Please join fellow WBT educators in a lively discussion of Chris Biffle's latest book, "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids"!
Earn WBT Certification points in the Official WBT Book Club! Points will be awarded to Whole Brainers who regularly post thoughtful, energetic posts, 700 points possible during the summer session!

Book Club Guidelines
1. Become a member of this site. Scroll down on the right and click "Join this site". Only members are able to post.
2. Enter your email address in the box on the right (just below the Members section). This will allow you to receive messages from Coach B regarding new discussion topics and important info.
3. Click on the Chapter links on the right to see questions related to each chapter of the book and post a comment with a thoughtful reply. Try not to exceed 250 words.
4. Feel free to ask questions and answer others' questions using the "Questions Page" on the right. Don't hold back! But dress appropriately; the weather in Teacher Heaven is electrified with funtricity so it can sizzle.
5. Please sign all of your posts with your real first and last name. 
6. Big Important Note! Please use college level literacy in your assignments. Avoid spelling errors, typos, awkward sentences, incomplete answers. Sorry, no rewrites!

Whole Brain Teaching Certification Points (CP) will generally be awarded as follows:
Perfect, fully developed, assignment: 25 CP
1 error: 20 CP
2 errors: 10 CP
3 or more errors, 0 CP.
An outstanding, insightful assignment will earn (gasp!) a 5 POINT BONUS!
Awarding of points may vary from the above, at the discretion of WBT staff members.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chapter 1&2: Intro and Origin

Chapters 1&2: Intro and Origin

Coach B says... "You've just been made principal of a charter school and you're about to address your staff for the first time. Select three points from chapters 1 and 2 that you are going to talk about describing key aspects of Whole Brain Teaching. Include one story about your teaching experience."

Pages 1-8
25 Certification Points possible.

Reminder: Please sign your post with your real first and last name.


  1. Hello everyone! Welcome back to a new school year. Knowing that even the best schools and the best teachers can have challenging students, I want to introduce to you a teaching style called Whole Brain Teaching. Even good kids can be challenging when, as author Chris Biffle states, “…their brains demand activity which the classroom does not provide.” Many children today are nurtured as toddlers by game controllers and joy sticks as opposed to being in mom’s lap and being read to. Biffle further declares that neither lectures nor discussions are effective teaching methods. Whole Brain Teaching has the entire classroom watching with interest, speaking and moving often, and having fun doing it. The areas of the brain that involve seeing, hearing, speaking, moving, and emotion are all engaged throughout the day. According to Biffle, “In a remarkable number of cases, our challenging kids couldn’t be challenging because their entire brains were too busy learning.” Learning increases and problem behavior decreases with the effective use of Whole Brain Teaching. Even our well behaved students can benefit as well. Last year I had a student who was so shy she could barely whisper when the year started. She was also academically below grade level in all early assessments. After a year of Whole Brain Teaching she was at the high end of grade level and she spoke loud and proud in front of the class.

    Ken Dukes

    1. Welcome, Ken! Great intro to your staff! Yes, engaging all of the brain makes a huge difference in academic and social behaviors! Love the "loud and proud" moment of your student! Here are 25 points to get your certification journey started! Keep a copy of your essay, evaluator comments, and earned points in a document folder on your computer!

  2. Welcome Back to school! Over the summer I thought about past students who formed their own little pack, who for whatever reason did not participate in a class PE game. I saw one use a rubber band to launch a paper wad at another student. I called him out until PE was over. Soon another wolf from the pack found me and insisted his friend had not done the deed. These students decided to play their own game instead of the class game. It took time away from the rest of the students to deal with their misbehaviors.
    These challenging students were engaged and active with their own folly, but how do we make them hungry for an education? The more we talk, the less they listen. Kids push for merriment of any kind; teachers pull for educational standards to be met.
    I found an intriguing answer - Whole Brain Teaching is a system for instruction and classroom management that produces highly disciplined game-like environments that engage students’ entire brains, leaving little room for challenging behavior. As a result, students are engaged! Teachers use active strategies that help kids learn any subject with movement, critical thinking and high energy enthusiasm. Students work together to reach their goal, often smiling and laughing along the way. Younger students can even watch high school and college students using the same techniques. It is a method that will work from kinder to college.

    Patricia Steele

    1. Patricia,
      Welcome to the book club! You are right - WBT can help these students as they shift their activities to those that are high energy games that engage their brains in learning! Here are 25 certification points! Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification!

