Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Big Seven. What's the Big Seven??

The Big Seven are the seven core components of WBT.

1. Class-Yes

2. 5 Rules

3. Teach-Okay

4. Scoreboard

5. Mirror

6. Hands and Eyes

7. Switch

We started with the Class-Yes by simply telling students however I say class you say yes. They loved this and it worked SO fast. When we started the school year, the third grade was the only class using WBT. By the end of the year, most of the building was at least using the Class-Yes. Why? Because it sure beats standing with a peace sign in the air or flicking the lights 100 times to still have students talking!

The Five Rules also followed track of the Class-Yes.

1. Follow directions quickly

2. Raise your hand for permission to speak

3. Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat

4. Make smart choices

5. Keep your dear teacher happy

You can find banners of the Five Rules in most rooms in my building; classrooms, cafeteria, specials, etc... Why? Because no matter what a tricky little child will try to pull to break a rule IT WILL NOT HAPPEN -when using the five rules that is:)

The Scoreboard. The wonder of it all. We gathered all the third grade together last year and I asked them, how would you like to play a game with us every day, teachers vs. students. Oh yeah! When students follow the five rules they would earn a point followed by a might oh-yeah. If they were to break any of the rules, I got a point, followed by a mighty shrug and groan. This worked great for me the entire school year. We would change up the rewards which I should mention are not material items. Rewards would be lining up first for lunch or recess, shortened homework, no homework over break, 2 minutes of tech time... I had my doubts that students would get bored and not respond all year, but I was WRONG. Yes, for once I am admitting I was wrong, and gladly so!

Teach-Okays worked wonders. Very similar to cooperative learning. Partners would teach each other a variety of components in the classroom such as gestures, directions, or chunks of information I would give them. Why does this work? REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT. Works every time. Using voices to do Teach-Okays also amped up the kids in their teachings.

Mirror was when the kids mimic the gestures of the teacher or peer. This worked great when you want to make sure all students are paying attention and are engaged in what you are teaching.

Hands and Eyes were used when I had something VERY IMPORTANT to say. I say hands and eyes, they repeat and focus in on me. By the end of the year we were doing hands and eyes using jazz hands, crazy but funny:)

Lastly, the switch. When students would be doing a Teach-Okay and one person was teaching, we would let them go for a few seconds. I would then say "switch" then the other person would teach. This was nice because it got both kids sharing in a way that was comfortable for all. They did not have to talk in front of the whole class or to the teacher. They were simply sharing with a partner which is less threatening and made it great for learner opportunities to take place. I would walk around to assess and jump in when needed.

Of course, I will be using the Big Seven again this year, but changing slightly to the new Core Four. I loved the concept of the Core Four from the WBT conference. The key was an amazing idea to tie into the components of WBT.

Here's to another amazing school year!!

Super Improver Wall

Here is a student made video of our Super Improver board from last school year. Students names were on the board on frog cutouts. To earn stickers on their name they would need to improve in something. I used this for improvement academically, socially, organization, or behavior. This way my lower students had the same chances as my highest students to earn stickers.

I met with each student briefly to discuss what they needed to improve in. They would first earn five stickers then we would flip their card over. They would then earn five more and earn a picture facing backwards. Then five more and their picture was flipped. Five more then they got to take a picture with a friend. It was up backwards until they earned five, then five more stickers on the front.

This was the first time we used Super Improver. It was a bit tricky because I team teach and switch classes. We were not real sure on how to keep track of stars with the other classroom that was not our homeroom.
This year however, my entire grade level attended the WBT conference and we are all on the same page on how to use Super Improver for this upcoming school year.

I loved at the conference how there were different levels based on color displayed on the board. I also like the organization by having the kids name on the board alphabetically so finding their names are easier. My favorite was when a student was rewarded "Living Legend" that their photo stay up for the next years students. My kids stay in the building for two years when they leave my room. I want to leave those legends up until they leave the building so they can stop back and see the influence they have on my new students each year.

My team teacher and I are also all set and organized on how we will track stars from class to class. Students now have to earn 10 stars instead of five. This gives more opportunities for students to earn stickers. I am predicting this will be a great motivator during OAA prep and testing time. It seems as  students will do almost anything to earn stickers and move up on the Super Improver wall.
I am very eager to use Super Improver again this year. It worked great last year, and I am sure it will work even better this year!

Here is a photo from the Walsh WBT conference on the different levels of the Super Improver Wall.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Math Power Pix

Here is a video my kids were making about our WBT classroom. We had the wonderful opportunity to present to our school board how we use WBT. My students decided to make a video of some of the different components we used in our class.

This was at the beginning of the year when they filmed. You will see, I saved the largest bulletin board in my class to display our Power Pix. I would line them up as we covered new areas in math. Once the pix were displayed, if we had down time, or I was preparing for a lesson, I would have the students teach their partner Power Pix. I would switch it up a bit to keep them focused on each specific concept.

Power Pix are great when learning ordered pairs too! Many students have a difficult time remembering which way to start when seeing ordered pairs. With Power Pix it becomes second nature from practicing so much. Once I would say practice A4, then go to B6. I would have the letters and numbers labeled to assist in where to go. We also did our own Power Pix for ordered pairs but going "right-up" by stepping to the right then jumping up.

