The Beautiful Masterpiece of Learning

The book talk assignment for Chapter 4 of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle was to imagine that next year was complete and that I had not only charted the behaviors of my students, but also my own behaviors.  Then I was to reflect on what I learned from charting both the students and my behaviors.  I have to admit that reflecting and charting my own behaviors was not something that I had ever done before and was a little afraid to tackle.  We do not always like what we see when we look in a mirror, but I guess it is what we do with it is what counts in the end.  The book gives categories and pointers on tracking these behaviors. To find out more about this, pick up a copy of Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids at


If a picture is worth a thousand words, then these charts are should be a best-selling novel.   As good of memory as I may have, nothing can compare to writing down data and analyzing it.  When I sit back at the end of the day, there is no denying what is in black and white.  If I was an artist, I could keep adding details until my masterpiece was perfect, but data does not always present itself in a masterpiece format.  

Having taught special needs students for many years and now having them in my general education classroom, I have tracked behaviors of students in so many ways and formats that I could not count them all.  However, it was not until I started tracking my own behaviors that I realized that maybe, just maybe, it was not all the students behavior that was the problem, but sometimes it is just my own.  As much as I want a community atmosphere in my classrooms, I also have to keep in mind that I am the one who is really in charge.  I alone can make my day a really good one or a really bad one.  I have blamed my bad days on student X,Y, or Z, but in hind sight, it is me and how I react to those students that determines my kind of day.  Charting different behaviors that I did or did not exhibit during the day was a true eye-opener to my mood when I got home each day.  My own children were not in my classroom so I vow to take a good, long, hard look at ME at the end of the day and be happy or be mad at ME, not my students, not my children, and not my husband.

So, after looking back, I guess I am somewhat of an artist.  I can add a few little details to my day or change a few little details in my day, so that when the bell rings at 3:15, I can step back and see the beautiful masterpiece of learning that I created that day.


Note: I am not changing what I wrote, but if you are using this post as a spring board as to what to do for your own reflection, please use it as what not to do.  It was not specific enough.  I guess, not using this strategy before, I was thinking I would just reflecting on my overall behaviors for the day.  Keep in mind that you are not alone at going at this from the hip.  Once we have done something once, it is always easier to make a reflection.   Remember that when you make your own reflection, that the people reading and critiquing it have been doing this for several years.  So be as specific as you can.  Replay a scenario in your mind and note your behaviors and those of your students.  Good luck and I hope my misfortune turns into your fortune.  Please let me know how your reflection goes.


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