Teacher Heaven is where I found myself this week. Between a field trip and conferences, Teacher Heaven was the last place I thought would visit! I named today’s post “Potpourri Week” as an homage to the Jeopardy game show. You know that category they sometimes put on the board when they’re not sure what to call it? That was this past week for me. It was such an unusual week that I don’t have any one “big idea” to share…just a few little insights all jumbled up together. So I thought “potpourri” was an appropriate title. Are you a Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune kind of person? I’m definitely all about the Jeopardy. You can tell a lot about a person by which game show they prefer. Just for laughs (because I love to laugh) here’s a video clip about that very topic from one of my favorite comedians, Tim Hawkins.
I Lose My Security Blanket
Why was this week unusual? Well, for starters we went on our first field trip. That was Monday. On Tuesday, I was gone for the first time – how would a sub handle being in a Whole Brain Teaching classroom? Wednesday was mostly normal…if you can call any day you return from being absent normal. Thursday was parent-teacher conferences, which meant no school for the kids. Friday was a day off for everyone, teachers and students alike, as we celebrate a popular fair day in our county. See what I mean? I dearly love my routines, so I was a little nervous about surviving a week where my routines (i.e., security blanket!) were completely blown to smithereens. Fortunately, it was the exact opposite. It was Teacher Heaven.
This intrepid Reflective Educator did not let the lack of routines deter her from engaging in her weekly ruminations. Nope. There’s always a lesson (or two) to be learned, even from a not-so-normal week.
- Teacher Heaven…On the Go! Don’t limit yourself to using the Whole Brain Teaching strategies only in the classroom. I did Mirror-Words, Hands and Eyes, Class-Yes and Teach-Okay right there outside on the sidewalk during our field trip. It was great! I especially loved having a portable Scoreboard on my phone. Smilies and Frownies were dispensed as needed, without having to wait until we returned to the classroom. That might account for all the compliments I received on such a well-behaved class. 🙂
- Develop Student Leaders. When you have to be gone from the classroom, it helps to have established some responsible student leaders. These students can assist any sub in learning and using the Whole Brain Teaching routines that form the foundation of our class. I also used a Quick Reference Sheet developed specifically for substitutes that I received from Nancy Stoltenberg, Director of Certification for Whole Brain Teaching.
- Happy Kids = Happy Parents. We had our first round of parent-teacher conferences to end the week, and it couldn’t have gone better! I was curious as to how the parents would react to my use of Whole Brain Teaching in the classroom. It’s very different from anything we would have experienced during our own elementary years. Bottom line – they loved it! I had several parents hug me with tears in their eyes because their child enjoyed school, some for the first time ever. One mom could even make all the air punctuation sounds because her son had taught it to her! Sounds like Whole Brain Teaching leads to not only Teacher Heaven, but also Parent Heaven!