Please join fellow WBT educators in a lively discussion of Chris Biffle's latest book, "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids"!
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Monday, June 3, 2013

Chapter 30: Bonus Chapter: Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

Of the features listed for a model classroom, choose 4 you would most likely adopt for your own classroom and explain why you chose each of them.

Pages 194-217

Full credit: 25 WBT Certification Points
Partial credit: 10 WBT Certification Points


  1. To create a model WBT classroom it would be most important to adopt the following four features; five classroom rules, Scoreboard, assigned Teach-Ok partners and the Super Improvers Wall. Together these four features help to establish clear expectations, generate motivation, increase productivity and provide a fair method for recognizing and awarding student success.

    The five classroom rules help to establish classroom expectations in a kid friendly way by using simple language that is easy to remember. More importantly, the rules can be applied to various situations. With a bit of practice time to demonstrate what behaviors don’t support the rules vs. which behaviors do support the rules, it is easy to help the kids connect to all of the different situations in which each rule can be applied. These five rules easily address the numerous circumstances kids find themselves in during the course of just one school day.

    The Scoreboard, a silent superhero teacher, will run the show by generating motivation. It is so effective at generating motivation kids don’t even realize how hard they are working at academics. They are so focused on accumulating points for the reward on Friday that in turn they follow direction and complete tasks with little to no resistance. Moreover, the kids are working together to accumulate points; creating a community of learners.

    Using assigned Teach- Ok partnerships will increase productivity. Placing students in positive, dynamic partnerships helps keep students on task. The more often students are on task the more likely they will be able to attack and complete different types of assignments. During whole group discussions, Teach –Ok encourages student engagement and provides a means for practicing new material. These experiences prepare students for independent application of skill and content by providing them with the information or strategy they need to begin new assignments and develop understanding. With supervision, the teacher can see where struggles begin and the appropriate support can be offered.

    The last feature to include in a model WBT classroom would be the Super Improvers Wall. Personalization is essential to the development and success of students. The Super Improvers Wall creates a fair approach for recognizing and awarding individual students not for ability but for improvement. All students will show improvement.

    I have adopted all 4 of these features into my 7th grade middle school science class. Since September, there have been no office referrals, few classroom disruptions, no failing grades and very happy young smiling faces.

    Rebecca Murphy

  2. Rebecca,
    I'm so happy to hear how successful your classroom has been this year! It is really amazing how well these techniques work! Here are 25 certification points!

  3. 1. Rules- In life, there are rules everywhere (laws, games, contests, sports, homeowner’s associations, etc.) It is important for successful participants to clearly understand and follow the rules. The classroom is no different. In order for students to be successful, they must know, understand, and follow rules. I have student leaders lead my class in a lively review of the rules each morning followed by a student leader marking our Scoreboard based on the enthusiastic participation during the review. This fun daily practice ensures all students begin the day with a reminder of the expectations for being successful in our classroom.

    2. Scoreboard- The Scoreboard keeps my students motivated and, “on their toes”. By using the Ping Pong method, the score is always close which motivates my students to work extra hard in class. What could be better than happy, hard-working students?

    3. Power Pix Wall- My power Pix wall is one of my favorite WBT techniques I’ve implemented this year. I have assigned student leaders who lead a daily 5 minute review in each subject area. My Power Pix are hung in a color coded system so that the leader simply instructs their classmates to review Power Pix mounted on a certain color. (“Class, when I say teach, I want you and your partner to review all of the orange Power Pix on the blue paper.”) This quick daily review has solved the problem of students forgetting what was taught in September. They are constantly revisiting important concepts taught which has increased mastery. I have found it especially helpful for my ESE students this year who need the added repetition.

    4. Prove It!- Prove It is another favorite of mine. My students simply LOVE playing Prove It! I began with 10 minutes daily, but found that my students were begging for more time. I now have formed teams and we play once a week for 30-45 minutes. Groups are given practice questions for the state test. They must discuss and, “Prove It!” to each other using the Because Clapper. Teams earn points for correct answers and cooperative/supportive participation. This has boosted their critical thinking and improved their test taking skills. My students are actually looking forward to the upcoming benchmark testing.

    Jamie Rickman

  4. Jamie,
    Fantastic idea to use your student leaders to review your Power Pix, and I like the color code reminders too! And, how exciting that the dreaded test review is now something they beg for! Ah, teacher heaven! Here are 25 certification points!

  5. Chapter 30: Bonus- Designing a Model Classroom

    1. The Five Rules- Students crave structure. The five Whole Brain Teaching rules cover EVERY foreseeable problem in the classroom. Each rule is easy to remember and comes with a fun gesture! These rules provide students with the structure they need while adding in a dash of fun. Rules 4 and 5 give the teacher control to quash any unwanted behavior fairly. Students will not feel they are picked on since the rules are the same for everyone! By providing a sturdy structure for the classroom, learning will be uninterrupted by distracting behaviors.
    2. Power Pix- These vocabulary cards on a wall or chart in the classroom provide students with a visual and written representation of vocabulary words they will need throughout the year. The cards also have gestures that enable students to recall and apply the words. When these are posted, teachers and student leaders are able to review vocabulary several times throughout the day. Any extra time spots can be filled with valuable vocabulary practice! In my classroom, students are able to recall vocabulary from the beginning of the year because of Power Pix. ELL students are able to connect with unfamiliar words like never before!
    3. Super Improvers Team- Everyone, adults and students alike, love to be recognized for their accomplishments. The Super Improver Wall allows students to be recognized for improvement in any area. Teachers are constantly on the lookout for improvement, which means teachers are constantly in tune with where their students are performing. Students, eager to level up in this video game-like program, are also in tune with where they are performing in hopes of reaching new heights. The beauty of this system is that it includes all areas of the classroom-behavior, academics, handwriting- the possibilities are endless! Students who are not usually successful in academics can enjoy success because it’s based on improvement instead of performance! The intrinsic motivation and goal setting learned through this process will serve students beyond the classroom. The highest performing students are pushed to exceed their own expectations rather than stalemate. I have noticed a change in myself as I use the Super Improver Wall. I look for success in areas I wouldn’t have before and find new ways to challenge students.
    4. Seating for Teach-Ok- Students should be assigned seats with Teach-Ok in mind. Teach-Ok is one of the most powerful Whole Brain Teaching techniques. With Teach-Ok, students are asked to recall information and to make sense of it in their own words. The ability to teach a concept to someone else proves true knowledge of the subject at hand. Teachers are able to listen in and observe who needs further instruction. Students who may not have fully comprehended the lesson during teacher instruction may glean understanding from their Teach-Ok partner’s version. Assigning seating for students is crucial because students need to know exactly who they’re sharing with in order to make Teach-Ok happen immediately and effectively. Teachers can also ensure that higher performing students are paired with lower performers.

    Madeline Mahan

    1. Madeline,
      Well stated post! I can imagine you have a very engaged WBT classroom this year! Here are 25 points and a 5 point Bonus!

  6. For my classroom, four of the most important features would include: the Five Rules, the Scoreboard, the Super Improvers Team and the Genius Ladder. The rules are the key to the entire structure of Whole Brain Teaching. All the techniques involved allow the teacher to manage his/her classroom with maximum efficiency as any problem that could be encountered during the school day can be combated by one of those rules. Enforcing these rules allows teachers to worry less about how to deal with undesirable behaviors and worry more about teaching students core skills.

    The Scoreboard is critical in motivating students to continue to perform in the classroom. Without the use of rewards, students become bored and uninterested. Using the scoreboard, teachers can use a variety of fun ways to keep students engaged, such as the “one second party” or the “quiet riot” as well as creating different teams to play, such as boys versus girls or right side of room versus left side of room. Further, there are many unique presentations for the scoreboard game such as pirates, ping pong or the drum roll. The combinations and fun is endless.

    The Super Improvers Team is a truly individualized way for students to succeed on their own terms. Teachers award points to students for their personal growth and students experience success which motivates them to continue to perform for the recognition they receive. This method truly applies to all students. High achievers are recognized for their individual improvements completely separate from the struggling students in class who are rewarded for their own individual accomplishments. This allows students to learn to set their own goals and celebrate their strengths as well as build new strengths by looking at areas for their own improvement.

    The Genius Ladder is another important element of a WBT classroom. I agree that the area that needs the most work with students is always writing and that writing across the curriculum is so important to student learning. Using the Genius Ladder allows teachers to implement writing into the day in a variety of ways to reinforce student learning from a very young age. The Genius Ladder also allows the teacher to easily differentiate the activity for individual students. In using the Genius Ladder each day, students get the repetition they need in various areas to be successful in school.

    Amanda Blum

    1. Amanda,
      Great job! The Genius Ladder is so effective in writing instruction, I wish EVERY teacher would use this! Here are 25 certification points!

