Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I'm Baaaccckkk!!!

Wow!  It has been forever since I have blogged because I lost my blog!  Don't ask me how I did that, but thanks to my very patient friend Misty, I am back on.   Thank you so much Misty!  You are a saint - a very patient saint!

I have just watched the WBT Webinar on Critical Thinking From Bell to Bell.  Excellent in all ways!  Remember, Common Core needs us to be working with our kids and critical thinking.  This webinar will help you immensely!  Go to and watch the webinar - you will be so glad you did!

I can't wait to get back in the swing of things with my blog.  Get to Teacher Heaven by going to my favorite place,, and checking it out!

More to come...

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

The First Hour - Thoughts on the WBT Webinar

"Be prepared."   -  Motto, Boy Scouts of America

Its not often in life that you find something that is just what you need right when you need it.  When it happens, you need to jump on it!  Watching The First Hour was just what I needed, right when I needed it.  As teachers, we all know we need to be prepared, as the motto of the Boy Scouts of  America states.  But, did you ever have a plan that included pace and comportment along with what to do?  I never did.  Now that I have watched The First Hour, I have the perfect plan.

One of the strengths of The First Hour is that we learn exactly what to do for the first hour of class.  Step by step.  Many details provide us with words to use so that we say just what we want the kids to do.  There can be no confusion because the words are so clearly stated.  It is okay to tweak it even, if we so choose, but it really covers all bases for us.

Throughout The First Hour another strength appears, and that is the frequent reminders about the pace of our lessons.  We are reminded to keep a brisk pace at all times.  Why?  So our kids learn from the very beginning that there is no 'dead' time in class.  We will always be busy learning, teaching, doing.  This is especially helpful for those of us who tend to slow down at times.

Adding comportment to your lesson plans?  Have you thought of that?   This is a great strength of The First Hour because many of us (me) have not considered comportment in our lesson plans.  We need to because that sets the tone of our classes.  If we want energetic, fun classes with lots of learning, teaching, and doing going on, our comportment must reflect that!

The strengths of knowing what to do, how to pace, and being aware of our comportment make The First Hour a must-see.  I found no weaknesses because even if you cannot begin teaching in the hallway, other suggestions are given and you can tweak whatever you choose.  There is no way to go wrong!  Kids can even enhance their critical thinking skills because we are modeling excellent practices for presenting coherent thoughts and ideas.  To be effective communicators, our kids must know exactly what they want to say, be brisk in the presentation of their ideas, and be aware of their comportment.  Watch The First Hour - it is a win-win presentation!  The First Hour Webinar can be found at and will help you immensely.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The What If's....

Have you ever contemplated doing something but got stuck with the 'What If's'?  Perhaps you were planning a trip but wondered about the location because 'What If' there is a hurricane at that time?  Or perhaps you were going to try something new but didn't because you thought 'What If' I make a mistake?

Well, with Whole Brain Teaching there are no 'What If's' to worry about!  If I forget to review the rules, I will remember when as a class, we remind someone of the rule.  If I forget to teach the Brain Toy I wanted to use that day, no problem!  I can teach it in the next class!  If I am too slow with Mind Soccer and my class is losing interest, oh well, I can fix that very quickly by picking up the pace and my enthusiasm and changing up who is getting points!  If my Scoreboard doesn't seem to be working, I know it is because I most likely am not using as I should - a very easy fix!    

I used to have 'What If's' but I no longer have any.  Even 'What If'  the kids won't use the gestures or teach each other?  I used to worry about that one.  Then, my 'What If' happened!  I had a class in which the kids would not use gestures nor teach each other.  No problem, no worries!  The Great Jeff Battle helped me out when he said to really explain the benefits of Whole Brain Teaching and compare it to traditional.  Traditional always requires more paperwork for kids.  Let the kids vote, and go with their decision.  My big 'What If' disappeared, and my class  eventually got into the swing of things.

So give Whole Brain Teaching a try!  There really are no 'What If's' and it is perfect with goals of Common Core!  Don't wait any longer!  Go to and read the FREE e-books, the FREE forum, watch the FREE videos, catch the FREE webinars!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Thank You Nancy Stoltenberg for the Versatile Blogger Award!  You have made my day!  The rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:
1.  Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2.  Include a link to their site.
3.  Include the award image in your post.
4.  Give 7 random facts about yourself.
5.  Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
6.  When nominating, include a link to their site.
7.  Let other bloggers know they have been nominated.

Seven random facts about myself are:
1.  My husband and I got to know each other by being scuba buddies.
2.  I have been rappelling down a mountain. (small mountain.)
3.  I like to go whitewater rafting/kayaking.
4.  I was charge nurse of day shift in ICU.
5.  I have been to Lake Tahoe twice and would love to retire there! (Wishful thinking!)
6.  I love the beach, especially riding the waves in!
7.  I love words and reading.

I am giving a Versatile Blogger Award to the following people - check out their blogs!

Thank You! Thank You! to Julie, aka for awarding me the Lovely Blog Award!

Here are the rules for this award:
Once you recieve the award, you have to pass it on to others!  Here are the 3 rules to follow:
1.  Follow the person who gave you the award.
2.  Link back to the person who gave you the award.
3.  Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

Here are the blogs I'm passing this award to.  Be sure to check them out!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching and the Common Core

(For Certification)

Whole Brain Teaching and the Common Core

To graduate from high school and be successful in college or the workplace, students must have skills which enable them to withstand the rigor and demands they will face.  Unfortunately, a high school diploma does not necessarily ensure that a student is actually prepared for such situations.  More and more we are hearing from colleges that remediation classes are now being offered because so many freshmen are not prepared for the rigor of college courses.  I have read that businesses have complained to leaders of school systems that the high school graduates they hire cannot get along with others, work as a team player, or think through a problem and come to a reasonable solution.  Data show that our country is falling behind some countries to the extent that people wonder if the United States (U.S.) will lose its Superpower status!  How can this be fixed?

 One solution that has been proposed and accepted by most states in the U.S. is that schools adopt The Common Core Curriculum.  In looking closely at the Common Core, it becomes apparent that the curriculum is deeper, narrower, and more rigorous.  The emphasis, however, is on changing the instructional design of our lessons to lessons which foster thinking skills, communication skills, and teamwork.  The hope is that changing the design will result in graduates who have learned how to think through a problem and come up with a good solution, graduates who can clearly communicate their thoughts and ideas in speech and in writing, and graduates who work well on a team.  The Common Core requires students to take a very active role in their own learning and teachers to become more of a facilitator.  The clincher is that if we, as teachers, do not change our instructional design for the Common Core, our students cannot be successful in school and perhaps even in life!  To put it bluntly, we must change now!

What does Whole Brain Teaching have to do with this?  By using "Teach - Okay!" Whole Brain Teaching has student teaching student. This requires higher level thinking skills by students, such as paraphrasing.  Using Whole Brain Teaching’s Brain Toys, such as Compare and Contrast, students further develop higher level thinking skills, while the Because - Clapper, another Brain Toy, develops students’ abilities in using evidence in their thoughts and communications.  (These are just a few examples.)  In each of these examples, the teacher facilitates and the students must think and work together.  If you are looking for a way to change your instructional design, Whole Brain Teaching is an excellent solution for the classroom.  Give it a try!  Go to the website, and read the forum!  Download free e-books and read them!  Watch the videos!  Take time on Tuesday nights to join the webinars and if that is not possible, watch them at a later date!  Embrace Whole Brain Teaching and improve your instructional design of the Core Curriculum!

Til next time,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What It Is

I realized that I jumped right into blogging about Whole Brain Teaching without giving any information about what it is.  The very best thing to do is to go to The site has free ebooks, videos, a forum on which you can ask questions and get answers, and much more!

Whole Brain Teaching is "an educational reform movement" as written on the website.  It was started by Chris Biffle when he was a professor and felt there had to be a better way to reach the challenging kids we all teach.  It involves using the whole brain which makes learning easier, quicker, and more fun!  Students use lots of hand gestures as they teach each other or use brain toys during class.  Everything is game-like which again, makes learning a lot more fun and keeps kids engaged.

