Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Study Part 9: Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

We are finishing up our book study on Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids today!  We will be taking a look at what is offered in the Bonus Chapters.  If you are just joining us, feel free to use the links below to start at the beginning.  I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on Whole Brain Teaching even if you are finding this months after the initial posts!

Chapter 30: Designing your Whole Brain Teaching Model Classroom

This chapter contains a lot of information!  I find it very interesting and fairly unique that you can get your classroom WBT certified by doing it for a year and submitting some documentation.  I think this is a great way to keep track of who is using the system and makes it pretty powerful if you want to visit a classroom using this model locally than they can point you in the right direction.  

As is discussed in this chapter, my own school struggles to teach writing more than any other subject despite a strong focus on it for the last few years and much professional development, our kids seem to lack writing skills more than anything else.  The ideas presented in this chapter that get kids thinking out loud and presenting evidence seem like they could help our school improve our writing program.  

Homework is something I have thought a lot about the last few years and really like how it is presented in this chapter.  The idea of doing some reading and a few quick things to work on fluency really appeals to me.  It always seems to be the kids who need the practice the most are the ones who do not do homework.  My solution has been to just assign kids reading for homework and a tiny bit of math to work on fluency.  For the kids who I know never EVER get their homework done, I have included time in the school week for them to spend 10 minutes or so with another adult, peer or older student doing some extra work on fluency.

Chapter 31: The Five Step Lesson Template

This chapter contains many ideas for getting started and structuring your lessons.  This is something I will have to revisit when I commit to using these ideas in the classroom.

Chapter 32: 11 Day Writing Lesson Plan

This chapter outlines in great details some ideas about teaching writing.  Because my school seems to struggle more with teaching writing than with anything else (including management!) this has some great ideas I can share with my colleagues.  After 3 years of intensely working on teaching writing, we have not seen the results we would like and are looking to try out new ideas.  

Wrapping it all up

My final impression of Whole Brain Teaching is certainly a positive one.  I love the student engagement and commitment to improvement.  Because I have the fortune of working in a school where management isn't a huge issue at this point, it is not critical for me to get started with these ideas right away.  We also have a school and district wide policy for what types of management systems we use although there is some leeway.  Whole Brain Teaching is definitely something I will be discussing with colleagues and thinking about using in the future. 

Where are you on your journey to Whole Brain Teaching?  

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