Create a five minute video application. The administrator introduces and describe her team. Convince us you have a burning passion for Whole Brain Teaching, lofty educational goals, and an ample supply of Beloved Rascals. Email your video to StephanieMeder@WholeBrainTeaching.com. If accepted, Stephanie will contact you to obtain your school's registration information:
- School Level (Beginner or Intermediate)
- Grade Levels
- Number of Students
- Percent free or reduced lunch
- Total number of teachers
- Total number of WBT teachers
At all levels, Beginner to Semi-Divine, the administrator's role is vital, spending at least an hour per week in classrooms demonstrating WBT strategies and agreeing, within two years, to become a WBT Gold Certified instructor. Once a week, the administrator emails ChrisBiffle@WholeBrainTeaching.com an answer to this question: What is next week's plan for improving your school's WBT implementation?
Teachers use WBT strategies to increase student engagement and decrease off-task behaviors. Once a week, all instructors calculate their Student Engagement Average (SEA, see below), scoring students 0 (least engage) to 5 (most engaged).
Measuring Student EngagementClasses and schools change and improve, but at the pace of a glacier. You, and your colleagues, need a way to convince yourself that you’re getting somewhere! To assess engagement, a WBT teacher enters all pupils' names in a spreadsheet. Every week she scores each kid based on how quickly a pupil follows directions (the simplest measure of student engagement). The spreadsheet totals each week's score and calculates the class average. (Secondary educators assess an representative class, neither their best nor worst.)
- 5 points: Student Professor: A model pupil, who consistently, joyfully, follows directions with the greatest possible speed, typically takes months to develop.
- 4 points: Student Leader: Almost always follows directions quickly. Student-Professor-to-be.
- 3 points: Go-Along: A Go-Along often follows directions quickly, frequently imitating the behavior of Student Professors and Student Leaders.
- 2 points: Fence Sitter: A Fence Sitter is wonderful one day and out to lunch the next, when focused, occasionally follows directions ... but not quickly.
- 1 point: Beloved Rascal: A Beloved Rascal almost never follows directions, quickly or otherwise.
- 0 points: Amazer: An Amazer yells, rolls on the floor, trashes classrooms, is amazingly successful at keeping others from learning, a continuous risk to classroom safety, has little clue about what it means to follow directions.
- Newbies: New students should be scored as 2s, until they can be accurately placed.
- Tweeners: When in doubt between two scores, enter the mid-point on your spreadsheet. For example, if in doubt between scoring a student a 3 or 4, enter 3.5..
Increasing EngagementInstead of trying to increase the engagement of all your WBT kids, use your SEA numbers to target students who are easiest to move up ... 4s to 5s and tweeners up one level. Eventually, meld a few 0s, 1s and 2s into your group. Coach three to five students per week, giving them a behavior to polish: following directions quickly, energetically teaching a neighbor, using good manners, responding with lightning speed to Scoreboard points. The only way small group coaching can fail is that you didn't meet with your kids often enough or you set too high a target. Increase coaching frequency and/or lower your targets. Week by week, as SEA climbs, you'll catch dazzling glimpses of Teaching Heaven.
Summing upMeasure student engagement by scoring your kids’ weekly, from 5 to 0 with an online spreadsheet. The spreadsheet totals the scores and divides by the number of kids on your roll; this produces your Student Engagement Average (SEA). Increase student engagement by coaching small groups of pupils, initially your top students and tweeners. Meet with your group frequently, targeting easy to improve behaviors.
Measuring off-task behavior
- In addition to monitoring student engagement, we need to track kids' off-task behavior. We want more actively engaged pupils and fewer resistant learners.
- When WBT principals visit classrooms, they sit in the back and count the number of off-task students. Off-task behavior includes, but is not limited to, creating disruptions, looking around the room, chatting with a neighbor, slouching, making weird noises, sleeping. Once the principal's count is completed, she rolls up her sleeves, goes to the front, and uses our strategies to create compelling lessons that rouse reluctant learners.
- At the end of the week, the principal compares her observations with the Teacher's weekly Student Engagement Average (SEA).
Decreasing off-task behaviorWhole Brain Teaching's three most powerful strategies for decreasing off-task behaviors are the Scoreboard, Super Improvers, and, as mentioned above, coaching small groups of kids identified by weekly SEA.
Measuring a school's efficiency
- Typically, a school's efficiency is measured by yearly test scores ... but there are two obvious problems. First, the scores arrive too late to fix the problems they reveal; information in August about what should have been happening in the previous September is unhelpful. Second, the tests change with each new political administration. About the time your test preps are successful, you're told to prep for a new test. Message to politicians: If you want us to hit a target, hold it still.
- Obviously, a measure of a school's efficiency must be far more frequent than the current yearly evaluations and more stable than each incoming administration's new vision.
- As a solution, a WBT campus' efficiency is measured weekly and is based on unchanging standards, increasing student engagement, and decreasing off-task behavior.
- Every week, all teachers' calculate their Student Engagement Averages (SEA). This data is turned in to the administrator who divides by the number of teachers reporting. This creates the school's engagement average. For example, in Wigglesworth's school, the total of 10 classes' engagement average is 30. Thus, her school's engagement average is 3 (30/10). As before, employ Whole Brain Teaching's three most powerful strategies, the Scoreboard, Super Improvers, and coaching small groups of kids identified by weekly SEA.
- Every week, all WBT Schools, headed by lead teachers or principals, compete in the WBT League. Motivating admins, instructors, and students alike, League standings are published Saturdays on our Facebook page, 80,000 Likes. Your games are big news.
- A school's score is the school score described above, the average of all teachers' weekly SEAs. Email this number weekly to StephanieMeder@WholeBrainTeaching.com and you, and the rest of the nation, will see where you stand.
- In place of test results, federal and state data, forms required by the district, shifting political winds, focus on your WBT League score. One number summarizes the WBT school's educational vitality, the evolving relationship across the entire campus between engaged kids and resistant learners.
- Lift a campus' League score and disruptions decline, teacher morale ascends, and test scores climb (at least in the WBT school within a school!). Improving your standing against other WBT campuses is the rising tide that lifts all boats.