  7. Julia Berry / Chapter 30/ March Assignment

    I choose the following four models to adopt for my classroom:
    1. The Five Classroom Rules- I have been using these rules from the very beginning and find them highly motivational, and effective for my classes. The students enjoy doing the gestures and know from the start what is expected of them when they enter my class. The rules are simple to follow and take only minutes to review. I am now allowing my “Leaders” to review the rules with the class while I am taking attendance and the lunch count. This gives us more time for instruction, and keeps them on track to start the day. Every day, they can’t wait to see who will become the “Leader.” Each “Leader” has their one unique way of presenting (choosing their own “Class-Class” voice, moving around the room to make sure gestures are done correctly, and finishing with “Does everyone understand? Sometimes I have to stop what I am doing just to watch!
    2. Scoreboards- Keep everyone involved. The students work very hard not to get “A Mighty Groan.” They want to keep the scorekeeper happy to hear what positive cheers will be done for the day. I have started letting the class pick two or three cheers to be used for the day. The variations for Scoreboards (Ping-Pong, Marker Move, Drum Roll, Beat the Clock, just to name a few) keep the class motivated, because they never know what I might choose for the week or day.
    3. Super Improvers Team- I love this one because the students are now competing against themselves. They try very hard to improve one behavior. This is a great visual reminder so they can watch as they progress. I have just recently introduced something new to the Super Improvers Team. At the end of the day, I ask my students to reflect back over the day or days and ask for positive comments on those who they believe have improved. I usually start off so they know what is expected and that this is a time for positive remarks only. When a student has improved and knows his/her peers are giving them recognition, they just seem to want to try harder each day. What a positive way to end the day!
    4. Prove-It, Adders, and Combos using Oral Writing - We have been practicing test questions to get them ready for the state tests coming up. They love becoming the “Lawyer.” The leader instead of saying “Class –Class,” starts off saying, “Order in the court!” and uses a rubber mallet to get the students attention. The class replies, “Order in the court.” After stating their case (proving their answer), the Leader then asks “Any objections?” If, not, then the case is closed! Getting up in front of the class and proving their answers (using the Because Clapper, and Adders) gets even the shy, timid students wanting to be involved in the “court case”.

    1. Julia,
      Excellent job! I love your "court case"! I may have to "steal" that this week! Here are 25 certification points and a 5 point bonus!

  8. Chapter 30- Mind Blowing Classroom

    Since I have already designed my model WBT classroom, I will sum up what I have utilized in my class over the last two years and what I plan to use in the future. Each year I have continued the program parts that have worked added something new to master.

    Year One:
    The Big Seven created a fun environment where students knew expectations and learned how to work as a team.

    Super Improver Team created independent, motivated students who would do anything for a colored piece of paper and to move up the Ladder!! Goal setting, reflection, and mastering behaviors became a task that students looked forward to, rather than dreading.

    Super Speed created automatic readers and mathematicians who were fluent in reading and fact practice.

    The Crazy Professor Game created expressionistic readers who engage in interesting dialog with their partners about otherwise rote reading practice.

    Who would have thought my teaching heaven could have been better?? Well it got even better in year two.

    Year 2:

    By adding the Genius Ladder the first week of school, students were able to grasp how sentences begin and how we make them more interesting. Long gone are the days of boring (snore) sentences. Implementing adder sentences made students think in complete thoughts and add definition to their thinking and writing.

    Super Speed Grammar became a great way to facilitate grammar terminology in a fun way! Students zoomed through different slides learning verbs, nouns, adjectives, and so much more! Long gone are the days of boring worksheets, say hello to collaborative learning.

    Common Core lessons, added to the WBT website, provided great practice to the class on key topics for reading. Students mastered topic sentences, paragraph structure, compare and contrast and so much more!! Going to WBT College was just what my 4th graders needed!

    In the near future, I will begin the process of oral writing. I am very excited about adding in complete oral sentences with the goal setting of the Wacky Star Fun Button. My class is sure to jump for joy when this is introduced this month.

    1. Krystal,
      I love the progress you have shown throughout the two years! Isn't it amazing to be able and look back and see such growth in our teaching skills (and the added FUNTRICITY)!! Here are 25 certification points and a 5 point bonus!

  9. Kay Spencer
    Chapter 30

    My goal is to have a model WBT classroom. Of the features listed for a model classroom, the four I will adopt for my classroom are: the Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Seating for Teach-Okay, and Genius Ladder.

    1. My classroom must implement the Five Classroom Rules because these rules provide the basic framework for orderly behavior. Orderly behavior is necessary before meaningful learning can take place. Frequent rehearsals will certainly increase effective student engagement. Student leaders will eventually lead the class as we all energetically recite the Five Classroom Rules. The plan for our WBT classroom is to recite them during our morning message time, after lunch, and before math stations.

    2. The Scoreboard is vitally important. I want to create a visually interesting Scoreboard because the Scoreboard is extremely motivating. The game format will encourage my first graders to want to “keep the Scorekeeper happy.” I’ll make certain to vary the Scoreboard labels in order to avoid Scoreboard boredom.

    3.Because of the importance of partners teaching partners, I will design classroom seating with Teach-Okay in mind. In our classroom the students are either at desks, a small group table, or circle time on the floor, so we will need Teach-Okay partners in every area of our classroom. Teach-Okay is important because students teaching students not only increases student engagement, but also increases understanding of subject matter. As I listen to students teaching students, I will be able to informally assess and check for student’s understanding. In order for Teach-Okay to be effective, I will have to speak in clear and brief units.

    4. Genius Ladder is a must in my classroom because of the huge focus on writing and the struggle that so many of my students have when writing. Genius Ladder is the answer! We’ll work from simple sentences to the very complex sentence. I’ll use the Question-Answer-Adders-Concluder pattern.
    My students will work orally and progress to actually writing. I’m expecting great results.

    1. Kay,
      Your WBT classroom looks great! Each element will enhance your ability to engage and teach! Here are 25 points and a 5 point Bonus!

  10. Chapter 30: Bonus Chapter: Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

    “The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.” The words are those of Thomas Henry Huxley, however, when I think of a model classroom, these words echo my sentiments of the Whole Brain Teaching system as applied to the model classroom. Ideally, a model Whole Brain Teaching classroom would include most (if not all) of the features presented here (Chapter 30). However, if I am limited to choosing only four, I would adopt the Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Power Pix, and the Super Improvers Team.

    Rules are all around us; learning, knowing, and abiding by rules are a vital life skill. The five Classroom Rules offered in the Whole Brain Teaching system are a solid management system for any classroom. The rules clearly cover any anticipated behaviors that have the potential to interrupt the classroom teaching and disrupt the learning environment. The rules are easy for the instructor to implement, and simple enough for students to understand and follow. With repeated daily rehearsals, Classroom Rules promote a positive learning environment, and they most certainly help to “keep the dear teacher happy!”

    The Scoreboard is an essential classroom tool; not only is it a superior group behavior management system, with its many levels, it also has the potential to turn the classroom into a year-long, living video game. The Scoreboard motivates students to work hard; as Chris Biffle tells us, “…Students will work extremely hard to avoid a small amount of work.” The flexibility of the Scoreboard with its incremental levels is paramount; it has the ability to be restructured, using elements as the instructor desires. The Scoreboard also lends itself to variety; many variations exist to assist in maintaining student interest. Perhaps most important is the element of “funtricity” the Scoreboard brings to the classroom; students truly enjoy the ongoing “battle” between the positive and negative points, and they know they have the opportunity to earn a minute or two of additional recess.

    Power Pix are a necessity for the ideal, successful Whole Brain Teaching classroom. The power of Power Pix cannot be dismissed or overlooked; they address state standards. At minimum, several Power Pix (and accompanying gestures) are introduced each week; they serve as visual evidence for what students have learned; when placed on a wall, they are a wonderful resource for reviewing concepts all year long. Power Pix are free (Teachers love free!), and are available for download on the Whole Brain Teaching website. Custom Power Pix can easily be created for any concept. For added visual recognition, the Power Pix wall can be color coded by subject area, for example, red for mathematics, green for science, and so forth.

    The Super Improvers Team is another element critical to the success of the Whole Brain Teaching classroom. The Super Improvers Team rewards students for outstanding improvement, both academically and behaviorally. The system is straightforward; students are rewarded for surpassing their own previous best effort. With the Super Improvers Team, we focus on student improvement as opposed to academic excellence. Each student has the opportunity to strive toward individual goals tailored to the student; thus, the student meets with success. As the trite but true saying goes, “Success breeds success.” The levels of the Super Improvers Team are infinite; should a student attain the highest level, “Living Legend,” the levels simply begin again in a newer version, Super Improvers Team 2.0.

    Presented here are but four fantastic features for the model Whole Brain Teaching classroom. In reality, the model classroom, like education, is not static, rather ongoing and ever-changing. The full assortment of features offered in the Whole Brain Teaching system will assist in sustaining a successful classroom filled with students meeting success.

    Jacqueline Nessuno

    1. Jacqueline,
      WOW! It is evident, by your writing, that you have found Teacher Heaven. With the use of these four WBT strategies, you are creating a classroom that is fun for your students, and most importantly, yourself! Here are your 25 certification points and 5 extra for an awesome review!

