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!      

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5 Class Rules

Our 5 Class Rules!

I wanted to share these super cute Class Rules Posters.  I found these posters on Pinterest - of course!  The teacher who created these posters has a great blog with lots of other fun ideas for the classroom.  

I have implemented these Whole Brain Teaching rules and, for the first time, my students actually have fun with the rules! They LOVE reviewing the rules and doing the gestures - I know, it's crazy huh!? I introduced one rule a day and we review, model, review, model... you get the picture! By introducing one rule a day my students were so curious and excited to find out the next rule. :) 

Our rules: (each rule has their own gestures.)  
Follow directions quickly! 
Raise your hand for permission to speak 
Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.
Make smart choices!
Keep your dear teacher happy! 

I love the last rule - it serves as a big umbrella for possible misbehaviors... so yes, I have a rule for everything.  

My class reviews the rules every morning. My calendar helper leads the class with the rule review. According to the WBT website - You must have the rules running around in your students’ heads for them to be effective. My students know the rules forwards and backwards.  Whenever I notice a kiddo or kiddos not following one of our rules I simply say the rule number that they are not following and the kiddos recite that rule.  It serves as a quick reminder.  

Watch this WBT video  This teacher does a great job reviewing the class rules!  She is very energetic and animated!  


 Class? Yes!  Oh Class? Oh Yes!!

Welcome to my blog!  My name is Ashley and I am currently in my seventh year of teaching.  I taught first grade for six years and last year I made the big move to second grade.  I have created this blog for multiple reasons, one being a chance to simply share and showoff what's gong on in my classroom.  I enjoy sharing new ideas and collaborating with other educators.  It is what keeps me motived and current in my practices.  My inner nerd comes out when googling teaching related ideas... hi, my name is Ashley and I am addicted to Pinterest!    
Two years ago I stumbled upon a YouTube video on Whole brain Teaching.  I immediately was hooked, excited, and eager to implement Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom.  I love how Whole Brain Teaching creates such an energetic classroom.  Students are more attentive and engaged in the lessons.  Students are actively involved in the lessons and are having fun.  I have explored many websites, blogs, and YouTube videos about WBT and this year I went full force with the implementation of Whole Brain Teaching.  My classroom now uses many WBT strategies such as class? Yes!, hands and eyes, Teach? Ok!, scoreboard, 5 class rules, etc.  This blog will serve as a vehicle for sharing my Whole Brain Teaching experiences.  

If you are new to Whole Brain teaching, you might want to visit and explore this website... lots of great info and ideas.