## Friday, August 31, 2012

### How many Squares?

In my bag of tricks when I was substituting was the drawing of a similar box as seen below. I liked how the students had to think critically to see all the possible squares.

How many squares are there?

To show you how I visualize it in my head, I've drawn progressively smaller squares.
1

+4 (see the four overlapping 3x3 squares?)

+9 (Nine overlapping 2x2 squares?)

+16 (sixteen base 1x1 squares)

+2 (two additional overlapping 1x1 squares)
+8 (the smaller squares formed by the previous two's addition to the grid)

=40

Now, some people will not be able to visualize this many squares, while others will insist they see more, but they are mistaken. They are counting rectangles as squares, but rectangles are not squares even though squares can be counted as rectangles.

## Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wow, it didn't take me as long as I thought it would to finish up this small section, so here it is for your pleasure!

Do you have any suggestions for future sections? I have some good stuff hopefully up my sleeves, but I welcome suggestions and criticisms.

Some sample pages:

## Wednesday, August 29, 2012

### Dear God...

This has made the rounds before, but I still love it. I think I'll get my Sunday School to write letters to God this year too.

## Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I used to teach in a private school where the first language of most of my students and their families wasn't English.

These issues came up A LOT!

## Wednesday, August 22, 2012

### Coach B's Facebook Course One Lesson three

I'm back with the third installment of Coach B's Course on Critical thinking in the classroom.
Lesson 3 Question
Obviously, we need, desperately need, a WBT Critical Thinking game. And equally obviously, it would move from simpler to solve critical thinking puzzles to more difficult puzzles. Ideally, the game would be simple to play and apply to any subject area or grade level. But the question is, how would the game start??? Coach B won't spill the beans until a really large number of comments (likes don't count) indicate Wibbeteers are eager for the answer.

This one had me stumped. I thought he meant an actual game, and imagined how we could start a game in the classroom.

Perhaps it could start with an action unique to the game? Or with a command variation of class-yes, such as game-okay!?

The sentence frame below is the simplest, most flexible Coach B can imagine. Adjust the seed word(s) to your grade level. Lower grades use words like dog, cat, soccer; upper grades use words like algebra, the quadratic equation, the Constitution, erosion, Of Mice and Men. Set up games where pairs of students try to fill in the blanks as many times as possible in a minute or two.

But now the worrisome news. Coach B will help you to the degree you build enrollment in Coach B University. We have 10,000 likes and only 80 or so teachers enrolled??? Oh, no!

Contact friends, family, colleagues, the weird kids next door and POUR ON THE COMMENTS to Coach B's answer ... don't let CBU go on vacation! If 80 people bring in 5 friends each, then our dear Coach willl keep the lessons coming. It's all on you.

So I was VERY wrong...
I wasn't thinking about how the game would be played.

I would definitely want to learn more about playing this game, maybe even see a video of it in action!

Let's see if I do better in Lesson four.

Come and play along!

## Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Do kids actually ever try this and expect you to believe them?

## Monday, August 20, 2012

### WBT: Sunday School?

Do any of you use WBT teaching skills in environments outside of your regular classroom? How?

Here is a question I will begin to seriously ponder now as the new school year begins.

Will I use WBT at Sunday School this year?

As in many other years, I have volunteered as a teacher at my church. I've taught every grade from Primary (Kindergarten) to six since I was seventeen years old, and this will be my third year teaching the grades 2/3 split.

What makes this year different is I hope to apply WBT techniques to my teaching so I am comfortable using them when I teach in public school again. I'll use them not so much for the awesome classroom management they promise, but for the student involvement and more in depth knowledge the skills will help them acquire.

WBT basics
I think Class-Yes is something I can use, especially to call my class to attention as we settle into our seats, and during activity time to call them back to attention for our closing prayer.

I think Teach-Okay is another skill I can use, but I'm not sure it will be as successful because we wouldn't be using it every week, and as weeks pass between using it, they may forget their roles. But I don't know... Have you successfully used it at church? Or would it be a good review after each lesson before we move into our activities?

I don't think Scoreboard is appropriate for Sunday School, so I won't even attempt it.

