menu   Home About Me Contact Me  

Whole Brain Teaching & the Marine Corps

Since we have today off due to Veterans Day (thanks to all veterans and their families for their sacrifices), I figured now would be a good time to update everyone on how Whole Brain Teaching has been going in my classroom.  You might wonder how that ties into the Marine Corps, but you'll see in a minute!

First let me say that I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching.  Oh I wish I could take a video of my class and show you guys the stuff we're learning.  It's just hard to describe it using words only and no video.  So here's some things that I've really liked so far:

1.  Teaching vocabulary - WBT is fabulous for teaching vocabulary.  The kids really remember the definitions if you add the gestures and I love the "for example" part at the end!  I may not be able to take a video of my classroom, but I do have 3 kids at home that I can bribe into being my test subjects!  Here's a video showing a condensed version of teaching vocabulary words.

When I teach vocab words, I usually say the definition first (without them doing the gestures or saying anything) 2-3 times.  Then I do "mirror" and usually remind my students that mirrors don't talk 2-3 times.  Then I do "mirror words" 2-3 times.  We also talk about the "for example" part first and decide what example would be something we will all remember.  When I taught mammals to my class, we used bats as our for example.  But when I asked my kids, they decided that giraffe was the best example.   

I also just attended this reading differentiation workshop last week.  They talked about not only giving examples but discussing non-examples.  That's something I'm going to add into my teaching.  After we discuss the words and learn the gestures, I'm going to give an example/non-example and they can show me with a thumbs up or down (right in front of their chest, not waving their hands around) whether they think it's an example or a non-example.

2.  Class-Yes - This is a great attention getter.  Basically, you say class and they respond with yes in the same intention you used.  The key is to mix it up.  Sometimes say "class, class" or use a funny voice.  My favorite is to say "classity, class" and they respond with "yessity, yes".  It's amazing how fast it gets everyone's attention.

3.  Bodies and Chairs - My most favorite part of WBT is the procedures.  I absolutely LOVE that my whole class responds with their voices and bodies when I give them a simple phrase or even just one word.  It's seriously AMAZING.  I feel like a magician.  I say "bodies and chairs" and they respond with "bodies and chairs" three times while they stand up, push their chair in, and stand behind their desk.  Amazing!  We usually go to the carpet so I say "carpet" and they walk to the carpet while saying "carpet" 3 times.  This can also be used when I want them to go to their seats or line up.  Even my slower students who aren't always up to speed get it because everyone else is saying it so many times.  

Now here comes the Marine Corps connection.  As I was telling my husband and other Marines about Whole Brain Teaching, they ALL said the same thing.  That's the same thing Drill Instructors do to command whole platoons.  It got me thinking, and they're right.  My Drill Instructors (I was a Marine for almost 10 years) commanded the whole platoon through using WBT (albeit not a very nice version).

We've been trying to think of all the things we could remember our Drill Instructors would say and the platoon would respond in unison while doing a movement.

They would say:

Ears - and the platoon would say "open"
Eyeballs - And the platoon would say "click" while turning to look at the Drill Instructors
Platoon halt (when marching) - And the platoon would say "step freeze" 

I've tried to find a good video of boot camp to show you guys, but I think it might scare away a lot of followers!  LOL.  So I'll just let you imagine it!

So basically my point is, I love the Whole Brain Teaching.  I'm excited to do more and more.  I think it helps keep the students more engaged.  And I feel like I'm doing less talking than I was before.  All pluses for me!

I have also been busy making some new stuff for my students.

If you're looking for some Thanksgiving Math Centers, I made these differentiated centers that are Common Core Aligned.

And a sweet follower asked me to make a game focusing on Short E and Long E (ee) patterns.  So I made this Long E Sweets game.

And speaking of the Marine Corps in this post, I HAVE to give a shout out to one of my oldest Marine Corps friends.  He's married to this super creative lady who makes the coolest stuff for her cute shop, The Summery Umbrella.

She has these really great signs that would be PERFECT in my house.  I've been eyeing this one.

There's a lot of her signs that would make some really nice wedding gifts.  Like this sign.

She also has a cute blog that you can follow {here} and a Facebook page {here} so you don't miss out on anything.


  1. I am so interested in doing whole brain teaching with my 3rd and 4th grade students. I am a special education teacher as well, so hearing that you are having success in your classroom is motivating me to want to start trying it. I'm thinking I might try to start after our week long vacation for thanksgiving. Where did you learn about the different techniques? Any pointers?

    Ps. very interesting about the marine connection!

    1. If you google Whole Brain Teaching, especially on YouTube, or go to their website, you'll find a lot of videos. Everything on the Whole Brain Teaching website is free so that's extra nice. I was a little skeptical about some of it since my class is special ed students, but its' working really. I haven't been as successful with the Class-Teach part though. That does seem a lot harder for my students since many are working with language difficulties, memory issues, and processing delays.

  2. I have been using Whole Brain Teaching for 4 years now and I LOVE it! I have had parents tell me the call response reminded them of the military! Your video was great.
    Finally in First

    1. I was worried that people would think I was crazy for saying it was similar to Marine Corps Drill Instructors. I'm glad to know that others have noticed the same thing!

  3. Thank you for the shout out!

    Love your blog. :)

    LZ Cathcart

    1. No problem!!! I told Mike I would do it but didn't realize it'd take me so long!

  4. I'm sure kids love this system, as well. They have fun responding correctly and it is easy for them to know when they are following directions. Thanks for sharing this. Renee

    1. It really has helped my students who have difficult listening and following directions due to processing delays and attention issues. Since the other students are all saying it so many times, it gives them extra time to complete the instruction and more reinforcement of what they should be doing.

  5. Thanks for sharing the video. I am thinking that I will look into WBT over our break. I've been meaning to for awhile and this is just another nudge.
    Grade School Giggles

  6. Thanks for sharing the WBT video. We are very interested in this also. We are your newest followers!

  7. أفضل طريقة لتجنب الأعراض التي يمكن أن يسببها عث الغبار هي الحفاظ على منزلك خاليًا من الغبار. يمكن القيام بذلك عن طريق التنظيف المنتظم للفراغ وبواسطة فراش هيبوالرجيني يتم غسله بشكل متكرر. لا يعد طرح السجاد وتنظيف الأرضية حول الأثاث مشكلة.
    شركة نقل عفش
    شركة نقل عفش من الرياض الى قطر
    شركة نقل اثاث من الرياض الى قطر
    شركة نقل عفش بالخبر