Rule 1: Follow directions quickly.
Rule 2: Raise your hand for permission to speak.
Rule 3: Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat
Rule 4: Make smart choices: Glorious Kindness, Leadership, Courage, Invincible Grit, Creativity
Rule 5: Keep our dear learning community happy!
The Diamond Rule: Keep your eyes on the target!
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS QUICKLY.
The secret to lightening fast, classroom transitions.
Twenty years ago in Yucaipa, California, when we were designing the fundamentals of Whole Brain Teaching, we had no problem agreeing that Rule 1, for classroom management, should be “Follow directions quickly!” Slow transitions from reading to writing to math to lining up, at every grade, not only wasted time but also were breeding grounds for disruptive activity.
Ponder these truths. Our students open their books slowly because we never take time to teach them to open their books quickly. Kids, of every age, take forever to get out a piece of paper because we have never taught them to do this rapidly. Children, day after day, week after week, line up in wacky fashion because the only time we teach them how to line up is when they are actually lining up... which is precisely when we have no time to teach anything!
Here is a simple, two step procedure, classroom tested by thousands of teachers, for helping your kids to follow directions quickly.
RAISE YOUR HAND FOR PERMISSION TO SPEAK.
In the middle of your Civil War lesson, a chatty kid blurts out, “What time is lunch?!” You blurt back, “How many times do I have to tell you to raise your hand to speak! Raise your hand! Raise your hand!” You match your student’s emotional blurting, with your own.
Welcome to Teaching Purgatory. Too often, we treat students like we don’t want to be treated. Chained together for a year, we mirror their outbursts with our own. We try to put out a kid’s little flame, with our big fire.
Why do children (and teachers) blurt? In scientific terms, there are more connections from the brain’s limbic system to the pre-frontal cortex than vice versa. Translation: emotions control reason more easily than reason controls emotions. Another scientific point: our brain’s mirror neurons condition us to imitate behavior we observe. You blurt me. I blurt you. And so on. Scolding doesn’t change behavior. If chastising a child transformed them into a model student, Coach B would write best sellers, “Scold Like a Pro!,” “The Five Secrets of Power Chastisement,” “If They’re Not Crying, They Didn’t Get It: Confessions of a Former Sweetie Pie.”
If scolding doesn’t change behavior, what does? Practice. You have your choice between two tennis coaches. One coach scolds you for your bad technique. The other coach helps you practice good strokes. Which one will improve your game? Don’t know what to do with an unruly student or class? Practice good behavior.
Here’s Whole Brain Teaching’s two-step procedure, classroom tested across the U.S., for transforming Blurters into Hand Raisers.
RAISE YOUR HAND FOR PERMISSION TO LEAVE YOUR SEAT.
Use the same approach for Rule 3 as you did for Rule 2. Rehearse the rule, “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat” with the hand gesture; students raise their hands, then walk their fingers through the air. Then, use Wrong Way-Right Way.
Reynaldo, on your cue, leaves his seat without permission. Great job of breaking the rule. Reynaldo leaves his seat again, you call out Rule 3, and the kids exclaim, “Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat!”
If you practice the wrong way and then right way, five times a day, pretty soon you’ll see more right way behavior. No student ever wants to feel like they are doing something wrong... that’s why they deny they’re engaged in incorrect behavior.
“Maggie, stop doing that!”
“I wasn’t doing anything!”
This is the wonder. With the procedures described on this page, you take a classroom disruption, blurting or wandering, and transform it into a classroom unifier. Whenever a rule is broken, a rule is strengthened.
That’s the way it is, my friends, in Teaching Heaven.
MAKE SMART CHOICES.
The Ancient Secret for Wise Decisions
Let’s think about the first three Whole Brain Teaching classroom rules. Each will help solve one teaching problem. Implementing Rule 1, “Follow directions quickly,” will speed classroom transitions. Implementing Rule 2, “Raise your hand for permission to speak,” will produce orderly discussions. Implementing Rule 3, “Raise your hand for permission to leave you seat” will keep your classroom from turning into kiddie bumper cars.
Rule 4 “Make smart choices” is a much larger, grander principle.