I can see Hands and Eyes being used occasionally, but I'll probably just stick with Class-Yes since our classes are so small and only calling them once to attention should be enough.

I'm most definitely going to use the Mirror. I believe it will help to keep the students focused on that weeks Bible lesson since they sometimes tend to be long. I hope that by being more active during the telling of the story they'll be more able to tell their parents what we learned in class that day.

Switch is a skill I'll only utilize if I end up using Teach-Okay more than I expect to right now.

The five rules are wonderful, and since I usually have rules posted in my room, using WBT rules this year should be easy to substitute.
I actually stumbled across a set of AWESOME Christian based rule posters at First Grade By the Sea by Pauline. Check them out and please follow her! I was going to design my own, but these are SOOO much better than I could make. Here's one:

I've also stumbled across a great resource from Chris Biffle of Whole Brain teaching (that seems to end in dead links on the site) on the internet. It's called A Whole Brain Life of Jesus, and offers gestures to help memorize 40 of the most important events of Jesus' life. I plan on teaching just the gestures that apply to the stories we teach this year, but hopefully just teaching these gestures will help my class remember them months later!

Do you have or have seen any other WBT resources appropriate for Sunday School? Please direct me to it. If I'm successful, I'd lve to be able to teach my fellow teachers about WBT in the spring since most are not trained teachers, just faithful Christians trying to do right by our youth.

## Saturday, August 18, 2012

### Popular Posts, oh my!

Do you like to check out your ratings and see what people are looking at?

I know I like to!

In the little over a year I've been blogging:
I love how my Superhero products are among the most popular posts.
Do you see the Five finger Rule poster at the top? It's been in my top ten list every week since I posted it. It's not even one of my favourite products, but for some reason it is very popular.
I decided to see if I can figure it out, and it turns out, its one of the top posts (today it was THE top post) when you do a Google search for a Five Finger Rule poster. I'm SURE there are better ones out there though.

I've been posting about my discovery of WBT for the last month, and as you can see my WBT scoreboard even makes it onto my all time popular posts list.

AS for this past week alone:
The five finger rujles as predicted is of course on the top of the list, but do you see how many of my WBT posts are on this list? Can I get an oh yeah?

## Friday, August 17, 2012

### WBT: Prog530 Orientation

I'm now going to loosely follow Coach B's suggested list to earning 700 certification points in 7 weeks. I feel much more comfortable doing this now that I've read through the First Steps articles and written my thoughts on those here in my blog.

First up, my response to the Orientation Video Prog530 WBT Orientation.
Get comfy cozy, this is an hour long!

The certification Question from this video:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Whole Brain Teaching compared to traditional education?

Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves. - Ernest Dimnet
No matter the style of education you choose to teach with or are mandated by an administration to use, the goal of every one is for children to be educated. Education must be able to leave a child at the end of their formal education with the ability to think for themselves and continue to be lifelong learners. The question every new education reform in the last century has surely made teachers ask themselves is, "Will my students be able to educate themselves?" It is a goal of Whole Brain teaching to enable students to go beyond the traditional methods of learning so that they can succeed with a smile on their face.

While both styles of teaching do teach and share the required curriculum outcomes, there are significant differences in both the atmosphere of the classroom and the method of delivery. Most teachers today were brought up in traditional classrooms, so it is hard when we are first asked to think outside the traditional box and use new reforms. But great educators want the best for their students, and so are therefore eager to find new ways to help our students learn to educate themselves. We need to ask, “Which is stronger, which is weaker?” It is when we are challenged to change that we are most willing to try Whole Brain teaching despite the differences to what we ourselves were brought up with.

The differences between the two styles of teaching are very noticeable. The first thing you will notice when walking into the Whole Brain classroom versus the traditional classroom next door is the volume of the student’s voices. It is not unusual to hear the class being happily loud, yet organized and on task. Most often when walking into a traditional classroom like the last few I have personally taught you'll find the students quiet and working alone. If they are loud it is unfortunately usually because they are disorganized and off task. It is more preferable to have a class that is working together even if it is loud if they are actively engaged in teaching themselves and each other.

