The Big Seven

“Reform has to be free and voluntary!”   A profound statement from Coach Biffle, indeed.  Last year was a year filled with tough kids and new, more rigorous standardized tests – and I wasn’t prepared.  Determined to be a better teacher – yes, to reform my classroom—I tuned in and turned on to Whole Brain Teaching. 

I absolutely love it!   My students are moving.  They are laughing.  They are on task.  They are learning.  The Big Seven are seven simple procedures for class management.  I started with Class-Yes.   Never has getting the class’ attention been so easy and so fun, and never have I smiled so much while teaching. Yet it was simple, simple, simple to teach!

Next I taught the five rules. My students always grin when we chant Rule No. 5. As Coach recommends, we chant the rules several times a day as a reminder and way to gain focus. I included a Score Board with Smilies and Frownies.

On Day 1, we moved on to Teach-Okay and Switch. Now, I’ve always had kids share with a partner, but that type of “turn and talk” has never been as successful as Teach-Okay. With WBT and Teach-Okay, kids are using their hands as they clap and say “Okay.” The micro lectures eliminate boredom. Students use their arms as they gesture widely. They smile. The noise is task-oriented. I soon learned pairs were more successful when I assigned the “1” to the more advanced student of the two students. That way, partner No. 2 had heard the micro lecture both from me and from another student before Switching and teaching it back to the No. 1 partner.

The most powerful part of Teach-Okay is the high level of thinking it requires. My students must listen to the micro-lecture, process the information, and synthesize it into their own words as they repeat it. Each and every student has the opportunity to synthesize the information in this way, moving the new information from short-term memory to long-term memory.

I also taught Mirror, and added in the Ten-Finger Woo. My kids loved both. With Mirror, students are focused completely on me and what I have to say. 

Finally, for complete and total anticipation and focus, I taught Hands and Eyes.  It's never been so simple and quick for me to garner my students' attention before teaching.  I feel so loved, and my students are fully engaged in learning. It’s truly Teacher Heaven!

For more information about the Big Seven, go to and click on the First Steps drop-down menu.

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