A Must Have App to Keep You Connected- Remind101

Remind101 App

Remind101 App

During one of my countless hours spent exploring #edtech on Pinterest this summer, I came across an app that has found a spot on my “must-have” list. This app is called Remind101 and it is a means of communicating to parents and students via texts or e-mails- for free!

So what makes this app so special you might wonder. Well the beauty of Remind101 is that you can stay in touch with parents without giving out your personal phone number or e-mail. Your number is never revealed to your parents and/or students, and their number also remains anonymous to you.  I also like that once I send out a message, they are not able to reply to it (if they try they get a bounce back message reminding them of this).

Remind101 is super easy to set-up and should take no longer then 2 minutes. You can set up your class on their site http://www.remind101.com and share your newly generated Remind101 number with your parents in a jiffy! (Personally, I just use their app for everything).

Best of all, you can schedule your messages to go out at a later time. If you are anything like me, if you don’t do it when you think of it…. then your great thought is lost forever!

Here is a helpful video to help you get started (although it is so easy you won’t need it!):  http://vimeo.com/28086897

Also here is a Freebie! This is the document I sent home to my parents so that they could opt into my messages. Remind101 Doc Remind101 PDF

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Why Educators Turn to Whole Brain Teaching

ImagePhoto Credit (onthefenceadvocacy.com)

Anywhere between 40 and 50% of teachers will leave the classroom within their first five years (Riggs, Atlantic 2013). A turnover rate that is at least 4% higher than any other profession. While many theories purport to explain the cause behind this, one thing is for sure; teaching is a very challenging profession that demands a lot of its workforce, and offers in return very little respect and recognition.

Those who survive understand that in order to make it in the classroom, there is one thing that can make or break you – Classroom Management. This is where Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) comes in and makes a huge difference. A teacher is only able to reach a student if their classroom environment is set up for success, and this success is achieved by a well structured classroom management system. Whole Brain Teaching is a highly effective system of classroom management, and it success is linked to its core principle that a classroom should provide children with exactly what they want – a place where they can laugh and play. (WBT), produces classrooms that are full of orderly fun. 

Students follow rules in WBT rooms because they are fun! They engage with classmates and teach each other because it’s exciting to them. The WBT classroom in essence becomes a big game for them to play and succeed in. So as an educator, doesn’t it seem to make a lot of sense to then join in on the fun? To me it did and I continue to have more success each day because of my choice to employ WBT strategies in my classroom.

If a student’s whole brain is involved in learning, there isn’t any mental area left over for challenging behavior. (Biffle, 2013)

This post is the first of a series that will explore my use of WBT in the classroom, the research behind WBT, as well as many tips, advice and freebies that will allow you to use WBT in your own classroom.

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Biffle, C. (2013). Whole brain teaching for challenging kids. Whole Brain Teaching LLC.

Whole Brain Teaching – Mighty, Oh Yeah!

Whole Brain Teaching – Oh Yeah!

Last summer, during one of countless hours on Pinterest, I stumbled upon a link that immediately peaked my interest. It had to do with brain based learning, something I had become increasingly interested in since taking an RTC course on how the brain learns. The link brought me to a site I have now come to love, www.wholebrainteaching.com

I was immediately drawn to this teaching style because it employed so many of the strategies I already embraced in the classroom. It’s use of routines, repetition, gestures, and excitement immediately intrigued me. The more I read about it, and the more videos I watched on Youtube showcasing it, the more I was convinced… this had to be my next project!

Over the remainder of the summer, I did my best to educate myself (meaning of course I hit up Pinterest, countless blogs, and Youtube) to find all things Whole Brain. There were so many exciting things, that I soon became overwhelmed and decided to scale back and focus on a few things at a time. It was then that I decided to start with the Classroom Rules, the infamous Scoreboard, and the Whole Brain 5. With my cue cards in tow (thank you TPT), the first few hours of teaching routines the WBT way was not only a breeze, but an instant success with the students. They were having a blast! This in turn energized and excited me, making my first day back to school a huge success!

The Scoreboard, which is used to shape behavior, quickly made me abandon my former use of a clip system. So much extra work was needed with my clip system, and yet the Scoreboard offered me so much more control as the kids encouraged one and other in order to win a simple 2 minute reward – Did I mention the reward is FREE?

Using WBT was not only exciting for the students, it was also exciting for me. I felt rejuvenated and revived as a teacher entering her 6th year of teaching. I was excited each morning to try new things, and the kids were equally excited to experiment with me. On top of that, they were learning using the techniques and retaining all the information delivered.

I will never forget how excited I felt the first time I saw kids working independently at their seats, using the gestures and definitions they had learned through the WBT techniques to guide them independently in their own work! No further validation was needed for me, as this was proof that it’s learning style delivered.

It is so empowering as a teacher to be able to say one simple word – “Class” and have every student instantly stop and respond, ready to listen to your next words. WBT, I love you and I am not ashamed to say it.

Stay tuned for a whole series on WBT and how it transforms a classroom!

www.wholebrainteaching.com