Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday nights... never boring for WBT Teachers!

I love Monday nights! I look forward to learning something new from Coach B at

During the summer, most Monday nights are open chats. We talk with each other about questions we have, great ideas that come up, and overall enjoy talking with our fellow Whole Brainers (aka Wibbeteers).

This week we were all pleasantly surprised when Coach showed up and talked with us live for about 15 minutes! He had new stuff to share! If you missed it, too bad so sad! JUST KIDDING! If you missed it... he has already added the mini webcast to the video library!

Coach B shared information that is new AS OF THIS MORNING! Coach B is always thinking! I for one am so thankful we have access to his continuous feed of information! An important idea in his new book "Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Students" is, "The longer we talk, the more students we lose." Coach is always finding new ways to shorten the amount of time we are talking to our students and increasing the time they are talking to each other about what we have taught them. His first new idea he shared tonight is an example of how to keep teacher talk brief!

When introducing the Teach-Okay, we had previously asked them to make a full turn to their neighbor. We still want them to make this full body turn. The full body turn helps activate the motor cortex. However, instead of saying, "Using a full body turn, tell your neighbor what I just told you about ___________", we are now going to simplify it by saying "face your neighbor". This will not happen automatically, we will scaffold the process. We will teach them this routine by practicing, "Face your neighbor, face me, face your neighbor, face me,..." All the while reinforcing rule 1: Follow directions quickly!

As they start to really turn to each other... not just turning their necks... but turning their full body... we will take it to the next step. The next step is to have them BOTH raise their hands when they face each other. Having their hands automatically raised, not only activates their Visual Cortex it will also help them remember that BOTH of them should be using gestures. One is talking and making the gestures while the other is mirroring the gestures. When this process happens, they are activating their mirror neurons. Don't forget by teaching they are speaking (activating their Broca's area) and by listening they are using the Wernicke's Area.

When we ask them to "face me", we want them to have folded hands. Folded hands in WBT is the listening position. An important principle to WBT teaching is keep it fun. When the kids are facing us we need to be smiling! We want to have the Limbic System engaged! The Limbic System controls our emotions. Teach Okay... is a prime example of why we are WHOLE BRAIN TEACHERS!

Okay, the above information was great to hear... but Coach had MORE to share! He wanted to tell us how to scaffold ORAL WRITING! OH SWEET MAMA! He was full of great information as always. If you haven't done much with Oral writing please check out Webcast 502

Below are Coach's Steps for scaffolding Oral Writing.

1) Teach Okay - One person talks and gestures while the other listens and mirrors the gestures. Make sure you switch so that both people have a turn to talk AND listen.

2) Air Capitalization (beginning of the sentence) and Punctuation

3) Air Capitalization of Proper Nouns

4) Bring the words to life (There is that Limbic System connection) Speak with lots of emotion!

5) Use the Because Clapper

6) Adder sentences. (We want the students to start giving more than one sentence answers.)

7) We want to teach the gesture for indenting paragraphs. (This sets them up to be able to speak MULTIPLE paragraph answers!)

8) Speak with Adjectives. We want the students to use adjectives in their oral writing.

Coach stopped here tonight... but you know that he will be adding more!

There is so much more to share but this post is already too long. Stay tuned for more information!


  1. Hi Deanna! I'm giving you a blog award! Head over to my blog to see how to accept it!

  2. Hi Deanna! I am going to be starting to use WBT in my teaching next year and your blog has been such an inspiration, thank you so much for everything! I noticed that you haven't had a post in a while, are you still blogging or using WBT?