Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday

I am excited to link up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. These are always so fun to read I want to try linking up at least once a month. 

I have been loving the wonderful posts for the book study on What's Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind by Barbara Gruener. We are up to Chapter 7 and there are so many wonderful ideas. Be sure to check them all out and grab this great read!

As summer comes to a close it is time to get serious with planning. Our district ELA pacing guides have all been updated for Common Core and the TK team decided to add Lifeskills into our pacing guides. We are basically keeping the math pacing guide with the Kindergarten Common Core standards that we put together last year and our Report of Progress that we use during our parent teacher conferences in the late fall and spring is also staying the same. The team of TK teachers and admin at Pittsburg Unified are AMAZING! I am truly blessed to work with these ladies and gents in creating a Transitional Kindergarten program for the students in Pittsburg, CA and happy to share the hard work with you. 

We do not have to enter our Report of Progress into any computer system like the other grades in the district but I hate my handwriting so I made the Report of Progress into a Fillable Report of Progress.

Here is our Math Pacing Guide from last year. There have been minor changes and I hope to have the edited PDF soon but wanted to share this one as a starting place.

Our new Common Core Language Arts Pacing Guide is going to be a work in progress but I love that it is super open ended.

I am also working on getting myself organized with blogging and TpT. I grabbed one of Farrah Shipley's TpT planners. If you are planning on getting serious with TpT be sure to grab one of these planners. She explains all about them in this post. Here is one of her pics.

I guess I have really been in planning and organizing mode because I also updated my files I made years ago to work with the Flylady way of cleaning house and organizing daily life. Trying to clean up the house bit by bit and declutter this summer. You can grab the PDF and editable files by clicking the picture of the Before bed page :)

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter I already announced this but realized I didn't announce it here. I am soooooooo excited that I am now a part of the Whole Brain Teaching staff! Coach B made me the WBT Social Media Coordinator! I have been helping with loading the weekly webcasts to youtube at and organizing pins at   I also get to check out WBT bloggers and add them to the growing list here. Coolest thing is I get to help with linking the various online resources to new WBT documents like this one  

So there are my 5 for Friday! Hope some is useful and you join me next week. We will have Must Have Monday, Teacher Tech Tuesday, WBT Wednesday, Throwback Thursday and more :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WBT Book Club Chapters 1 & 2

Today I am linking up with The Teacher's Desk 6 for Throwback Thursday. I am loving the badge, so purr-fect! This is a post from my WBT blog with my response to the WBT Book Club prompt for Chapters 1 & 2. Remember you can join in at the book club any time at :)

Have you grabbed your copy of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids yet? I have had the free ebook for years now so I have to admit that I wasn't in a hurry to grab the new Amazon book by WBT co-founder Chris Biffle( Sorry Coach).  I figured I should know all of the stuff that would be in it right? I watched all the webcasts, read all the ebooks, have gone to a training so I should know this all. Well when they decided to have a book club for the book I knew I had to grab it and see what was new.  Well it is a must have friends! Even if you can just grab the Kindle version you will not be disappointed. This book really does give you the whole picture of what Whole Brain Teaching is today. There have been so many additions over the years that it can be overwhelming to start using Whole Brain Teaching and this book shows you where to start and how to successfully become a Whole Brain Teacher or WBT'er. 

You will want to join the book club once you get your book, you are ordering it now right? The best part of the book club is that it is not a summer book study but an ongoing book club you can join at any time! It doesn't matter if you got your book last month or get it next week or in 2015, you can join in. I have had my book for a couple months but am just now ready to share my answers to the book club questions. I will warn you that many of the questions/assignments are hard, especially if you are going for certification points, but all worth at least contemplating for your self. 
Click on the image below to read and respond to the Chapter 1-2 assignment and read on for my response :)

Welcome everyone! Today I want to start our year together with a 45 minute lecture and discussion on classroom management systems. I need you all to turn your cell phones into the basket in the middle of the table and give me your full attention. If you can not follow along and fully participate in our discussion you will need to write a one page essay on listening skills during lunch. OK are we ready to begin? Why don't you look excited? Doesn't a 45 minute lecture sound exciting? Don't you respond well to the threat of punishment? No? But we will have discussion time! Well you can relax because really today we are going to talk about classroom management but in a fun and much more engagement friendly way because I am going to be using Whole Brain Teaching.

