Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Power Pix

Power Pix are a great tool in Whole Brain Teaching. The video below about Power Pix is part of the Tuesday night webcast series on WBT.

In a nutshell, Power Pix are like mini anchor charts or visual reminders of concepts we teach using a question and answer with gestures. There are some available on the WBT website under Ebooks for K-3 in language arts and math that were created to match California state standards in those grade levels. The forum has some templates so you can make your own to fit the curriculum you have. For my Power Pix wall, I have a combination of both kinds. Here's what mine looked like about a week ago.

My Power Pix Wall
I have a row for each of the subjects I used the pictures for. Red is for math and green is for science. The blue is split into 2 rows. The first blue row is for topics covered in our reading series and the second is for English. I am also working on some in purple for my social studies (not shown in this picture), which I teach with science in an alternating manner.
When I introduce each Power Pix, the question and answer with gestures is discussed and reviewed for the picture. Each pre-made Power Pix from the WBT website has a cheat sheet that details step by step how to introduce and practice that particular skill. Ones that I have made myself do not have a cheat sheet, but it would be easy to make one by just following the 5 step WBT lesson plan.
Power Pix posted at least until the test has been taken on that skill. In some cases, I've taken them down before the test because the picture would provide answers. For example (zoop), the odd and even pix list the numbers large enough for my students to see them, so I take those down or I cover up the numbers. I do plan to keep some up on the wall. The fiction Power Pix will stay so we can review it when we talk about non-fiction in coming weeks.
Teachers who have enough wall space may create a specific area for math and one for language arts where the pictures would stay until state/standardized testing. In those cases, a grid is created so the pictures can be pointed out easily for reviewing. Unfortunately, this bulletin board is the largest area that I have in my classroom that I can also reach. As you might notice, I have the date at the bottom of that board as well because it's easy for my students to refer to daily.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fabulous Blog Award

I'm so excited to say that I've been awarded another blog award. Thanks to Miss L at Miss L's Whole Brain Teaching for giving me the Fabulous Blog Award!

Here are the rules:
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you and share the link back to the awarding blog.
- Name five (5) fabulous moments in your life.
- Name five (5) things that you love.
- Name five (5) things that you hate.
- Pass the award onto five (5) deserving blogs/bloggers.

So here goes (all in no particular order):

Five fabulous moments in my life:
1. Graduating from LSU
2. Achieving my goal of teaching at the school I was in from K-12th grade - 13 years and counting!
3. Having the opportunity to teach a mini lesson in front of the entire Whole Brain Teaching National Convention!
4. Watching the first class I taught graduate from high school

Five things that I love:
1. God
2. Teaching
3. My family and friends
4. Pizza
5. "Playing" on my computer - games, blogs, websites, Pinterest

Five things that I hate:
1. Bad drivers
2. Getting up early
3. Sinus infections
4. Kale

Five deserving blogs/bloggers:
1. Mrs. Shipley's Fabulous Firsties
2. Wolfelicious
3. Deanna at A Year of WBT in a Third Grade Class
4. Think Share Teach
5. Kate at Edukate with Whole Brain

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Week 1 - Done, Week 2 Underway!

One week of school is officially in the books. I can't believe how much of the WBT bag of goodies I've been able to use! Things started off with parent orientation where I showed part of a YouTube video of Chris Biffle, aka Coach B, taking a middle school class through the WBT basics. By the end of an early dismissal day and the first full day with the class, the Core 4 (Class-Yes, Teach-Okay, Mirror, Scoreboard) was being frequently used. We started using the 3-peat (Cubbies, Lines, Bodies Up, Page #), but even now it still needs some work.

The class Power Pix wall has 9 Pix related to our studies and a 10th that I've introduced via PowerPoint during an English lesson. For the first time in my WBT journey, I introduced the Because Clapper. Surprisingly, the students caught on to the idea. During another English lesson later in the first week, we used the Example Popper briefly. One of my students even mentioned it this week!

The Super Improvers Wall started to gain interest on that first full day and grew as the week went on. I used a PowerPoint slide show to explain the SIW and give some practice examples. The students have been very curious about the small smiley faces with cameras on Level 5 and Level 9, but I told them they have to wait until someone reaches those levels to know what that means! :)

While there are still some areas that need work, like my consistency using the scoreboard and awarding SIW stickers, I'm pleased with how things are progressing. I did make a seating arrangement change that I can already see is making a difference in some excess talking that I was having mainly because of the positioning some students had at different points during the day.

My goals for what's left of this week is to increase my scoreboard tallies to at least what they were the first week (about 30 total each day), recognize more students using the SIW, and spend more time daily practicing the 5 rules. I am committed to making this work better than I have ever had it work so it becomes a habit for me and more beneficial for my students!