In the meantime, I'm preparing for possible interview questions, and so I can mentally be ready to be back in the classroom, after all, it will be 2 years since I last set foot in a classroom when school starts again.
I know the year NEEDS to start off on the best foot, and I'm hoping to get some ideas from watching some WBT videos.
Tonight's viewing: The First Hour
The First hour of any school year is very important, it's when you and your students get their very first impressions of each other. If you want your students to respect you from the first minute, it's absolutely paramount that they view you as a competent teacher. Using WBT skills from the first moments of school, will help ensure that this happens.
Before School even starts, the first step needed to be taken to get the year off to a good start is your room design. According to Coach Biffle, this includes:
1. A whiteboard with the Scoreboard and Rule #1 displayed.
2. White Board: This morning's lesson. Say what you're going to cover.
3. Super Improvers Wall with all the names already displayed on white cards.
4. Language Arts and Math Power Pix Grids.
5. Five Rules and Other WBT signs.
THE FIRST TEN MINUTES
Teach in the hallway where the kids are lined up before they are allowed to enter the room.
1. Line Students up outside.
2. Say, firmly, happy and commanding, "Please Look at me! I am (insert your name). I'm delighted you are here!"
3. Immediately start class-yes.
4. Tell students that whenever they say "yes!" their hands should be folded in the listening position.
Keep saying "I'll answer your questions later"
Hands are distractors, so its important to teach students what to do with their hands before they get in the room.
MOVING INTO THE CLASSROOM
1. Usher them into the room and get them seated quickly.
2. Keep using "Please...". point kids at seats and tell them to keep their hands folded.
3. Observe who follows directions.
4. Praise for following directions.
Keep saying, "We'll assign permanent seats later"
What is on the Whiteboard?
My name on the upper left corner.
Scoreboard underneath that.
First Lesson Plan: 1. Class-Yes!
2. Rule 1: Follow Directions Quickly.
3. The Scoreboard
4. Practice Rule 1
5. Learn Student names
6. Practice Rule 1
Point out that students have already learned class-yes.
1. Stand in front of the class. Do Class-Yes a few more times.
2. Sound happy, confident, commanding.
3. Quickly review the morning lesson.
4. Teach Rule 1 with the gesture. "When I say Rule 1, you say Follow directions quickly" Practice doing things. Get Buy In so later you can say to a student, "remember, we all voted on these?"
Use the scoreboard to practice Rule 1 as a motivator to follow directions quickly. This is called scaffolding the learning. Using previous knowledge with new knowledge helps to build understanding.
LEARN STUDENT NAMES
This is the part I always have a hardtime with, but I usually have most names memorized by lunch, and 90% by the end of the day. This process should have in memorized within this first hour!
When you forget a name, say "Who is this?" and someone will reply and tell you.
USE RULE ONE AND THE SCOREBOARD TO TEACH PROCEDURES
Practice and Learn how to get our books, pass out papers, lineup, etc.
The Question asked of viewers in this video was:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of Whole Brain Teaching's the First Hour?
"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"~John Wooden
Starting the school year off with your right foot forward is very important. If you don't take the time to teach your students rules and procedures, then you won't be able to get that time back later in the year to teach it properly. That time will be lost, as well as all the other time you waste correcting student behaviour throughout the year. Hopefully Couch Biffle’s Enthusiasm for the first hour will ensure that students are ready to learn.
However, I can see a few weaknesses to the First Hour. In many schools, including the ones I've taught at, students trickle in for the first hour, so it is very difficult to keep them in the hall to start the first lesson before they enter the room. Also, many schools start the first day with an assembly, so you will have already lost time before you've reached your room trying to teach procedures without any rules in place.
A second Weakness I believe would be present especially in a primary level class would be the pure voice level of the students as they get excited while learning the rules and procedures, as well as with helping me learn their names. But that is okay with me!
I'm not sure what I think of not assigning seats for the first day though, that's one of those things I was told was essential for first day classroom management.
As for strengths, there are many!
I am one of those teachers who are never quite sure how to start the first day. It's not a subject that was covered in my teacher education program. Now with this step by step guideline, I know exactly what is essential to already have on the walls when my kiddos first walk in, and that is the very first lesson they will learn from me.
I like having a plan to learn names other than having them make name tags. Games are a great way to start the school year off, and have always been a part of my first day plans. Now I'll make the first game be one that helps me check off one of my first day essentials.
I don't have to do over my teaching of rules if I start the year off by following this first hour guideline. I have to make sure I make the time in my first day schedule, no matter what else is required of me, to teach my kiddos the first rle and class-yes. Knowing these two essential parts of WBT, will help ensure we have a smooth year and great learning together.