  11. It was difficult to pick just four features of Whole Brain Teaching for this prompt. I, therefore, combined the first several elements into one large category.
    The foundation of Whole Brain Teaching is The Big 7. Using the components of the Big 7 will enable you to have fun while managing your class. The use of repetition, gestures, and pair- share are dynamic strategies to help all students, especially our struggling learners, succeed. This method helps the very active child direct their energies in a constructive way. I love the fact that the children will be able to share what they know in the midst of lots of noise. This gives reticent students the chance to speak out but not be heard. They can build their confidence as they share with their partner on a daily basis. As they become comfortable with speaking often each day, it will become a normal practice that can be done in whole group settings also.
    The beauty of The Genius Ladder is in its simplicity. It is so simple that kindergarteners can do it yet so sophisticated that it can be used on the college level. With high- stakes testing requiring more and more writing, it is vital that we make write expansively a normal activity. The funtricity is there as the children add silly extenders. This produces an atmosphere of creativity allowing students to stretch their imagination.
    Oral Writing lays the foundation for written work. As a first grade teacher, I am used to very simple sentences. With the use of Oral Writing, the sentences have transformed into complex statements. The children want to use gestures and therefore, try to make their sentences longer and richer. After much practice with Oral Writing, the students find writing an easier task. It is especially exciting to see students proofreading their work as they use gestures.
    I have not implemented the 10- Minute Writing in my class but will soon. I can see the merits of a short writing period that can either practice writing prompts or review what was learned that day. If children get in the habit of writing every day, it becomes easier to know what to write and the writing itself becomes better. Using the Red-Green Marker Dots will give students immediate feedback on components of grammar that are necessary for exemplary writing. I can see lots of Triple Whammy Sentences in my future!
    Liz Howard

    1. Liz,
      I love that you are trying so many of the component of WBT in your 1st grade class! Weaving them all together makes a fantastic learning experience for our kiddos! Great post! Here are 25 certification points!

  12. Chapter 30 Bethany Kirkland

    My model classroom will include: Five classroom rules, 10 Minute Daily Writing, Scoreboard, and seating arrangement.

    The WBT classroom rules have been a great tool this year. My students responded well to the review and gestures accompanying each rule. The rules are clear and concise. I will be using these rules again next year beginning with day one.

    The Scoreboard has also been a useful tool for managing student behavior without loss of valuable time and distraction. Students work well for extra recess points and the peer management system was
    alive and well!

    Seating arrangement is an area I would like to explore further to enhance the ease of Teach-Okay for my students. Currently, the seating arrangement is not conducive to spontaneous conversation. By changing my seating arrangement, students will be better prepared for collaboration and have easier access for using Teach-Okay.

    Lastly, I would like to incorporate the 10 Minute Writing task to provide closure at the end of the school day. My students struggle with writing, in part because most of them have language delays which affect their writing. This strategy will be a good review of a days work and additional writing practice.

    1. Bethany,
      It is hard to choose just 4 isn't it! I'd like to hear how changing your seating arrangement goes (I'm sure it will be helpful with the teach/okay). Keep reminding them to do that "full body turn" when they collaborate and they will have even more success! Here are 25 certification points!

  13. Ten minute writing is an excellent way to incorporate writing during each school day. I like the idea that students can write a summative one on concepts they learned that day. Ten minute writing makes it easy to include writing and practice on simple skills, such as, neatness, punctuation, capitalization, etc. The red and green marker for evaluating students’ work is also nice for quick assessment on how they’re doing.

    Another feature I like is the Genius Ladder. Nothing is more difficult in 3rd grade then trying to get what I call a stretchy sentence from students. This is a perfect way to show examples that are both great models and more simple sentences (Blah sentence). It also teaches the different types of speech.

    A third feature I would use in my classroom is the Power Pix Wall because it’s an excellent way to review concepts learned throughout the school year and you can also visually see what has been taught so far. Students will recall the items taught when practiced more than once in the year.

    The last feature I would adopt is Prove It. Students have a tough time trying to defend their answers and back their self up on their answer choice. Nothing is more important than finding why other choices are also wrong because it helps to eliminate those choices that do not work in order to get to the last correct answer. This great feature helps prepare students for state testing too and how to go through each choice responsibly without guessing an answer.

    Liz Cheney

    1. Liz,
      You chose some powerful strategies! Watch out for grammar errors " 3rd grade then trying to" (than), and " back their self up". Here are 20 certification points.

  14. 1. The Five Rules: Rules are a part of life. Because of this the five Whole Brain Teaching rules are the backbone of the entire program. They address all of the problems that can occur in a classroom. Constant repetition and fun gestures associated with each rule cause students to internalize and expect to follow them. Rules 1-3 are straightforward. There is no room for misinterpretation. Because of their ambiguity, rules 4 and 5 allow teachers to squelch ANY unwanted behavior by giving them the power to assign the criteria to each rule. There is no room for discussion. The teacher’s word is law. These rules are fair and equal for all students. By providing structure in the classroom, learning is less likely to be interrupted by distracting behaviors and students get the added benefit of learning how to effectively function in a society that is based upon and bound by rules.

    2. Seating for Teach-Okay: Students should be assigned seats with Teach-Okay in mind. Teach-Okay is one of the most powerful Whole Brain Teaching techniques. Children recall information presented by the teacher in “mini lectures” using the “Mirror Words” technique. They process concepts and share them with partners using their own words. The ability to teach a concept to someone else proves true knowledge of a subject. Students who may not have fully comprehended a lesson during teacher instruction may gain understanding from their partner’s version. The student seating arrangement is crucial to the success of Teach-Okay because each child needs to know exactly with whom he will be sharing. This serves to make Teach-Okay happen immediately and effectively. To create a successful team, teachers should ensure that higher and lower performing children are paired together.

    3. Super Improvers Team: It is human nature to strive for and seek recognition for improvement. In society people work hard at their jobs in hopes of bettering themselves. This does not mean that we are all working toward the same goals. Improvement for a chef is not based upon the same criteria as improvement for a pilot. Therefore, each can become successful by performing entirely different tasks. This is the premise behind The Super Improvers Team. It is based on improvement instead of performance and allows students to be recognized for improvements in any area. Teachers are on constant lookout for improvements, which means that they are in tune with their students and their needs for improvement. The beauty of this system is that it includes all aspects of the classroom-behavior, academics, neatness, etc… The highest performing students are pushed to exceed their own expectations and under achievers can experience the glory of winning even though they cannot keep up with the class academically. Children are encouraged to compete only with themselves. The intrinsic motivation and goal setting learned through this process will serve students well beyond the classroom.

    4. Genius Ladder: Dr. Biffle states that “…we believe students’ greatest weakness is in writing, excellent writing is the core focus of every WBT classroom.” The Genius Ladder will provide a consistent, repetitive process for improving writing. Children work from the bottom rung to the top rung of the ladder. These levels are: Blah Sentence, Spicy Sentence, Extender Sentence, and Genius Paragraph. Each level builds upon the previous one by adding adjectives, conjunctions, complexity, and supporting sentences (adders). Throughout the year, this technique provides thousands of opportunities for language development. This is especially important to me because I teach kindergarten. The language tasks are differentiated, allowing students to create sentences that are in line with individual abilities. The process moves from oral to written and can foster the development of critical thinking skills simply by adding “because” or “since”. I can’t wait to try this. I am expecting great results.

    1. Julia,
      You chose some very powerful features of WBT! The Genius Ladder and oral writing will have your kindergarteners talking and writing like first graders in no time! Here are 25 certification points and a 5 point bonus!

  15. Chapter 30

    The Genius Ladder is a superb strategy for teaching elaboration. Starting with the Blah Sentence, students can stretch a basic sentence into a fully elaborated paragraph. I use this strategy all the time, just with a different name; I’m sure I will be downloading “The Writing Game” for use next year.

    Oral writing and the Wacky Star Fun Game should be an excellent tool for teaching writing and growing more confident in public speaking. I have a sign in my room that reads, “Writing is just talking on paper.” This strategy takes that to a new level. I have encouraged my struggling writers to talk out their thoughts about a writing prompt before putting it on paper. This strategy will guide them through that skill. I can’t wait to employ oral writing in my classroom; the skills learned will directly translate into their writing.

    Ten Minute Writing is an excellent strategy because of the flexibility it gives the teacher. You can use ten minute writing as a “what did I learn about this topic?”; as a summation for a project; or as a short response to a DBQ. You also have the flexibility to divide the writing into sections that correlate to your project or assignments for the day.

    The WBT homework model appears to be a good alternative to the “standard” homework of spelling/math/reading. I have long thought that we are asking our students, especially in the elementary grades to complete too much homework. Further, that homework is often not really benefiting the student. A set routine of free reading with a reading speed exercise could benefit many students and a short math speed exercise will challenge the math skills of most students.

    1. Stephen,
      Excellent job! Oral writing will take your students to an entirely new level of learning! Make sure you download the new gesture posters to accompany your oral writing instruction (see the Brainy webcasts at #574, #575 and #576 for detailed information and then you can download the PDF with the posters). Here are 25 certification points!

  16. I currently have the five rules posters posted on my front whiteboard. My student helper uses a pointer to point to each rule as our class recites them. Our posters are modeled after our “Explorer” mascots at our school. I use this several times a day because these five rules are the backbone of WBT!

    I use the Scoreboard every hour of every day! The Scoreboard helps students follow directions quickly. This increases instructional time and student engagement.

    I use the Super Improvers Team so students compete against their personal best score. Each student has an individual goal. A goal is either behavior or academic. The Super Improvers Team helps my more advanced students by keeping them engaged in learning by beating their personal best score. The Super Improvers Team helps my challenging students by motivating them to be better behaved so they can earn their next star.

