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Miracle-Working Classroom Management Ideas You Have to Try

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Sometimes there’s a class that’s just – how can we say this nicely? – challenging. You’ve tried everything you can think of, and they still don’t want to learn.

Enter whole brain teaching.

whole brain teaching is an awesome idea that can get your students motivated & help tame an out-of-control class

This method, invented by Chris Biffle, is new and exciting, and it’s really shaking things up. I don’t agree with 100% of his ideas (I’m more a fan of individual responsibility as opposed to class punishments/rewards), but there’s no question that he’s on to something.

If I were teaching right now, I’d definitely be incorporating at least some of these ideas, so if you’re struggling with your class (or even if you just want to try something new), you should definitely keep reading.

Okay, so there are 3 main things I love about whole brain teaching. But before we get to them you’ve gotta’ watch this video. It’s hard to explain exactly how whole brain teaching works, but Chris Biffle does a great job of showing it here:

YouTube video

What I Love About Whole Brain Teaching

  1. Students are actively engaged in learning. Asking students to teach each other is genius. I don’t know if I’d want to do this 100% of the time, but this is definitely something that we should all consider incorporating – at least from time to time. Not only does this keep the students engaged, but it also helps them develop deeper understanding & correct misconceptions.
  2. You can quiet the class in 3 seconds. I’ve spent years trying to figure out how to quiet my class – flicking lights, holding up my hand, standing quietly, calling for attention – I’ve tried it all. I wish I had known about the power of class-response sayings. The simple class – yes is genius because when the students say “yes” they automatically stop the conversation they’re having to join in with the response. If you don’t use anything else from whole brain teaching, you should definitely try this. (By the way, there’s way more options than just class-yes. Pretty much anything works. Get a free class-response sayings list here.)
  3. Whoever came up with the rules is a genius. Oh yes, that’d be Chris Biffle. Anyhow, I really do love the whole brain teaching rules. They are…
    • Follow directions quickly.
    • Raise your hand for permission to speak.
    • Raise your hand for permission to leave your seat.
    • Make smart choices.
    • Make your dear teacher happy.

I don’t have time to go into all of the advantages of these rules and how you can teach them to your students, but you can click here to see a special series Chris wrote about them. It explains them so much better than I could.

If these ideas sound intriguing to you, you probably want to find out more about Whole Brain Teaching. And that means you probably want to grab a copy of Chris’s book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids (and the rest of your class, too!)

And speaking of teachers who use whole brain teaching, if you’ve tried any of these ideas in your classroom, please leave a comment below. I’d love to hear about your experience & I’m sure others would, too.


What to Read Next
  • I’m in the middle of the book, hope to finish it over Christmas break, but my challenging class loves it and so do my other classes! We have done the class-yes and the score board so far. It’s really amazing to see it start working!

  • The class-yes is like a miracle! I haven’t stopped using it since I discovered it last year! No more raising my voice or anything to get their attention – just a simple “class class” and like magic, those kids turn and look at you with their awesome “yes yes”!! It’s like pressing a button on them! hahaha

    That yes, class-yes does get boring, and being an EFL teacher in Spain, one of their favorites is the holy moly-guacamole one and the noisier kids just love chicka chicka-boom boom!

    I recommend this to all my fellow teachers when I hear them complain about the kids going crazy. Works every time!

  • Several years ago my son’s teacher told me about the “class-yes” response system. I tried it along with a modified list of rules for my 1st grade class, and it worked well. I have also used it with 3rd grade quite successfully. (My 5th and 6th graders don’t do as well with that, but they are responding to the names on the board/warning system.) I am planning to incorporate the strategy of students teaching each other soon!

  • I’ve been using the class-yes all year. It’s working great and the kids are having fun with it!! I also use “clap, clap, teach”. It’s great because it gives them leadership, a better understanding, and time to talk!

  • Has anyone had people who wouldn’t answer the call-response? I know I didn’t teach the procedure completely right but I’m not sure what to do at this point!

  • Sarah, I agree. I teach a concept and then use ‘clap, clap, teach’ too so they can repeat what they’ve learned again with their partner.

  • Today I experienced a super disruptive class and I feel like I tried everything to try and quiet learners down. I read Biffle’s method and honestly for that class, I need something more practical

  • Really like the warning system to bring down the disruption of the class without stopping teaching. Thank you Linda!

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