Chris Biffle

Chris Biffle

This is a recording from April 22, 2010 Whole Brain Teaching Webcast of Got Challenging Kids? Program #1. During this presentation Chris Biffle, and Chris Reckstad introduce the basic practices of Whole Brain Teaching to educators all around the world.

So, you dream of being a Whole Brain Trainer?  We’ve supplied a free ebook, “The Whole Brain Teachers Training Manual” to make your dreams come true!

You’ll receive step by step scripts to guide eager teachers through the Big Seven:

  • Class-Yes
  • Five Classroom Rules
  • The Scoreboard
  • Teach-Okay
  • Hands and Eyes
  • Mirror
  • Switch!

As long as you don’t charge anything for your services or our materials, practice as a trainer with groups of your colleagues.

Be sure to direct your audience to this website, wholebrainteaching.com.   Three menus above provide an excellent overview of our entire system.

  • First Steps  (the Big Seven)
  • Levels  (the Six Scoreboard Levels)
  • Goodies  (all our reading, math, state standards materials)

When you think you’re ready for the big time and want to travel with Whole Brain Teaching pros across the country, contact Chris Biffle.  He’ll be delighted to hear from you, especially if you’ve been posting lots of notes on the forum at this site about your experiences and insights.

“Mind Soccer,” inspired by Fred Jones’ reward system, is Whole Brain Teaching’s hilarious review anything game.  The contest, typically between boys and girls, can be adapted to any age group, any subject, any length of time.  “Mind Soccer” is the highly motivating reward we suggest for use with the Scoreboard.  Imagine kids working as hard as they can all day, even all week, for the privilege of reviewing course material!

Click on “Videos” above, to see Chris Rekstad’s video showing his 4th grade class playing “Mind Soccer.”  Download the ebook, by clicking on “Free Downloads.”

Our Power Pix will vastly simplify teaching state standards.  Each standard is accompanied by a picture, a gesture, a definition and a set of simple tests.  Currently, “Kindergarten Power Pix” is available as a free download.

“Kindergarten Power Pix” present individual pictures, gestures, definitions and teaching suggestions for 35 language arts concepts and 38 math concepts commonly taught in kindergarten.  The Power Pix are ideally suited to give whole brain instruction (seeing, saying, hearing, doing) to new learners in state standards.  The concepts are:

Language Arts

author, black, blue, capital letter, characters, colors, end mark, exclamation mark, fiction, front cover, gray, green, illustrator, letters, lowercase alphabet, nonfiction, orange, period, purple, question mark, red, rhyming words, sentence, setting, sorting, spaces, syllables, table of contents, title, title page, uppercase alphabet, vowels, yellow, white, word

Math

counting 1 to 5, counting 1 to 10, addition, big hand on a clock, calendar, circle, clock, cone, cube, cylinder, equal numbers, equals sign, estimate, evening, Friday, less than , little hand on a clock, minus sign, Monday, more than, morning, noon, plus sign, pointer counting, rectangle, Saturday, sorting, sphere, square, subtraction, Sunday, Thursday, today, tomorrow, triangle, Tuesday, Wednesday, yesterday

Click on “Free Downloads” above ... and be patient when downloading “Kindergarten Power Pix.”  It’s a massive program!

Here are some simple ways to turn six of the most common classroom procedures into entertaining, highly efficient routines.

