This question is one that can be answered from years of being taught in the traditional classroom as well as seventeen years of struggling with and advocating for the education of my two sons with dyslexia and AD/HD to be taught with some non-traditional strategies. This is how I would characterize the majority of traditional classrooms and the learning needs of individual students…it’s like trying to put a square peg into a round hole. The traditional classroom has one basic round hole puzzle…the lecture model (round hole puzzle) followed by the worksheet model (round hole puzzle) followed by the we’ve always-done-it-this-way model (round hole puzzle) expecting all children (pegs) to fit into the “every child learns just the same” round hole puzzle. Occasionally a peg (child) comes where he actually fits into the round hold puzzle (traditional classroom). That’s enough to keep the puzzlers trying the same tactics again and again. When there is a square peg, or a triangular peg or a splendid oval peg…the puzzlers try and try to fit the peg into the puzzle. Sometimes the puzzlers get frustrated from trying to fit the peg into the puzzle over and over. Eventually the pegs that don’t fit are placed over on the other side of the table and the puzzlers make themselves feel better by exclaiming how unfair it is that they were sent square pegs, triangular pegs, or oval pegs because they didn’t fit into THEIR puzzle.Along comes WBT and the first thing the developers realize is that children are not pegs and education should not be a puzzle. WBT is designed to optimize the ways that our brains learn. It is based on brain research which includes repetition, teaching in small micro lectures, using gestures, reinforcing positive behaviors and rewarding improvement to name just a few of the strategies. WBT continues to evolve as brain research gives us more information about how children learn. WBT involves the students in active learning with students teaching peers as opposed to passively listening to a person lecture. It involves teachers rewarding children for individual improvement instead of straight A’s. It provides an atmosphere in the classroom of acceptance through tactics like saying “It’s cool” when a student makes a mistake instead of teaching students to compete against each other to see who is the bestThe WBT method for teaching sentences is to use the five-step lesson plan: 1-Ask a question 2- Answer the question 3- Expand with examples 4-Test 5-Develop Critical Thinking. This is accomplished with the teacher speaking in 30-45 second micro lectures followed by the students teaching a partner. Testing is a part of the lesson and is quickly accomplished by students closing their eyes and giving a thumbs up or down for the answer to the teacher’s questions. The final part of the lesson involves the students using the WBT Genius Ladder to add to blah sentences with adjectives and adders. The entire lesson is lively and students are repeating information taught, teaching it themselves, answering questions to check comprehension and then using critical thinking skills to improve writing skills.With the traditional classroom, the teacher would lecture and maybe ask a student to answer questions. Most likely the teacher would then hand out a worksheet for the students to demonstrate how to write a complete sentence or how to identify the correct sentence on the worksheet. The students would turn in their papers and a day or so later the papers would be returned with a grade. The teacher might go over the test but by then the class would have discussed two or three more concepts. Students who did not understand how to write a complete sentence are not likely to ask questions after the test is reviewed and certainly not during the review, for fear of ridicule. The differences in the two classrooms are about as different as night and day. Thank goodness for WBT!
kathy,Very interesting post! The pegs helped to emphasize your compare/contrast of traditional and WBT teaching styles! Here are 25 points and a 5 point bonus!
One of the first lessons in a third grade writing class is how to write a complete sentence. Traditionally, we use Shurley English to teach grammar and sentences. The students learn a jingle about the five parts of a sentence: capital letter, end mark, subject, verb, and complete thought. Then we would go over examples and nonexamples. To finish, the students would be given a paper and pencil assignment. In this type of lesson, the teacher does most of the talking. With the Whole Brain Teaching method of teaching a complete sentence, the teacher starts with a question: What is a sentence? The students repeat the question to their neighbor. Then the teacher defines a sentence, and again, the students repeat it to their neighbor. Next, the teacher gives examples and nonexamples asking the students to say if they are sentences. Real literature is brought in to the lesson by asking questions about the reading and having students respond in complete sentences. The teacher tests the students to see if they comprehend what’s being taught. Finally, instead of a worksheet, the teacher has the students complete one or more critical thinking exercises. As you can see, the Whole Brain Teaching method of teaching, “What is a sentence?” involves the students and has them actually teaching each other about sentences. This particular lesson even involved using literature. In addition, the WBT method does not use a worksheet. Instead it uses critical thinking exercises which expands the students’ learning even further. I think the students would like this method better than the traditional method, and I think they would retain more of what they learned.
Cheryl,Nicely done post! It is a given that every WBT lesson you start, will always end on the step of critical thinking! Here are 25 points for you!