These worked great all year. Yes, they are California based standards, but many correlated to Ohio's. If we were missing any, I would simply make one to fill in. It will be nice when we move to Common Core so we can have more to share:)

My kids also used the gestures of whatever Power Pix we were working on to post on their student web-site. We would have designated camera guys and gesture folks who would be in charge for the week. They would tape the new gesture and post it to their site. This was great for parents to see what we were working on that week, and to help with gesture practice at home.

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Bullseye Game

So what happens when you have one student that does not seem to care if they break a rule, or doesn't mind staying in for recess to do practice cards? I have your answer, the Bullseye Game.

Above you will see the visual I displayed in my classroom on the front board. Of course, the target got the attention of every student in the room including the one it was directed to! I left the target up there for a few days to build their curiosity of what we would be doing with the target.

I later told my students that it would be for one very special student. My team teacher and I later met with that student alone and told him the rules of the Bullseye Game. He was so excited!

The second picture is the sheet I used to show how many points he earned on a daily basis. The bigger the sticker, the more points. The highest amount of points got him the wrestling stickers. Wrestling was one of his favorite topics, so using those types of stickers worked great.

Two things amazed me the most when using this...

1. His ability to self assess and to score himself was incredible. This really made him reflect on his actions throughout the day. The entire time we used this, he was ALWAYS within a point of what the teacher was thinking.
2. This game WORKED. Not only did this fix the targeted goals we were working on, but it assisted in improving his overall work ethic and behaviors in the classroom.

Two thumbs up to the Bullseye Game!!

Homework Policy Preview

 Most of my videos are recorded by the students (if you couldn't tell already:). They had a fully functioning, student ran website they would use to post vocabulary and videos of class happenings. This way they could access all this information at home, and their parents could see what was going on in the classroom. Again, this was all student ran!

Here is one of my students from last year explaining how we used WBT homework policy.

Homework check was pretty simple after the first month of school. The most challenging part was training the first 2 leaders on how to be a checker. Once their rein of leader was done, it was their responsibility to train a new checker.

*Key thought: Make sure the checkers are there early in the morning in order to check all students in before homeroom starts. I would have students that would come in right before the tardy bell and would want to be a checker. Needless to say those students could not be checkers. I would also check in from time to time to make sure that not only the kids were really earning all the homework points, but to also ensure the checkers were doing their job. I had the checkers initial where they circled the amount of points earned in case there were any questions, we would know which checker to ask.

The kids did great with this, and it was nice for teacher as well not to have to train all 25 students in the classroom!

We adjusted the policy to best fit the schools homework standards and each teacher's expectations as well when assigning how many points the homework would be worth.

I thought this would be a good video to post because it gives a nice visual of the student's homework folder with the tracker inside. It also shows how the students kept track of the points on the board each day.

If anyone has any questions about this policy please let me know because it does work great!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Prove It!

Here is a video of Prove It early on in the school year. This is a quick look at what the students would do to prove a problem was correct and why the other were incorrect.

You will see on their boards that most circled the correct answer and began by proving why it was correct. The next step was to prove why the other two choices were incorrect.

Having the "because clapper" will be GREAT this year to use during Prove It! At the beginning of the year students typically struggle in explaining why something is correct and an even more difficult time proving why the others are incorrect. This truly helps them with this problem.

I also have some new components to Prove It that I plan to use this year to break each problem down even more.


After the students were done, I would have the class close their eyes and raise their hand for which problem they thought was correct. I would do a quick bar graph on the board to show how many thought A, B and so on. The kids loved to open their eyes and see the results. It was often a competition to see if the whole class would agree :)

Students would then go around the class and prove their boards. It would sometimes result in great discussion on why one was correct and others incorrect. This really made the kids think at a higher level, not only by answering on their own board but by arguing if they disagreed with another student.

We had plenty of problems to use all year. I would also throw in some fourth and even fifth grade problems to have more exposure to what lie ahead of them.

I love Prove It and will be posting more videos of my new class this year ;)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The one, the only.....MIND SOCCER!

Can you tell that I love videos of my kids! I figure there is not a better way to capture great moments in the classroom without using a video camera!

Here is my wonderful class playing Mind Soccer. I introduced Mind Soccer to them by watching Chris Rekstad's class playing the game on You Tube. My students were on-board to do whatever they needed to in order to play.

We used WBT homework policy to set up guidelines for the amount of time students had to play mind soccer. Students could earn points on a daily basis by completing homework. They could also earn bonus points by taking an extra homework assignment. Nothing to big, a basic review of whatever we were working on in class. I found the Daily Math pages a great tool to use for bonus points because they had 5 review questions to do each day.

Students were assigned as homework checkers. Their job was to record how many points each student earned. We had a recording sheet in their homework folder to use to keep track of daily points. The checkers would then total the class's points and find the percent of how many points were earned.

The higher the percent, the more time they earned for Mind Soccer on Fridays.
This worked GREAT, ALL YEAR LONG. It was never a fight to get homework done!

We would also recognized students based on how many points they earned daily. This was great for the students that earned 3 points (typically the most you could earn on a day), but not so great for the ones that broke rule 4 &5 and decided not to do their homework. This put just enough pressure from their peers to make sure they earned some points for their team the next day.

I would encourage this to any classroom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Mind Soccer!!