“Please turn in your classroom discipline plans by Friday.” How often as a teacher have we heard this and dreaded the chore of putting in writing what we actually do in our classrooms? This generally brings anxiety because teachers tend to have a complicated system, with charts, clothespins, and marbles, that makes sense in their heads, but hard to put down on paper. Well, think about it. If it is hard for you to write each detail, then how do you expect your students to understand it? The acronym KISS comes to mind. The acronym WBT also comes to mind. In this situation, WBT = KISS.
Whole Brain Teaching focuses on five rules: 1) Follow directions quickly, 2) Raise your hand for permission to speak, 3) Raise your hand for permission to leave you seat, 4) Make smart choice, and 5) Keep your dear teacher happy. Each has its own power within the classroom, but each also has its challenges. Rule 4 – Make smart choice – is a rule that carries a lot of power in the classroom. If I can get my students to understand what is meant by the term “smart choice” then it will be easy for them to follow the other four rules. Is it a smart choice not to follow directions? Is it a smart choice to speak or leave your seat without permission? Is it a smart choice to not keep your dear teacher happy? Making smart choices for 4th graders is difficult, but giving them plenty of opportunity to practice at a young age will help them make choices as they enter their teenage years , and will follow them to their adulthood. Making smart choices is a life skill.
A smooth running classroom greatly depends on a well-managed classroom. Using the five basic Whole Brain Teaching rules is a smart choice. Now is the time to not only kiss those bad choices goodbye, but also kiss those old behavior plans farewell.