    I agree that our students’ greatest academic weakness is in writing. I just started using the Genius Ladder last month because my students need the most instruction in writing. My students came up with examples of the Blah Sentence, Spicy Sentence, and Extender Sentence. We worked on the Genius Paragraph together. I laminated a big ladder with the sentence titles so we can come up with new sentences daily. I use the Genius Ladder when I see a Blah Sentence. We put the sentence on the bottom rung and build it up together so it becomes a Genius Paragraph!

    Krissa White

    1. Krissa,
      Nice work! Make sure you download the Genius Ladder ebook to help out ( It has an amazing wealth of information that will guide you through an entire year of writing! Here are 25 certification points!

    2. Thank you SO MUCH for your helpful critiques and additional information! You have really helped me be a better WBT teacher! I can't wait to continue the WBT journey next year!

      Krissa White

  17. Chapter 30: Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

    My model classroom will include: Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Super Improvers Wall, and the Genius Ladder.

    The Five Classroom Rules are essential to the WBT classroom. The rules provide structure, are easy for the students to understand, and they come with fun gestures. Frequent rehearsal will increase the effectiveness of student engagement and provide structure in the classroom.

    The Scoreboard is an extremely motivating aspect of WBT. The students work together to earn more “smiley” points the “frownie” points to reach a goal. The game format encourages students to want to keep the Scorekeeper happy. The variations and levels of the Scoreboard also ensures boredom will not be reached and it can progress throughout the year.

    The Super Improvers Wall is beneficially because it is self-motivating. The students are competing against themselves and work hard to improve on one goal. Super Improvers is motivational, rewarding, teaches goal setting, and reflection. The greatest benefit is that it works for all students since they work on an individual behavioral or academic goal.

    The Genius Ladder is a must because of the huge focus on writing in the fourth grade and the shift to common core standards. Working in a low socio economic school my students struggle with writing and forming sentences. I love that this strategy starts oral presentation and progresses to actually writing. It is a great way to start from developing simple sentences to very complex. Adding the “because” and “since” will also help with developing critical thinking skills.

    All the features of Whole Brain Teaching will assist in having a successful classroom where students will meet with success.

    1. Tonya,
      These are the backbone of WBT, and as you stated, "..will assist in having a successful classroom where students will meet with success." Here are 25 certification points!

  18. Chapter 30 - Designing Your WBT Model Classroom (4 Rules I would adopt):
    1.) Five Classroom Rules - These are displayed prominently in the front of my classroom. I will be more consistent in going over/reviewing these rules EVERYDAY, especially following breaks due to holidays or crazy, unpredictable weather patterns.
    2.) Scoreboard - This is extremely motivating and the kids absolutely love it! To be in competition with the teacher and potentially beat the teacher? What kid doesn't love that?!
    3.) Super Improvers Team - I love this because each student has a chance to compete with themselves; thus, improving their own academic activities and social behaviors. This model gives students individual recognition and the thrill of being in competition with only themselves and no one else. Students get to concentrate on attempting to break their own personal records.
    4.) Seating -- My students are definitely seated to achieve cooperative learning; however, I would like to switch it up more next year than I have this year. I would like to switch seating arrangements about every new quarter.

    Karlyn Davis

    1. Karlyn,
      Using these strategies to design your classroom will help you reach that coveted Teacher Heaven! Here are 25 certification points!

  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. Brandi Young Ch. 30 Bonus Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

    My goal is to have a model WBT classroom. Of the features listed for a model classroom, the four I will adopt for my classroom are: the Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Seating for Teach-Okay, and Super Improvers Team.

    1. My classroom will implement the Five Classroom Rules because these rules give the students a basic framework for ideal behavior and it helps establish the standards for behavior with in the classroom and the school. With frequent rehearsals, students will certainly increase the level of student engagement. The plan for our WBT classroom is to recite them immediately after the morning announcement and Pledge.

    2. The Scoreboard is vitally important and is one of the most effective tools in the classroom. Next year I want to create a more visually interesting Scoreboard because the Scoreboard is extremely motivating, however, I it is not changed every so often the students become more reluctant to behave and earn points. I love how the game can be used to “keep the Scorekeeper happy.”

    3. Student engagement is something I personally strive to increase every day. That is why I enjoy seeing my student’s partner up and teach one another. This year I was able to implement a wonderful seating chart. I was sure to seat them according to WBT, so when it was time to practice Teach-Okay, we were ready to rock and roll. In our classroom the students have to complete a “Share and Show” in their math books. Every day this part of our math lesson had to be completed with a partner. Not only that, but the students have to use the “Because Clapper” to explain their reasoning. Teach-Okay is important because students teaching students not only increases student engagement, it is also fun and effective to use. The students benefit by gaining better understanding of subject matter in a fun, engaging way and I am able to informally assess and check for student’s understanding. It’s a win-win for us all!

    4. Super Improvers Team (SIT) is a powerful, motivational strategy that encourages students to work at their own pace and strive to move up the ladder. The SIT provides the students with a visual reminder to try and meet their goal. The students are also positively reinforced with every so levels having special rewards. These rewards can be as simple as taking the students picture or awarding a certificate and some students may require something more tangible, like a football or jump rope. Students will be able to monitor their own growth and it will allow them to be more accountable.
    Brandi Young

    1. Brandi,
      You focused on some very important WBT techniques that will transform a classroom almost immediately! Watch for little pesky editing errors "behavior with in the classroom" (within), "motivating, however, I it is not changed every so often" (if), and "I enjoy seeing my student’s partner up and teach one another" (students). Here are 10 certification points.

  21. Of the features listed for the model classroom I would choose the five classroom rules, the scoreboard, seating, and the super improver's team. The five classroom rules are easy to follow and students enjoy saying them with the teacher. The scoreboard is easy and fun to implement and you can use the scoreboard for a variety of motivating activities. Seating in the classroom is important for student engagement and cooperative learning. The super improver's team can be utilized to encourage students to stay on task and follow the classroom rules.
    Irish Brown

    1. Irish,
      You chose 4 important elements of WBT! I'd like to hear more (details) about how you will use these though. Here are 20 certification points.

  22. Chapter 30: Bonus Chapter: Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

    Of the features listed for a model classroom, choose 4 you would most likely adopt for your own classroom and explain why you chose each of them.

    1. The Five Classroom Rules
    This is the backbone of WBT. I will use these rules because they work. I can correct 90% of my classroom problems with these rules. They are a lifesaver. They are a great way to introduce WBT and bring children into the beginnings of leadership roles. Rule number four has helped my students understand how and why they are responsible for their actions, as well as demonstrate how actions cause both positive and negative reactions from others.
    2. Scoreboard
    I have enjoyed the Scoreboard because I can use it in the hallways and lunchroom. It is completely portable and keeps management at my fingertips. I have been able to manipulate and control the student’s behavior with little to no effort. No one likes to lose. Even the student who tried to mess things up for the class got on board with the Scoreboard. I will keep using Scoreboard through out my teaching career.
    3. Teach/Okay
    As I have said many times Teach/Okay has changed the climate of my classroom. My ESE kids have grown so much using this WBT activity. It gives us a chance to talk and move while being on task at all times. Teach/Okay has taken so much of the boring reteaching of skills to such an enthusiastic level. Even my lowest child can review the whole group or with a partner using Teach/Okay.
    4. Prove It
    Prove It is something I have done for years. WBT validated my teaching style. A correct answer is only correct if the student understand why it is correct and why it is not correct. I will continue to use Prove It; it keeps students from guessing. It also helps me to understand the logic and reasoning a student uses when answering complex questions, or completing multiple step tasks.

    1. Dian,
      Nice work! Here are 25 certification points!

  23. Of the features listed for a model classroom, choose 4 you would most likely adopt for your own classroom and explain why you chose each of them.

    1. The Five Classroom Rules are a definite must in my classroom. My entire school has implemented these, and it would make zero sense to not include them in my own room. These are rules that my students learn from the first day of school to use from the start of the school day until the end, no matter where they are in our building. We rehearse these often and I use student leaders to reinforce and review these rules. My kids also know that when one student breaks a rule, all I need to do is say the rule number and they all instantly recite the rule that was broken and continue with class. These rules have made such an impact in my classroom and they will continue to be a key component of my whole brain classroom.

    2. The Scoreboard is another key component in my classroom. It has become such a motivational tool with my students. Instead of a daily physical reward, at the end of each day, my students get the reward of a letter on the board towards a greater prize. The catch is, if they “lose”, they have to lose a letter on the board. So far, we have won donuts as well as an ice cream party. I’ve found that this is even more motivating to them. My kids are trained to be the ones that handle the scoreboard as well. All I have to say “babies” or “6th grade” and my designated student marks the score board and also handles the adding/deleting of a letter at the end of each day.

    3.I use teach-okay all throughout my day. Due to this, I have arranged my room in a way that all of my students has a designated teach-okay partner. I rearrange desks a lot in my class for some reason. I sometimes put my students in pairs, groups, rows, etc. No matter how they are arranged, I make sure that they have a partner and we discuss who their partner is so that we have no confusion!

