Wednesday, October 14, 2015

WBT: Where Students Do the Teaching!

Benjamin Franklin said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." Statistics support this as well. The highest percentages of learning retention deal with students being involved in their learning.  Today, I'm going to speak about the Whole Brain Teaching strategy Teach, Okay which falls into the biggest retention level, teaching others.

Teach, Okay is a strategy in which you clap your hands and say "Teach!" and your students respond "Okay!" The students then turn to each other and begin discussing whatever prompt you told them to discuss.  An important part of the strategy is the quickness at which they turn to discuss with their neighbor.  You can use The Scoreboard to encourage quick turns.  They also need to be fully turned to face their neighbor.  When introducing Teach, Okay at the beginning of the year I tell my students "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes" and they say "Knees and Toes" This acts as a reminder of how their bodies should be facing prior to their discussion.

Learning Pyramid
Now that we have covered the fundamentals with Teach, Okay, let's talk about how your can be the teachers and you can increase learning retention in your classroom.  Here are some hard and fast rules with Teach,Okay:

1.  Teach students information in CHUNKS. Have the students then reteach their neighbor the information.  You can start with them repeating what you said, but then gradually have them teach the information in their own words.  Remember, we're trying to get them to the highest percentage of retention we can!

2. Have the students use GESTURES. As before, students can occasionally use gestures that you provide for them, but also give them the opportunity to create their own gestures.  When they create their own gestures then they are making meaning of their learning and it will stick better!

3. Use MIRRORS!  When one person is speaking the other student should mirror the gestures the speaker is using.  This will help them to pay attention and activate another part of their brain.

4. Allow time for both students to speak, by using the SWITCH.  Sometimes within a pairing you have one student that is always a talker.  Both students need the opportunity to teach or they both aren't having access to that 90% retention rate.  Allow one student to speak and then enforce a switch in which the listener now becomes the teacher.

Good luck with Teach, Okay!  It engages 100% of the students in your class and encourages learning retention.  What more could you ask for?

See other blogs about Teach, Okay by clicking below:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Ending the Question "What Page?"

When you walk into my room at the beginning of class you will hear a chorus of students responding to a direction by repeating it multiple times.  No, my students do not have a stuttering problem, but rather I use what is called The Three Peat. Whenever I need to emphasize something, be it directions or an important vocabulary term, I signal my students to repeat it. The dialogue in my classroom looks something like this:
Images by Sweet Kids Clip Art

T: "Class"
S: "Yes"
T: "Turn to page 23 in your notebook.  What page?"
S: "23, 23, 23!"

Later on...
T: "Today we are going to talk about Hypothesis.  What are we talking about?"
S: "Hypothesis, Hypothesis, Hypothesis!"

By having students repeat what you just said, students are tuned into and able to respond to your direction.  Now what's important is to make this repetition fun and engaging!  Students should not be slowly dragging out their response.  The responses should be quick and energetic.  Like many things in Whole Brain Teaching, you can make The Three Peat fun and silly. Change it up a bit!  Make your students eager to hear what's going to come out of your mouth next!

Some ideas:
1. High Voice
2. Low Voice
3. Silly Voice
4. I also sometimes point to my students when I say a vocabulary term, and they point back at me three times as they repeat the word.

If you are not getting the energy that you want from your students when using The Three Peat, remember you can always go to your Scoreboard and entice that energy you know they have out of them!

Want to learn more about Whole Brain Teaching's Classroom Rules and The Three Peat?  Check out other great blogs by clicking on the link below!