension.  I am including the cute signs for the Super Improvers Wall - I found them on Teacher Pay Teacher.  I am also keeping my Whole Brain Teaching Certification points documents in this notebook for safekeeping!  

Speaking of amazing WBT ideas, I have started using practice cards in my classroom and I absolutely love them!  If I notice a student not following one of our 5 rules, I simply give them a practice card for the rule they were not following.  They will place the practice card in our class chart.  "I notice you are having a difficult time following rule number 2.  Looks like you might need some more practice following that rule."  If students have a practice card in the class chart, they will practice reciting the rule and using the gestures for the first two minutes of recess.  I love approaching their misbehavior as they just need more practice instead of they are in trouble.  Just a positive spin on it!  Check out the WBT website for a free download of the practice cards!  

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Peanut Butter and Jelly!

My students are having so much fun with PB and Jelly!  We use PB and Jelly for partnering.  Each student has a picture on his or her desk of either peanut butter or jelly.  By simply having these labels we can quickly and smoothly find a partner to share with/teach to.  The transitions are easy.  This is a picture of my student desks.  When we use SWITCH I will assign either the peanut butter or jelly kiddo to share first.  When I say Switch the other partner knows it's their turn to talk.  Sometimes peanut butter and jelly are partners.  Sometimes the peanut butters work together and the jellies work together.

Sunday, November 4, 2012


According to the WBT website, "When you are ready for your class to teach each other, explain that you want the ones to teach the twos.  When you call out "Switch", they should respond "Switch!"  Then the twos will teach the ones.  Thus, you are guaranteed that every student in class is equally involved in speaking and listening."

In the past, I have done a lot of turn and teach activities.  I noticed that the majority of the time my students would simply turn and all talk at the same time... there wasn't a designated listener and talker.  It was like they were talking at each other not to each other.  The kiddos that LOVE talking were the dominant force in the activity.  My more reserved kiddos would just sit back and listen.  This led me to SWITCH - a whole brain teaching strategy.  When I am teaching my student on the floor, we are usually sitting in a circle.  I quickly have the kiddos number off 1, 2 around the circle or peanut butter, jelly (the kiddo like that one!) I do this before any lesson.  During my lesson I can quickly have my student turn to their partner to share/teach.  It is a smooth process!  I will say Teach?  My students will respond okay!  Ones teach first and twos listen first.  I will then say switch.  The students will respond by saying switch.  The ones will become the listeners and the twos will become the talkers.  

I have placed a picture of a peanut butter jar on some desks and the neighboring desks I placed a picture of a jelly jar.  This is just a cute visual for kiddos to have when we turn and teach a partner.   

Thursday, November 1, 2012

One Second Party!

Yes, we have many one-second parties in my classroom!
I use the Whole Brain Teaching scoreboard to help with classroom management. ... A competition between smilies and frownies!  I found this image of a scoreboard by simply searching Google image.  I actually find a lot of fun ideas with Google image.  Pictures are worth a thousand words!
My kiddos can earn smiley points for listening, energetic participation, following directions, and working hard.  When they earn a smiley point I will say One-second Party while placing a tally mark on the smiley side of the scoreboard.  The kiddos clap and say, "Oh yeah!"  Now, the frownies can also earn points.  When students are not listening, following directions, working hard, or participating I will place a tally mark on the frowny side.  When I do that I say Mighty Groan and the kiddos shrug their shoulders and groan.  I keep the scores close, one side is never winning by much.  I think this helps keep my students on their toes and motivated.  My scoreboard is actually on a mini whiteboard.  I can carry the board with me wherever I go... font of the room, back of the room, library, computer lab, etc.  

The other day my scoreboard changed some.  It was smilies vs. pirates.  My kiddos had a fun time with the change!  If the pirates earned a point (thanks to a misbehavior) the kiddos would say "argh".  Of course, my kiddos worked hard because we couldn't let pirates win!  Fun times in second grade!