Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Customizing Your Curriculum through Interactive Notebooks

So, some of you may disagree with the following statement, but textbooks are a thing of the past.  Honestly, I do not believe that textbooks are the best way to teach students.  Our students want to engage in what they are learning or they lose interest.  Students reading out of a textbooks or completing questions from the text does not captivate students nor does it encourage their brains to remember those important things you are teaching them.

I'm also not quite on the technology bandwagon.  I support using technology in the classroom.  I mean I use my iPad, my iPhone, computers when necessary, and my document camera nearly every day, but technology the BEST way to teach everything students are learning?  I'm not 100% sold on it being the end all be all to education.

The solution to student engagement and content retention in my classroom (aside from Whole Brain Teaching, of course!) is through interactive notebooks.  With interactive notebooks, I can customize my curriculum to fit the needs of my students and they have a working piece of text that summarizes everything they need to know at their fingertips.

I know I've left a lot of questions unanswered about interactive notebooks, but my plan is to do another mini series about interactive notebook basics in the coming weeks.  Sorry I haven't been posting much recently, my classes this semester are killing me!

P.S.  I am totally "geeking out" over the new books for my classroom library.  Three of my students purchased them for me from the book fair.  Eek!  LOVE LOVE LOVE 5th graders!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Making Your Scoreboard Portable!

Well, I have made one small step in Whole Brain Teaching, and one giant leap for my teaching sanity!  I introduce to you....drum roll please....the Portable Scoreboard!

This laminated index card was the best part of my day today!  To create it, I just wrote the words "Teacher" and "Students" on a neon index card.  I then laminated the card and hole punched the middle.  I added it to a lanyard for ease of marking and I was done. In total it took me about 5 minutes to make. I put a dry erase marker in my pocket and I was set!

So, what's so great about a portable Scoreboard?  I am one of those crazy teachers that are all over the place.  I'm walking around the room, nearly doing handstands as I teach my students.  I cannot be chained to my board to mark when students are doing great or when I need to correct their behavior.  This Portable Scoreboard gives me the luxury of giving my students immediate feedback wherever I am in the room.  

Portable ScoreboardStudent and Teacher Approved! :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Air Punctuation and a Look into My Classroom!

Last week my students were exposed to air punctuation.  May I just say that this may be one of my
most favorite things I have implemented this year. It requires students to know what must be included in a complete sentence and makes them think critically about their answers.  I think it is great when teachers in multiple disciplines can integrate learning from other areas.  Air punctuation improves students' ability to speak in front of others and increases their logical thinking.  Through the skills they gain from science class, they are learning skills that are addressed in the Common Core Language Arts standards.

I am attaching a video of my classroom the first day they learned air punctuation.  I am the first to say, I have many things that need improving in regards to Whole Brain Teaching, but with the feedback from my WBT mentor, I'm getting better and better.

So here is how it works:
Capital letter:  A capital letter is represented with your hands moving from a closed flat position and opening them, kind of like an alligator!

Punctuation:  Punctuation is represented with a hand out like a stop sign and the sound "ert". When students need to ask a question or use an exclamatory sentence, they just make the symbol in the air and still end it with "ert".

Comma:  A comma is represented with the sound "zoop" and a hook gesture in the air.

In regards to WBT, this week I am working on shortening the "Mighty Groan" when a teacher gets a point, chunking the mirror words sections, and implementing the "All eyes on (name)".  If you all enjoy the videos, I will try to add another one after I receive feedback next week.  I hope your year is going well!