  1. Lining Up:  When you want your students to line up, say, “lines!”  They say, “lines, lines, lines,” and clapping and cheering, they line up.  You “time” them by counting out a rhythmic cadence, (1, 2, 3, 4, ...)   When your class is in line, they put their hands up (or, if you wish, behind their back).  If they have lined up quickly, and/or broken a class time record for lining up, the class earns a positive mark on the Scoreboard.
  2. Sitting Down:  Follow a similar procedure for sitting down.  You say “seats!”  Your students say “seats, seats, seats” and clapping and cheering, they sit down.  You “time” them with a rhythmic count.  When your class is seated, it’s hands up, or folded, as you wish.  Sitting down quickly, or breaking their class record for sitting down, earns them a positive mark on the Scoreboard.
  3. Opening Books:   If you want your class to open to page 34 of their science book, you say, “34, science book.”  Your class says “34, science book” three times.  Follow the same timing and reward procedure as above.
  4. Handing in Papers:  You say, “papers in!”  Your class says “Papers in!” three times.  Everyone cheers and claps.  The papers are handed in to one person who stacks them neatly on your table.  Follow the same timing and reward procedure as above.
  5. Handing Out Papers:  You say, “papers out!” and your students say “papers out!” three times.  You give a student a stack of papers.  That student splits the stack to two other students, who split the stack to other students and so forth.  No one leaves their seat (yet).  If a student has extra papers, she slowly waggles the papers over her head.  If a student doesn’t have a paper, he goes quickly to get one from the paper waggler.  All extra papers are handed back in to one student who puts them in a neat stack on your desk.  Students cheer and clap, encouraging each other.  Follow the same timing and reward procedure as above.
    If the cheering and clapping is too much for you, or neighboring teachers, have students do a “quiet riot” by whisper cheering and patting one finger against another.
    Great Hint:  Practice these procedures several times a day, when you aren’t actually involved in lining up, sitting down, opening books, or distributing papers.
  6. Sharpening pencils:  Pencil sharpeners are wonderful machines for creating chaos in the classroom.  Students distract each other on the way to the pencil sharpener, at the pencil sharpener and on the way back.  Here is a simple solution
    1. Buy an electric pencil sharpener; put 100 sharpened pencils in a coffee can.
    2. Put a red sheet of paper on one side of the can, a green sheet of paper on the other side.
    3. When the green side faces the class, any student can get up, trade their pencil with a sharpened pencil and sit down.  When the red side faces the class, no one can leave their seat to trade a pencil.  If students don’t have a pencil to trade, they can get a sharpened pencil anyway.

 

A WBT classroom is a constantly rewarding, no failure environment.  Rewards without threats of failure are good for brains!

When Tina does something well, anything, answers a question, turns in great work, lines up with wonderful speed, say, “Give Tina a 10 finger woo!”  Students point their fingers at Tina and say, “Woo!”  When Marcus does something even grander, give him a 10 finger rolling woo.  Students wiggle 10 fingers at him and roll their hands at the same time, saying “woo!”  Other group recognitions of outstanding individual behavior can be invented.

When Timmy doesn’t know the answer to a question, or answers incorrectly, quickly say, “Tell Timmy ‘it’s cool!”  Your class says, “it’s cool!”  Tim isn’t embarrassed; you quickly supply the right answer.  Perhaps best of all, when you make a mistake, your class will give you a merry, and forgiving, “it’s cool!”

One of our first ebooks, “The Crazy Professor Reading Game” has also been one of our most popular.  Used by thousands of K-12 teachers across the country, the Crazy Professor is designed to deepen students’ reading comprehension of both fiction and nonfiction. 

In a gamelike format, your kids learn to paraphrase, translate ideas into gestures, skim read for key ideas, connect their reading to personal experiences, and much more! 

For a lively introduction to the wonders of the Crazy Professor, see Chris Rekstad’s video under “Videos” above; then download the ebook by clicking on “Free Downloads.”

Typically, kindergartners learn 20 to 25 sight words during the year.  Biffytoons, using full color cartoons that illustrate each sight word with a gesture, make it possible for new readers to learn 48 sight words ... while they’re having a blast!

Put the Biffytoons cartoon on your word wall; teach your class the gesture pictured on the cartoon; when everyone has mastered the word and gesture, replace the cartoon with the word itself.  This is whole brain learning at its finest.  Children are involved in lessons that involve seeing, saying, hearing and doing (making gestures).

As a special bonus, “Biffytoons” contains 48 mini-cartoons so students can take the entire sight word program home to study with their parents or older siblings.

Biffytoons words are arranged in three sets (though they can be taught in any order).

Set 1: the, to, and, he, a, I, you, it, of, in, was, said, his, that, she, for, on Set 2: they, but, had, at, him, with, up, see, all, look, is, her, there, some, word, out Set 3:  as, be, each, have, g, we, am, then, little, down, do, can, could, when, did, what

To examine the free ebook, click on the “Free Downloads” menu above.

Page 2 of 6