    4. Super-Improvers team is such a great tool that I want to incorporate more into my classroom next year. Teaching in an inner city school, I have a HUGE variety in educational levels of students. Some are grade levels behind. Using super improvers, I am able to reward and recognize those students who are so behind. This helps their motivation and makes them feel like they are equally as important and special as those students who are constantly succeeding.

    1. Excellent job! It is wonderful that your school is on board with WBT and the rules are followed throughout! It sounds like you have a wonderful, self managing classroom! Here are 25 certification points!

  24. Chapter 30-Designing the WBT Classroom
    Anne Corrigan

    1. The Five Rules-Every class needs rules for students to have structure and boundaries. I love the WBT rules because they cover every possible behavior scenario a teacher could experience. Implementing the rules is fun, active and so different from other typical classroom rules procedures. I feel that the students actually own those rules when they are in the classroom and are proud when they are practicing them as well as reminding other students of the rules.
    2. Scoreboard-This feature is so important to quickly reward students without having to break out the “treasure box” and the class is working together to earn those points. Also it is an effective way to correct behavior and move on without focusing on a particular student. I love the variety of ways I can keep the scoreboard interesting and fresh throughout the year.
    3. The Super Improvers Team- This is such a strong feature of the WBT classroom. The whole idea of students breaking their personal best is the number one strength of The Super Achievers Team. This concept applies to all students from the academically advanced students to the weaker students. Students can be part of a team and yet not have the pressure of trying to beat someone else who is “better” than they are academically. (Or behaviorally) This is especially great for the ESE students I teach since they are consistently last academically which leads those students to give up.
    4. The Genius Ladder- Writing is so difficult for many students but especially for the ESE students. This element of the WBT class allows for daily practice and starts from easy but boring sentences which most of the students can do. It moves up the ladder and students can master each rung before they move on to the genius paragraph.

    1. Anne,
      The Genius Ladder will be a powerful tool for your ESE students! Nice job! Here are 25 certification points!

  25. Ch. 30 WBT Model Classroom
    I will definitely adopt the Genius ladder, wacky star fun button and 10 minute writing in my EFL classroom. I might also use the English language arts portion of the homework model.
    The genius ladder is a great way to get students to expand their sentences into more complex ones. When students in upper secondary school write essays with bullet points, incomplete sentences and cannot make paragraphs it shows that they need someone to help them build their writing step-by-step.
    The wacky star fun button game also helps students build strong paragraphs through oral speech and gives them to opportunity to be silly at the end of the day. This could be another way to make writing more fun.
    Writing for ten minutes at the end of the day transfers the oral language used in genius ladder and wacky star fun button to writing. Little by little students will start writing paragraphs that have clear topic and concluding sentences. They’ll build essays without having to pull any teeth!
    Finally, the homework model could be very beneficial to my ESOL students because it gives them practice building reading fluency and sight word recognition. Timing themselves is always a fun way to see if they are improving.

    1. Adrienne,
      You chose some techniques that will increase writing skills profoundly! Don't forget to refer to Coach B.'s eBook for the Genius Ladder - it is amazing!
      Here are 25 certification points!

  26. I hope to have a model classroom next year and I will most likely adopt the following features to make that happen: the five classroom rules, the scoreboard, super improvers team, and the genius ladder.
    I have started using some techniques in the last 2 months and I started with the 5 classroom rules and the scoreboard because they work well together. I love the simplicity of the rules and the gestures that go with them. I have been practicing these with my students several times a day and I feel that it keeps the rules front and center all the time. In the past, I would go over the rules at the beginning and the middle of the year and expect the students to remember them but with WBT, the rules are always being practiced and the students don’t have an excuse for not remembering them. I also love rule #5 because it does not allow students to argue that they are following the rules. I need to continue to practice the rules – I am not always good about requiring kids to raise their hands before speaking so, it forces me to be more consistent.
    The scoreboard is also something that I am using this year and I am loving it as a way to keep students on track even as the year winds down. I appreciate the flexibility of assigning rewards and consequences as I see fit for my classroom. The many different levels of the scoreboard address the whole class as well as the individual challenging children. I look forward to having these options next year.
    I have not tried the super improvers wall as I have only started WBT in the last few months but I plan to use it next year. I already have the spot on my bulletin board picked out. Just knowing about the super improvers wall has made me think about the many different ways to reward students for improvement, everything from behavior to academics. I believe that it will be a powerful tool to improve my classroom.
    The fourth feature that I will use is the genius ladder. I have also used this in a small way in my classroom and I already see improvement in my students’ writing. They are also loving using the genius ladder and they even beg to use it which is a piece of teacher heaven for me.
    In conclusion, I believe that these four features along with other parts of WBT that I have been learning about will improve my teaching and the classroom environment.

    1. Mary,
      I'm excited for you to use the Super Improver Wall! You will love it, and so will your kids! I actually write what scoreboard variation I want to use that day (or week) on my lesson plans so that I don't get in a rut and forget to change it up a little bit. Here are 25 certification points!

  27. Ch. 30: Bonus Chapter: Designing Your WBT Model Classroom

    My Model Classroom with include Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Seating, and the Super Improver Wall.

    The Five Classroom Rules are the cornerstone to WBT. They set the tone and give structure to the program. They are direct and easy to both understand and remember. Opening each day with them being repeated by words and gestures has been very effective.

    The Scoreboard is a very motivating tool. My students are extremely competitive and this has helped move behavior in a positive direction. The fact that there are variations to the scoreboard to reach every type of behavior is a huge bonus and keeps it from getting monotonous.

    Seating is one of the most important items to consider in any classroom. Some students just do not work well with other students. I have had to change my classroom arrangement several times this year to accommodate the WBT partnership for Teach-Okay!

    I like the Super Improver Wall because it motivates the students to compete against themselves. They are not being compared in any way to anyone else. They have to work at the goal that they have set and they cannot blame anyone but themselves if they do not succeed. This works for every student because it is individualized to them.

    1. Karen,
      You chose some of the most important elements of WBT! Nice job! Here are 25 certification points.

  28. Singling out four features of a model classroom is very difficult for me, because I plan on implementing everything that was discussed in this chapter. I have, however, chosen four to discuss.

    I will definitely be implementing the five classroom rules in conjunction with the scoreboard, because to me this is the foundation upon which everything else in the Whole Brain classroom is built. One of the things that I have found most helpful about the rules is the gestures that accompany each one. When a student is not following a rule I do not have to say anything. I can simply catch his eye and make the gesture. This is usually enough for the student to change his/her behavior. The scoreboard is the motivator for following the rules, and all of the different variations of the scoreboard will keep it fresh and new throughout the entire year.

    The "Power Pics" wall is also a must have for next year. It will replace my current "Words to Know" wall. There are two things that I really love about it. The first is that a gesture is tied to every standard. This will greatly improve the students' recall of the standard. I also love the review factor. I have to admit that I did not spend the time that I should have reviewing the words on my "Words to Know" wall. With the "Power Pics" wall, even its organization encourages review.

    The Genius Ladder is another must have. When I learned about Whole Brain Teaching, this was one of the very first instructional strategies that I implemented. The difference that it made in my students' writing in such a short amount of time had me hooked right away. I love its structure and the fact that it is done daily. I can not wait to see what results a whole year of the Genius Ladder will bring.

    I also can not imagine life without the Prove It game. I have never seen students so excited about test prep. It makes what used to be boring for both them and myself fun and exciting. Since fun equals motivating and engaging, I know that real learning is taking place. Last year we played Prove It for just a few days before our end of the year test, but next year I plan on making it a regular part of our morning routine.

    1. Joyce,
      It sounds like you will have a classroom full of energy and FUNtricity next year! Nice job! Here are 25 certification points!

  29. There are a few features that I feel I have implemented fairly well in my classroom. Those would include the Five Rules Posters, Scoreboard, Super Improvers Team, Class Homework, Frequent Marks, The Big Seven, Teach-Okay units, & Recognition of student improvement on the Super Improvers Team. Having said that there are a few things I would still like to get implemented this year.

    First, I would like to implement both the Genius Ladder and Oral Writing because writing is such an important skill to have in life! Giving the students a structure that will allow them to see success is vital to their outlook on school as well.

    Secondly, I’d like to increase my use of ‘Prove It!’ because this allows for more critical thinking.

    Thirdly, I had a pretty decent word wall last year but did not take advantage of it as well as I’d like. What a waste to have such a great resource and not refer/review it more often.

    Lastly, I think I’ll try to do a better job at instituting the 10 Minute Writing. I gave it a whirl here and there but never really got up to 10 minutes nor the amount of sentences that I’d have liked to see. Really, this had more to do with me getting the students there rather than them not doing what I was asking.

    Here is to a more complete year next year!

    ~Jason McKinney

    1. Jason,
      The Power Pix will revolutionize your word wall! My students referred to it much more often than I thought they would, and would even refer each other to it as needed! Here are 25 certification points!

  30. There are so many ideas floating around in my head in order to prepare my classroom next year to be bigger, brainier, and more fun than last year. I would like to implement all of the suggestions in Chapter 30, however I will focus on four.