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  4. Welcome to a new and exciting new school year!
    I’ll never forget the night before my first day of teaching, which happened to be to kindergarteners. It was an evening consumed with me writing down every-single-word I was going to say to them. Every. Single. Word. I was very proud of my script and couldn’t wait for all those 5-year-olds to “get to” listen to all my wisdom. You can imagine my heartache, when I noticed that instead of drinking in every word, most of my little cherubs either had drooping eyes or were rolling around on the floor like bouncy balls within a fraction of my text.
    After some reflection, I changed it up a bit and created a listening game; I would quickly introduce 3 to 5 important vocabulary words, including a kid-friendly definition and action(s) and each time the children heard that word during the lesson, they would break out into reciting the definition as well as the action(s). It was miraculous! They were engaged!
    This is only one of the many, many reasons I love Whole Brain Teaching (WBT)! WBT is a teaching approach that is sure to rock your teacher worlds! Here are just a few WBT key aspects that make it so successful:
    • Because the longer teachers talk, the more students they lose, WBT replaces lecture and discussion with engaging strategies.
    • WBT is a system that works in kindergarten through 14th grade.
    • WBT students are completely engaged in class because they are emotionally involved in lessons that require seeing, saying, hearing and physically moving.

    1. Tonya,
      Welcome to the book club! Your students will love the engaging lessons that you will be able to share with them! Here are 25 points to get your certification journey started! Keep a copy of your essay, comments, and earned points in a word document folder on your computer to turn in later for certification! **Please email your Chapter 3 response to me at - there is a glitch in that page.

  5. Good morning! Welcome back to what is going to be the best school year of your life! Raise your hand if you have ever had THAT student. You know the one. He rolls his eyes, makes loud noises, engages in power struggles to take the class’s attention away from learning. Keep your hand up if you have yelled or scolded THAT student? Did it work? Now, close your eyes for a minute and picture this: Every student in your class is intensely focused on your every move and word and they are SMILING! Yes, that’s right, every student in your class is smiling. This year we are going to teach all our students using Whole Brain Teaching methods. Your students will be focused on learning, teaching each other, and having fun all at the same time. In his book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids, Chris Biffle says, “If a student’s whole brain is involved in learning, there isn’t any mental area left over for challenging behavior.” Wouldn’t that make for a wonderful day? Every student engaged in learning instead of engaged in power struggles with the teacher!
    A few years ago I had THAT class. Yes, the whole class, well, most of them anyway. You could walk in my class and find pencils, erasers, or even desk flying through the air at any time. You might hear a student using inappropriate language or maybe see one sleeping. According to our midyear test scores 80% of my class was below grade level. It was a disaster. This isn’t as unusual as you might think. According to Biffle, in the year 2007 there were 1.5 million victims of nonfatal crimes at school including theft, violent crimes, and threats against teachers.
    That year my principal sent me to a training called Whole Brain Teaching. I was a psychology major, so I was interested but didn’t think this “teaching system” could change my class. After the training, I decided to give it a try. My job depended on it. I dove into this teaching system with my class in February. By the end of the first week every student was engaged and excited to see what would happen next. By the end of the first month I was inviting students up to teach the class using “brainies” and “mirror words” in the presence of my principal. By the end of May every student in the class was on, or above, grade level. Whole Brain Teaching changed my life and I dare to say it will change yours, too.

    Kimberley Nixon, 2nd Grade

    1. Kimberley,
      Welcome to the Book Club! I'm so happy to hear what a change WBT made in your classroom! What an amazing story! Here are 25 certification points~ save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification. *Due to a system glitch you will need to email your Chapter 3 post to me at Thanks!

  6. Good afternoon, I am your new Head Teacher, and I would like to talk to you all about an exciting and flexible teaching technique called Whole Brain Teaching (WBT). I hope you will absorb what I am saying and try some WBT techniques in your classrooms this year.
    WBT is built on 3 basic truths: the longer we talk the more students we lose; a few challenging children are hijacking the learning of the many in classrooms all over the world; and the more areas of a child’s brain we activate during learning, the fewer brain areas are left available to dream up off task behaviour.
    Learning anything, whether it is long division or how to hit the perfect tennis forehand, can only happen if it is taught in a series of fun, easy to absorb stages. We would never dream of sitting a class of 6 year olds down, lecturing them for 25 minutes on the basics of playing tennis, then handing them a racquet and order them to go play a match. The only outcome of such an approach would be confusion and failure. Yet all too often when teaching complex subjects we do just this – we teach too many parts of an intricate process at once. This sets our students up to do one thing only – fail. WBT conquers this inherent learning problem by using micro lectures of 10-30 seconds to maximise student engagement and break complex subjects down into easily learned steps.
    We have all taught in classrooms where 10% of the children seem to occupy 80% of our time; where a chunk of teaching time is spent fire fighting issues with one or two children while the rest of the class twiddle their thumbs and wait for the lesson to begin. Traditional school practice usually encourages us to scold and punish such children. However, punishing a rebellious child only makes them more rebellious. WBT techniques help us by producing classrooms full of children following fun rules, teaching their neighbours, and focusing on the teacher in order to gain a point on the ‘scoreboard’. There are sanctions in WBT, but just like in a game, the penalties are lively, fun, and never targeted at one specific child.
    In a traditional classroom, where the teacher “chalks and talks” for large chunks of time, many children (and adults) lose focus. This loss of concentration results in a variety of off task behaviours, none of which are conducive to learning. WBT is designed to activate as many areas of the brain as possible during the learning process. This automatically reduces the number of brain areas available to become distracted and rebellious.
    In conclusion, WBT is an exciting, effective, and fun teaching method. I have in this talk only scratched the surface of its full potential. I encourage you all to go online, as I did, and find out as much as you can about the world of WBT. Start your new school year with a whole new world of brain friendly focused fun right there in your back pocket.
    Quentin Dalrymple, Perthshire, Scotland. Primary 3/4 (3rd/4th Grade)

    1. Quentin,
      Welcome to the Book Club!! I'm glad you are exploring this exciting adventure in teaching! You are right, those micro lectures are crucial to student engagement! Here are 25 certification points to get you started. Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification. **Please email your chapter 3 response to me (we have a glitch in that chapter) at thanks!

  7. Good Morning, Educators! Welcome back to another school year! I hope that everyone had a restful break and is ready to dive head-first back into the classroom. I would like to start with a story from my second year of teaching. There was a senior in one of my high school general music classes with a failing grade, mostly due to missing assignments. In a one-on-one conference, I asked him what we needed to do to help him pull up his grade. He informed me he did not care if he failed this class. I reminded him that he needed a fine arts credit to graduate. He said he already passed an art class and didn’t need this credit; he was only in this class because the guidance department put him here to fill a hole in his schedule. In the end, I had provided him no motivation to engage in learning.

    This is the kind of student we as educators must reach. We must teach in a way that uses the whole brain and actively engages every student in the learning process, and I have found a teaching system that does just that. Whole Brain Teaching is used across the country to engage students’ minds in the right kind of behavior…and have a blast doing so! Chris Biffle, in collaboration with Chris Rekstad and Jay Vanderfin, has developed a system that is brain-friendly; it involves multiple brain activities simultaneously, exponentially increasing learning power and leaving no room for challenging behavior. It is fun not only for students, but for teachers as well! I can't wait to show you what I've learned, and I have no doubt that this brain-based educational revolution is going to help you solve a plethora of teaching and learning challenges in your classroom.

    Stephanie Elder

    1. Stephanie,
      Welcome to the book club! Isn't it wonderful to have WBT in your back pocket to help you reach those students that seem to have fallen between the cracks? Nice job! Here are 25 certification points to get you started. Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification.

    2. Stephanie,
      I have awarded you another 25 points for Chapter 3 in response to your email!

  8. Good morning staff and welcome back to what is going to be a fabulous school year! This school year I would like to introduce a teaching style called Whole Brain Teaching.
    I was very nervous for my fourth year of teaching because the students coming up were very challenging, defiant, and low in academics. I heard of WBT strategies and did a lot of research during the summer and I was very impressed.
    These so called challenging students were engaged and active in their learning. I went from only having five students on grade level reading to having over half the class on level. My students were so engaged and there was hardly any challenging behavior. If a student’s whole brain is involved in learning, there is not any mental area left over for challenging behavior.
    WBT strategies are successful because it is a system for all students, it’s fun, and brain friendly!
    The first great law of Whole Brain Teaching is the longer we talk, the more students we lose. We must involve our students whole brains in peaceable learning.
    I can’t wait to see learning in classrooms that involve seeing, hearing, and physically moving. We are going to have a great school year teaching with Whole Brain Teaching strategies.

    Katlen Downey

    1. Katlen,
      Welcome to the book club! How wonderful that the class showed such growth! Student engagement is so powerful when we use WBT, it is amazing to see the results! Here are 25 certification points to get you started! Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification.

    2. Katlen,
      Also- please email your chapter 3 response to me at thanks!


  9. “Oh class oh class!!”
    “Oh yes oh yes!!”
    “Mirror words”
    “Mirror words”
    “Oh sweet momma I’m so glad I’m a teacher at Pratt Elementary!”
    “Oh sweet momma I’m so glad I’m a teacher at Pratt Elementary!”

