Monday, August 6, 2012

WBT Teach - Ok!

Visit the Whole Brain Teaching website for more information.

I am really looking forward using this one in my classroom. After you do a little research and watch some WBT videos, you will be excited about this too. I became a little angry the other night while I was searching YouTube. There were some very ignorant comments under some of the WBT videos. I usually don't read the comments on any videos, because they almost always upset me.

Several people were saying that this was all about turning students into robots and that Chris Biffle is just promoting himself for profit. Those people had no idea what they were talking about, but it frustrated me so much! All of the information and materials for WBT are FREE! The seminars are FREE! I just wanted to scream at these people for making such uninformed comments.


Stepping down from the soap box...

Here is the webcast from Chris Biffle on Teach - Ok!

Watch live streaming video from wholebrainteaching1 at

Whole Brain Activator: It takes learning to a new level. They have to listen attentively to you because they know in a few minutes, they will have to teach their neighbor. Then they have to use your words and their own words to teach their neighbor the concept you just taught to them.

 Teacher, "When I say teach, you say ok! Turn your body completely to your neighbor and teach them what I just said."

Clap a pattern. Teacher, "Teach!"

Copy the pattern. Kids, "OK!"

Key component: Teacher speaks briefly. The longer you talk the more students you lose! (WBT) Teacher walks around the room and listens to the kids teaching each other. They don't just do it once. They keep explaining until you call them back together with "Class - Yes!"

Start with short bursts and add a little more each time. That way you are getting a spiral review into each teach-ok time.

Teachers need to be expressive and use gestures when we are teaching. It stimulates the motor-cortex of the brain. We have to teach the students to mimic or use their own gestures when they are teaching their neighbor.

The brain listening to a lecture:

The brain on Whole Brain Teaching:

I love that this system lets the students be social. One of the biggest issues we have with students is that they want to talk all the time! Who could blame them? We are social creatures. Some people learn best when they can bounce ideas off people and talk through the problems. We are going to use those tendancies and get the most out of the time in the classroom. Don't you think they will be more likely to sit and work when we ask, if we let them do all this talking during the lesson?

Tricky, tricky, tricky. We are giving the students what they want while we give them what they need. ☺

Remember: Short term memory can hold 3-7 chunks of information. We can talk all we want, but we can only hold so much in our short term memory.

Repetition and using many areas of the brain is a great formula for moving short term memories to long term memories. After all the teach-ok, then students will write and produce some kind of product. That just helps solidify the concepts we are teaching.

Every lesson:
Class - yes!
Say a few sentences. Get the kids excited.
Clap twice and say teach! (Kids, "OK!")
Class - yes!
Say a few sentences.
Clap twice and say teach! (Kids, "OK!")
Class - yes!
Review what you just said and add to it.
Clap twice and say teach! (Kids, "OK!")

*Just keep going like that until you are ready for the students to work on a product.
**A great thing about WBT, is that Chris Biffle encourages you to make the process your own. You don't have to clap twice every time. Mix it up to keep the students engaged and on their toes.
There are three types of gestures:

Casual - talking with our hands; gestures
Graphic - tells a story or describe something
Memory - linked to state standards

When we can incorporate gestures that link concepts in our students minds to state standards, we are winning the memory battle! We all know this, but do you do it for everything you teach? I find that the lesson that I have movements that link to the main point, those are the concepts that really stick in my students minds. Do you agree?

Critical Thinking
Now you might be thinking, "I don't just want my kids to repeat my words all the time." You are right. After your kids know how to teach and listen to each other, they can take what you have taught them and apply it to higher level thinking questions. We are giving them the tools to collaborate with each other to come to new and higher level answers to your questions. Or even to questions you didn't think to ask.

The teach-ok method will allow you to get a concept taught in an efficient way. You will be faciliating turning short term memory into long term memory. This is the battle we fight every year with every class. When our students have the concept cemented in their brains, we can have them use those new skills to think critically. They will be able to use that concept to take their thinking to the next level.

That should be our goal!

Visit the Whole Brain Teaching website for more information.


Amanda Kendall said...

I'm a huge fan of WBT teaching and I'm hoping to incorporate more of the strategies this year. Last year I struggled to stay consistent. It seemed like some lessons lended themselves to lots of Teach-OK moments, and some did not. Have you found this to be true as well? How do you plan to incorporate it into reading lessons? That was particularly tough for me. I'd love your ideas. Thanks!

The Teaching Thief

Sally said...

I'm another huge fan of WBT, as well as someone who is simply fascinated by how the brain works. Thanks for putting this so simply, it's great stuff!

Sally from Elementary Matters

Unknown said...


Frugal In First

Unknown said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!
I'm having the same experience that you were having. I Know WBT will totally change my teaching but am having a hard time. I can't wait to get home and look at everything you have!

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