Week one of my sixth year is OVAH! And it was a fantastic one, too! I was eager to get this year started not only because of the sweet little names I recognized on my list, but also because I was excited about turning my room into a Whole Brain classroom and myself into a Whole Brain teacher. 

If you have never tried Whole Brain Teaching it's never too late to start. I have the WBT website in my favorites and been on their email list for about two years, but I had never taken the plunge. So, as an experiment, I started incorporating it into my teaching at the end of last year... you know, when anything goes anyway and the kids go crazy. But I found that even at the end of the year, my kids readily adopted it and loved it! 

Over the summer my friend and watched youtube videos that other teachers had posted showing their Whole Brain Teaching classrooms. Youtube is an excellent resource for getting started! It helps to see what other people do and "practice" so to speak.

The first day I started with the 1st steps listed on the website to a T. 
1. Class-Yes (when you say "CLASS!" the class responds with "YES!")
2. The Five Classroom Rules (all should be done with motions 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!)
3. Teach-Ok (When you say "TEACH!" the kids respond with "OK!" and should turn to their neighbor and teach them what you just said. Chris Biffle says you should speak in increments of no more than 30 seconds. WHAT! I know, sounds crazy, but it makes life so much easier once you get the hang of it!)
4. The Scoreboard (A t-chart with a smiley face on one side and a frownie on the other. If the kids are working hard, following the rules, responding quickly, etc. they get a tally under the smiley face and cheer. If they get a frownie face they make a disappointed sound... mine say BUMMER! Between you and me, it makes me giggle to hear them say it.)
5. Hands and Eyes (When you say this, the kids should fold their hands and look at you. I had second thoughts about this one, to be honest. But when you say it and they don't even question it, they just do it, well, how can you argue?! I don't know what makes them follow this so well, but they do!)
6. Mirror (When you say "mirror" they should make whatever motions you are making whether you are teaching or just trying to get their attention during a transition, etc. If you say "mirror and words" they should do what you do and say what you say. They love this.)
7. Switch (When in "teach-ok" mode, announce "SWITCH" and students should switch roles. Whomever was listening should teach and whomever was teaching should listen.)

Doesn't that sound fun!? Doesn't it sound simple!? There are several of you out there about to start school second guessing your classroom management or just looking for a change. Go ahead! Try it out! You've got nothing to lose!
I have to say, this first week has been a BLAST. I don't remember a better one in my six years! The kids were so excited and more than one parent told me, "I don't know what you're doing in here, but ----- has been coming home so happy and saying he/she actually LIKES school!" EEEEEEEEEEEEE! I gotta say, it makes me like school better, too!