Saturday, October 11, 2014

Whole Brain Teaching: What You've Been Missing!

Hi there! I'm Gina from Miss Peluso's Kindergarten. I am a second year kindergarten teacher with my Master's in elementary education, and I am THRILLED to be a part of The Primary Pack with some of the most amazing blogging friends!
I'm here today to blog about classroom management. I mean, what teacher DOESN'T need a classroom management refresher every once in a while!? The conversation never gets old, and the ideas are always plentiful. My favorite (and new to me!) classroom management tool is Whole Brain Teaching.
I am by no means an expert on WBT, but I have seen first hand the amazing effects of these strategies in my classroom. My students are engaged, excited, and energized even during the simplest of lessons! Why? Because WBT is based on brain research. As teachers, we know that each of our students learns in a different way. Well, WBT targets all types of learners at once!
There is SO much to learn connected to WBT, but that would mean I would be blogging for hours!
Even though I'd love to share it all with you, I'm sure you don't want to be reading this post for that long! So, I will share with you the most recent change that I have made in my classroom and the one that I have found to have one of the greatest impacts.
First, I have to tell you that I was absolutely positively against the super improvers wall when I first heard about it (from my lovely friend Ashlee who hosted a WBT workshop for our district. Hi Ashlee!). I hate displays that show students in comparison to one another. I just think that it is so hard to have students thinking of themselves in a positive way when they may always be falling behind their peers. The kid who's always on red on the clip chart, the one who only has 2 stickers on the sticker chart.. you know who I'm talking about. But, I was on such a WBT high when I left Ashlee's workshop, that I started doing hours of research. I watched a video of the creator of WBT talk about the super improvers wall and how it worked for his most challenging students. I realized that the most important thing about the super improvers wall is that the students' only competitor is themselves. Here is the basic premise of the super improvers wall:
Sound complicated? It's not! All you have to do is post the levels and all of your students names on WHITE paper. Then comes the star-giving. I started out by being very stingy with my star-giving. They REALLY had to earn a star. This made my students become very aware of their behavior. I would say things like "Oh! One person was just SO close to getting a star!" and everyone would think I was talking about them, so they would try even harder! I also started with a general goal for my whole class. We were ALL working on rule number 1 (follow directions quickly). I am now getting ready to move into individual goals for my students. For example, one of my special friends is going to work on transitioning quickly throughout our day. Another one of my friends is going to work on raising his hand to talk. The most important point about super improvers is that you really want to give out stars for OUTSTANDING improvement. The creator of WBT says that you may only give out 5-7 stars a day! Here's the video I watched incase you want to take a look:
Lastly, are you wondering what "leveling up" means? It means that instead of having their name written on a white piece of paper, they will have their name written on a red piece of paper (or whatever color comes next on your SIW). That's it. Seriously. I never thought construction paper could have such an impact on students! The pride that my students feel when their name changes color is UNREAL.
So… are you convinced? Want to make your own super improvers wall? I found my super improvers wall (the levels part) for FREE on TPT! There are so many cute free ones! As a FREEBIE to you for making it all the way to the bottom of my post (kiss your brain!) here is a letter to send home to parents when your students level up! Just click the graphic below to download the file.
I hope I've been able to share something new with you today! Thanks so much for stopping by the Primary Pack, and don't forget to come visit me at Miss Peluso's Kindergarten for some more WBT (and other!) fun! Happy Saturday, friends!


  1. Thank you so much for explaining this so well. I've seen so much about WBT lately but didn't really know much about it. Love the idea of a super improvers wall versus the old clip system/flipping cards/etc.

    Sara J Creations

  2. Love the super improvers wall! Such a great alternative to the clip chart! I look forward to watching the video! Thank you for providing the links to all the wonderful resources!

    One Sharp Bunch

  3. I just read the Whole Brain Teaching Book and am in the process of finishing up a book study on it on my blog. I love reading about other teacher's experiences with it. I love how you say "someone was so close to getting a star."

    The Math Maniac