Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The 5 Step Lesson Plan

WBT has a format called the 5 step lesson plan.  This sounded much easier than what I had to do in college so I was right on board.  Especially since using my lesson plans as evidence for teacher evals (aka Indiana RISE) has been a goal of mine.

I gathered some more information on it here and here (and the video webcast 505 is here).  That night I stayed up an extra 45 minutes rewriting all of my lesson plans for the next 2 days.  Now it is super easy to fill in and I have a true record, assessment, and data all on one page!

Error in uploading my plans for you- I will keep working on it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


We used one of the amazing free resources in our room this week.

I popped in the PDF that I had downloaded and read through over the weekend. I flipped through the slides and I watched the 'aw' of learning take place.

They kiddos were very excited to be using the computer and have the fun pictures on the screen. Engagement 100% - check! We dove in and the kids responded really well! He helped that it follows the same lesson plan format that we use so the kids flowed right into the the activities.

We were grooving along and learning. The kids were talking, moving their hands, excited, sharing in their learning, and all of this at 2:00 in the afternoon!

I started to hear some of my 'needy' kiddos shouting out- making vocalizations, like "ba, ba, ba", "ahh-tahhhh"' etc. This happens when they get really revved up and or over stimulated.

To help with these kiddos I had my aide (yes, I am blessed enough to have an amazing aide almost all day with my 26 Kinders). Sat on on one with Mr. ADHD to help his stimulus as well as to be his partner to teach to. He had more accountability this way and it was more individualized for him. Mr. Autism worked with me during teach ok and took a break during a couple of examples. I will get to review the parts of the lesson with him one-on-one during a conference time. Is time is built into our schedule daily to review and research the lessons from the day before.  I have loved using this lesson because (clap) I feel like I am getting the chance to collaborate with other WBTeachers.  I am able to take what Coach B has given me and use it in the way that my kiddos need.  It takes out on a large chunk of prep time for making all of my own visuals (which honestly, doesn't always get don and thus the kids are staring at my face).  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to incorporate this into our curriculum. 

We went through the first 3 steps. We did not fully unpack step 3, but remember we are 5, and it's 2 in the afternoon. At the end f our lesson the kids were all given a half sheet where the filled in _____ is ______ because ___________. They are loving using the because clapper in all of our lessons now! Each time we get ready for writing or some deeper thinking I tell them to put on their because clapper gloves and they do it!

I can't wait to share with you how the rest of the lesson/ PDF goes for us!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


The Scoreboard.

This is something we have been doing since September.  I have a chartbaord/ whiteboard that wheels its way to the front of my room for all whole group activities.  This board holds the most important pieces of the room- the things kids always ask "what's the date?" and "what's the score".  On the top of my board you will find the date written on the right.  On the left you will see a smile and a frown in a t-chart (with many tally marks below it).  This my friends is our beloved scoreboard.

Please no handwriting judgment friends- Check out the top left corner (and note that my kids were beyond awesome that day!  I still remember it)!

Fun story:
We now have a section of advanced math in kindergarten.  I am teaching that group of 29 type A personality smarty-pants kindergarteners.  Then I first got this group (a mix from all classes) I was bewildered as to how to control them!  Our classes are equipped for 24 students.  I can make my 26 work- but 29 is a beast of 5 year-olds!  I was so frustrated after the first week that I almost cried when my homeroom class returned to our room!  I missed them!  I missed the way they act!  Then it dawned on me- I need to do the same thing in math.  The next day I taught them the scoreboard and that day my class went from 29 terrors to 29 learners.  I was excited!  I had energy to continue teaching the rest of the day!  At the end of the day another teacher commented that she was having the same problem, my answer for her- WBT.  I told her to start with the scoreboard.  Her class has magically changed as well!

The scoreboard I use with my Math class (Sorry for the side view)

I want to admit that I do not use it as specified in the presentation of this.  I tried it, it wasn't effective for this group, I modified it and it is my saving grace!

So how does this magic happen?

1)Put up the scoreboard- see here.
2) Explain it: Every time you are awesome you get a mark here, every time you make me frown you get a mark here
3) Model how it works ("Show me how you sit ready to learn- wow that was fast- Mighty Cheer!") *Teach Mighty Cheer (Mighty Oh Yeah) and Mighty Groan*
4) Keep to the +/- 3 rule (no side should have more than 3 over the other side)
5) Watch the kids respond
6) Reward (in our case at the end of each week we have a special Zumba time.  Every now and then we mix it up with a KizBop Dance party care of Youtube)

What happens when the kids get a tally?
Mighty Oh Yeah: In our room this is called a mighty cheer- because I couldn't remember the actual name when I was introducing it- I praise the students for what was done right- specifically stating what was good- then say "Give yourself a mighty cheer!" and the class responds by lifting their arm up, and pulling it down while saying "Score!" (adorable with Kinders)  This is there 'One second Party'.  It is fantastic positive reinforcement and helps everyone to work as a team!  Remember this is for whole class not individuals!

Mighty Groan: When we are out of sorts, too lout, a bit crazy- or doing anything as a gropu that makes me frown I call out "Class/Yes" and state what is making me frown.  Tally on the frown side means a mighty groan students say "Oohh" and shrug their shoulders.  I say "let's fix it!"  If it is something immediate like taking too long to respond, or sitting incorrectly I give a second chance right away which always earns them back a smile.  Things like quietly working at their daily 5 stations I give them a few minutes then return for praise for the correction.

