Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Leading to the Genius Ladder

I know in my last post I promised that I would talk about Mind Soccer and the Crazy Professor Reading Game... but I have decided to head another direction.

With eight days left of the school year, I decided to introduce my students to the Genius Ladder. I presented this lesson to my students on Monday. I spent a good chunk of Sunday afternoon and evening preparing for this lesson. I set up the Genius Ladder board in my classroom and created a script to go from to keep me on track. I didn't want to miss anything. I wanted to make sure to include all the steps of the 5 step lesson template.

My class hasn't been using power pix all year, so in order to introduce the Genius Ladder I had to review some power pix and introduce others. As I created the script I realized that I didn't want the objective of the lesson to be about the Genius Ladder specifically. My kids had been struggling remembering what an adjective is so that become my main objective. I would take the question "What is an adjective?" through all five steps of the lesson template. I didn't want the lesson to be too long, however I knew that I had a lot to cover. So my plan was to introduce the first to steps of the genius ladder and teach "adjective" PLUS review other concepts in 25 minutes (this was not to include the students doing the Critical Thinking Piece). I knew that I couldn't talk for 25 minutes... so I planned very carefully Teach-Okay breaks through-out the lesson.

I invited our literacy coach to see the lesson because I wanted her to see the academic side of whole brain teaching. She had commented several times on the classroom management that she had seen in my room. I knew she would LOVE the writing concepts I was introducing! I wasn't sure when the morning started WHEN I would be teaching the lesson because I had asked the literacy coach when she could see the lesson. I found out near the beginning of the day that she could come in at 2:45. This worked to my GREAT advantage!

Below is an account of how many day progressed.
Monday MORNING: Today is the day of the third grade spring music program, BUGZ. That means that our morning started with program rehearsal. I knew my kids would be BUZZING with excitement about the program. However, something else soon had them BUZZING. I had set up the Genius Ladder Sunday evening and had even taken the opportunity to make a more presentable scoreboard using colored masking tape. The kids were immediately drawn to the board. They were excited and asking questions. I was shrugging them off and saying "You'll see!" This drove them CRAZY. In addition to the genius ladder and new score board... there was also a piece of construction paper on the board CLEARLY covering SOMETHING! They just HAD to know what was under the paper. (I decided to write my chart of adjective / noun pairs on the board ahead of time so that I didn't have to waste lesson time.)

We had a productive rehearsal and we had a long day ahead of us before we could learn about the genius board. Not to mention... excitement was building for tomorrows field trip. This day could have easily been a terrible day with all this excitement... but no... they were to concerned about getting smilies and SUPER IMPROVER STARS to let a little excitement ruin our day!

After lunch we did a quick review of the noun and sentence power pix. I openly admit that I did this because I would be VIDEOING the lesson later and I didn't want the kids to go BLANK when I asked them to REVIEW THESE CONCEPTS!

As we were reviewing, one of our friends came back to the classroom from his special class. Our friend sometimes has trouble transitioning. He will often cause a disruption in class. When he entered this time he knew he couldn't disrupt because we were doing gestures. He was watching and hadn't yet started to color his Pokemon pictures. Just as he was about to grab for the coloring page... I asked for volunteers to lead the class in the lesson for a noun. He was interested. One of my girls came up and did an EXCELLENT job for reteaching "What is a noun?" I asked for another WBT leader. My friend raised his hand. I hesitated. Often when I call on this friend he takes the opportunity to make his classmates laugh. I sensed something different this time, so I asked him, "Do you know what I am asking you to do if you come up here?" He said, "YES! You want me to lead the class in "What is a noun?" I was impressed and let him come to the front. He immediately said "Class". My kids giggled and then responded "YES". "Mirrors"... more giggling "Mirrors". He paused looked at me and nodded. Then he did the WHOLE THING. "What is a noun? A noun is a person, a place or a thing" The kids mirror but some was making the gesture for "idea". In my classroom we added to the definition of a noun. We say "A noun is a person, a place, a thing, or an idea" Our friend had not been in the room when I taught the added part.He said "I didn't ask for that gesture" I stepped in to inform him what they were doing and he said "Oh, Okay! Mirrors ... and an idea" Then he sat down. There was a 15-20 second pause and then my whole class erupted in applause. They were so proud of their classmate.

 I was moved to tears. Most of the kids saw this! I tried to move on to review Sentences but my kids hands went in the air like crazy. They all wanted to know why I hadn't given Michael a SUPER IMPROVER sticker. They were right... and they were SO PROUD OF HIM! I was proud of them. I gave him his star and we all gave him a "37 finger WOO" ... This was our friend's idea! I was able to move on and I still had his attention. I asked for a Whole Brain Leader for Sentence. He raised his hand. Usually when he raises his hand he will start calling out my name if he thinks I am ignoring him. This time he sat with his hand PATIENTLY raised. I was tempted to call on him ... but I wanted to give others a chance. He handled this beautifully. He mirrored the other Student Leaders. When it was time to line up for Art, he didn't complain that I had not called on him. Instead he went to a classmate that had been called on and said "Hey A_____, you did a really good job with your gestures" I was floored... not only had he participated, waited patiently and show his comprehension of noun and sentence he had also noticed another students success!

This BLOG is already TOO long so, I will continue this blog this weekend to tell you how my Genius Lesson went. I can't wait to tell you more!

Stay "Pawsitive"

1 comment:

  1. Your post brought tears to my eyes! Being a mom of 2 special needs children, my heart aches for those that are included but are still so much apart. I love how WBT allowed this child probably for the first time to truly be included. GREAT JOB!!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach