Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Throw Down

I'm linking up with Erin at I'm Lovin' Lit for her Thursday Throw Down linky. We're sharing ways to make learning more interactive.

I feel like I'm a little late to the Whole Brain Teaching party, but I just can't say enough about how much I love these methods. I purchased the book this summer and got too busy lounging at the beach to read it, but now that school is back in session, I'm diving in!
My sister and I are team teaching so we have been working out ways to be consistent with our expectations, systems and procedures. We're both reading the book and may even start a book study at our school because we've been amazed at the results so far.

One of the techniques that really gets kids more involved in learning is using the Teach-Okay technique. Basically, you are talking in very small chunks (30 seconds or less!) and then having the students turn to a partner to talk about what you've said. This activates more parts of the brain, leading to higher engagement, which of course leads to more learning. You can make it even more fun by teaching students to make gestures to go with what they are saying, thus adding the kinesthetic element to learning.

Last week, we mainly practiced the procedure for Teach-Okay with very easy and basic things to talk about so that students would become more comfortable speaking to a partner. For example, we practiced our 5 Rules, repeated directions, told about our favorite things, and answered simple math questions. This week, I'm stepping it up big time and I love the results. I went from having kids with their heads on their desks/zoned out/playing with erasers to full attention and high energy while I teach.This technique can be used with any concept you are teaching! Watch this technique in action:

When using Teach-Okay, you can walk around the room and listen in on conversations to see if students are "getting it" or need some reteaching. There are so many reasons this technique is so awesome. First of all, you have students actively listening to you because they are expected to be able to speak about what you are saying. Second, this gives those wigglers and talkers a chance to do what they do best! Third, and maybe most importantly, Teach-Okay allows the quiet/shy students or students learning English the chance to practice those speaking skills in a nonthreatening environment while allowing the kids who love to talk a chance to practice their listening skills.

Last week, our new assistant principal asked if he could observe some teachers' classroom procedures and techniques. He was a middle school teacher so he needed to see what elementary is all about. He came to my class when I was doing some Teach-Okay practice. It was one of those glorious days we dream about as teachers. They were all engaged and focused and behaving and LEARNING! I had a perma-grin the whole day! My AP stopped me in the cafeteria to tell me how great he thinks the Teach-Okay strategy is. I have to agree. For more information about Whole Brain Teaching, check out their website. It has a vast amount of free information, resources, videos and other goodies to help you implement this system with great success.

1 comment:

  1. 1) HOW fun that you get to TEAM TEACH with your sister! Oh my word! Do you love it?!?!

    2) I LOVE using Whole Brain Teaching! I changed up the "Class?" "YES!" to "Class?" and they would respond, "Yes, ma'am!" That may be old fashioned, but they just sounded so sweet and polite when they did it! :) "Mirror" and "Teach, ok!" were the favs!!!

    Lindsay :)