Monday, October 17, 2011

Week 8 {A whirlwind weekend and the Griffin Gazette}

Here is me, Chris Biffle {the WBT founder}, and Rachel Freundlich {my best teacher friend} in Palm Springs, Ca!
What an inspirational few days away. Not only did I learn a WHOLE bunch about WHOLE BRAIN TEACHING...but I got to be with one of my favorite teacher friends {Rachel Freundlich} and we were a dynamic duo in California.
Below is a little letter about my classroom happenings...please read.

Dear Parents,
As the year progresses, you may notice that our classroom doesn’t run like other classrooms. We will be learning through Whole Brain Teaching, a research based system that utilizes all areas of the brain, keeps children engaged throughout their lessons, and helps them retain much more information than the standard lecture-discussion model.
Whole Brain Teaching is a highly interactive form of instruction that delivers information to students in short “chunks.” Kids then teach what they have just learned to their partners, using hand-gestures to help remember specific vocabulary.  While students teach each other, the teacher walks around the room to discover who understands the lesson and who needs more instruction.
Research shows that children retain more information when they have an opportunity to put it into their own words and use gestures to emphasize key instructional units …plus, it’s amazingly fun! For more information about Whole Brain Teaching please contact me, come by for a classroom visit and/or go to
Thanks! -Lauryn Griffin

I am so excited that I had the opportunity to travel to California to learn more about this teaching REVOLUTION! WOW!

On another note:
This week in Reading...
We read Julius by Angela Johnson. We are working on characters, setting, retell and making connections. Today readers worked in their RESPONSE journals to connect to the character in Julius. We tried something new that I learned at my conference. Before we left the carpet, kids had to come up with what they were going to write. I modeled first: Julius and I are the same because we both like to have fun. While I spoke my words I used my hands to demonstrate a BIG letter and then squished them down to make them little and when my sentence was done I demonstrated with my hand a car coming to a screeching halt with the sound: errrrrr!! This is called DOOZY...the oral writing game. Kids practice with gestures capital letters and punctuation so that they learn to write it down. It really helped our brains!
Letter of the week: Mm
Snap words to learn: to, a
See the family times for more.

This week in Writer's workshop...
Writers put their PUBLISHED WORK in the hallway. Be sure to check it out if you are in the school.
This week we will hone some techniques we have learned like: using the WORD WALL {word woods}, using the ABC sound board to help us when we hear a sound then to WRITE IT DOWN, and oral story telling and trying it out on paper.
Writers will be introduced to booklets this week too. We are looking forward to publishing again before PARENT/TEACHER conferences.

Math Workshop...
Students are learning:
Spin a number game - reinforcing counting and reading numbers 1-10 {also practicing our GOOD game etiquette...please play a game at home and work on taking turns, how to chose who goes first, how to roll the dice versus throwing the to play by the rules...etc.
Reviewing visual patterns
Patterns all around - reinforce recognition of patterns through a pattern search activity.
Oral counting games - oral counting skills through movement activities
Preparation for number writing - groundwork for number writing through kinesthetic  and tactile stroke-formation activities

Other things in our classroom:
Reteaching has begun. In our classroom we have an UH-OH spot where I document your child's behavior based on our 4 b's:
Be Safe
Be Respectful
Be Responsible
Be Friendly
Students have a chance to be reminded once and then I document. Once it's document 3 times, they go in for a RE-TEACH in Mrs. Blackburn's room during 10AM recess.

Friday, October 21st is SPIRIT should wear their ALTA shirts or RED!

Thursday, October 28th at 1:15 is POPPAS and PUMPKINS...more on this next week. 


 You have to remember EEKK-elbow,elbow...knee to knee body language
READ THE whole time...I read, you read, I read, you read
Stay in 1 spot
Read quietly
Check for understanding

November 8th and 9th are PARENT/TEACHER conference days. Let me know ASAP if a day is better for you.  

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