Saturday, April 30, 2011

Love/hate relationship with WBT some days

Okay...most days it's a love relationship, but on the nights I go to bed at 11pm because I am perusing the forums or deciding what aspects of WBT I will implement next...that's when my love for wbt can take a turn...actually the turn for the worst is taken at 5:30 am when my alarm goes off. I suppose I am LUCKY that I am EXCITED enough to be infatuated with teaching and teaching strategies as well as LUCKY enough that my 7 month old even lets me sleep at all. =)

What I determined is that after about 5 weeks of WBT I am ready to change the scoreboard for the month of May. I'm thinking roses and weeds. Not exactly sure what I'll have them say instead of 'oh yea' and "aaaawwww". Any suggestions? Maybe "smells nice" and "pee-u!"?
Right now I carry a happy and sad face around my neck on a necklace with a timer. I gotta say - I'd be lost without this necklace - I use it for hallway behavior, I time the class for the scoreboard, and I even time individuals who take long in the bathroom. I think a sandtimer would be a good idea too. I bet there is even an online sand timer I could project onto our elmo...
I think you guys just witnessed a teacher megan thought path there! That's how I think. =) Now I'm off to google 'sand timer'.

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I had a para professional in my room yesterday. She pulled me aside as kids were packing up to go home and told me that she would never want to teach kindergarten, but if she could teach it the way I teach it she would definitely teach the little ones. She remarked on how much FUN they were having. That's what I LOVE about WBT, is the fun that is built in to the management and structure of the class.
The challenges I'm facing this week include assistants who I adore and I'm so thankful for, but I feel like there are "too many cooks in the kitchen". And the grownups are telling on each OTHER! Yikes. I'll have to implement WBT with them too. :)

Monday, April 25, 2011

WBT with a new student

I take attendance at 8am. I got a phone call from the office at 7:50 a.m. saying I had a new student. I didn't have anything prepared for this kiddo. It was so nice, with my WBT procedures and routines, he caught on to everything SO quickly. He walked into a classroom where the expectations were clear which set him up for success. I can't tell you what a difference this has made. Before using WBT, when I got an unannounced new student, I would be SO stressed. Yesterday I was HAPPY to have another kiddo join my class, especially since he makes 28 which makes it possible for everyone to have a teaching partner during teach/okay However, teach/okay still works with an odd number of kids, as I usually have someone absent, I make a triad, or the kid does talking hand puppets.

By the way, my writing lesson went very well. I LOVE seeing these kids write. I am devastated my school will be going back to half day next year which basically means no writing instruction. But I'll find a way to build it in!
Off to teach now...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

WBT inspired writing lesson

On the WBT forum I discovered some people use Nancy Fitzer to guide their writing instruction. I had never heard of her but I did some quick research. The main component of her writing instruction is kids orally compose a sentence and practice it BEFORE putting pencil to paper. Tomorrow my class will be writing a thank you letter to our chaperones for our fieldtrip last week. We will begin on Monday by doing a shared class letter and tuesday they may choose to copy print from the letter we wrote together OR to use their own ideas to write their own. While coming up with the oral sentences I will have them count their words by hopping one time for each word AND by counting on their finger the amount of words. They will also have to teach their partner the sentence to make sure every kid knows what the sentence is. Looking forward to work tomorrow!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

To be or not to be (...yet)

Last week I found out that there is such a thing as WBT interns. If I wasn't giddy enough about WBT, I find out this juicy piece of news! Within seconds, I emailed WBT founder, Chris Biffle and he tells me to record myself. THe next day I'm talking to our reading coach, trying to figure out about permission to upload videos as well as private video sites I can upload a video to so that Mr. Biffle could view my work without sharing it with the world.
A few days later I am still excited but I have calmed myself down and come to a conclusion. I have only been WBT for ONE month. I am not ready to be an intern. I'd like experience starting WBT at the start of a school year. I'd like to become more of an expert. In the mean time I will blog, surf the WBT website, and hopefully make it to a conference this summer, depending on dates and locations. I will be teaching summer school either 4 or 8 weeks so I will be very busy! One of the MANY things my dad has taught me is PATIENCE. If I were to rush into being a WBT intern I may end up being stressed rather than enjoying it as much as I know I will in a year. Looking forward to ending this school year and studying all summer long to prepare for an entire school year of WBT.

