Thursday, December 6, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching: Simple Lesson Plan Template

For those of you who have been using some of the Whole Brain Teaching strategies out there, how have they been going this year?

Maybe it's just me, but I feel the bulk of the first trimester is spent doing so much guided practice, setting up routines & procedures, and teaching expectations, it feels good to be in the second trimester and actually getting to the meat and potatoes of teaching & learning :)

I am excited to share this next part that we learned once upon a time at the Whole Brain Conference this summer, but I'm just starting to practice and use regularly now (oops!). To be honest, though, the world of Whole Brain Teaching just seems so vast, I am glad I went nice and slow introducing the many pieces and parts, otherwise I would have run out of steam by now!

One of the ways to keep up momentum and keep interest high is with WBT's "Super Simple Lesson Plan". Chris Biffle explains it beautifully below and it's worth a watch if you have some time:


So many things stick out from this video, as usual!

Some of the most helpful tidbits I took away are:
  • Teachers can often be "talk-a-holics" and the longer we talk, the more kids we lose- guilty!
  • "Practice makes permanent"- I heard this a few years ago and love it, but love Shannon from technology rocks. seriously's even more!! I think this gets kids thinking about the process more than the product.
Click the poster above to be taken to Shannon's AMAZING wealth of talent :)
At the conference this summer, we practiced this a LOT in small groups and it was so helpful! The thing with Whole Brain Teaching is that it isn't only fast-paced and engaging for kids, it is for you as the teacher, too! Being prepared helps keep the lesson moving forward and keeps the energy high- you see lots and lots of smiles when you use this plan!

Here's the basic setup of the WBT Lesson Plan:


There are five simple steps and they go like this:
  1. Start with a question, like "What is a noun?"
  2. Answer the question, give the definition
  3. Give an example
  4. Give another example
  5. Have kids give each other examples
Voila!

Before each section, have a Class-Yes and use one of three techniques- Scoreboard (smiley/frown), Mirror or Mirror-Words, or Hands & Eyes (for more clarification of each step, click the term to be taken to its definition). I have listed all three as a possibility, but only circle one and that way you can remember to vary it throughout the lesson delivery.

Then, in two-three sentences, go through the step (see the video for great examples). Give the kids some simple directions of how they will teach this to their partner- this is the "BR" section for "Bridge". A good example would be, "I want you to turn to your partner and tell them what a noun is, using gestures, until I call you back." This step is especially crucial at the beginning. Otherwise, many kids have absolutely no idea what to do when you say "Teach!"-- this way, there are clear expectations after each step (yay!). 

You will then clap and say, "Teach!" and the kids will respond by repeating your clap and saying, "Okay!" They will turn to their partner (I have my kids sit knee-knee) and practice doing what I asked them and using gestures until I call them back with "Class."

**Tip: I assign "Teaching Partners" in class- it's pretty much a Turn-and-Talk buddy, but with a fancier name and when it's minilesson time, the kids know they have to sit next to this person so when I say "Teach!" they know who to turn to immediately :)

While the kids are practicing, I can get up and wander around the meeting area. During this time, I am P/P&L-ing- I am Praising ("Great gestures!") or Prompting ("Bigger gestures, please!") and then Leaving (I don't hang around, I move on after my quick P/P). 

This cycle repeats itself through the five steps and holy cow- you will notice the difference in the focused and meaningful energy of your kids.

**Tip: I highly recommend starting this in a subject like math or grammar, where the gestures, the questions and answers, and the examples will be easier to come up with. To me, it is so much easier to thing "What is multiplication?" or "What is a verb?" and develop a lesson from there.

Build up to the harder, more complex lessons and soon you-- and even better, your kids!-- will be thinking of gestures for everything!

If you want a copy of my own version of the WBT Lesson Plans, they are available for FREE both on TpT and Google Docs. I have saved it as both a PDF and a PowerPoint. The PDF is easy-peasy, but hard to edit. If you are interested in adding in text boxes and such, opening the PowerPoint file will be best.

