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Whole Brain Teaching

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Shannon McCrary

on 30 December 2014

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Transcript of Whole Brain Teaching

Whole Brain Teaching

Sherri Pitts & Shannon McCrary

What is
Whole Brain Teaching?
Whole Brain Teaching, a research based system that utilizes all areas of the brain, keeps children engaged throughout their lessons, and helps them retain much more information than the standard lecture-discussion model (Biffle, 2013). Children are
and use
to learn.

Teacher Chris Biffle writes about Whole Brain Teaching in his book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids, and he gives many practical suggestions for
your students.

The Whole Brain Teaching technique uses chants, repetitions, movements, big gestures, and small group interaction to teach lessons. The teacher delivers information to students in short “chunks.” Kids then teach what they have just learned to their partners, using hand-gestures to help remember specific vocabulary. While students teach each other, the teacher walks around the room to discover who understands the lesson and who needs more instruction (Freundlich, 2011).

Whole Brain Teaching makes the classroom
. The next few slides will describe the techniques in further detail. The video below is of Chris Biffle teaching Whole Brain Teaching techniques while using the techniques. It works with preschool kids up to college students!
The purpose of this study
is to determine the effects of brain based teaching strategies on the engagement and achievement of students.
Summerford, C. (n.d.). Using Movement in the Classroom. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com

Is there a practical way to use brain based strategies in the classroom? YES! It is called WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING.
The Attention Getter: Class-Yes
To gain students' attention, the teacher says, "Class!" and the students respond, "Yes!" The teacher can use various tones of voice and ways to say class:"Classity Class!" gets "Yessity Yes!"
Teacher: When I say Class!, you say Yes! Class!

Students: Yes!
Teacher: However I say Class!, you say Yes! Class! Class!
Students: Yes! Yes!
Teacher: (Using a low voice) Claaaasss!
Students: (Mimicking the teacher’s low voice) Yesssss!
Teacher: (Using a high voice) Classssss!
Students: (Mimicking the teacher’s high voice) Yesssss!
Teacher: Classity, class!
Students: Yessity, yes! (Biffle, 2013, p. 28)
Biffle, C. (2013). Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids (and the rest of your class too!).

Whole Brain Teaching, LLC.
This strategy is a vocal one, but you can use motions. Add clapping when you say "Class!" and the children clap back. Or use big gestures like waving your hands over your head and the class copies you.
The Whole Brain Teaching system uses seven daily instruction techniques to engage and involve the students.

They are called "THE BIG SEVEN"
As you browse the next slides that detail each of THE BIG SEVEN, notice how they incorporate student involvement and MOVEMENT.
The Organizer: Classroom Rules
The teacher says the rule number and students repeat the rule number and rule. For example, the teacher says, “Rule 1” and the class says “Rule 1: Follow directions quickly!” and makes the Rule 1 gesture. Practice rules everyday!
Rule 1: Follow Directions Quickly!
Whole Brain Teaching 5 Rules:
Gesture: Raise 1 finger, then swim your hand rapidly through the air.
Rule 2: Raise Your Hand for Permission to Speak.
Gesture: Raise 2 fingers, then make a talking motion with your hand.
Rule 3: Raise Your Hand for Permission to Leave Your Seat.
Gesture: Raise 3 fingers, then walk two fingers through the air.
Rule 4: Make Smart Choices.
Gestures: Raise 4 fingers, then tap your temple three times with one finger.
Rule 5: Keep Your Dear Teacher Happy!
Gesture: Raise 5 fingers, then use both hands to frame your smiling face.
These are the standard rules for Chris Biffle's Whole Brain
Teaching Program, but they are adaptable. HOWEVER-no
matter what rules you chose, use GESTURES while the
kids are learning and reciting the rules!
The Whole Brain Activator: Teach-Okay
Speak briefly, using gestures, usually no more than 30 seconds to 1 minute. Then clap your hands one to five times and say, “Teach!” Your students repeat your hand clap, and say “Okay!” They make a full body turn to their neighbor and, using gestures, teach their neighbor what you have just taught the class. While students are teaching each other, move around the class; check for comprehension. All students should be gesturing! For students who are listening, but don’t know what gestures to use, ask them to mirror the gestures of students speaking.
Teacher: Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: When I say Teach!, you say Okay! Teach!
Students: Okay!
Teacher: However I say Teach!, you say Okay! Teach! Teach!
Students: Okay! Okay!
Teacher: (Using a high voice) Teeeeach!
Students: (Laughing and mimicking the high voice) Okaaaay!
Teacher: Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: Good job! Now when I say Teach!, you say Okay! and turn your bodies completely toward your neighbors to teach them the Five Classroom Rules. (Pointing to signs at the front of the room) Here are the rules right here. Please use the rule gestures as you teach your neighbor. Teach!
Students: Okay! (Students turn to their neighbors and teach them the Five Classroom Rules.
The is a great small-group, cooperative learning tool! Encourage children to use speaking gestures and listening gestures. The movement continues!
The Motivator: The Scoreboard
To keep your students intensely involved, make a Smiley/ Frowny diagram on the front board. When students are on task, mark a Smiley point. Then point at them; they clap their hands and exclaim, “Oh, yeah!” When students are off task, mark a Frowny point. Then point at them and students lift their shoulders and groan, “Awww!” Never let the difference between Smiley and Frowny points be greater than 3. If you reward too much, students lose energy (the game is too easy). If you punish too much, students become unhappy (the game is too hard). At the end of the learning period, if there are more Smiley points than Frowny points, students receive a small reward of extra recess, free time, or a learning game equal in minutes to the number of Smiley points they earned. For example, if they have 2 Smiley points, they have earned two minutes of game time. If they have 2 Smiley points and 1 Frowny point, they have earned one minute of game time.
This motivational tool can be adapted to your own classroom. Add motions to the "Mighty OH YEAH" and the "Mighty GROAN." Mix up the scoreboard (boys vs. girls, tables vs. tables) and the rewards as the year progresses so it doesn't get boring.
The Class Unifier: Mirror
Here is a teacher using the mirror technique to teach her class about insects:
When you want your class deeply involved in your lesson, hold up your hands, ready to make gestures, and say “Mirror!” Your class says, “Mirror!,” picks up their hands and mirror your gestures as you teach. When you want your class to mirror your gestures and repeat your words, say “Mirror words!”
Teacher: Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: Here is a simple, new, fun learning technique. When I say “mirror,” you say “mirror” and pick up your hands, ready to mirror my gestures. Mirror!
Students: Mirror! (Students hold their hands in the air.)
Teacher: Great job, but let’s do it a little faster and maybe you’ll get a Smilie. (very quickly) Mirror!
Students: Mirror! (Students quickly hold their hands in the air.)
Teacher: Fantastic! (Walking to the board. Making a mark on the Smile side of the Scoreboard.)
Students: (Clapping their hands loudly.) Oh yeah!
Teacher: Good job. Mirror!
This is one of the BEST techniques to get children moving. Use it as a "brain break" to get blood moving, or use it when telling stories or teaching a new concept. The children are listening to you, watching you, and moving along with you. All 3 modalities involved!
The Involver: Switch