End of the week: Reward time if they meet their goal.  I am teaching my kids about goals so I write a goal number of mighty cheers to reach by the end of the week instead of always just trying to beat the frowns (because frankly, they don't get a lot of those!).  If the kids meet their goal they get to watch a Zumba video on Friday.  If they meet their bonus goal (something that seems almost impossible) they get something bigger (like a walk to the big kid playground and 1 minute to be on it).

Give it a try- let them pick a reward, and see if your crazy class magically changes too! (PS, using WBT methods will help that magic, the more I do the better these kids are getting both behaviorally and academically.

Happy Scoring!

(WBT Webcast on Scoreboard)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


For my own sanity I am going to be sharing some of the 'joy spots' and 'sucess stories' from using WBT in the classroom.  

There are days that you just hate what you do, or where you do it, or even who you do it with.  But then there are those shinning moments that make your whole world bright again.

Back in October I tried using the method of WBT to teach my kinders how to infer.  I used short deinitions, lots of teach/oks, and lots of hand gestures.  We did it about 3 or 4 times in October.  Our curriculmn is cicular so I knew we would come back to it a few more times.  Also- we are 5.  Infer is not at the top of our skill lists in October! 

Well lets fast forward to the first week of Janaury.  My kiddos are in library and they are readinga story with the librarian.  She starts talking about infering.  She always starts with asking what it is.  She was very suprised to see several hands go up.  She assumed they would share somehting odd (as they always ake up answers when they don't have one).  She called on a girl who in a matter-of-fact way said "When we infer we use what we know to figure out what the author doesn't say".  While she said this the kids all started to do these little gestures in thier laps. 

Yes, my 5 year old shocked the librarian by telling her what it means to infer, and the other 24 followed it up with an encore of gestures!

WBT= effective

I wish one of you could ask them what it means to synthesize when you read!  You would be astonished!

Monday, January 28, 2013

National conference

Sorry, I just need a small rant tonight.

I am really trying to get myself to LA for the national conference. Problem is 1) it is too far for me to drive to and 2) I am too young to rent a car. Sure I have a mortgage in my name, own a vehicle without loans, have been married for almost 3 years, and have been teaching for 2- but I cannot rent a car.

I am hoping that I will soon be able to connect with some other attendees and get a room at the same hotel. However, I am trying to raise money to attend and most 'investors' would like a cost.
I hope I can get this worked out! We are canceling our family vaca this year so I can go.

If you have any tips on raising money please let me know! Thanks!

For now I will continue to look forward to my Tuesday night webcasts for inspiration! See you there! (8 eastern, WBT online)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Program 503 Super Improvers Wall

This is one of the videos I mentioned in my previous post- Check out Coach B!

What is a Super Improver Wall?

So what is this Super Improver wall that I have seen popping up.  I use a clip chart (the whole grade level, and almost the whole school are using it) this year and it has been working great!  I didn't look into the Super Improver wall because I a) Don't feel like I can get rid of it due to the school, and b) I really like the way it is working and i just don't want to change it.

 I found Ms. Shipley's video tutorial (a bit shorter than the full webisode by Coach B which was perfect for me!)  I was able to get a quick 15 minute spinet on how it worked and how to set it up in my primary class.  Now I am ready for more (Here)!

The Super Improver Wall does not take the place of my clip chart (although it could) but rather is going to add to it!  It is a way to meet more needs and give a better (and more individualized) reward! 

Quick ideas here:
Why does it work?
- It works because you are setting individual goals (just 2 or three things for each kid to be working on) and this improves the full participation of your class.  For example if a student has a hard time talking with their partner (looking at them, facing them, using their motions, etc) one aspect of it could be something you look for to move up the super improver wall.

How much work do I have to do to get this thing going?
- Love the WBT community because so much of the heavy listing has been done!  WBT has a list of words (using a sports theme) to use for the wall.  The idea is that there are levels going up so you can create any words that fit whatever theme you are into.
- You will need to have some die cut stars (ok, a lot of them- 10 class sets, this will be the most time consuming part, but should not be more than around 30 minutes- if you have parent helpers it's no time!)
- you will need a way to mark the srats to show progress

When should I start this?
- I am going to try it in 2 weeks.  We have many new students right now and are doing some assessments.
- If starting at he begging of the year it has been suggested that you give it about a week to first teach the other procedures of WBT and lets those wee kiddos gain some confidence

 More Details:

There were two runners.  One fast, and the other slow.  They ran the same way everyday.  Everyday the fast runner wins and the slow runner looses.  Soon the slow runner quits  and the fast runner loafs.

Sounds like it is time to get a new race: Enter Super Improver

Now the runners only win if they beat their previous PR.  They are not competing against each other- but against themselves. (story modified from Coach B)

This truly is an individualized- differentiated system.  We are setting attainable goals for each student to be successful!  This system gives each child an opportunity to record 100 improvements!  How motivating is that?!?!  (More than 1 star every 2 days- you are going to see it!)  And who says you have to stop- keep on going, add fancy paper!

Ok, So I have 26 students.  I have a hard time seeing each improvement in my day.  Idea: I can keep a set a post its near my rocking chair and tech center with lists of kiddos to watch.  This way I know who and what I am looking for that day.  Of course there are always moments that are seen and would be acknowledged right away.  Personally, if it is not written down I forget it.  That little pad also means that I am not taking any time to have the kids add to their stars.  I call it out, give a ten finger whooo, and then I can add it as I am teaching or when we transition.  My post-it holds all the information- who what and why!  I can use this as a reinforcement through a reminder later (for those kids who really strive in verbal praise).

It comes down to the fact that you are the teacher and this is your classroom.  You can make this system work for you and adjust it to fit your needs.  Watch it, think about it, and dive in!  Let me know how this works for you in your rooms!