The next thing you may notice when comparing the two classrooms is the level of the student’s engagement. In a Whole Brain classroom students are active participants in their education through various reforms such as teach-okay and the mirror to name just two. The short bursts of knowledge, immediate review and shared teaching helps students be a part of their own education. In contrast, in traditional education students are passive participants because the most common teaching styles seen include long lectures and questioning only one student at a time. These styles while possibly good enough for a college level class are sure to disengage student’s elementary students who need to be involved. Students who are engaged are most likely to educate themselves.

Finally, you may discover when observing a Whole Brain classroom the students are utilizing their whole brain versus the students next door in the traditional classroom who are only using parts of their brain at any given moment. Whole brain students simultaneously use their brain for seeing, hearing, speaking, action and feeling. While traditional classroom students do use all of these, they seldom use them all at once, utilizing their Whole Brain to the utmost of its ability. Whole Brain research has shown that students learn better when more of their brain is engaged. At their end of their education, students who have learned to use their whole brains to learn will be better equipped to continue to educate themselves wherever life may take them.

Personally I have never used Whole Brain teaching, having only learned much about it after leaving the classroom. I hope that when I do someday return that I will be able to utilize the newer method of teaching to ensure my students learn to think for themselves, and learn to question like a pro. Will my students be able to educate themselves? Hopefully I will be able to ensure that they will. Which is stronger? I hope I have shown through my comparisons of the two methods that Whole Brain teaching is the stronger method because students are engaged, active, on task and using their Whole Brains.

Thank you for reading my first certification post (if my other posts don't count). I have posted this early Thursday to the Whole brain teaching forum, and am sharing it here with you today.

## Thursday, August 16, 2012

### Coach B's Facebook Course One lesson two

You probably know by now that this past weekend Coach B started posting Lessons for his first of many Whole Brain Thinking Facebook Courses. The first course is all about critical thinking. On Monday I posted my responses and thoughts on Lesson One, and today I present to you:

LESSON TWO:
Images are from the Whole Brain Teaching Facebook page.
My initial response was:

As we waited for more people to post their guesses, Coach B replied:
Several people are remarkably close to the answer.

Am I? Let's wait and see!

AND on Monday evening, the answer was finally posted. I of course discovered that I was WAY off.
Lesson 2 Answer: The simplest form of critical thinking is where the teacher does half the critical thinking for the student. "Fill in this blank as many times as you can: Rule 1 is a good rule because _____." "Fill in this blank as many times as you can. This is an interesting story because _____." "Nine is the right answer to this problem because ____."
When students use "because" they are connecting opinion (idea, position, view) with evidence: opinion because evidence. "It will be hot tomorrow..." (Opinion) "because we are in the middle of a heat wave." (Evicence)

Begin by giving students an opinion and let them come up with the evidence! Also, use the "because clapper." Students should clap once whenever they say "because" to add fun and to emphasize that "because" is the key critical thinking link.

I love how the answer to this question connects and directly weaves itself into Lesson one's definition of Critical thinking. “Critic
al thinking is supporting your opinion with lots of strong evidence.”
That's how we need to teach, with scaffolding! In university I was told to scaffold my lessons when building unit plans, but it is so easy to forget that when trying to get every curriculum component into the unit. Everything needs to be built on top of previous learned concepts, and by having students use their previously acquired knowledge to prove their statements, they will be able to show they have learned the concept.

By prompting the students with an opinion and "because" to in a way force them to use evidence, students are automatically thinking critically! It won't be long before they are answering questions for themselves by using because statements without being prompted. The hard part will be getting over their initial fear of getting things wrong and therefore giving answers such as "because it is." We need to make sure we've helped to guide them already towards the answers they already have in one form or another, or can infer it from what we have learned together as a class.

I look forward to students becoming better whole brain thinkers because of their own learning, not because of what they've been told.

## Wednesday, August 15, 2012

### WBT: Five Rules

“The rules are simple!” ― Kazuki Takahashi

A classroom can't run efficiently without a set of rules. Many teachers, myself included, have in the past started their year by creating a class set together with their students. I was led to believe this would help my class feel ownership of their rules, but there is little evidence to prove this opinion. With Whole Brain teaching, students are presented with a set of ready made rules complete with actions to learn from their teacher  the very first day. These simple rules are easy to learn and remember.

