California Educator

June / July 2018

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Page 17 of 67

" When you visualize, You create a picture In your head As you read." T H I R D - G R A D E R S A T Greenberg Elementary School in Fresno recite this in unison with teacher Carlanda Williams several times. Every word has accompanying hand gestures. When saying "visualize," for example, students wave their hands on each side of their head, to demonstrate what kind of visualization is happening inside their noggins. For the word "picture," Williams and her students outline a square with their hands. Welcome to Whole Brain Teaching (WBT), a different kind of approach founded by Southern California edu- cator Chris Biffle in 1999. WBT purports to maximize student engagement and matches instruction with how the human brain is designed to learn. is means students use their entire brains instead of just a small portion, which is normally the case, and engage in chants, inflection, hand gestures, head motions, and in some cases full body motions. It's loud and chaotic in Williams' class, but students are having fun, are completely engaged, and under- stand the meaning of visualization perfectly. When their teacher asks them to close their eyes and visualize characters in the Cuban folktale Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, students give detailed, vivid descriptions to Fresno teacher embraces Whole Brain Teaching Learning, Maximized Carlanda Williams says Whole Brain Teaching is "where your rational side and your creative side come together." By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman 16 Perspectives M E M B E R S P O T L I G H T

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