    First of all, I want to make sure I include oral writing in my classroom. It is important for students to think before they write. By using oral writing with the Brainy Gestures students can stretch their thinking, learn to include critical thinking ideas in their writing, and use punctuation. Coach B suggested at the Whole Brain Teaching Conference to have students write 10 oral sentences to 1 written sentence. If they are writing orally they can share more ideas.

    Second, I would like to include the 10-minute daily writing exercise. This would be great to help students reflect on the day, practice writing skills, and create a journal of their learning journey. I would love to incorporate this with the Wacky Star Fun Button as well. When we come in from recess, we can write for ten minutes, pack up, and then go Wacky! By incorporating ten minutes of writing at the end of the day, I am teaching my students to reflect, relax, and have fun before going home.

    Third, I will use the Red Green Marker Editing technique. With this technique, I will walk around the room with a red marker and a green marker while my students are writing. I will focus on only one technique per student per paper. When I go up to a student I will highlight or underline, with the green marker, a place where they are doing the technique well. Using the red marker, I will then highlight or underline a place where they need to improve on the technique. I will then encourage the student to continue writing and make sure that he or she repeats the green writing technique more. This is a great way to differentiate for students because I can focus on different techniques for different students. I also do not have to take twenty-five papers home and try to read them all at night.

    Finally, I want to make sure I include a Power Pix board. Power Pix are powerful because they stimulate all areas of the brain leading to better memory recall. By having a Power Pix display in my room, my class can easily review the pictures. I can also create Power Pix easily so I can adapt the Power Pix system to my class and include specific terms or strategies we are working on.

    I would really like to incorporate everything into my classroom because I truly believe in this system. Another thing I would like to focus on is coming up with a Daily Routine that incorporates all of the Whole Brain Teaching steps and games as described later in this chapter. If students are having fun and practicing often they will be able to improve and succeed.

    Amber Hartzler

    1. Amber,
      You are sure to have success with the choice you have made! The Power Pix are HUGE! Oral Writing...OH MY! Good luck to you on your new goals for your Funtristic classroom! Here are 25 Certification points!

  31. Designing a WBT Model Classroom is a dream. In order for this to be the best classroom possible, I must take it one step at a time. Last year, I implemented some of the techniques and strategies. I will start with these and give myself a chance to really put them into action. While doing that, I will be learning more about different components and add those components as the class and myself are ready.

    These are the four I chose for this assignment.
    1. Five Rules: Rules are everywhere we go. Rules provide structure, expectations and boundaries. In order for students to be successful, they must know, understand, and follow rules. At the beginning of the year, students need these rules modeled correctly and incorrectly so that they can develop a thorough understanding of each rule. Daily fun practice allows all students to be successful by reminding them of what is expected. Last year, I just introduced them with a minimum amount of modeling. This year will be different. There will be a lot of modeling and practicing happening in my classroom.

    2. Scoreboard: Last year, I did not understand the Scoreboard. This was mostly due to just trying to keep my head above water with this class. Now that I have learned what it is all about, I wished I had started it last year. Scoreboard is an excellent motivator. With its multiple levels and techniques, the kids will never get bored with it. In addition, they will work very hard to keep the scorekeeper happy. I am so excited to begin using the Scoreboard this year.

    3. Power Pix Wall: I think that I am most excited about using the Power Pix Wall. I love that a gesture is tied to all of the vocabulary. This will greatly improve my student’s recall of each vocabulary word. I also love how easy it will be to review previously learned concepts. Most of our concepts build on each other. I can use Power Pix Wall to review previously learned concepts as an introduction to a lesson. It will help prepare the students brains for the new material being introduced. I also like the spiraling effect. In kindergarten, I introduce shapes at the beginning of the year. The Power Pix Wall gives me the perfect opportunity to review this concept in a fun way throughout the year.

    4. Super Improvers Team: AMAZING, AMAZING, AMAZING! Every child can be successful using SIT. Each student is working to break their personal best. It does not matter if you are academically advanced or you struggle academically. You can also use it with students who struggle behaviorally or students who need to work on a specific social/behavioral skill. Each child is working to improve in an area that they need to improve on. This will take goal setting to a whole new level.

    As soon as I wrap my brain around all of the writing components I will begin them also. Thanks to Coach B. for all the videos explaining how the writing program works. I will be watching them later today.
    I am SUPER excited to begin this year.

    . Kim Kirkpatrick

    1. Kim,
      I am so happy for you and your classroom. I found that when I used the scoreboard, my class was wonderful! When I didn't use the scoreboard, it was a little more trying. You have chosen so many great techniques! When you are ready...Oral writing and the Brainies are the BEST and most effective, fun, tools you will have in you classroom, in my opinion! Here are your 25 certification points!

  32. I’ll be re-implementing the rules, score board (expended), and super improvers game (earlier and with better follow through). There are several strategies that I’ll use for the first time this year. Some will need modification because I don’t have a self-contained classroom.
    1. The genius ladder is just what my students need to improve their writing skills. I think it will make a good opening exercise. My grade level team has been discussing that we need to increase writing because our students try to write a little as possible and we struggle to get them to expand written answers. Doing it orally will be fun, cut down on paperwork, and build to extended writing in the content areas.
    2. We did a little oral writing last year. This year we will use it several times a week, if not daily. I have found that just telling students to use capitals and punctuation isn’t effective. Doing it orally will hardwire the practices into their brains so they carry over into written work.
    3. I hadn’t heard of the Wacky Star Fun Button. Appropriate laughter is healthy and builds a positive atmosphere. Because I don’t have the same students all day long, I will modify the process to include other positive behaviors such as expressive gestures during class/teach. My co-teachers might not be happy with me if I send them students that have been over energized right before their class. I’ll have to give this strategy some creative thought.
    4. Mind soccer is a definite activity for this year. It will be a fun way to review science concepts. As the year progresses, the questions will spiral so we are reviewing all year long.
    5. I think I’ll use Super Speed for science facts and reading vocabulary words. Again, this can spiral. One of the biggest weaknesses that our students face is a poor vocabulary. They need constant practice. Without a board vocabulary, they struggle with content texts.

    Sheryl Larson

    1. Sheryl,
      You will find that these work well in all classrooms (not just self contained)! I have classes that rotate to me and they all love the fun and excitement of WBT! Here are 25 certification points!

  33. Of the features listed for a model classroom, choose 4 you would most likely adopt for your own classroom and explain why you chose each of them.

    Do I have to limit myself to 4 features? That doesn’t really seem fair. Well, since last year I employed the Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard and Super Improvers team, let’s just assume I will use them again. Now, why don’t I explain why I will use 4 other features of Whole Brain Teaching?

    I was excited to read about and study the Genius Ladder, both on line and from the free download. The Genius ladder is just that: Genius! Many years I have felt disappointed with writing instruction. One of the reasons is that I have never really seen a plan or program that builds upon itself. Assumptions are made that students know how to write complete sentences and little is done to address any gaps. I love the Genius Ladder because it ensures that every student will not only know how to write a sentence, in his sleep, but also climb up to write the Triple Golder and essay. It teaches grammar, but in an engaging and progressive way. We start out speaking long before we write. It makes sense that the Genius Ladder starts with verbal sentences.

    Oral Writing is the cousin to the Genius Ladder. I love the idea of Oral Writing because it is just that, oral. Not only does this make sense from a linguistic perspective, since it is much easier to speak than write, but it is so much faster, allowing for increased practice. While they speak, students learn how to organize information into sentences and paragraphs, preparing them to write those constructions as well as an essay.

    What is more fun than Super Speed Grammar (SSG)? Fast, visually stimulating and engaging,SSG helps students learn the neglected skill of understanding parts of speech and using them correctly. Like many things in WBT, there is routine to SSG. Start with a question. Follow with examples and provide practice and opportunity to teach another student. I love that students will not only be engaged, learn what a noun is, but also learn to speak Triple Golder sentences. That is practice in application, my friend.

    Signed Jim Hobley, Wholebrainer

    1. Jim,
      I'm glad to hear that you will be adding the writing components of WBT this year! It really takes their writing to a new level - wowww! Here are 25 certification points!

  34. Michelle, I am super excited about the writing. Sorry for the massive number of posts on the same day. I did some Whole Brain work on vacation. Thanks for your lightning-fast replies! Ten finger woo for Michelle!

  35. Chapter 30 – Designing Your Model WBT Classroom
    When I think about designing my ideal WBT model classroom, many ideas pop into my mind. The 4 areas I would readily use are Five Classroom Rules, Scoreboard, Genius Ladder, and Oral Writing.
    I would post the five classroom rules in a prominent place and go over them twice a day – once at the beginning of the day and once after lunch/recess. The five rules very neatly sum up what it would take to be a successful student in my classroom. We would repeat and practice them as much as possible.
    The scoreboard is a great way to reinforce positive behavior and correct mistakes without drawing undue attention to those who are resisting the teacher’s will. Always keeping the score close is a great boost to motivation.
    I am excited to start working on the Genius Ladder with students. It seems to be a great way to build their writing muscles, starting with blah sentences and working their way up to spicy sentences and genius paragraphs using extenders and adders.
    In conjunction with the Genius Ladder, I want to make more use of oral writing. I think that this is a valuable technique beginning in kindergarten that students can get used to speaking and writing in complete sentences using the “because” clapper and giving reasons and evidence to support their answers. It seems that it would be a natural transition to the writing that is required on our state test.
    There are many aspects of WBT that I would like to include in a teaching day, but these four stand out to me as being the four that I can implement and work on improving my instruction.
    Carl Rust, 535 cp

    1. Carl,
      Great choices! I absolutely LOVE the Genius Ladder - so simple to implement, and so effective with struggling writers! Here are 25 certification points!

