Thursday, August 4, 2011

Picture Happy!

I'm all about taking pictures this week!  My previous post has pics of my Scoreboard, my PowerPix "wall", the Rules posters, and the beginnings of my Genius Ladder.

Below are pics of my front door (I'll add students' names to the apples as I get my class list), a space for Ten Minute Writing (on the inside of the front door so they can place Post-its on their way out the door), and an updated picture of the Genius Ladder.  I velcroed 4 small dry-erase boards for the "rungs" of the ladder.  I didn't write out "blah, spicy, extender or genius"--instead I used the first letter of each word as the ladder climbs higher.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Putting the Pieces (and Pictures) Together!

I've been working on my room for about 2 weeks now.  First, I went in with the intention of making my old, non-magnetic chalkboards into magnetic, dry-erase boards.  I was partially successful.  The magnetic paint went on well enough--and worked.  Until I put the dry-erase paint over it.

Essentially, it's a Catch-22 because the magnetic paint is a very dark gray color.  The dry-erase is (obviously) white, but the more coats of paint on top of the magnetic layer makes it less effective.  And because you're painting a light color on top of a darker one--you need more coats.

Long story short, I have lovely dry erase boards that are magnetic in random spots.  Ah well!  Still not bad for $30 bucks!

Anyway, all that to say: I've got most of the WBT Classroom elements up and ready to go!  Due to my lack of wall space, I decided to use our mini-blinds for Power Pix.  I have separate sections for Math and Language Arts and plan on using clothespins to clip the pix to the "wall".  The Classroom Rules posters I created (see previous post) are different from the ones on the WBT site, but I think came out really well.  I paid $40.00 to get them blown up at Office Depot (12 x 18).  Then took them to a teacher supply store to get them laminated for $3.00 total.  Check out my pictures and tell me what you think!

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Classroom Rules Posters!

I've been tinkering around with The 5 Classroom Rules and created different posters.  I thought I'd share in case anyone wants to use them.  I plan to have them enlarged and laminated so that I can display them above my chalkboards.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Whole Brain Teaching: So'll pass out!

I was all set to spend 3 days at the WBT Texas Conference.  Apparently I was so excited after the first 2 awesome days of information that I fainted as I was about to leave for the third.  Twice.  Fortunately I was staying with family and they were there when it happened.  Unfortunately it meant I spent 5 hours in the Emergency Room having tests run instead of attending Day 3.  Mighty Groan!

But enough about that!

I am beyond excited to start using WBT in my classroom this Fall!  As previously posted, I only dipped my toe in the Whole Brain water by doing Class-Yes, but this year I'm going all out!  My classroom neighbors will probably hate me (we have extremely thin walls), but if the kids are engaged and learning--that's what counts.

I can't emphasize enough how helpful it is to attend one of these conferences!  You get to see the wonderful Brother Biffle in action and how to put all the pieces in place.  

The videos (while inspiring) are a bit daunting at times though.  The teachers go so quickly and (at least right now) it feels like "I'll never get that good!"  And I very well may not.  The videos we saw were well done and the students were engaged, but I felt were almost rushed.  There were times that I couldn't even understand what they were saying it was so fast.  The teacher's energy level was (on a 1-10 scale) at a 10.  I'm probably more of a 5--on a good day, so this will take some personal personality tweaking.

Or maybe it's just such a departure from the way I (and most of us) teach that it seems rushed.  I definitely think this will be my biggest challenge.  The steps and levels of WBT--those I think I can master and implement in class.  It's just my own energy level that's going to take some work.

A 10-finger rolling "woo" to Mr. Biffle and Region III for hosting this conference.  Never have I been to a more engaging and interactive conference.  Well worth the 2 hour drive from Houston!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Whole Lotta Love for Whole Brain Teaching!

I implemented Class-Yes this year (2010-2011) and was blown away by how quickly the kids picked it up--and loved it!  I remember standing there thinking, "Wow, this works!"  I started it on the 3rd week of school and explained how they had to respond "yes" in the same way I said "class".  Their favorite was the "growling ogre" voice I used.

I had to overcome some initial "looking silly" reservations of my own though.  We frown upon acting silly for no reason in class, right?  And here I was encouraging it!  It seemed like a total contradiction.  Teachers are supposed to act a certain way--totally serious, no joking--at least the teachers I grew up with. But after seeing the great response for Class-Yes, I knew there was something to Whole Brain Teaching.

I'll be attending the 3-day conference in Texas and cannot wait to start implementing all aspects of WBT this year.