Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cafe and writing

I use Daily 5 and cafe on my classroom. I have combined the Cafe strategies to match the writing goals with the cafe strategies.  My hope is that my students will make the connection between reading and writing.
The top of the pictures shows my cafe wall.  The bottom of the picture shows the writing skills matched with the cafe topics.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Today I introduced the Super Improvers Wall with my Students.  I am so excited to get to begin this for the year.  It helps each student beat their personal best and really be motivated to do well.  Students earn a sticker for improving on a task or subject. When they get 10 stickers, they get to choose from the treasure box and they move up on the Super Improvers Wall.  Their name will get the next color on the list.

Here is how I explained it to my students:

Super Improvers Wall is to reward students who improve.  It can be in any classroom activity.
Students are not competing against each other but competing against themselves.

Two students have a foot race.  The faster student gets an a and the slower student loses and gets an f. Everyday they have the same race. Everyday the result is the same.

What happens? The one who keeps losing quits.
Lets say they change the race.  This time the two students are beating their own time.  The students only get an a when they beat their personal best time.
Moral:the only fair race is the one against yourself.

Here is our Super Improvers Wall! 

Thanks to Coach Biffle for the Super Improvers Wall instructions and story.  

The 5 Rules in Action

The videos included in this post show the Five Rules in Action.  The rules that you see posted on the wall also include a sixth rule "Keep your classmates happy!"  My class this year decided we needed that rule and I agreed!  We practice the rules everyday as a part of our morning routine and at other times throughout the day when we need a gentle reminder of the expectations.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

WOW! How WBT doesn't leave me tired!

We're into the third week of school, 2nd full week, and I am really enjoying using Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom. My kids are doing great at class/yes and teach/okay.  I love that I can integrate the movements in with the small chunks of learning to help my students really grasp a concept. It amazes me!  I leave the school day enjoying what I've done even more and I'm really not as tired as I used to be. Whole Brain Teaching has helped me find my inner elementary student and I think my passion for the teaching methods shows in the results I am getting from my students.  Several students who I was told would be "low" this year are performing!  I have seen them become motivated to do a great job and feel that they can actually accomplish what might have been difficult. 

I LOVE the Power Pix wall.  I really like that it can be used to teach concepts, but then review them when you are transitioning or need just a moment to regroup.  Simple, basic concepts broken down into parts that can easily be triggered in the memory just by using  movement.  Amazing.

I'm getting ready to introduce the Super Improvers Wall.  From what I have read on others blogs, it will really help in motivating my students to do well.  I would much rather focus on the positive rather than the negative. I know my students need the positive encouragement as well. 

Oh Yeah!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

What does a WBT classroom look like?

I have now begun my second year of using WBT in my classroom. Before even implementing WBT on the first day, I got my classroom (and myself) prepared.  I put up the Five Rules, a Super Improvers Wall (thanks to Misty West and her posters on TPT here's the link:, a Power Pix bulletin board, and also a sign on the outside of my classroom displaying that we are a WBT classroom (also from Misty West on TPT).  The Genius Ladder is still a work in progress but I will complete that board soon. Oh, and of course I have a SCOREBOARD.  It is on my whiteboard.  If you are new to WBT, these are some of the core displays you will need in the classroom.  So far , in 2 days of having my students, I have used the scoreboard and the Five Rules.   I hope these pictures help you in knowing how you can create your classroom displays to implement WBT.  Since they stay up all year, it makes decorating a breeze!

This sign is hanging on the outside of my door so anyone who enters and is NEW to WBT will understand what the hand motions are all about!

 The Five Rules posters are hanging above my smartboard in the front of the room.
The Power Pix wall is posted in the front of the classroom to the right of the smartboard. The stars going down on the left are letters and the stars going across are numbers.  It acts as a grid to post the Power Pix words.

Here is my Super Improvers Wall.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Implementation of WBT: Year One: The Five Rules

After many tries of using Classroom Management strategies of various kinds, and with the encouragement of my principal, I reluctantly tried Whole Brain Teaching last school year.  It was January, and clearly what I had been doing wasn't working with my students.  I am a structured person and like my classroom to be structured and predictable.  It wasn't happening.  I do believe that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  Clearly I needed a different approach. 

I had researched WBT over Christmas break deciding on what I could implement within the classroom structure that I had already created.  First I decided to implement "The Five Rules":
    1. Follow directions quickly
    2. Raise your hand for permission to speak
    3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
    4. Make smart choices
    5. Keep your dear teacher happy
I loved these rules.  They encompassed every classroom behavior that was occurring and those behaviors could be corrected by the help of classmates.  My favorite rule is #5 of course.  When nothing else works it's my default :)

I began by posting the rules on the wall and they remained there for the rest of the year.  I taught my students the actions and reciting them became a part of our morning routine.  In the beginning, I also practiced after lunch. Any time we came back from a break we practiced them twice a day until I felt routines were established.

Anytime a student broke a rule, I would simply say the rule and students would follow along with me and recite the rule.  I would go back to teaching and continue the lesson.  No calling out kids names, turning cards, bringing extra attention and time to the situation. 

Using these five rules was liberating.  I finally felt that I had control over the behaviors. I  felt that helping them correct unwanted behaviors with rule reciting was a positive way to remind ALL students of the expectations. 

By far I noticed the biggest difference in my classroom environment just by implementing The Five Rules. 

If you are trying out WBT for the first time, The Five Rules will change your classroom.  

How have The Five Rules helped you?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Hi! I'm Meg Horne and I am a 2nd grade teacher. This is my 7th year of teaching.  I came upon Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) last year when my principal sent us the link. I was most interested in using the "Mirror, Mirror" and using gestures in my teaching.  But what I found was that the Five Rules and Class-Yes call out changed the environment in my classroom so much that I am HOOKED!  I cannot wait to start the year using WBT and see how it helps me to grow professionally AND watch my students soar to reach their potential and try new things.  Stay tuned to see how I implement and try out the WBT strategies in my classroom!