One important aspect of using rules in a whole brain classroom is that the rules are not simply posted and forgotten soon after they are taught. Instead, whole brain teachers find ways to ensure they are constantly running through the heads of their students. To make this happen, it is important to review the rules and their actions EVERY SINGLE DAY. Students need repetition and daily reminders like fish need water. But simply reviewing the rules every morning will be boring, and students need to be engaged, so it is important to review in the whole brain way, which involves reciting the rules in different voices- loud, whisper, slow, fast, robot, opera, etc. Doing this should make the students eager to see what the next review will bring, while ensuring the rules are recently on their brains.

Once students have the rules ingrained on their brains, all the teacher has to do when rules are being broken is to call out the corresponding number, and the whole class will stop what they are doing and perform the memory action while reciting the rule. The offending student or students are never pointed to or mentioned by name, but by having the class repeat the rule they should be instantly reminded of their expected behaviour and will feel instantly chagrined.

What's great about these rules is that they are very true to the spirit of Whole Brain teaching. They touch on every aspect of our brains practical use! Students see the posters, hear the rules, do they rules and say the rules. They are even feeling the rules when they realize they have broken one and the whole class breaks out into a repetition of the broken rule.

I look forward to implementing these five awesome rules when I teach again. Of course I could use the methods with any set of rules, but they wouldn't have the associated actions, or the nuclear power of rule number five!

First Steps
Class-Yes
Teach-Okay
Scoreboard
Hands and Eyes
Mirror and Switch

This is in response to the First Steps Article: Five Classroom Rules.
This is the last in this series, I will now begin to dig more deeply into the articles and videos available on the Whole Brain Teaching Website and continue to participate in the Facebook Courses.

To get your own copy of my rules posters, please click on the above image, or the sample below to go directly to the Google Document.

If you would like any colour changes please comment below, and I will send you the edited version free!

## Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ever wish your students could follow a few of these rules? I know that in blogging I'm guilty of a few, but hopefully my formal writing was better in school.

## Sunday, August 12, 2012

### Coach B's Facebook Course One lesson one

Are you connected to Whole Brain Teaching Yet? Definitely check it out. It's changed how I plan on teaching.

I'm dedicating a few posts a week (well, as a goal) to my study and eventual research into WBT. Today, Coach B (Chris Biffle) has begun posting a few questions on the Whole Brain teaching Facebook page.

Please come join me and others in this ongoing free course, just comment on these images on the Facebook page. Can't wait to see you!

I've so far enjoyed reading the questions and trying to think of my own answers before Coach B posts his.

Want to check them out?

Give it a try! (Images from the WBT Facebook page).

LESSON ONE:

After awhile we were given a hint as to what the answer was,
At minimum, a definition of critical thinking should include the words, "opinion" and "evidence." With this in mind, fill in the following blank, "Critical thinking is ____________________." (15 words or less).

Critical thinking is learning to use evidence to form your own opinions on subject matter.

I knew it wasn't what Coach B was looking for, but I know I have to try because that's one way to use MY critical thinking skills.

After many hours of waiting the answer was finally posted:
Students have three problems when they try to think critically. First, they have opinions without evidence. “The answer to problem 19 is 25 square feet.” “Why?” “Because.” Second, they have opinions with weak evidence. “James and the Giant Peach is great story.” “Why?” “Because I like it.” Third, they have opinions with too little evidence. “Oil and water don’t mix.” “Why?” “I don’t know.”

Our definition addresses each of these problems. “Critic
al thinking is supporting your opinion with lots of strong evidence.” To think critically you need three components: an opinion, strong evidence and lots of it!

Picture this: the principal comes into your room and asks students questions about math, reading, core concepts, writing, social studies, science, playground behavior. Every kid has an answer ... backed up with lots of strong evidence. Yes, that’s Teaching Heaven and that’s where we’re going! (Don’t worry for now about a definition of opinion or evidence ... we’ll solve that problem later.)

I wasn't close enough, but I think I was on the right track. What do you think?

