One of the sure fire-methods to find out if my students truly have grasps the material I have presented is the “Teach-Okay” method. As my students are repeating material that I present, I am able to quickly praise them for understanding the material. On the other hand, I can just as quickly correct any confusion that may have occurred during my presentation. Also, teaching in short segments and having students in turn teach, not only keeps me from talking too much but keeps them actively engaged in the lesson. As stated in Chris Biffle’s book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids, we must remember the Whole Brain Teaching rule, “The more we talk, the more students we lose.”
The best feeling that I have had has come at the end of a lesson and doing a “teach-okay” moment for review before the QT, Quick Test, and having the students almost flawlessly review the day’s lesson with each other. It is also a great feeling to have a student say at the end of a lesson, “I will never forget this.”
Like anything, this too takes practice. There have been times I have told my students to tell each other the concept and have stood back to watch nothing happen. Then when I give my students that look, you know the one that we give when we are thinking, “Why aren’t you doing what I told you to do?” for them to remind me that I didn’t say “teach.”
Coach B also discusses in his book, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids, how Mrs. Maestra uses the Teach-Okay method for those reluctant students. For those students who have not completely bought in, who are tired, or who just don’t feel like it, just like Mrs. Maestra, I will tell my students just act like Mrs. Kluck for those few minutes. If that doesn’t work the scoreboard can also be a GREAT motivator, but that is another blog altogether.
I was watching my students on the playground the other day and one girl was trying to teach the other girls a dance. I heard her say, “Girls” for them to reply, “Yes.” Then she said, “Hands and Eyes,” which they repeated. Then I heard, “Mirror, Words.” Next, she showed them a few dance moves and said, “Using big gestures teach your partner the dance I just showed you.” At that moment, I knew I had made a difference in the life of a child.
So, turn to your neighbor and tell them, “Until next time, Mrs. Kluck will continue to teach each child they way she would want her own child taught.” Teach——Okay.