Sunday, May 27, 2012

The First Pieces to the WBT Puzzle

Awarded 6/28/2012
For those who are new to Whole Brain Teaching, which I was just a couple years ago, you might look at the WBT website and be overwhelmed at all of the parts available. I suggest looking at the parts as the pieces of a giant puzzle. Using all of the pieces together will help you complete the classroom picture we all want – teacher heaven!

When working with WBT, it’s a good idea to start with the edge pieces which will help with classroom management. The first of those pieces would be the attention getter, Class-Yes. Forget yelling at the top of your lungs, blowing a whistle, or having to walk over to the light switch just to have the focus on you. By just saying “Class”, your students respond “Yes”, stop talking/working and look to you for direction.  Does that get boring after using it for a long time? No it doesn’t because you can vary how you say it and how your students respond. Oh Class-Oh Yes!

More of the framework for the puzzle comes in the form of the 5 classroom rules. We’re always told as educators that we should focus on as few rules as possible and WBT does that for us! You can print out the rules posters on the WBT website. The most important tip is to practice them every day and at more than one time during the course of the day depending on how long you have your students. Also, having the entire class review a specific rule in unison when a student or a small group “forgets” helps bring back order and gives a verbal cue without you pointing out individuals.

Finally, what I see as the corner pieces that hold the frame pieces together is the Teach-OK. Do students love to talk? Most students love to talk and you can use that to your advantage by letting your students do just that! With Teach-OK, students review material that you just taught by facing a partner and teaching them that material. This gives you a chance to listen in and be sure they are grasping the concept in small pieces. With a Class-Yes to regain attention, you’re off to teaching your next topic.

Once your class has mastered these frame pieces, you can begin filling in the rest of the picture. From the scoreboard to practice cards and even the Agreement Bridge for those really tough students, you’ll have so many puzzle pieces in your back pocket that the picture can keep changing as you need it to. Now that’s teacher heaven!


  1. Hey Julie! Great job! I LOVE the Puzzle! Picture it as a STAR with 7 major POINTS of LIGHT...The Big 7!! Try to give some specific experiences or MOMENTS you've had with your class.