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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rule #5

In Whole Brain Teaching, Rule #5 has been seen as highly controversial. "Keep your dear teacher happy." is the rule in question. Coach B. says it leads to teacher heaven but with so many people being unsure...

Complaint 1: I read on a blog (was it yours?) that a teacher complained about rule 5 as the point of education was not to keep the teacher happy but to educate. The administration agreed.

Complaint 2: It is too arbitrary. It has too many meanings. It is not explicit enough.

Complaint 3: I don't want it to appear all about me. I went into it for the students; because it is my passion not to be the star of a one-man show. (Sorry teachers, we are ALWAYS the star of our own show!).

As I read about these concerns, I echoed their same thoughts. And then I got to thinking. What does this really mean?

My oldest is my "loop hole" child. I swear that child could wiggle his way out of anything. For sooooo many years I always had to add the caveat "and your Mama can change these conditions at any time as they see willing in order to ensure you are comply with ..... " UGH! It was amazing... he could even wiggle out of that one!

As I have been studying on WBT and preparing to attend the conference this week (YEA!! Who is gonna be in Louisiana with me??), I have used these items on my guinea pigs ... ummm... children. Rule #5 not only leads to teacher heaven but to Mama heaven.

HOW?

All I have to ask is one simple question:
 "Do you think that is gonna make Mama happy?"

No, back talking does not make mama happy.

No, teasing your brother does not make mama happy.

No, shoving everything under your bed when you are cleaning your 
room does not make mama happy.

No, cleaning the toilet with your brothers toothbrush
does not make mama happy.

No, feeding the puppy your vegetables does not 
make mama happy. 

In the classroom:
"Do you think that is gonna make Mrs. Poland happy?"

No, hiding under the desk does not make Mrs. Poland happy. 

No, tattling does not make Mrs. Poland happy. 

No, hitting our friends does not make Mrs. Poland happy. 

No, sharpening pencils while I am taking does not make
Mrs. Poland happy. 

No, talking in the halls does not make Mrs. Poland happy. 

Do you see why rule #5 is so important? Can you imagine how long the list of rules would be without #5? Do you have a loop hole child like mine? 

Here is a favorite story from first grade I believe. One of his classroom rules was "Keep your hands and feet to yourself." Simple enough, we have all heard it/used it. What does my loop hole child do? He uses a pencil to poke his friend. 

So to the principal he goes. He believes he has done nothing wrong. We all know its semantics but he doesn't understand this concept. He is a special needs child. He already struggles with communication. He is very literal. How can you explain he is wrong when he did just what you said? 

THIS is the problem I have run across more times than I care to admit too. But with rule #5, I can simply ask "Does poking your friend, whom I understand you do not like, make Mrs. Poland happy?" The answer is no. It does not. I do not have to add to my rules... "Keep your hands, feet, pencils, rulers, crayons, glue, and any other personal items to yourself." As this would cause other issues. now he does not have to share his ruler or he can use scissors instead. Sigh... yes... THIS is truly how he thinks!

What about administrators who don't agree? 

Well.... this is a tricky one. You can explain like I have done above WHY this works so well. This isn't necessarily about making you personally happy but rather keeping the peace. 

I explained it to my boys as this... you are ALL important to me. I want what is best for you. When you are not getting the best that makes me unhappy. This applies to so many situations!! 

Think about the special needs child. He/she gets special help, attention, etc because that is what is best for him/her. How often have you heard "it's not fair!"? Well, THIS makes you happy as it is the best for him/her and therefore is within the limits you have set. 

GENIUS!
I tell ya! Pure Genius!

I am also planning on sharing my rules at back to school night and creating a letter home explaining the rules and why they are important... especially #5. No one has to bring me Starbucks or flowers. It isn't about me at all but rather about what is best for each of your students. 

To the parent who complains

Dear Parent, your child is unique, special, adorable, and precious. I agree with you and as such I want the best for him or her! I can't think of all the things that may occur during the course of  the year in my classroom but I do know that wanting the best for him/her is my top priority. That is what makes me happy. To protect your child I put this rule in place. This ensures that no matter what creative idea another child may come up with, if it is not in the best interest of your child, it does not make me happy and therefore it is not within the rules. This applies to each and everyone of my students. What makes you happy as a parent is to see your child happy, loved, and well taken care of. What makes me happy as a teacher is to see your child happy, loved, engaged, and well taken care of. Together, we can provide the best possible year for your child by using this rule. Please let me know if you have any questions.

What are your thoughts on Rule #5?

Labels: ,

30 Comments:

At June 14, 2012 at 5:23 AM , Blogger Ms. Kerri said...

I love your perspective on this. It makes perfect sense to me. Thanks for sharing your personal stories with your own children.
Ms. Kerri and her Krazy Kindergarten

 
At June 14, 2012 at 5:55 AM , Blogger Nicole said...