TpT Files HERE
Google Docs PDF HERE
Google Docs Editable PowerPoint HERE

I will be happy to post some examples that I am using, but there are already a handy amount on Whole Brain Teaching's website in their "Lesson Design & Delivery" FREE e-book. I highly recommend reading that cover to cover and exploring more of their videos on WBT TV.

Thanks so much everyone and have a great weekend! On a fun side note, I am working to add more of my freebies to Google Docs (it seems the WBT Rules on TpT sometimes download all funky) and am working to create more editable PowerPoint files- I'll keep you posted on Facebook as I complete these projects.

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for this. Because of your blog I've tried WBT this year and love what has been happening in the class. Now you have really shown me how to simply teach a lesson. I was struggling with teach/yes, so this post really helps!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow, that is so incredibly kind of you to write! Thank you so much and I am so glad this can help. I'd love to hear how it goes~ keep me posted :)

      Happy Friday!

      ~Stephanie
      3rd Grade Thoughts

      Delete
  2. I love this! I watched the video awhile back but haven't had time to make a lesson plan template - you have made it so easy - thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are so welcome! Glad they can help and I'm also glad to hear I'm not the only one that needs to catch up on all of the WBT videos- there's so much to learn :) :)

      Happy Friday!

      ~Stephanie

      Delete
  3. I love the way you explain WBT. I've been using bits and pieces and now I understand the lesson part. Thanks again!
    -Lovely Nina

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Nina~ that means a lot :) I am so glad this can help!

      ~Stephanie

      Delete
  4. I just came from your TPT store! Thanks again for the planning template! I have been following you for that last few months (of being a new blogger) and you are such an inspiration to me! I am a first grade teacher in Ohio and I relate very well to your passions in teaching!
    Have a wonderful weekend!
    Julie
    Ms. Marciniak's First Grade Critter Cafe

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Julie! You are so kind and I can't tell you how much your comment means :) I am originally from Ohio, actually! Enjoy the template and have a wonderful weekend.

      ~Stephanie

      Delete
  5. Thank you Stephanie! I am very interested in WBT. It makes so much sense, and your tips will make it easy to give it a try!

    Kathy O.
    www.thirdgradedoodles.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad to hear these can help! Thanks for your kind comment :)

      ~Stephanie

      Delete
  6. Thanks for posting this. I having been trying to figure out how to use WBT with my group this year. Thinking about starting after winter break, this will help me figure out what I am doing!

    EmilyK

    ReplyDelete
  7. Today I did my first WBT lesson with my firsties. "What is Addition?" It was clunky and awkward, but I see so much potential! Thank you so much for this guiding post. I plan on sharing this around my school.
    Alyce

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome, Alyce! Congrats on giving it a try :) It will get easier, I promise- the first time I tried WBT I was praying no one would walk into my class because it just felt so different and (you're exactly right) clunky! Keep me posted on your journey and best of luck :)

      Delete
  8. I love WBT. I starting to feel comfortable with the Class/Yes, Mirror, and gestures before I moved to a new state. Now I'm teaching resource with only 3 students. :( Weird situation as far as the case load. I've used Mirror some but hate that I don't have a regular class to do what I was doing before.

    Angelia
    Extra Special Teaching

    ReplyDelete
  9. Love your posts on this! I have been researching wbt this summer to start it next year. If you download the power pix from the wbt website they already give you suggested gestures too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi- Thanks for sharing your template. I was using theirs but yours is more user friendly and cute!! What does the BR stand for??

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi!! I printed this out last year and as you know.. I never really got into the lesson plan. That is my goal this year and I am so excited to revisit and find the editable version!!! Thank you!! My handwriting is NOT near as cute as the bazzilion fonts I have :) I hope you have a great year!!

    Chelsea
    Kickin It Whole Brain In Texas

    ReplyDelete

Thank you so much for your comments! :)
~Stephanie

3rd Grade Thoughts - Widget
Pin It button on image hover