Sunday, February 1, 2015

Whole Brain Teaching in the Music Classroom-Class? Yes!

There are so many "attention getters" that teachers use to quickly grab the attention of their students.  I've heard echo clapping and call/response sayings in every silly or sweet or cliche variation.  A simple pinterest search left my brain spinning with all the possibilities.  Each saying takes a little bit of procedure practice and prep for the teacher to remember them all.  I can only imagine what students go through when every classroom they enter has a different set of attention getters and all the many responses they are expected to have at the tip of their tongue.

Whole Brain Teaching is no different with it's call and response attention getter except for one thing:  it's direct and to the point.  The teacher asks for the classes attention and the students give it.  Not asking for pepperoni and the students give pizza, or asking for peanut butter and getting jelly, or asking for hocus pocus and getting focus.  Class?  Yes!

Sounds too simple, but it's not.  Sounds too boring, but it's not.  While being direct and to the point, class/yes still gives lots of opportunity for silly, sweet, and cliche.  Variations are one of the main reasons why class/yes is successful with the students.  Class Class? Yes Yes! Ok Class?  Ok Yes!  Classity Class?  Yessity Yes!  Our kindergarten teacher got creative one time and jumped when she said Class?  Her kids didn't even flinch, they simply jumped while responding Yes!  So simple for the teacher and students to remember, so easy to embellish.

There is nothing specific about class/yes for any classroom, but with the requirement to vary my approach as often as possible, my variations have become very musical!  I vary pitch and rhythm and expect my students to echo the same way.

Cla-ass (sol-mi) with and without hand signals
Class class class class (sol la sol mi)
Cla-ass (vocal slide up/down)
Class class (high voice/low voice)
Class class class (du-de du)
Class, class class (du rest de du)
Classity Class (du-da-de du)
Class Class (du-u du-u)

Really the possibilities are endless.  And easy to make up on the spot for whatever concept each class is currently working on.  Second grade was doing half notes just the other day so my brain is thinking half notes.  I need their attention and half notes come out in my Class!  Use whatever is happening in your classroom.  Don't think that class/yes is only verbal-adding movement is what Whole Brain Teaching is all about!

ALL THE TIME!  In one 30 minute class time, I might use it about 8-10 times.  Anytime I need their attention, I ask for it!  If I need to talk to them before then enter my classroom, if I need to give directions after they found their spots, if I'm changing activities and my transition wasn't the greatest, if I start to lose their focus in an activity, when lining up to leave.  

There is nothing particularly unique about using an attention getter in class.  What I love about the WBT approach is that it is direct and to the point, but fun and new every time.  What's great about my experience is that students are hearing class/yes from every teacher in the building.  We have all chosen to implement this basic change in our classrooms and both students and teachers are benefiting.  

Missed the intro?  Check out my inspiration to explore Whole Brain Teaching and some great FREE resources from the WBT website here!

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1 comment:

  1. What a fascinating way to teach. I am very interested in learning more about how WBT applied to music content at the elementary level. Can you direct me to any other great resources on this approach for elementary music teachers? (also, FYI, the video above is not working) Thanks for doing this blog post.