How to Use Wholebrain Classroom Rules

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Some of the best classroom rules I have seen have come from the Whole Brain Teaching book by Chris Biffle. Teaching the rules to students is easy. There are motions and movement to go with each rule and gets the students involved with their whole brains. They are using their movement as well as saying the rules. I have used posters with icon representations for each rule. The website www.wholebrainteaching.com has many materials available for free.

To teach the rules, I will say the rule and have the entire class copy the motions and say the rules with me. I will begin will Rule 1.

 

Rule 1 is “Follow directions quickly.” I use a finger walking motion to show moving quickly while I am saying the rule. I have also seen a motion similar to that of a swimming fish used with this rule.

Rule 2 is “Raise your hand for permission to speak” The motion for this rule, as it is being said, is the motion of raising your hand, then making your hand as a talking hand.

Rule 3 is “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.” This motion is similar to that of Rule 2, except that instead of the talking hand, you make your fingers do a walking motion.

Rule 4 is “Make smart choices.” This rule is very general, but, yet very powerful. This can apply to all situations. We take and make a big motion with our arm and use our finger to tap our heads, pointing at our brains.

Rule 5 is my favorite. It is “Keep your dear teacher happy.” If students are following all of the rules then the teacher is happy. This motion is to smile and use your hands to make a frame on either side of your face. It is as if you are a smiling picture within a picture frame.

Students enjoy learning the rules and love the motions that go with the rules. They will quickly learn the new rules and when a rule is broken you can easily take a moment and review the rule that was broken. They can be used in any classroom situation.

Whole brain classroom rules will work for any elementary age students. According to research, via the Whole Brain website, the strategies will even work for college students. I have seen the rules used successfully with kindergarten students as well as 5th graders. I have introduced them to classes at the beginning of the school year as well as a class in the middle of the school year.

In future articles, I will discuss ways to use other sections of the Whole Brain methods with students.

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