Many moons ago, when I taught elementary school, I was one of those traditional teachers! I taught how to write a sentence by using the lecture approach. There, I said it! As terrible as it might sound, I thought the lessons I had prepared were good. What I did not realize was how I lost most of my nine-year-old fourth graders after the first 10 minutes of my talk time. Nor did I provide those kids with enough examples and practice. There are several differences between a WBT lesson plan, like the Day One: Sentence Five Step Lesson Plan and one taught in a traditional classroom. First, many teachers do not introduce their lessons with a question and answer. Sometimes, the teacher doesn't even tell the students what they are going to be learning. They just start teaching. I think it is a great idea to inform the class of the objective, and asking a question and supplying the answer is a neat way to introduce lessons. Gestures are rarely used in a traditional classroom. The Five Step Sentence Lesson Plan gave a gesture that clearly defined a sentence. Typically, students would be sitting at their desks trying to focus on the teacher but idle and not participating. In most cases, a traditional lesson would be a 15-30 minute lecture involving the teacher presenting information about sentences to students. The teacher might call on students to answer questions, but there is very little active student involvement. In comparison, the sentence lesson, like all other WBT lessons, use active involvement with students through a micro-lecture type format. Students are active participants, often gesturing along with the teacher, during 30-45 second teaching sessions. Then, unlike traditional lessons, students teach each other what the teacher just taught them. Everyone is actively participating and not just listening to the teacher talk, talk, talk. There are many, many examples given, too. A regular lesson, in many instances, does not provide enough examples nor do they test student comprehension. After their lecture, teachers hand out a worksheet or assign homework that is used to determine student comprehension. A graded quiz might even be given at the end of the class. During a WBT lesson, like the Five Step Sentence Lesson, questions are prepared in advance, and students participate in an evaluation to check for understanding of material. Yes/No Way involves whole group participation, while the Thumbs up/Thumbs down Quick Test (QT) is individualized. Both of these tests were used in the lesson plan on sentences. This type of evaluation is fun, active, and non-intimidating. If 90% of students do not master these two evaluations, the material is presented again in a different way. A traditional classroom has a sink or swim approach. In many classrooms, if the child does not understand, the teacher may never know, so they go on with class and on to the next topic. Finally, a traditional classroom does not always end with a critical thinking activity. In many cases, worksheets, textbook work, drawings/diagrams, group work, or some other type of seatwork is assigned. WBT lessons always include some type of critical thinking writing task. These tasks can be divided into low, middle, and high groups, but often involve comparing and contrasting, writing "because" sentences, and WBT Brain Toys. WBT lessons, like the sentence lesson, involve student mastery of the concept. Teaching how to speak and write in complete sentences is one of the most important concepts in education. Oral writing and the Genius Ladder, like the one used in the WBT lesson, are two ways most traditional classrooms would never use. And, unlike traditional lessons, "weave the golden thread of fun" throughout each lesson step! I’m glad I have found WBT, and I am definitely looking forward to incorporating some of these writing strategies within my history lessons this year.Melinda Sprinkle
Melinda, Great post on the comparison of these lesson presentations. I can't wait to hear about your first experiences with this WBT writing program! Here are 25 points and a 5 point Bonus!
What is a sentence? In this lesson the teacher begins with the definition of a sentence. This is the same for a traditional writing class. With WBT, the teacher gives a gesture for sentence. During a Whole Brain Teaching lesson, the teacher will expand the lesson by using many examples and non-examples of sentences. In a traditional classroom, students would be bombarded with worksheets. Making students answer questions in complete sentences and using air sentences is the key to helping student understand the concept of a sentence and to be able to use correct sentence structure in future writings. Traditional classrooms do not give students enough opportunities to write or speak in complete sentences. While reading a book, stopping and asking questions about key characters or vocabulary is a great way for students to practice speaking in complete sentences. This is the Whole Brain Teaching way, while in a traditional setting, students would give a one/two word answer. To assess students’ progress with a simple Yes/No Way test is a quick way to see if students have mastered the concept of a sentence. If 90% of the students have mastered the concept, then give a quick QT test, and if 90% of the students mastered this test, then go onto step 5. If not, go back to step 3, and reteach with new materials. After students have mastered the concept of a sentence, they are ready to use critical thinking skills about sentences. Now students know what a sentence is and can write and speak in complete sentences with ease. Traditional classrooms do not test for mastery until the end of the unit. By that time, many students have not mastered the concept or have not had enough practice in speaking or writing in complete sentences. Students struggle later when they have to form paragraphs or essays. Whole Brain Teaching is much better than traditional writing classes.
Debora,Very good post! Speaking in complete sentences is an expectation of all students in a WBT classroom from the first day of school to the last day! Here are 25 points for you!