As for the answer, I know too well how often you teach a concept to your class and are sure they really understand it, only to have a principal come in and ask the kids what they're learning, and they have no idea! Hopefully if I can learn how to teach my students to think critically, and how to give them opportunities to have lots of evidence in their back pockets, I'll end up with a classroom full of critical thinkers!

I think we need to teach our kids to ask questions and we need to make sure our teaching helps them see for themselves WHY oil and water don't mix. We can't just TELL them the answers so we can get through to the next lesson, we have to give them time to find answers before moving onto the next question. And more importantly, they need to be helped to find the answers in more than one way.

School isn't a race, it's a lifelong experience.

### WBT: Mirror and Switch

“Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery - it's the sincerest form of learning.” George Bernard Shaw

No matter how you say it- imitation, copying, mimicking- the truth is that when students do it, they are more likely to remember it. These two aspects of Whole Brain teaching I believe are closely related to each other. They both involve having the students copying the teachers words and actions.

In Mirror, the teacher directs the students to copy her action she says while teaching a concept. There are three types of actions the teacher may form:
1. Casual- these are the type which many of us do when talking.
2. Graphic- these ones match what you are saying, like in charades!
3. Memory- these are being linked to core concepts, and should therefore each be unique, so when reviewing for a test all you have to do is do the simple gesture and the whole class automatically can repeat for you what it represents, even months later.

In switch, the teacher uses Class-Yes, but instead of having the students simultaneously telling each other the lesson just taught, the class is divided into two groups and they take turns teaching each other.

The two concepts are linked because when doing Switch, the students who are not teaching are mirroring the actions of the teaching student.

In my future classroom I can see this enhancing critical thinking skills because students are actively engaging multiple parts of their brains. It will also be like a game to them to see how well their partner remembers what the teacher first taught.

My First Steps Response Blogs:
Class-Yes
Teach-Okay
Scoreboard
Hands and Eyes

This is in response to the First Steps Article: Mirror and First Steps: Switch.
To get your own copy of the Posters above, just click on the image to go to the Google documents.

## Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How often do you laugh when you read students answers on worksheets and tests?

I wish I had taken photos or scanned the ones that made me bite my tongue!

Today I was looking through my Facebook Newsfeed and one of my pages (Nickmom) had shared this cutie.

What have you seen?

## Monday, August 6, 2012

### Superhero Calendar!

I've uploaded my second product to Tpt!

I'm offering it for free for a limited time, and then I'll assign a price. I'm hoping some of you lovely ladies (and gents) would be willing to give me feedback and suggest what price to assign to it. Is \$5 too much? Is \$1 not enough? Help!!

Here's a preview:

Just click on the image to go to my store.

To see the rest of my Superhero products you can click on my Freebies Tab at the top of my page.

## Friday, August 3, 2012

### Easy Peasy as Mac and Cheesy linky

Hope I won't be penalized for posting twice in one day, but the other one was a scheduled one at 9 this morning, and since it's now afternoon, I'm hoping you won't hate me! (Please don't hate me!)

Thanks to Staci for hosting this linky.

I LOVE to cook. In fact when I was graduating from high school in 1998, I was seriously torn between going to University for English literature and Education, or Community College for cooking (specifically baking, yummm!)

On my other neglected blog, I've posted a few recipes in the past:

Raisin Bannock
Oven Pancake Muffins
Nuts and Bolts
Taco Pizzas

Today I share (sorry no pictures):

Bubbly Bake
This is a recipe my mom learned in home ec in the 70's. I don't get to make it often ever, because my husband HATES fish. I like to sometimes use other spices than salt and pepper, Mrs. Dash is a nice choice! I also am pretty sure I put closer to a cup of cheese on top, I LOVE cheese. I didn't write what type of fish down, you can probably use what is available, but we always use HADDOCK. (I tried Sole once when we lived out west, but it was gross.)

1lb white fish
1/4c minced onion (or onion flakes)
1can cream of mushroom soup
1/4c water
1/2c grated cheddar
Salt and pepper to taste

Clean fish if needed and place in baking dish
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Mix soup and water and pour over fish
Top with cheese
Bake 350* for 40 min

Enjoy!