  36. One feature I have adopted for my classroom is the five classroom rules. I have always struggled to come up with the most important items to have as the rules for the classroom. The five WBT rules have eliminated all items that just didn’t fit into my previous rules. Students truly can not argue with making smart choices and keep your dear teacher happy. Those two rules encompass such a variety of behaviors that I can address everything that comes up appropriately within them.
    Another feature I want to adopt for my classroom is the Super Improvers Team. I want to have a method of student self competition and celebration. I like that this method is open ended and can be different for every individual child. I can challenge my students that are high achieving and struggling to achieve. I can also address behavior issues in regards to following classroom rules and/or work completion.
    I also want to incorporate the oral writing exercises. I have a large number of ELL students in my class. They need as much practice as they can to orally practice their English language skills. Requiring my students to respond in complete sentences will improve their language skills. Having them respond with full paragraphs will increase their vocabulary and ability to create a variety of sentence structures verbally.
    The last item I want to include is the ten minute writing practices. This allows students to process the content they have learned in each day. Revisiting their recently learned concepts will increase their understanding of the concept. It also allows students freedom they don’t normally get. My school has a very structured writing curriculum that is also incorporated into other subject areas. I want my students to have more experimentation and freedom in their writing than I can normally provide them.

    1. Veronica,
      The oral writing will be a wonderful tool for your ELL students! It will really help them connect to the vocabulary and help make the words "real" to them. Nice job! Here are 25 certification points!

  37. My model WBT classroom MUST include the following:
    1.) The Five Classroom Rules- This is a non-negotiable. My kids know the rules, can teach others the rules, and live by the rules. It makes the day go by so smoothly because expectations are clear and repeated every day.
    2.) Scoreboard- This is a HUGE motivator in my classroom. I change the way the game is played to prevent habituation, but currently my two classes are playing against each other. Nothing like a little friendly competition!
    3.) Seating- Students know exactly who to talk to, partnering up is quick and organized, and I have made purposeful pairings of students. I teach a special education collaborative inclusive classroom so my pairs are extremely important in student growth and achievement.
    4.) Super Improvers Team- This is actually the first year I have implemented the Super Improvers Team and I absolutely will never go another school year without it. I love how flexible it is and that the students are motivated to show growth and improvement. I have many students vying for the coveted “LEGEND”! My students reaching “Legend” status will have their picture posted above my SIT display board FOREVER (ok…until I retire). They definitely want to go down in history and get their picture posted in my room for years to come.

    1. Shila,
      Great job! Here are 25 certification points!

  38. The four features I will adopt and have already adopted in my own classroom are: Genius Ladder, Oral Writing, Ten Minute Writing, and the WBT Homework Model.

    The first feature I chose is the Genius Ladder because I feel as though I don’t hit writing as hard as I should. To be honest, my students are not super thrilled when I tell them we will be doing a writing assignment in class. I can even tell them that they get to choose whatever topic they want to write about, and they would still groan. It’s obvious to me that they are just bored with it. If we start with something like the Genius Ladder, students will be more engaged and will become better writers. This is such a powerful tool that I can easily implement in my classroom to create strong writers.

    The second feature I chose is Oral Writing because my students do not know how to properly speak. They do not know how to speak to me and they do not know how to speak to each other. I know it is because they are not getting the assistance they need at home. They have their own way of talking with their families that they bring into the classroom. I will start next year by asking my students individual questions to answer orally. This allows me to hear how my students talk and respond, and allows for us to build a relationship. I will introduce Adders and Concluders before I expect thorough answers from them. I will keep some of the same sentences I asked at the beginning of the year, but just expect Adders and Concluders. I would also like my Teach-Okay partners to ask each other those questions, and give them accountability to make sure each partner is using Adders and Concluders to answer the question. How cool is it to have student leaders in the classroom!

    The third feature I chose is Ten Minute Writing because it is a quick and easy way to assess growth in writing, and what particular skills students need help on in writing. Every morning, my “board work” is a writing prompt. Once in a while, I have another activity for them to do when they come in in the morning, but it is usually a writing prompt. Although my students don’t like writing long paragraphs and essays, they usually enjoy the writing prompts. I try to relate them to whatever we talked about the day before, so that we can quickly review what we discussed. I also use exit tickets. Exit tickets allow me to see what my students learned on a particular day, and why it was important. This writing prompt is short and sweet, much like the one mentioned in the book. I use the sentence starter, “Today I learned that _______,” and my students write, in at least two sentences, what they learned that day. I then ask the class, “Why was what we learned today important?” My students “orally write” to me, telling me why it was important. It is a fun way to end the day!

    The last feature I chose is the WBT Homework Model because homework is an integral part in maintaining information. My students do not need to work on sight words because they are in sixth grade. One-Star Homework in my class will be a little different. If a student takes one quiz a week, they get a star. Two-Star Homework and Three-Star Homework will be the same in my room. It is a school-wide expectation that our students read for at least thirty minutes every night. In my district, students use Accelerated Reader to read books and take quizzes. They test three times during the year to see what level of books they need to be reading, and are given personal point goals to reach. They read the book independently, and then take a quiz through the Accelerated Reader website. If students make their goals when required, they get an incentive from me, such as free time. The homework log will be important to see what students are completing. They will have to be responsible for filling this log out and showing it to me every day!

    1. Hannah,
      I can tell you have a great WBT classroom! Each element you have included will enhance your ability to engage and teach! Here are 25 points and a 5 point Bonus!

  39. Whole Brain Teaching is new to me. After reading our book, I am very excited to present these concepts to have a model kindergarten classroom. They are 1) the Five Rules, 2) the Scoreboard, 3) the Super Improvers Team and the 4) Genius Ladder.

    1) The Five Classroom Rules- I tried these this year after watching YouTube videos. Now that I have read the book, I understand the rules more. I will use them with giant gestures. I will also begin my class with these daily and focus on these after holidays. Acting out the rules will redefine each one for the learner who needs to see it this way several times. We will also illustrate the rules in our class journals.
    The visuals in the book, pages 275-279, will be posted to a classroom wall.

    2) The Scoreboard will reinforce The Five Classroom Rules. Using the reward system will intrigue the students. Changing the rewards will add excitement to the entire class throughout the year. This year I will place these rules in a very visual place in the front of the room for its constant use.

    3) The Super Improvers Team helps each student individually. Students set realistic goals that they are able to attain for individual accomplishments. These goals may be academic or behavioral as long as there is improvement. They are explicit and fair to achieve. Every student will move forward reaching for rewards and feeling success.

    4) The Genius Ladder will assist in developing writing skills “which is the core focus of every WBT classroom.” This will help the class create great paragraphs. How fast kindergarten students learn with this method is amazing!

    I was going to retire this year. I started watching WBT videos and implementing what I learned at the beginning of 2015. Now, I have read the book. I look so forward to the school year. I no longer wish to retire. This was one of my favorite questions to answer. I have visualized the beginning model of my new WBT classroom!

    Regina-Champagne Babin

    1. Regina,
      Wow! How wonderful that you chose to teach another year! I can feel the excitement in your posts as you plan for your new classroom. Don't forget to check out Teachers Pay Teachers, there is an abundance of free WBT there (classroom rule posters, super improver wall sets etc.) That will make it even more fun to spice up your room. Great job! Here are 25 certification points and a 5 point bonus!

  40. Thank you Michelle! I actually started to cry when I felt your excitement. I will have taught twenty years when I reach 10-25-2015! Yes, I was going to retire. My introduction into whole brain teaching has changed me. I am so happy with what I am learning. I will check out Teachers Pay Teachers and redo my entire classroom. THANK YOU!

  41. I have implemented The Big 7 in my Spanish classes with overwhelming success. Upon entering every class, I set the tone for our 40 minutes together with an attention getter. I immediately grab their attention and get the class excited about our time together. With repetition of the classroom rules, the children are reminded of my expectations. This is especially important as I travel to other classrooms where I must be clear of my classroom guidelines and routines. The scoreboard is a visual reminder and motivator to help keep the students focused of our common goal while making learning fun and enforcing classroom management.

    I especially love Mirror, Switch, and Teach Ok because all of these techniques support language learning and offer me an opportunity to assess fluency and comprehension even for my most timid participants. These techniques allow students to interact in a comfortable way while making lasting connections. Many times, students can feel inhibited to speak Spanish in front of their peers for fear of sounding silly or making mistakes. Utilizing these techniques, allows the children to practice Spanish vocabulary in a relaxed approach. Hands and Eyes notify my students that I have an important message and need immediate, focused attention.

    I use a modified version of the SIT. With over 100 students, I have modified the SIT to meet my needs. I use a Super Improver Board for student motivation and a bit of friendly competition across grade levels. Each class chooses a goal at the beginning of a new unit and once the class has reached 5-10 tally marks (depending on how often the class meets) the class moves up the board and sets a new goal. The children also set personal goals in their language learning portfolios. Using a similar idea as the SIT, once the student reaches his/her goal and upon our meeting, we send home a note to celebrate student progress and set a new language learning goal.