The First Great Law of Whole Brain Teaching is: The longer we talk, the more students we lose. This applies not just to students kindergarten thru college age, but even adults in a staff meeting. I can give you a great lecture on the history of classroom management systems I have tried, complete with a 50 page Power Point but as soon as I have talked more than 15 minutes none of you will be hearing anything but “WahWahWahWah” like in Charlie Brown. Even if I add discussion time few of you will be talking about what I want you to be discussing. When I gave my first technology training to teachers I thought it would be great because I had so much built in discussion time but really I only had the attention of 10% of the teachers and the others were talking about everything but what I was teaching. We are going to make sure we watch how long we talk so we don't lose many students.

Now I could have called out those teachers that were not on task during that technology training and I could make you write that one page essay at lunch but punishing adults is just as ineffective as punishing students. When we are bored we all act out or tune out, no matter the age. So what can we do if punishment doesn't work? Here is the secret I learned from Whole Brain Teaching Challenging Students written by WBT co-founder Chris Biffle, if a student’s whole brain is involved in learning, there isn’t any mental area left over for challenging behavior. For our classroom management to work we need to work on engagement of the whole brain. I want you all engaged at staff meetings this year as much as I want our students engaged in every lesson this year so this is as much talking at one time as I will be doing all year.

So we have the First Great Law and the secret of Whole Brain Teaching but why are we talking about using it? What makes it work better than traditional classroom management systems? Orderly Fun! The main thing that makes Whole Brain Teaching work is because it produces classrooms that are full of orderly fun. WBT is more like a large, lively game than a traditional elementary school classroom management system. Just as in all games, there are penalties as well as rewards… but like “going to jail” in Monopoly ®, even the penalties are entertaining. We learn better when we are having fun so we are going to have fun in our classrooms and our staff meetings. Who's ready to really get started with our year now?

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.

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.

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

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

WBT Wednesday- Getting ready & First Days

So we have been watching the webcasts, reading the book, reading blog posts and now it is time to get files downloaded, the printer going and planning book open. Time to get ready for the best school year ever!

So what do we NEED to get started with WBT? Here are my must haves to start the year with WBT

1. Need to have some basic knowledge of Whole Brain teaching

Now more than likely you already have this but just in case you are totally new to Whole Brain Teaching I want to be clear that if you haven't visited and downloaded the Ebooks like WBT Quickstart Guide or read the book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids you need to do that FIRST.  You don't need to read EVERY ebook or the WHOLE book to get started but the tools like the Scoreboard will only work if you know the basics of how to use them.

2. Pick Rule Posters to download and print

I shared about the 5 rules and the posters I use here . You can find posters to match many themes on TeachersPayTeachers and if they are the WBT rules they should be free. Many of these posters and posters from blogs are pinned in the WBT Basics Pinterest board.

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

3. Pick a place for the Scoreboard and make traveling Scoreboard

The scoreboard can be just a sad face and a happy face made with marker and the travel scoreboard just a 3 x 5 card.

If you want to get fancier there are scoreboards with borders and different icons for Teacher vs Students, Boys vs Girls and such. You can even make a digital scoreboard that you can open on your phone!

4. Download and print First Day cue cards from Deanna Schumer and Sub cheat sheet 

I mentioned both of these last week and they are great to use as is or help you plan how to introduce everything the first days of school

5. Download WBT Intro to print or project in class

In my class I use the laptop hooked up to the lcd projecter ALL the time so I use Intro to WBT lessons I was able to create with the fabulous WBT Construction Kit found in the Free Downloads section of

There is an Early Education version for PreK-Kinder and a Primary version for 1st-2nd. If you teach 3rd grade or higher I recommend using the original WBT Intro found at under Free Ebooks in the Common Core section.

The Early Education Edition is a zipped file with PowerPoint and PDF versions of an 84 page presentation based on work from The presentation will introduce your students to the Five classroom rules and five of Whole Brain Teaching's basic learning techniques:
Class-Yes, Hands and Eyes, Mirror Words, Teach-Okay, and the Scoreboard.

One PowerPoint and PDF contains teacher note on slides to help newbies and experienced Whole Brain Teachers alike teach these lessons. There is also a PowerPoint and PDF that contains no notes on student slides and limited teacher slides for those that prefer.

The Primary Version is a zipped file with PowerPoint and PDF versions of an 103 page presentation. The presentation will introduce your students to the Five classroom rules and five of Whole Brain Teaching's basic learning techniques: Class-Yes, Hands and Eyes, Mirror Words, Teach-Okay, and the Scoreboard AND a lesson on What is a Sentence?

As long as you have 1-3 you will be in great shape to start the year using Whole Brain Teaching but I hope you will find 4 and 5 as helpful as I do. Coach B will be starting up the webcasts soon and will be talking about starting the first day with WBT but until then you can checkout the WBT First Steps playlist on the webcast youtube channel for past webcasts.

Next time will be all about prepping the classroom for what I am calling advance WBT must haves. I do not introduce them the first day but they become the foundation of most lessons and my student discipline so I like to plan where they will be. What are these jewels of Whole Brain Teaching? Make your guess in the comments and check back soon to see :)
Until next time, TTFN Wibbiters

Monday, July 14, 2014

What's Under Your Cape? Service

It's time to get the capes out! The Character Capes!
Before we dive into Chapter 1 of our book study I have to share this SUPER awesome cape that was shared on the What's Under Your Cape? Facebook page. Every superhero needs a cape and I have sooooo many ideas brewing about how to tie in this theme of superheroes into my classroom this year! You can PM Barbara on the Facebook page for information about grabbing one of these hand sewn capes. We are going to have so much fun sharing about Barbara's book, What's Under Your Cape? SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind! Let's get started!

Our first character cape is Service. I am beyond excited to be co-hosting Chapter 1 of  our book study with Lynda of  Curls and a Smile !

As Barbara says in the first line of Chapter 1, superheroes are all about service. They are here to save the day, to defeat the villain, to serve. Children have no problem understanding the job of a superhero and it is such a smart way to introduce the concept of service to our students, even our youngest ones. But how can they serve? Well I love how Barbara shows that it can be as simple as serving as line leader or as complex as running your own service learning project.

Serve in the classroom

We can start our superheroes with serving by having them do classroom jobs.  I love the way Mrs. Lirette of Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives has set up classroom jobs and she has a freebie to make it so easy to set up serving in the classroom :)

Serve at school

Students can also serve in a bigger capacity doing something that helps not just the class but the school. At my current school we have a few older students that help with traffic before school,  students that help serve breakfast and a 3rd grade class that is the Green Team and collects paper to recycle from the classes each week.When I was the technology specialist I had a team of 4th and 5th graders that were the Tech Squad and helped install programs and updates on the classroom computers. I love Barbara's ideas of a Bathroom Brigade to check bathroom cleanliness and report problems and Paparazzi in charge of student cameras to take pictures for the website and yearbook.
I'm thinking we could make badges for these special jobs at school, maybe using editable labels like the free ones I have on my Facebook page here.

Serve in the community

I was an active 4-H'er from the age of 8 through high school and even in college and my mother has continued to be active in 4-H still to this day. Though we did have rabbits a few years, as a city girl I mainly was involved in clothing, computers, leadership and citizenship. My favorite memories of 4-H are around the service learning projects we did. New to service learning? Barbara points us this this wonderful resource, the National Service Learning Clearinghouse. Check them out here. The second half of the 4-H pledge defines to me the goal of service learning, "My Hands to larger service and my Health to better living for my club, my community and my world." At our core I firmly believe we as humans were made to serve, we all want to make things better, to help one another. When we serve another we often get more than we give and it is truly a win win. Beyond the personal, which is the biggest win, service learning projects are an awesome way to get a truck load of learning into the minds of our students. A can food drive can have literary connections to books like Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, math connections to counting and measurements, science connections to plant life cycles and chemistry, and social studies connections about hunger in America and world wide.  Every service learning idea has countless possible connections to grade level standards and students become deeply engaged in this learning, another win-win :) Barbara shares many successful service learning projects in the book and Lynda has great ideas and links in her post on Chapter 1.

