Wednesday, July 23, 2014

WBT Wednesday Advance Must Haves

So we got the Classroom Rules, we are ready to use the Core 4, and  last Wednesday we covered the basics needed for the first days.  The 5 Rules, Scoreboard, Class/Yes, Mirror and Teach/OK make the foundation of the WBT classroom and really will change the way you teach forever. For me I can't teach without these WBT tools and the more I use them, the more I love them, the better my class is. If I have a hard day or a lesson does not go well then I can usually find that some thing with the Core Four was off. I didn't use the Scoreboard as much as I should have or I forgot to have the students Mirror or we didn't do enough Teach/OK.   If you are new to WBT, new to teaching or new to a grade level just start with these and you will have such a strong foundation to build your classroom learning on. You will be blown away by how awesome your class becomes just with the Core Four and the Five Rules but just like a house is not only the foundation, WBT is so much more than the Core Four.

Once you are ready with your WBT foundation, you are ready to build up the walls. These are the advanced WBT must haves that you will want to add to your classroom ASAP. Now ASAP will be different for everyone so don't rush, you may not use these your first months or even your first year. That said the great thing about these advanced WBT tools is they are all like brick walls, you can add a few bricks at a time, building on your foundation bit by bit. Today let's take a look at 2 Advance WBT Must Haves, the Super Improvers Team and PowerPix.

The Super Improvers Team is all about rewarding student improvement. This is Level 2 of the Scoreboard and replaces the card system or behavior clip chart. Instead of catching students doing wrong, you are focusing on catching them doing  right, making improvements. This was truly a life altering idea for me and a huge blessing to my classroom. The year starts with the Scoreboard and the Scoreboard keeps going all year but Super Improver Team is added into the WBT classroom and students are rewarded for individual and class wide improvement. Instead of racing other students, students race themselves, working to improve on their own personal best. The beauty is that each student can be racing toward their own goal and students can be working on an academic goal or a behavior goal. Students also work together as a team to improve on class goals, which also can be academic or behavior. WBT founder Chris Biffle explains the Super Improvers Team in Chapter 15 of the book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids and the Program 563 Master Class: Super Improver  webcast. The delightful Deanna Schuler did a great video as this tool was developed in 2012 that explains how to set up your wall and award stars.

The fabulous Farrah Shipley also did a great video in 2012 about Super Improvers that can be seen in her blog post here.

If possible you will want to plan out your Super Improvers Team now, as you are setting up your room, even though you will not introduce it the first days of school. You will need a spot for your wall and you might want your levels to match your classroom theme. Last year I used photos of sea stars to go with my tropical theme but I am switching themes and haven't decided yet how I will set up my wall. There are MANY themes shared on blogs and on TeachersPayTeachers which should all be free. I try to pin them all on the Super Improvers pinterest board so check it out and hopefully it will help you find the perfect Super Improvers printable for your classroom.

Follow Whole Brain Teachers's board Super Improvers Team on Pinterest.

The second Advance WBT Must Have for me are the PowerPix. I LOVE the PowerPix and usually start introducing them the first week of school because they are a super way to introduce core content to students and are SOOOOOO easy to use. Really they are ready made lessons. The original PowerPix can be found in the ebooks section of To access the free ebooks you will need to register here, which is free :) The PowerPix ebooks have the California State Standards and are avalible for K-3rd grade, though many can be used for upper grades. Currently the PowerPix are on page 2 and 3 of the ebooks section.

Over the last few years I have been working on PowerPix with the Common Core standards and have a template for making Electronic PowerPix. You can find the most up to date Common Core PowerPix in this post here. I tried to make them printer friendly with one file of the pix to print in color and a separate file of the teacher notes to print in black. If you need/want to create your own PowerPix you can download my Electronic PowerPix Templates for PowerPoint for free HERE.

The fabulous Farrah Shipley did a great video in 2012 about WBT and using PowerPix. There is a little issue in the video between minutes 6 and 8 but just keep watching because it is great! You will find the video at this post
Nancy Stoltenberg has a great post with pictures about PowerPix. Click on the picture of her wall below to read the post and don't forget to make sure you are following her.

Since I am in a portable with limited wall space I project the PowerPix we are learning on the screen with the document camera or from my laptop. As we learn the PowerPix I add the printed version that is in a sheet protector to a binder ring and it becomes part of our review routine at the beginning of whole group lessons. I thought I had pictures of the binders but do not so I will take pictures and add them as soon as I can get into my classroom. Like Super Improvers I try to pin PowerPix displays and new PowerPix created by other Wibbiters to the  pinterest board. 

Follow Whole Brain Teachers's board WBT PowerPix on Pinterest.

I know I have just scratched the surface of pinning the wonderful posts about PowerPix and Super Improvers and I want to make sure we get all of them so please comment with links to your PowerPix and Super Improvers posts. If you are just starting with WBT I hope you are now excited to try these tools once you are ready and have what you need to get started. Be sure to come back for more Advanced WBT next Wednesday and check out the WBT Wednesday linky with Mrs. Shipley for more WBT. 


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