    With the constant focus on student progress and positive reinforcement, I have happy students who are learning in a stress free environment who are monitoring their own learning.

    Bethann Barneman

    1. Bethann,
      Don't you love the "monitoring their own learning" going on in your classroom?! Great job! Here are 25 certification points!

  42. The five rules posters would be so important to have in my classroom if I am going to keep my students accountable. Especially during the beginning of the year, students need to see the rules and be reminded of them. If they have never been introduced to the five rules before, they will benefit from the visual.

    I think the Super Improvers Team is a wonderful idea. So often as teachers, we focus on the behavior clip chart. This usually shows the misbehavior in the classroom but does nothing to draw attention to those who are doing what they are supposed to and improving their behavior. The Super Improvers Team gives students a goal and something to work towards.

    The Scoreboard is a fun way to encourage great behavior from the class but also to correct misbehavior. It adds an element of enjoyable criticism and makes the class accountable for their actions. With so many variations of the Scoreboard available, this technique would last the entire year!

    Class Homework Points is a great system and I enjoyed reading about them. I think it would really motivate my students to complete their homework and do so in a way that is to the best of their ability. A lot of students at my school need some type of motivation to do their homework and I believe this is a great way to incorporate that.

    -Courtney Wood

    1. Courtney,
      These are some of the most important aspects of WBT. Using these will make your classroom a fun and engaging place! Here are 25 certification points!

  43. These are the four features I will begin with are:

    The Rules
    The rules are the foundation for every part of Whole Brain Teaching. The rules are one of the first things I will teach. It is important that they are prominently displayed in the classroom. As we practice them daily, the display can be used as reinforcement.
    The Scoreboard
    The Scoreboard is the first classroom management tool to use in Whole Brain Teaching. As we are learning to follow the rules, it is used to both reteach and reward students. The Scoreboard will be a highly motivating tool as students work to gain points.
    The Super Improver Team
    The Super Improver Team is the next step in classroom management. This feature can be used throughout the day to encourage and reward students as they become successful both academically and in behavior. This tool allows all students to get recognition for the achievements they have made. It allows everyone to gain stars on an equal “playing field.”
    The Genius Ladder
    The Genius Ladder is a tool for teaching students to improve their writing. It also teaches language arts (as in the identification and use of adjectives, adverbs, etc.)
    The Genius Ladder is also a wonderful vocabulary tool as students talk about, share and discuss the sentences. It will be a valuable tool to improve writing skills.

    1. Susan,
      These are some of the most important core elements of WBT! They will transform your classroom! Nice job, here are 25 certification points!

  44. It was fun to read this chapter. In my district I am a model teacher and other teachers come in and watch my WBT all the time. I realize I am not certified, but it is all over my room and when they come to my room to visit, this is what they see. It swept the district last year from people coming. I was the most visited model teacher in the district and I know it was all about WBT. )I love having people visit, see my kindergarteners, and want to do what we are doing in their own room. I love love spreading the WBT excitement and someday would love to be a certified room!!!
    I start with the 5 rules. My kids love them. We focus on one a day the first 6 days. We rehearse and rehearse. I have a child lead them and they think it is so cool being the 'teacher' We use the rules in their daily behavior calendar that goes home in their take home folder. The parents learned about all of the WBT I do in a meeting before school started. I also implement Teach- Okay and Mirror. It is only the 3rd week of school and we are just starting it. In kinderland it takes extra practice for that one I have found. :) I have also found reading scores are awesome when using the Biffytoon characters and cards. I have shrunk these down and use them all the time. Each person gets their own to study if they aren't learning them right away. They are also prominent in my room. I have saved my favorite for last. The SIW has honestly changed my life as a teacher. The positive management is like nothing I have ever seen. It is talked about by so many who see it in action. Besides the positive reinforcement for academic, behavior, and social improving, the community it builds is amazing. The kids are genuinely proud of each other and we celebrate so very much. Lastly, the Genius Ladder is my ultimate literacy nirvana. This is the main thing visitors watch. The oral writing, gestures, and knowledge that kindergartners display over nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, commas, other punctuation blows people away. Soon in the year the kids actually use all of this in their writing. They are able to write neat genius phonetic sentences. We have created awesome writing paper for them to use with the ladder on it. I have had pre-school through middle school teachers walk out of my room with something from WBT they are fired up about!!!! It is exciting to me to start this certification process!!!!

  45. Wendy,
    It sounds like you have a classroom filled with a lot of WBT and a lot of fun! Here are 25 certification points!

  46. 1. Super Improver Team

    The Super Improver Team is a great resource to teach improvement. Every person no matter their age enjoys being recognized for their hard work and giving people the opportunity to be regconized for doing better in any area is a great way to celebrate improvement. I like to use the SIT not only for my classroom but a way to show others who visit my room how my class is working hard and making improvements in their daily classroom routines.

    2. Class yes

    I really like the method of class yes. When I am needing the class to come to order whether it is in the classroom or in the playground the class yes is a great way to get the class back in order. I also like the fact that you can vary the way that you call the class to order with yo class, class in various tones or sounds or words.

    3. Scoreboard

    The scoreboard is a great way to have a healthy competition in the classroom. You can emphasize the positive things that the student or students are doing in the classroom and also when they are having difficulty in the classroom without singling out a single student. The reward can be the thrill of winning or a small reward such as a minute with a activity on the Smartboard or an extra minute of recess.

    4. Mirror and Hands and Eyes

    This is such a great way to call the class to do what the leader is doing in a short amount of time. When you have the class turn on their mirrors with their voice, hands, hands, and eyes they ready to actively learn. The greatest joy I feel is when one of my students take the role as the leader and does the same thing to call the class to attention to learn.

    5. Brainies

    I think that the brainies are a great way to engage the learning in any subject or writing, Language Arts and Math. When you combine learning with the visual cues, the verbal reminders of vocabulary and the kinesthetic movement of the gesture the students are able to remember the academic concepts.

    6. Classroom Rules

    I think that the rules are great to use to start off the climate of everyday but a great way to bring back to memory any time of the day that a teacher needs to refocus back his/ her class. I also believe that the rules are measurable and that gestures teach the rules in a fun and engaging way.

    1. Chris,
      These are truly the foundation of WBT! Using these techniques will bring your students joy and will help you reach Teacher Heaven every day! Here are 25 certification points!

  47. Chapter 30

    Class Rules: The 5 WBT rules, along with the Diamond Rule, are what I consider to be one of the staple components of a WBT model classroom. By nature, students yearn for a structured, well-managed classroom environment that is conducive for learning to take place. The beauty of the WBT rules is that they actually cover every inch of the school campus. WBT rules are unlike traditional classroom rules. Traditional classroom rules vary from teacher to teacher and grade to grade. Traditional rules are displayed in the classroom, explained at the beginning of the school year, but then rarely mentioned again for the rest of the school year. With WBT rules, the students are excitedly reciting and practicing them DAILY and are the same in each teacher's classroom.

    Scoreboard: The Scoreboard is a component that I feel is another WBT essential. It allows the students to exercise their competitiveness in a game-like manner, which promotes a positive classroom environment. Having the ability to vary the Scoreboard keeps the students actively engaged, eager to perform, and encourages TEAMWORK in the classroom.

    SIT: I can’t sing enough praises for what the Super Improvers Team has done in my classroom. The punch that this component packs is indescribable. It is by far my favorite tool out of the WBT toolbox. By allowing each student to take ownership and target a specific area they need to improve, they are fueled and strive to accomplish that individual goal. Before I launch this classroom management system, I remind my students of a quote which states, “Fair isn’t everyone getting the same thing. Fair is everyone getting what they NEED in order to SUCCEED.” As a result, this quote squashes any “That’s not fair!” remarks.

    Power Pix Wall: The strength of this tool could make such a difference in student performance on standardized tests. When thinking about how textbooks are designed and standards are taught, it seems as though after a lesson is delivered... BOOM, it is on to the next skill and the one that was just taught is not mentioned again. Can you imagine if these core concepts were displayed, referenced, and reviewed throughout the entire school year? My prediction would be that standardized test scores would increase significantly, and school administrators and teachers would be shouting from the rooftops!!

    Kelly Avery
    WBT Intern

    1. Kelly,
      Great work! Here are 25 certification points!

  48. Only four, I can only pick four? That is a very hard thing to do. My classroom currently incorporates the Five plus Diamond Rules, Teach-Ok, Super Improvers Team, the Scoreboard, Mirror Words, Genius Ladder, Oral Writing with Brainy Gestures, Super Speed 1000, Power Pix, Mind Games, the Wacky Fun Star, Super Speed Grammar and Math; my goodness, what am I not using? My students live, breath and love Whole Brain Teaching as much as I do. These strategies help keep my students engaged, makes them think deeper, and adds the perfect amount of funtricity! I feel so blessed to have found WBT and wonder how I ever taught without it!


    1. Hi Geni! I know it is HARD to only choose 4, but please choose 4 of these and give a brief explantion of why you chose each of these to use in your classroom. (: