Saturday, August 3, 2013

I (HEART) Whole Brain Teaching!

I discovered Whole Brain Teaching when I was watching some teaching videos on Youtube one weekend.  (Sidebar:  See- this is why I love this blog- because I can say that, and I know you aren't sitting there saying, "What a NERD!" because you like looking at 'teachery' things, too!  Or if you did say that, you probably already clicked away!)(And yes, I made up a new adjective.)

Anyway- I am a visual learner. I learn SO much watching great teachers teach. My very favorite is Rachel Freundlich.  Oh my goodness, I love watching her teach!

I implemented WBT in my classroom last year and cannot wait to use it more this year.  I found it to be a fabulous management tool and way to engage every single student.  It is not something you do all day long. That's a common question about WBT.  Yes, you would be exhausted- and lose the magic of it, I think, if you did it constantly.  It is perfect for teaching whole group lessons (math, writer's workshop...).  I also use parts of it throughout the day.  My kids love "Class Class" and the "Twelve Finger WOO" for example. 

Here is a little history of WBT from their website:

1999: In the small Southern California town of Yucaipa, three instructors, Chris Biffle (college), Jay Vanderfin (kindergarten) and Chris Rekstad (4th grade) spend a year designing a radical new teaching system based on three principles:  the system should be brain based, fun and free.

2000: Thirty Yucaipa teachers meet in Biffle’s living room.  The educators are uncertain which aspect of the new system they love the most ... the cost (zip) or the potent chunks of educational tomfoolery.

2001-2006: Biffle, Vanderfin and Rekstad host monthly free Power Teachers conferences on classroom management, reading and state standards at Crafton HIlls College in Yucaipa.  Seminar attendance ranges from 20-40.  The three heroes ask themselves, “What’s the Golden Key?  How can we reach way more teachers and spread, across the land, the music of task focused laughter?”

2007: The Golden Key is discovered.  Focus on teaching challenging students! A core seminar is designed, “Teaching Challenging K-12 Students (and the rest of your class, too!)” Desperate, fun loving teachers pour out of the woodwork.  Seminar attendance skyrockets from 40 to 400+.

2008: The not-exactly-technologically-hip trio discovers YouTube and TeacherTube.  In 14 months, Power Teachers videos receive 500,000 views.  Teachers in every state of the Union and 20 foreign countries study Power Teacher's short movies.  Thousands of pages of free Power Teachers materials are downloaded from a collection of sites. By the end of the year, with the wondrous assistance of programmer Jason Pedersen, a single website, this one!, is designed.  All of Power Teaching's resources, videos, testimonials, message boards, calendar, free downloads are available under one electronic roof.

2009: Biffle, Vanderfin and Rekstad, ask themselves ... What's our next goal?  The answer:  to become one of America's leaders in brain based education.  And so, in the summer of '09,  Power Teaching becomes Whole Brain Teaching, LLC, a limited liability corporation.  New name.  New vision.  Same great prices!

2010: WBT conferences continue to set attendance records.  In the small town of Hemet, California, over 900 teachers register for a presentation in an auditorium that seats 400!  In April, WBT reaches out to an international audience with webcasts featuring lively, and live!, introductions to a host of brain friendly teaching strategies.  In August, views of WBT videos on YouTube and TeacherTube top 1,000,000.  

I put together -wait for it- A PREZI (surprise!) to help explain Whole Brain Teaching. Since I love to learn visually, I thought I would make a visual explanation of WBT for you if you are not familiar with it.  Even if you are, I know I could watch the videos over and over and learn new things.

The top two videos are short WBT Conference videos. Underneath these are several videos of Chris Biffle explaining WBT. I  put the Classroom Rules on the left side.  On the right, beside each rule, I put the video of Chris Biffle explaining the "why" behind each rule.  The five videos under the rules are all Rachel Freundlich teaching, using WBT.  Do you think I like her or something?  You will, too- promise!   Underneath these are some other good examples of WBT used in primary classrooms.

I hope you enjoy this and find it helpful.  I could just sit and watch the teaching videos all over again.  It is inspiring to me!  ;)  Get a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy !
(After you click "Start Prezi," you can make the Prezi full screen by clicking the gray rectangle on the lower right corner. Just click on any video to bring it forward and play it. Scroll back out after that video is done.  Hit the escape key if you want to get out of full screen.)

PS- OK maybe I was wrong and I really am a nerd, or at least Youtube things so. I just checked my inbox to find a notice from Youtube about the upcoming "Geek Week."  Apparently, they thought I would be interested... hmmmm.

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