You might have seen some Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) videos on the Internet. I will say that some of those WBT videos out there kind of make the kids look like robots. That is not the intention, and it is not what my classroom looked like last year or what it will look like this year. However, I am a huge fan of some of the techniques and thought I’d share them on my blog over the next week. If nothing else, it’ll be a good reminder to me of how to use these techniques.
One basic thing teachers need to be able to do is get the attention of the class. There are all kinds of things teachers say, like “123 eyes on me” etc. My school had a school-wide attention getter called Paws Up. The teacher said, “Paws Up!”, and students were *supposed to* put their hands in the air, stop talking, and look at the teacher.
I’m going to be blunt. I hated paws up. Teachers had to say it over and over before anyone listened. It was marginally effective when I had a perfect class. It was 1000000% ineffective for the class I had last year. I would say, “Paws up!” I had only one child who would do paws up every time. The other kids were COMPLETELY OBLIVIOUS. They would just keep working and talking.
I searched the Internet and found out about Class Yes. It is ridiculously simple. You say, “Class!” They say, “Yes!” Then they stop talking and look at you. You can make it fun by saying variations of “Class” and they repeat the same variation for “Yes”. So if you say, “Classity Class!” then they say “Yessity Yes!”. You can say it in a deep voice, high pitched voice, etc.
The best part is that it WORKS!
Here’s why it works. Let’s say that I when I say “Class,” only some of the kids hear me. The kids who don’t hear me still have a second opportunity to figure out what’s going on because they’ll hear a bunch of kids yell, “Yes!” With paws up, they didn’t hear me say “Paws up” and they didn’t notice the few kids (er, one kid) who did paws up. The second reason it works is because it’s fun! The kids love to reply, especially when it’s a fun variation in a silly voice. Paws up was not fun. It was more like being arrested.
I was worried that the kids still wouldn’t hear me, but it worked perfectly for my class! They loved yelling “YES!” so they were extremely enthusiastic about it. It worked from the moment I introduced it through the end of the year. It is the perfect technique for kids who love to talk!
According to the Whole Brain Teaching website, this is why it works:
“Why is the Class-Yes, in terms of brain structure, so effective? The neo-cortex, the part of your brain behind your forehead, controls, among other things, decision making. Think of the neo-cortex as an executive, organizing other brain areas for complex tasks. When the teacher says, “Class!” and students respond “Yes!,” you have, in effect focused your students’ neo-cortices on what you’re going to say next. In other words, their brain’s executives are ready to take directions from your brain’s executive. That’s wonderful! Your neo-cortex is the CEO of all your kids’ neo-cortices. We call that, Teaching Heaven”
Give “Class Yes” a try! You’ll probably love it!