Whole Brain Teaching is quickly spreading around the world because it works.  It is not some gimmick that is here today and gone tomorrow.  It is research based and has been shown - over and over - to be extremely effective.  So...don't take my word for it - check out and see how right I am!
Til Next Time,

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brain Toys

Brain Toys are used to help develop higher order thinking skills.  Plus, they are fun!  (You know that time after lunch when everyone could use a snooze?  Brain Toys liven things up for sure!)  Who wouldn't want to use Two-Finger All Terrain Action Figures?  Or Air Whiteboards?  The fun just keeps on coming with Whole Brain Teaching's Brain Toys!

This past year I used the Air Whiteboard, Sockless Hand Puppets, and the Because Clapper.  I was rather haphazard though in my use of Brain Toys.  This year I will have a specific plan to roll out different Brain Toys.  Since, as Chris Biffle says, it is a LLLOOONNNGGG year, I want to introduce one Brain Toy per month.   I will do this and keep building on the number of Brain Toys we can use.  I want to start very early in the year having my kids use higher order thinking skills and this is a good way to do it.  If I put it in my plans, it will happen so that is what I will do.  It is great to see the kids evolve in their thinking abilities!

How do I know what to do?  I learned about them on the Whole Brain Teaching web site at www.whole  So, check out the web site and watch the webinars on Brain Toys Part 1 and Brain Toys Part 2.  You will be glad you did!
Til next time,

Monday, June 11, 2012

WOW!  I can't believe the school year is over.  It has just flown by.  I am already eagerly thinking about next year and how I will use Whole Brain Teaching.  (more on that later.)  When it comes to WBT, my brain is like the EverReady Battery - keeps on going and going!

As far as my journey goes, I have found that class is much more fun when I ping pong points on the scoreboard.  It keeps the class lively.  When I do not do this, class doesn't go nearly as well for any of us - the kids or me. There have been days where I struggled with ping-ponging and I am sure there will be more.  I have to make a conscious effort to ping pong points - it won't happen if I don't work at it.  One of my goals for the next year is for this to become so ingrained in me that I automatically do it.

 I have also adopted something I learned from The Great Jeff Battle, and that is this:  when my kids are 2 points ahead of me, they can call me on it and we stop right then for a 5 minute game.  No matter what we are doing, we stop and play the game.  They really get excited over it and try hard to win.  The fact that they are playing a review game is irrelevant - stopping class and playing a game is just cool!

One of the great things about Whole Brain Teaching is that you can use it in so many ways.  Like Jeff's idea of stopping to play a review game.  Or, sometimes the kids want to make up the names for the scoreboard, or write the point on the scoreboard.  Kids can make up one-second party phrases and mighty groans as well.

So...if you have not yet been to, please take the time and go there now - you will be so glad you did!

Til next time,

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Greetings to all!  I hope that by sharing my journey with Whole Brain Teaching you will give it a try.  Check out for a ton of information that will help you on your journey!  It is all free!

A couple of years ago I was searching for a way to reach my kids, as all the ways I had tried were not working.  I kept thinking "there has got to be a better way."  I had heard about how important it was to use the whole brain but didn't know anything about how to do it.  I found the website and found exactly what I needed.  If you hear people refer to 'teacher heaven', they are getting there by using Whole Brain Teaching.

I read just about everything on the website including many e-books, watched videos, read the forum, and basically saturated my brain.  I thought about it almost constantly - my way of internalizing what I was learning. Whole brain teaching was so very different from anything I had tried, I was afraid to actually try it.  Once I decided that if I wanted to be in 'teacher heaven' I needed to start using it, I jumped in.  I started using it in April of last year and was amazed at the response I got from the kids.  I started slowly, and as I became more confident I added more.  As with anything new, I made mistakes but found that it was ok-no big deal.  I just learned from them and went on.  I still make mistakes and am still learning but I know that as a life-long learner I will continue to do these things.

And so began my journey.  Stay tuned for more!