Lesson Three: What is a Paragraph? (2 posts)Whole Brain Teaching offers students a way to learn about paragraphs that is full of Funtricity, instead of the traditional moans and groans that accompany traditional writing lessons. When presenting a lesson, the Whole Brain teacher begins by asking the students a question. This allows them to quickly see what the focus of the lesson is going to be. Then, the teacher follows with the answer, including the question in the statement, automatically teaching the students to speak in complete sentences. The students immediately follow the teacher’s lead and repeat the answer, using gestures, to their partner. They have now activated several parts of their brains as they are listening, speaking, moving, and connecting. In a traditional classroom, the teacher often begins by asking students for examples of the answer before she provides it. This often wastes valuable time, and many times students are providing incorrect answers. Next, the teacher expands the concept by having the students find related sentences, topic sentences, and sentences that are off topic. Now, the students are already thinking critically, but in a safe environment as they work orally with their partner. As the teacher connects the concept to a read aloud selection, the students discuss what the subjects of paragraphs are, what the topic sentences are, and if the subjects are changing. Again, thinking critically and making discoveries with their partners. In a traditional classroom, the students usually work individually at this point, often only moving to partner work at the very end of the lesson as a review. In the WBT classroom, students are teaching and learning from each other the entire time.The teacher now introduces the Adder, which is a sentence that adds information to any previous sentence. These form the bulk of what the students are writing and add to their topic sentences. Throughout the entire lesson the teacher is using gestures to help reinforce the concepts (topic sentence, adder, and paragraph). By using these gestures, the students have activated their motor cortex, which is the best way to move information into their long term memory. Traditional classroom lessons usually focus on filling in graphic organizers or worksheets, which often lose students to boredom, or frustrate students that don’t understand the concept yet.The WBT teacher now places a diagram on the board: Question – Answer – Adders. This diagram is a guide for students to use as they answer questions and add more sentences to their answers. This is all done orally, and the students are beginning to speak in paragraphs. Participating in this oral writing will aid the students when they move to the “writing on paper” phase. The lesson has now activated the Pre-frontal cortex as the students make decisions and respond with the Teach/Okay, Broca’s Area as they discuss with their partners, the Motor Cortex as they use gestures, the Visual Cortex as they watch and mirror their partner and the teacher, and the Limbic System as they have engaged with the lesson, their teacher and the class. Traditional classrooms are often continuing to fill in worksheets at this point. The teacher in that situation is still basically unaware of the level of comprehension the students have. In contrast,the WBT teacher is moving throughout the room listening as the students speak in paragraphs, constantly assessing.
(Part 2)The WBT lesson then moves on to a quick assessment with the Yes-No Way game and the QT: Quick Test. By using these assessments, the teacher is able to immediately have results as to the level of comprehension in the classroom. Then, she can determine whether or not to move on, or go back and revisit earlier portions of the lesson to help the class gain further understanding. Most traditional classrooms reserve assessment for the final activity, and then don’t offer a chance to return to the topic until a few days later after the teacher has graded the pencil/paper assignment. Waiting this long, the teacher loses a valuable opportunity to correct misconceptions.Finally, the WBT lesson is capped with a critical thinking exercise. This incorporates deeper thinking meshed with a writing activity. This is easily differentiated for the varied levels of learners in the classroom. Following the activity, a Power Pix is placed in the room so that the students are able to revisit the concept often. The WBT lesson offers the students a variety of methods to move information into long term memory, a way to activate all areas of the brain as they learn, many opportunities to revisit and expand the lesson, and many critical thinking tasks. This is a more well-rounded method of teaching versus the traditional classroom lesson of lecture and worksheets, thus providing the students more opportunity for overall success.
Question - are we stopping with Chapter 32 or are we doing the last 2 questions that go with the Bonus sections on the book?thanks!
I hope the questions are posted because I already have them written.
Michelle and Melinda, Please contact me at NancyStoltenberg@WholeBrainTeaching.com I have some informoation for you! Thanks!! Nancy
Does that mean that there will be more????
Michelle,Great job comparing WBT Lessons with Traditional. Critical thinking skills are definitely elevated as a WBT lesson proceeds! Here are 25 points and a 5 point Bonus!
I am going to draw on personal experience here. I will describe the differences in how I have taught topic sentences and how the lesson is taught in this chapter.In my classroom, I have taught that a topic sentence is the main idea of a paragraph. I give examples of topic sentences, we look at strong and weak topic sentences together in writing samples, and we create topic sentences together. I have students work in partners to produce topic sentences about various subjects, and then I release them to write topic sentences for each paragraph of an essay we are working on at the time.In the WBT lesson, a topic sentence is clearly defined with a gesture. The gesture gets the motor cortex involved, and it helps cement the concept and definition. I used no gestures to help activate other parts of the brain, nor did I have my students repeat the definition I gave. The WBT lesson used examples from a model text. I used student samples rather than examples from strong writers of quality literature. The teacher discusses how strong topic sentences give the big picture, but weak topic sentences cover less information. I merely said that they were the main idea rather than comparing the definitions of weak and strong topic sentences. The teacher reads aloud from the model text and has students orally formulate topic sentences by asking about the main topic of certain sections from the read aloud. I never did this. Instead, I provided general topics we could create sentences about. The teacher also guides them in changing a weak topic sentence into a strong one. Finally, the teacher checks for understanding with various forms of assessment (Yes-No way, and QT), and then provides more opportunities for practice and intervention with critical thinking and small group guidance. I assessed how they did in partners, and then did individual conferences with their own writing. In comparing, there are some things I did well in my instruction, and there are some things I want to change. Topic sentences are difficult. I will teach and review this lesson many times throughout the year.Meredith Pearson
Meredith,Nice post comparing the lesson plans. Creating and using gestures really impacts the lesson results! Here are 25 points for you!
