Last year I attended a Whole Brain Training with other teachers at my school. I t was very exciting we learned soooo many things, but by the end of the day we were on major overload.  I was already majorly overwhelmed as I was also starting a new school after subbing for two years and moving back to 1st grade, which I loved but hadn't taught for a long time. It seemed strange that with more that 10 years teaching I, in some ways, felt like a newbie! So even though my plan was to jump totally into the whole brain teaching concept, it didn't happen. I took baby steps instead. And that is my recommendation for others too. Consistency is really important in having WBT be successful.

I did use some things and I found that they worked really well. I did the 5 simple rules, which I did adapt for a Christian School, the "Class-Yes", scoreboard, and,  I did try a little of Teach-Okay!  I had trouble with Teach -okay with my firsties but looking back, it was me! I didn't spend enough time practicing and have decided to try this again. It is similar to Kagan's "Think-Pair-Share", but more about this later.

So this year I am going to start right away teaching my class about WBT, starting with Class-Yes! This is a quick way to grab everyone's attention and manage behavior, so that you can quickly give directions, make an announcement, or say what ever to the the whole class. Simply the teacher says "CLASS" in a different voice or tone and the class responds "YES" mimicking the same voice or tone, while facing the teacher, (eyes) and folding their hands (ready to listen). Now although this works really well at the beginning, students sometime later will stop responding so quickly (kids will be kids), so it is very important for you to patiently wait for ALL eyes and ears. (I told my class that listening was looking and hearing). This is where the Scoreboard comes into play.

The scoreboard is a T-chart  that is labeled with a Smilie face and a frownie face. Last year I just drew this on my wipe board, but I have seen some creative ideas from other teachers that I want to try out. I got a small cookie sheet from the dolaar store that with some Modge-Podge, scrapbook paper, and magnets will be a real attention getter. I'll post pictures later. The idea is to encourage good behavior by earning tally marks or something under the Smilie side not the Frownie side. At first they are just excited to end the day with more Smilies than Frownies and Chris Biffile reminded us that it is a veerry long year. He said if you start giving rewards out then you have to keep coming up with something better to keeps their interest, so hold out as long as you can, then start with small things like 2 minutes of extra recess. LOL my kids thought they had just scored bigtime the first time I announce that they got 2 EXTRA minutes. whoo-hoo!

Rules are always part of the first week of school and it is especially important with WBT. You teach the rules with hand motions to anchor it in their brains. The 1st rule you teach is Follow Directions Quickly. This is important because as teachers we know most of our day is wasted with transitions, and waiting on those 2-3 kidlets that move at their own clock causing 4 more to join them. Their smiling face just popped into your brain as you read this, didn't it? We will practice our rules and Class-yes! several times the first week on school.

RULES:     1. Follow Directions Quickly
                   2. Raise your hand for permission to speak
                   3. Raise your hand for permission to get out of your seat.
                   4. Make Smart Choices
                   5. Make Your Dear Teacher Happy

click here for my rule posters
For more information go to wholebrainteaching.com

They are some great videos and I just found out that hey have facebook pages specifically to grade level, which has some great ideas. Let me know what you are planning to do the first day!
Meanwhile ...


  1. I found your blog through the FB WBT page. I also teach 1st and have started a WBT tab! Stop by sometime!
    Fun in 1st Grade

  2. Hi Pauline, I am a blogger from SD and I am also SDAEYC Newsletter Editor.

    I would like to feature your blog in the newsletter.

    If you are interested, please contact me.

    Janice Galarza

    SDAEYC Newsletter Editor

  3. Hi Pauline!

    I was checking out your blog and just had to comment on this section. I LOVE WBT! Like you, when I first was trained in it I was a little overwhelmed but decided to take baby steps and incorporate a little at a time. In my 3 years of teaching I'd say it definitely became "normal" and each year I would continue to reflect and add on to the strategies. I know that when I go back into the classroom I will still incorporate A LOT of these strategies and I am so happy that WBT has such a wonderful website! I noticed you wrote this post a while back... are the strategies still part of your classroom today? Hope you are enjoying summer! #TpTCATribe

    Lattes and Lunchrooms