Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tried it Tuesday - Class/Yes

One of the many things that I love about teaching is that if something isn't working with your students, you can change it. Even though it is 4th quarter, and our state testing is next week, there were things in my classroom that just weren't working any more. I needed to make changes. I was worried new procedures would throw my kids off, but if the new procedures work, then...SUCCESS!

I'm excited to link up for Tried it Tuesday and share my experience dipping my toes into Whole Brain Teaching (WBT). I heard about WBT a year or two ago and watched some YouTube videos of teachers using it. At that time I didn't buy into it. It seemed gimmicky and the students seemed robotic. I have a friend who teaches at a different school and she had mentioned that she had been using some of the techniques with her 5th graders and so I figured I'd look into it some more. Watching the videos with fresh eyes I realized that not only could I use it to get the students attention and focus quickly and immediately, but it could be fun too!

The first technique of WBT is "Class Yes". This is a management technique for getting student attention and focus. It's super duper simple, but has room for creativity. Here's what I tried in class first thing yesterday morning.

Me: We are going to try something new this week. When I say "class," you say "yes." Let's try it. Class.

Class: Yes.

Me: Great! Now we are going to add a bit more to it. When I say class you also need to turn and face me, and have your hands clasped in front of you. Let's try it. Class.

Class: Yes.

Me: Wonderful. {Draws scoreboard -T-chart with a :) and a :/ - and gives a tally on the happy side} And one more thing, you need to say "yes" the same way that I say "class". {Says "class" in a high pitched voice.}

Class: Yes {in a high pitched voice, students facing me}.

Me: {Put another tally on the scoreboard}

We practiced a few times and the class got the hang of it. During the morning as I would say "class" the students did get some tallies in the :/ side of the scoreboard. That's ok. I want 100% of the students attention. If they got a frownie, I immediately tried Class-Yes again and they had a chance to get the smilie, which they usually did.

Throughout the day I threw different variations of class at them...
* using a deep voice
* robot voice
* saying class two or three times
* classity-class (yessity-yes)
* class-a-doodle-doo (yes-a-doodle-do)
* class-a-roni (yes-a-roni)
* best class (best yes)
* sing-song voice
* and more!

Their favorite was class-a-roni! The crazy thing was, we got through the day and accomplished so much! I wasn't painfully waiting and wasting precious time for 100% of my students when I used my old quiet signal, I had immediate attention. It took a second to put a tally on the scoreboard and we were right into the lesson. The only hiccup we had was when I needed to interrupt my students who were tangled up in scissors and glue and didn't have time to quickly clasp their hands together. I learned and gave them a count down before saying "class."

Today went much the same as yesterday! The students had a blast mimicking my voice and there was little/no wasted instructional time! Plus, my students earn team points and class multipliers, so at the end of the day we subtract the frownies from the smilies and use that for the class multiplier.

I'm hoping that I can keep Class-Yes fresh for my class and that the novelty doesn't wear off. There are other excellent techniques for WBT, but I'm not yet ready to try them out.

So, who out there is a Whole-Brain teacher? I'd love your tips and advice! If you are interested in trying it out for yourself there are oodles of videos to get you started. Easy-peasy!


  1. We have a few teachers that do it and the kids really respond to it. Personally I think that anything the can engage the kids and keep them coming back is great. Sure, it is a little Pavlovian-Dog like, but then again aren't we all.
    Add in that you're making it reward based---I don't think you can go wrong.

    thanks for sharing
    Digital: Divide & Conquer

  2. Thanks Matt! We actually had a teacher that used a dog clicker with her class...talk about taking Pavlov literally!

  3. Love it- going to try it! I just found your blog through the tried it Tuesday linky party and am your latest follower :)

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  4. I just found your blog from the Bloggers by state linky at 5th in the Middle. I'm your newest follower. I've used variations on Class-Yes all year. I can't even keep up with the scoreboard, its just not portable enough for me. So I've purely done class yes this year and the WBT class rules. It's been great! Right now our signal is I say "Stop" students say "Collaborate and Listen" (with attitude of course). Read that on a blog somewhere, told my husband about it, and he insisted I try it. We LOVE it. Good luck!

  5. I have never tried WBT but I keep coming across bloggers who LOVE it! I have used a similar method for getting students' attention and it is really effective. When I coached cheerleading, we always had a phrase that I would say and then they would answer something. My favorite was when I said, "All together now!" and they would respond, "Rump Roast!" So random (but effective!). Thank you so much for linking up:)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  6. WBT is my goal to learn about this summer- thanks for the quick and easy way to start somewhere!

    *Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge*

  7. I used this at the beginning of the year when we did more lecture-type things. Class/yes, teach/OK, half switch, hands+eyes, follow directions quickly, mighty yeah/groan. Lot of fun, and works well!

  8. I really like this idea. I have a very chatty class and a lot of time is used waiting for some students. This would be a great way to get quick attention. Thanks for sharing.

    Charlene/Diamond Mom

  9. Hi! I am a new follower and Arizona blogger (Peoria.) I teach 4th grade.
    Confessions of a Teaching Junkie

  10. I haven't used WBT but the more I read about it the more I want to try it. I'm a new follower.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching


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