whole brain post #1: rules, and babies

I love Whole Brain Teaching. I can’t stress enough how it makes the day more fun for me and that’s what important, right? I am going to do a series of posts this week about my journey with wbt and how I incorporate it daily. I will be working on certification this year and leading a PLC at school.
I started using a few strategies here and there in my last year of 4th grade. However, I really got down and dirty last year, which was my first year in second.
Today’s post is all about the 5 rules.
It can seem extremely overwhelming in the beginning. I remember nights when Drew wouldn’t sleep and we’d watch Whole Brain power teachers on YouTube so I could learn how to teach it! I start every first day of school {ok, the past two years, but forever after this too!} teaching my 5 simple rules. They really get a kick out of rule 5! Each rules has a gesture. We practice them every single morning for the first 2 weeks. After that, if someone breaks a rule, say gets up without raising their hand, I just stop mid-whatever and say “Rule Number 3”, the class chimes in “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.” and gives the stink eye!
I think what makes it work so well for me is the active participation. I used to make the rules with the kids on the first day. We’d have long discussions about it, make lists, defend choices. But, in the end, we always had the same rules I had in mind. Who was I kidding?!
Now, I also used the red, green, and yellow cards too. I am moving back to the clip chart this year for two reasons. At the end of this past year, we added a purple card that you could move UP to beyond green. I strongly feel those kids that try to be all they can be in class deserve some recognition. and Two, I made an adorable clip chart then uploaded it to Vistaprint. It’s just too cute not to use! You can download it below. I ordered it as a small banner. I will use magnets rather than clothespins though. 25 clothespins simply do not fit on Ready to Learn each morning!

Clip Chart
Now, how to use both the clip chart AND wbt? It’s simple really. With the clip chart, the rules can be whatever you like! If they “clip down” they will get a practice card. More on those in tomorrow’s post! 
oh yea, and the babies! Our quail we hatched in May were released at the park today! They are so big! I wanted to share a few moments of the release. It was a huge deal lemme tell ya. There were 6 people there! 4 were my kids and me!
these are the quail that were the size of a quarter! remember!
the water fountain shoots a tad bit far. They had a blast!


  1. So glad you're doing this series...I'll be following! I'm definitely incorporating WBT into my classroom, I use the clipchart, and I'm loving the monster theme! I think that officially means I'm in love with this post. :)

    Teaching Maddeness

  2. I started using some of the components of WBT in my class towards the end of last year. My class responded well to it. My problem is that I don't love the rules. I am also thinking of having "rights" in my class instead of the rules that the kids will recite every day. I'm hoping to be able to incorporate that instead of the WBT rules.

    Tales from a Schoolyard

  3. I can see where you are coming from Andrea. Some people aren't rules people! It's very adaptable. That's why I like wbt

  4. I love what I've learned about WBT so far! Your packet of the 5 rules looks awesome. Just what I need to start off with this next year!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  5. I love that you are doing this! I began to incorporate a little WBT last year and the kids loved it. I'm thinking of really bringing it home this year with the rules :)

  6. I am so happy you are posting about WBT. I just learned about it at the end of the school year while on maternity leave. It looks awesome but I (nor anyone that I know) knows anything about it. I am following closely! Are there any books or materials I can buy to help me learn more or something that you'd recommend?

    A Passion For Primary

  7. Rene-the website is the best place to start. Tons of free resources!

  8. I love WBT, but always wished I could find the rules in a cute form. If only they were western instead of monsters. Great work!

  9. I would love to order the banner from Vista Print too. Is it a design that they have or I could get? Seems like it would be much more durable than laminated paper.


  10. Jessica-I am making a few sets others have requested. Just let me know! I am also going a special giveaway next week.
    Amy- just upload the PDF to vistaprint and use the PDF as the picture. I actually got two on one banner and gave one to a teammate. The vinyl is great! Let me know if you need help!

  11. Rachel, I'm glad you are doing this blog series on wbt. I had never heard of it and it sounds great. I think my second graders would love it. Our school is implementing the Stop & Think program; and we have been stressed for it to work the same rules and behavior consequences/ interventions need to be taught consistently across grade levels and if possible building wide. So, One question, our school has devised 7 rules that all classrooms must use. Is the program working correctly contingent on these five set rules or can it be done with the rules that are already established in our school?

  12. Jamie-I honestly think you can use your own rules. In my opinion, wbt is just good management. Rather than these 5 rules, use your 7 school-wide ones. I commend your school's efforts. I wish mine could all be on board for anything consistent!

  13. LOVE your clipchart! I used a similar one last year, but now it's destroyed. I would love to use your creation and upload it to VistaPrint to make my own durable banner. I have a favor to ask of you: Would you be willing to switch the colors between Great Job and Teacher Choice, and between Good Day and Think About It? That way, it resembles a stoplight when the students have to clip down and they like the prettier/bolder colors when they clip up. If I'm asking too much, I understand:)


  14. I LOVE the Clip Chart system! :0) I've nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Stop by my blog to pick it up!

    Mrs. Heeren's Happenings

  15. Would LOVE to download your chart, but you have to be a member of Scribd before they let you do it. Is there another way? I would make my own, but know it wouldn't be as cute. Thanks for the great ideas. My 3rd graders are loving WBT!

    1. Just send me an email and ill send it your way


notes to the teacher

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