Teacher: Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: Here is something that will be fun. In a second, I’m going to ask you to teach each other the class rules… we’ve been rehearsing them for awhile. I want the ones to be the teachers and use big gestures while they talk. I want the twos to be the listeners and
use listening gestures while they listen. Then, when I say “Switch!” I want you all to loudly say “Switch!” and the twos will become the teachers and the ones will be the listeners. First, let’s practice saying “Switch!” very loudly. Switch!

Students: Switch!
Teacher: Not quite loud enough! Faster, a little louder! Switch!
Students: (Louder) Switch!
Teacher: Wonderful! Okay, ones teach the twos the classroom rules. Keep teaching the rules over and over until you hear me say, Switch. Teach!
Students: Okay! (Ones teach the twos for a minute or so.)
Teacher: Switch!
Students: Switch! (Twos teach the ones.) (Biffle, 2013, p. 55-56)
Switch is used when the class is using "Teach!" Assign #1 and #2 to your teaching pairs.
This is a fantastic video of a kindergarten class using WBT techniques. Notice the big movement gestures the teacher encourages when the class is using "Teach!"
This is a super technique when you are teaching a difficult concept. Children teach and hear the concept multiple times. This is also good for ESL or shy students who need to practice talking.
The Focuser: Hands and Eyes
Whenever you have a big point to make about anything, use the Focuser. Typically, introduce the Focuser with Class-Yes… which will gain the attention of most of your students, and then tighten student engagement by saying “Hands and Eyes” as you make a large gesture, bringing your hands together.
Here is a kindergarten teacher using WBT techniques to teach compound words. Notice use of the concepts this presentation has covered as well as the "hands and eyes."
Teacher: Class!
Students: Yes!
Teacher: The next technique is very simple. Whenever I need to make a big point, I’ll say “hands and eyes.” You say “hands and eyes” and fold your hands and stare at me, as if you can’t wait to hear the words I’m going to say. Let’s try it: Hands and eyes! (The teacher folds her hands quickly.)
Students: Hands and eyes! (The students quickly fold their hands and stare intently at the teacher.)
Teacher: Great! Let’s try it again! Hands and Eyes! (The teacher folds her hands quickly.)
Students: Hands and eyes! (Folding their hands even more quickly.)
Teacher: Fantastic. Now, here is my big point…
Hands and Eyes is a motion-stopper. It is used to get children focused. Once they are focused and you begin your lesson, move back to movements and gestures.
Freundlich, M. (2011). Teaching and Learning Together [Web Blog]. Retrieved from http://

Jensen, E. (2005). Teaching with the Brain in Mind. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and

Curriculum Development.
(Biffle, 2013)
(Biffle, 2013, p. 58-59)
(Biffle, 2013, p. 173)
(Biffle, 2013, p. 77)
(Biffle, 2013, p. 79)
We will be using a mixed method approach joining quantitative data and qualitative data.

Two 1st grade and two 2nd grade classes will be chosen to participate. Participating teachers will engage in professional learning over the selected strategies through videos and face to face meetings with the research team. Teachers will spend one week teaching students the strategies and they will spend one week teaching using these strategies during their reading block.

Focus groups with teachers will occur before and after implementation. Participating teachers will also keep anecdotal records during their participation. This will be used for qualitative data.

A checklist of student engagement behaviors will be completed in each class prior to the implementation of strategies. The same checklist will be used again in each class during the treament. We will gather our quantatative data through this analysis.

Principal interviews will be used to share results
and determine future actions to be taken.
How do we do this?
Learn more at wholebrainteaching.com
Full transcript