    Good morning teachers! I am so happy you are a part of the Pratt family this year! Mark my words, this year will be the best year of your teaching career! This year we will be using Whole Brain Teaching building wide.
    My first year of teaching was in Tulsa, Oklahoma at an inner city school. I taught 1st grade and got a chair thrown at me almost every day! These kids didn’t care about school, their parents didn’t either. I went home with headaches every day…..not because of the chairs hitting me but because I wanted these kids to learn! More than that I wanted them to want to learn! I turned to something I saw on You Tube, this phenomenon called Whole Brain Teaching. My classroom suddenly was controlled and productive. It was the hardest year of teaching for me but the most rewarding!
    I am excited to introduce positive discipline into your classroom. No more chair throwing!
    Whole Brian Teaching makes learning fun! Students are excited to come to school!
    And last but not least…. Whole Brain Teaching uses all areas of the brain. Kids are able to retain information taught in the classroom. The educational gains that you will see this year will surpass any other year you have taught!
    I can’t wait to begin this year with you and see the changes in each and every classroom here! Let’s have a great year!

    Britta Hartman

    1. Britta,
      Welcome to the book club! I'm glad you were able to turn your difficult year around and find a positive way to help your students! Here are 25 certification points to get you started! Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification. **Due to a glitch, please email your response to chapter 3 to me at Thanks!

  10. Welcome back to a new school year! I hope you had a restful summer and are ready to hit the ground running. I want to begin by introducing you to a teaching strategy that I truly believe you will love. Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) is a remarkable teaching reform movement that I have had the pleasure of utilizing in my classroom. Chris Biffle, the creator of WBT, says that “If a student’s whole brain is involved in learning, there isn’t any mental area left over for challenging behavior.” WBT uses mini lessons that require students to repeat movements and sounds as well as teach each other. By engaging in these lessons, students are using the brain for decision making, hearing, seeing, moving, speaking, and emotional responses. The best part is that the students absolutely love it!
    When I was a second year teacher, I was struggling with behavior in my classroom. Students were off task, and I was consistently derailing my train to get them back. A colleague introduced me to WBT and invited me to observe it in her classroom. I was amazed! I had found Teaching Heaven, and I didn’t want to leave! With a little help, I began to use WBT as well. My students were learning, and the behavior problems dwindled. I didn’t have to derail anymore!
    I hope that my story inspires you to try WBT with your students as well. We all have unruly students in our classrooms, but WBT offers a solution that will change everything!
    -Ashley Woody, 2nd Grade

    1. Ashley,
      Welcome to the book club! How wonderful that you were able to observe a classroom demonstrating the success of WBT! The more you learn about WBT, the more you will love it! Here are 25 certification points to get you started. Save your posts and points awarded in a word document to submit later for certification. **Due to a glitch, please email your chapter 3 response to me at

  11. Welcome back! I hope you all had a wonderful summer. I am so excited for what this year will bring and how we will all grow! Some of us might be more excited than others as you begin to think ahead to your classes. But I want to share knowledge and offer encouragement as you look through and see the most studious of students and the most challenging of students.
    A while back I was introduce to Whole Brain Teaching, a technique meant to keep classrooms so engaged that there was no room left for challenging behaviors. The more I learned the more I tested it out on my own classroom. I began to see the results that Chris Biffle talked about in his book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids. My classroom was filled with “orderly fun” (pg.2) where the students desired to follow the rules and engage with me, their teacher, because they helped run the room, teach others, and take ownership of their learning. This was partially achieved when my classroom management became less about disciplinary action and more about rewarding challenges for the kids. Their brains were also wholly involved with the subject matter and skills before them because I stopped talking and let them discuss what they were learning in the moment. And most importantly, they began to learn through speaking, listening, watching, and moving physically with enjoyment instead of just sitting and listening.
    In the book, Biffle points out how this “brain-friendly” teaching method works and supports each point through some of the evidence he accumulated through years of experience and research. He summarizes that our job is to reach the student that seems unreachable through: talking less as the teacher, handing learning over to the students, and involving their physical senses more in lessons. Biffle summarizes well the effects of Whole Brain Teaching when he shared that: “We found students were completely engaged in class when they were emotionally involved in lessons that required seeing, saying, hearing, and physically moving. Error by error, we developed a core method that involves many brain activities simultaneously…our challenging kids couldn’t be challenging because their entire brains were too busy learning” (pg. 8).