Friday, February 24, 2012

Testing, Testing, Testing.....

Well, we are getting to that time of year, when the BIG MAP test is right around the corner. Our classes are finishing up their rotations and fifth grade is getting ready for the MAP prep rounds! Benchmark tests have been given and data has been processed. The teachers are now ready to tackle those problem areas and fill in the gaps using best practices for test-taking.

Best Practice #1: PROVE IT--This WBT strategy is a very quick,easy, and effective way to take a regular multiple choice question and take your students' thinking to a higher level by justifying not only the right answer, but also why the other choices are wrong.

If  you have not tried PROVE IT in your classroom, give it a whirl. Start small with a few questions for a morning assigment. Then before you know it, you will be using PROVE IT on your entire test! For more information, please visit

Laura Caisse
WBT Intern, 2011-2012

Saturday, February 4, 2012

You never know.....

You never know when the opportunity is going to arise to share about Whole Brain Teaching and how it will change you, as a teacher, your classroom environment, and your student engagement!

Last week, I attended the Powerful Learning Conference, along with 1,400 other professional educators from around the state of Missouri. The focus of this years conference was From Vision to Results. These days, who isn't thinking about assessments, data, and results? The keynote speaker the first day posed a question asking us to think about how does the learning cycle change from the beginning of the year to the end? Most people shared that at the beginning of the school year, teachers and students are refreshed from the summer break, have spent time planning, and are ready to head back into the classroom for a wonderful year of learning! Time on task is high and then before you know it, it is Christmas break. As everyone comes back from break and winter sets in, the motivation seems to become less and less and stress becomes higher and higher, as the high stakes tests are right around the corner.

As I was sharing with the person sitting beside me, I said that I had to disagree because I use Whole Brain Teaching in my classroom and I believe that this structure keeps learning and student engagement high at all times throughout the school year. So, the person next to me asks,"Have you heard of Chris Biffle?" I had to smile and say, "Oh yes! I am a WBT Intern for this school year, so I do know Chris Biffle!" I learned about WBT at the PLC conference 2 years ago and the presenter of that class was sitting in front of us and heard us talking. Professional development conferences and opportunities allow us to share great examples like Whole Brain Teaching and how it can work in your classroom to increase student achievement and engagement! Presenters at these conferences always wonder if what they shared really had an impact and this story shows that PD can change teacher behaviors and improve student learning! The presenter was excited to hear that his session did make an impact on a teacher and student learning!

Lastly, at the last keynote speaker session, I sat next to a group of teachers from a district not too far from my district. We were talking about the PLC structures and how her district had yet to implement these structures, so that's why they were here to learn more about PLC. As the conversation moved on, she asked about how do you keep your students motivated at this time of the year? She shared that her students struggled and one of the areas was basic facts........Smiling, I said, "I have the program for you...have you heard of Whole Brain Teaching?" She had not...well....write this website and look at SuperSpeed for basic facts.....of course, she said, "how much does it cost?" and gladly I replied, "It's all FREE!!!" So, as you can never be ready and the WBT fire will begin to spark in another teachers' eyes...and watch out as it is nurtured and grows!

By the way Coach Biffle.....John Lewis from RPDC in MO says to tell you hello!

Laura Caisse
WBT Intern, 2011-2012