This year I plan to use plarn to weave service learning into my classroom and hopefully school and beyond. I want to keep things open ended and student guided but can see place mates, coasters or even rugs for retirement homes or hospital patients, lunch bags for students in need, mats for animal shelters, maybe even flip flops for those in need of shoes.

I think the video below is a great starting place and I am trying this out with my own kids, my daughter who is 10 and my twin boys that just turned 6.

There are great ideas for plarn and weaving at these sites and I am gathering ideas on my What's Under Your Cape? Pinterest board.

Plan Fan Page on Facebook

Follow Transitional Kinder with Mrs.O's board What's Under Your Cape? Service on Pinterest.
I can see so many connections to math and thinking that making plarn might even be cool family homework project. Here is my favorite video so far on how to make plarn.

So many ideas are making this post a lot longer than I thought it would be! Ready to share your ideas on Service and read the ideas from some other fabulous bloggers? Be sure to link up on the linky below and remember to enter the giveaways at Curls and a Smile , The Resourceful Room and here!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The next stop in now live at The Resourceful Room!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

What's Under Your Cape? Introduction

Yea! Today is finally our start day for our summer book study! As I have said I LOVE book studies and I am sooo excited to share this book by  Barbara Gruener, 
What's Under Your Cape?: SUPERHEROES of the Character Kind

Lynda at Curls and a Smile is starting us off and has a giveaway of the book! Start with her post !

Did you see the fabulous group of bloggers hosting this study and enter the giveaway? 
Here is the schedule of for the SUPERHERO posts. We will be having linkies for each chapter so you can join in and just might have some more giveaways and freebies along the way too! 

It is going to be a FABULOUS study! This book really is a quick read filled with super ideas on how to infuse character education into your classroom. The ideas for me start in the introduction. In the introduction Barbara uses the 4-H pledge to explain the domains of character education and as a former 4-H'er oh how I love this! It makes soooo much sense! The 4 H's are Head, Heart, Hands, and Health. Barbara explains how we need to use all 4 to build superheros of character. I will be sharing more about my 4-H experience during this book study but wanted to share these Facebook covers now that I found while making bookmarks for last year's California State Leaders Forum with my mom. 

Barbara explains that the Head is where character development starts, the cognitive domain. The Heart leads to the affective domain, more than knowing but embracing and loving a virtue. Once we have the head and the heart we need to use our Hands, it's time for action. Finally we move to the ethical domain with Health and put it all together to make daily choices that make things better, not just for ourselves but others too. It is a HUGE task to build character but the awesome thing is that Barbara shows it is also very easy to infuse character development into your classroom daily! 
Ready to hear how? Well just check back here and at Curls and a Smile July 14th as we co host Chapter 1!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Whole Brain Teaching Book Club

One of the best parts of summer vacation for me is the time I have to read books that help me be a better teacher. Even better is if there is a summer book study on a great teacher book so I can see how others are using the ideas from the book. My blogging friends always know the must reads and I get so energized each summer.  If I missed a book study I still love to read all the posts then of course pin and print all the goodies, but I do feel bummed that I missed the chance to participate. I am so excited that my must have professional book, Whole Brain teaching for Challenging Kids, has not just a book study but an ongoing book club. Everyone can not only read all the posts but participate no matter what month it is! Everyone can join the book club and respond to the questions and prompts at their own pace, at any time of year. When you participate you have the opportunity to earn certification points toward becoming a certified WBT educator! You of course do not have to type up your responses to enjoy the book club though. Just reflecting on the prompts and reading through the replies of others will help in so many ways! 

So where do we start? Order your paper copy of the book or borrow the Kindle version for free with Prime membership. The main page for the book club is and you will find prompts for the entire book. Below you will find the prompts  for the beginning chapters and the chapters on the Rules and the Core 4. DO NOT try to read everything at once, no matter how tempting! I am just grouping the chapters for easier bookmarking and pinning :) In the coming weeks I will group and post the prompts for the rest of the book :) Are you going to participate in the book club? I know love to know who is going to give it a try :) Happy reading!

Getting Ready and Why Whole Brain Teaching 

The Core 4 and 5 Rules


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