WBT warning:

WBT side effects: Loss of sleep from giddyness, extra smiling from you and students, shock and awe among colleagues and parents, higher test scores, curious glances, jealousy among colleagues, your OWN shock and awe as your students you previously thought were terrors turn into little learning machines and possible more!

To relieve these symptoms: Spread the word!! Tell others about WBT. BEGIN using WBT if you haven't done so. Massage your cheeks from all that smiling. =)

Friday, April 22, 2011

First days using WBT

4/ 2/ 11

Week 1: Implemented class/yes and the scoreboard. For this week they won the scoreboard. I made sure of it. At the end of each day we count the tally marks - whichever has the most then gets a star. At the end of the week, whichever has more stars, the happy or sad face, wins. This week they "won" a movie. I actually was going to show it to them anyway, as it was about plants, but when time came for me to count the stars and they won I told them that was their prize. It worked. =)


Week 2 Have implemented: Class/Yes, scoreboard, rules 1 – 5, hands & eyes

Seems like it is all working. Sometimes/often I have to say “class” a few times before getting their full attention. Haven’t done “mirror” yet, but I am working on teaching with my hands more and having them copy me. Just haven’t added in the word “mirror”. Same with Teach/Okay. I have set them up with assigned seats on the carpets and partners. They can turn to their partner, talk and turn back when I say class.

Difficulties: Most kids have bought in; just 2 – 5 kids who don’t follow all of the directions. Also, difficult to remember to review the rules. I like how it is made into a quick chant though, it makes reviewing quick and easy. I have done a lot of modeling about smart and foolish. Timer works OKAY but they haven’t beat a record in a long time. Usually because of one kid. Maybe I can tell the class if they beat a record they’ll get TWO points or if A*** gets to his seat he can earn two points for the class, but they still get one if Alex doesn’t make it and everyone else does.


Week 3 - Began mirror and teach/okay this week. Both are going well. I have added the words "mirror done" and use the sign language for all done. I did this because I continued to have kids mirroring me when it was over. Teach/okay is going well. The talking puppets to themselves when they don't have a partner is a little tricky so I also allow them to join a group. We have only really done it for one day but I already see how powerful it is. We discussed how to be a great listener and a great speaker.

Other things I have done on my own this week that's WBT inspired: Work Quiet - when kids begin independent work I say "Work Quiet" and they say "work quiet" and it keeps the volume level down a lot lower. I also introduced the "A team". Three students whose name begin with A have a tough time following directions quickly so they can't contribute to sad face points but they can double our happy face points.


Week 4: Haven't implemented anything new. Just perfecting rules, class/yes, mirror, teach/okay

I have received compliments from paraprofessionals that work in my room as well as an admin who was observing. They DID lose the scoreboard last week so they got homework over the weekend which they never get. We also went on a fieldtrip this week. The parents were amazed at how the kids all responded when I said class. I have started LOOKING into some of the more academic aspects of WBT. With such a challenging class I really wanted to dive into classroom management but now that we're settling down a bit I have checked into Biffytoons to teach my kids some extra HFW. I probably won't teach them to all of my kids, just my higher level readers - at least at first as a 'test'. OR...I may not even use them at all this year, with only X amount of weeks left (I should be counting down but I'm not!) and then I can really take time over the summer to read over more than just the basics.

Here are the links to all WBT methods mentioned in this post: This links to WBT first steps: Mirror, hands and eyes, class/yes, scoreboard, teach/okay and switch and class rules. When searching the site go to downloads. you must be a member(which is free) to download ebooks but if you go to downloads you can download more info about each step. I have enjoyed SLOWLY implementing different parts of WBT into my day. I look forward to watching my class continue to grow. My only regret is I didn't find WBT sooner!

Back tracking

A few days before spring break I had one of my worst teaching days ever. I had the kids put their heads down multiple times, I lectured them non stop. I honestly don't remember what EXACTLY was so horrible, but I do remember coming home, hugging my husband, and breaking down into tears! I thought it was supposed to be easier than this. The next morning, while feeding my baby before work, I googled "kindergarten classroom management" and found a video on youtube. This teacher had the kids reciting rules and had everyone engaged. I was hooked! At the time I didn't really spend any time looking through information that went with the video. A few days later during spring break I watched the video again and realized it is from Long story short, I spent a good chunk of my time on this website during the break and implemented some great strategies when I came back. I have done some journaling over the past few weeks as I've implemented WBT a few steps at a time. I will be back later to post them. I just can't believe how HAPPY I am, EVEN with my group of craaaaazy boys! =)