Before diving into the specifics of my version of Whole Brain Teaching, make sure you check out the previous post which gives you a framework of how I use this technique in my classroom!
This technique can be used at all grade levels, just using the content that you need to instruct. Each day we work on a specific skill in reading, writing, or social studies class that I want my students to focus on. We move to the back carpet and I model exactly what I want my students to learn that day.
After modeling, I will put my hands up and say, “Mirror”. Students repeat the same motion and say “Mirror” right back to me. Now that their mirrors are on, anything I do or say must be repeated by them. I then walk through the steps of my content, using motions that make sense with what we are talking about.
Take a look at this video below as we review the parts of the writing process.
Once students finish mirroring, I will say “Mirrors off” and they will repeat. I clap twice and say, “Teach!”. Students clap twice and say, “Okay!”. Then they turn to the closest person to them and start teaching them the exact same thing I just modeled using the motions. Are half of my students talking at the exact same time? Yes. Does it sound like chaos? Yes. But, they are on task, focused, and know exactly what they are suppose to do.
We do a TON of modeling for this system because I do not like to waste any time. We practice what should happen if everyone around them already has found a partner: join a group of three! If students find any wiggle room to get off track with this routine, it’s not worth it. Model it, expect it, and maintain it!
As soon as I see one student finished I shout, “Switch!” and all students say “Awww Switch!” Immediately, the other student in the pair starts the same routine. I have students switch as soon as the first one is finished teaching because I don’t want any down time. When there are no directions and no tasks at hand, behavior becomes a problem and I would much rather my students be on task then getting through all the points. We will repeat this same lesson as a review throughout the week so they will have plenty of time to reteach.
Again, when the first student is done teaching their partner I will say, “Class class!” and they will say “Yes yes!”. You can also do so many iterations of this call and response. “Classity class class “ and “Yessity yes yes”, intonations, etc. all make it interesting and different. When my students hear me say this call and response they know to get into “carpet academic position” with their hands folded and eyes tracking me. Now they are ready for the next set of directions.
Look out for more Whole Brain Teaching tips soon. Take what works for your classroom and your students. What I love about this technique is you can make it your own using the provided framework. Enjoy!