Thursday, July 24, 2014

Whole Brain Teaching {Teach-Okay}

Well we have finally made it to the Teach-Okay learning strategy. I have to to tell ya, it's a good one!!

Need to catch up on old posts? No problem!
Chapters 1-3 can be found{here}
Chapters 4 & 5 can be found  {here}
Chapters 6 & 7 can be found {here}

First, check out this video to wrap your brain a little bit around this teaching strategy! It is a great little video to show you how it works in a 1st grade classroom plus using the Class-Yes!

I was so glad to see the book took 3 chapters to explain how to introduce this learning strategy. But, what I think is most important to know it to understand why this learning strategy is so important to
use in your classroom.

   "Students learn best when they are actively involved in the process." (pg. 45)

 Research shows that students learn best when working in small groups and retain knowledge when their whole body is involved. Just imagine your students using gestures and constantly having the opportunity to repeat directions and repeat what you just taught them.

The goal with this strategy is to set your students up in pairs. By having 2 students you are creating accountability. Student 1 has to listen to Student 2 and then vice versa. There is no easy out. As we all know from experience, in small groups you will always have the leader and then those floaters. By keeping it at 2 partners you are eliminating the possibilities of floaters.

One of the BEST advantages of this strategy...students are constantly practicing public speaking! As we have continued to see, kids today struggle with this skill much less speaking in complete sentences. This allows for a powerful language development practice in your classroom. If you have students that have weaker language skills (ie ESOL) pair them with a student with stronger language skills. The "noise" from every one teaching is good noise to give each set of partners to allow privacy to speak without fear. Of course, you would be making rounds and listening so you know everyone is on track.

"The more we talk, the more students we lose."

WBT references micro lecturing. This is when you  present a few points, students repeat, present a few more, students repeat etc. Personally, as kindergarten teacher and most primary teachers, we teach in small spurts. This also reminded me of the Daily 5 Approach with mini lessons. I have seen the power of small spurts of teaching but definitely need to add in the students repeating to each other constantly.  This would probably be an important strategy to remember in the other grades as you can tend to get into a lecturing style with your students.And hello, think about how beneficial this would be to our sweet ADD or ADHD students!

The opportnities are endless and can easily be adjusted for any grade level by the content you are teaching. Once your students have become confident in the "teach" you can begin to add more complex and higher order thinking questions for partners to teach.

Now before you stress out about this strategy, WBT suggest for kindergarten and younger students that you do not introduce this learning strategy until several weeks in. For older grades, you can easily teach the concept on the first day of school. I will be the first to admit trying to this with 5 years old in August I would probably be pulling my hair out!

So what do you think? Does this learning strategy intimidate you? Do you think your students are capable? What do you like/dislike? Comment below!

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