The traditional classroom today is different from the traditional classroom even a year ago. In fact, I recently attended a professional development training during preplanning last week and they discussed how we need to be engaging our children more and teaching them the “why” rather than memorizing facts. This is music to my ears! They even showed a clip of a video where a teacher was using a technique called “t-t-t-teach…o-o-o-okay”. I nearly lost my breakfast from shock! I told my neighbor teacher, “this is stolen from WBT!”. I could not believe my eyes! The video and professional development training went on to touch on other stolen techniques like “switch” and “repeat after me” (mirror). I spoke with the trainer at the end of the session and she had no idea that this was similar to WBT. I rejoiced in being able to tell others that if they would like to see WBT in action they could check out the book, website, and my classroom. I am still in shock over what I saw and heard! I will say that in the past, the concept of a “sentence” was taught very differently in the classroom than what is described in this chapter. Normally, the lesson would be very teacher-centered. The teacher told the students in a whole group the definition of a sentence to begin the lesson. This definition may or may not be “kid friendly”, which means confusion was a possiblity. The teacher would then model what a sentence was by writing or showing examples of a sentence on the board. Then they would ask the students to create sentences with them and have the students go back to their seats to complete a worksheet. This worksheet would be collected and graded by the teacher. The grade would be entered into the gradebook and the lesson would be completed…end of story.WBT, on the other hand, is highly structured and student centered! The teacher begins the lesson with the questions that presents the lesson focus, as they do for all lessons. The teacher then provides the “kid friendly” definition using gestures. The teacher even offers a real life application and example to test whether something is a sentence or not. Gestures are used throughout the lesson along with student repetition to increase retention of material. The lesson is chuncked into small sections to ensure engagement. QTs are used to check mastery of concepts before moving on to more complicated material pertaining to the concept. Critical Thinking is fun and authentic rather than the monotonous ditto. Differentiation is created via whole group and small group levels. At the end of the lesson, the teacher is fully aware of each students’ level of mastery. The following day reviews this lesson and then incorporates the new material to scaffold the students’ learning. I have only just finished my first week of school with my new Kinders and I already feel amazing with WBT. My lessons are sticking like glue and my students are happier than a fish in water. Oh Yeah!
Jennifer,Congratulations on your first week back! Your post offered some good examples of differences between these lesson plan deliveries. Be careful of editing in your essays: chuncked/chunked; "...aware of each students’ level...". Here are 10 points.
Chapter 32: Bonus Chapter: The 11 Day Writing Lesson Plan I would like to start off by saying this is the chapter that brought tears to my eyes. I was not happy with the progress or should I say lack of progress my 1st graders made last year pertaining to writing. I knew I needed to do something different this year. Last year was my first year teaching 1st grade. I had been teaching Special Ed Preschool/Life Skills for six years. The preschool/life skill students were learning how to hold a pencil/crayon/marker, how to form letters, write their names and a few small words. I felt like I had no knowledge of how to teach writing procedures. Our 1st grade reading curriculum touched on a few writing techniques but it was not consistent nor thorough. Combining the writing tasks in our reading curriculum and a few things I found on Pinterest I “taught writing.” I did a lot of lecturing, the students used a lot of worksheets, some writing stories in their journals, and they practiced writing sentences using our spelling words. About once a week students shared stories they wrote in their writing journals to the class. Very few actually had stories of any length or that were on topic. I was still struggling at the end of the year with students that did not start a sentence with a capital nor end a sentence with punctuation. I was so frustrated! After reading Chapter 32 – The 11 Day Writing Lesson Plan, I am just beside myself. As excited as I am to implement WBT this year, this is the chapter I was waiting for to help me help my students build their writing skills. Using the five step lesson format will make the lesson exciting and useful to the students. Having the built-in Quick Test and the Critical Thinking will help me to identify levels for groups so that I will be able to help students at the level at which they are performing. Last year, everyone received the same instruction but this year will be a different story. I already know that this year is going to be a better year for both my students and me!
Terri,Isn't it wonderful to find such a workable method to teach writing? I love your enthusiasm, and I'm sure your students will soar through writing this year! Here are 25 certification points!