Wonderful post Misty! It makes perfect sense to me, too! Love WBT!
Nicole
Rowdy in Room 300

 
At June 14, 2012 at 5:59 AM , Blogger Jackie said...

I don't know a lot about WBT, but you've explained rule #5 so, so well! Your explanation makes it really clear that it's not all about you!

Jackie

Third Grade's A Charm

 
At June 14, 2012 at 6:46 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you on the importance of Rule #5. And Mr. B explains its importance just the way you did. He has about 8 videos on YouTube where he explains how to model and enforce each rule as well as why they are important for the classroom. I would definitely suggest watching them if you are interested in learning more.

 
At June 14, 2012 at 6:53 AM , Blogger Lisa R. said...

I think your explanation to rule #5 is completely logical! I enjoy your WBT posts. Thanks for sharing! :)
Lisa
Learning Is Something to Treasure

 
At June 14, 2012 at 7:05 AM , Anonymous Laurie said...

Absolutely love your explanation of rule #5, especially the letter to parents! Wonderfully written - what parent can argue with that explanation?! :)

 
At June 14, 2012 at 10:04 AM , Blogger Sara said...

Hello! It's Sara from Ramblings of a Deaf Ed Teacher's Mind... . I saw your comment on my blog and wanted to check yours out...and wow! Your blog is great! I've never heard much about WBT, so I've been taken time to go through your other entries to check it out. I just wanted to say that I will definitely be back to read some more! What a cool concept...Thank you so much for sharing. You have gained a new follower! :)

~Sara~
Ramblings of a Deaf Ed Teacher's Mind...

 
At June 14, 2012 at 10:55 AM , Blogger EduKate said...

Rule 5 is most definitely the loop hole rule! Kids are masters at finding any way to wiggle out of a rule. I remember seeing Ron Clark speak years ago and then reading his book about his 55 rules. While I consider him a role model and fabulous educator, I could never wrap my head around the thought of having to teach 55 rules to my kids. I'd be there until Christmas!

In my eyes, rule 5 does keep the peace but it is also about teaching kids the life skill of making good choices. Anyone who is into brain based teaching knows the decision making portion of the brain isn't fully developed until a person is in their early 20's. They don't have the capability during their school age years to just be able to make smart decisions on their own. They have to be taught through process. That is exactly where Rule 5 comes in. It teaches them the process they have to think through to make the "right" choice.

Love your letter to parents! Do you mind if I steal it?

 
At June 14, 2012 at 11:10 AM , Blogger Miss L said...

There are definitely people who do not agree with the wording of Rule #5. I specifically said "wording" because I think all teachers have the loop-hole students that this idea works perfectly for but are uneasy about the wording. I know some teachers who have changed the wording to "Keep your classroom respectful" or "Keep your behaviour respectful" because it kind of worked the same way. Of course, your students would have to really understand what respectful behaviour is and what your expectation of respectful is.

 
At June 14, 2012 at 11:42 AM , Blogger Amanda said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comment led me here and I'm your newest follower. I love this post and your explanation of rule #5!

Amanda
Teaching Maddeness

 
At June 14, 2012 at 11:45 AM , Blogger Lisa said...

Hi! I'm your newest follower. Please come and visit my "new" blog at: Teaching Kindergarten Kiddos.

~ Lisa

 
At June 14, 2012 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Jen said...

I have always been a fan of WBT & have been particularly fond of rule #5...this post explains my fondness to a T! Thanks!

~Jen
Your newest follower!!
Jen's Kinder Kids

 
At June 14, 2012 at 5:44 PM , Blogger April Kreitzer Wolfe said...

Great post!!


April
Wolfelicious

 
At June 14, 2012 at 6:01 PM , Blogger Miss Nelson said...

I use to think Rule #5 was silly until I really thought about the meaning behind it. I had a little boy who always pushed my buttons and tried to get out of all situations. Rule #5 saved me this year.
I loved reading this post and love the note to the parents. Thanks for sharing.

✿Michele
Miss Nelson's blog

 
At June 14, 2012 at 6:08 PM , Blogger Donna Slatton said...

I love this explanation and I will use it for anyone who questions Rule #5. Thanks!

 
At June 14, 2012 at 7:50 PM , Blogger Erin Sample said...

I totally agree with you. I was worried about parents though so I changed it to "Keep everyone happy!" because that's me included! It also includes hurting others. Great post!
Erin
Sample’s Superstars

 
At June 14, 2012 at 9:00 PM , Blogger Dana Lester said...

Brilliant letter to the complaining parent! Brilliant!
:) Dana- your newest follower
Stop by & enter my giveaway @ Fun in 1st Grade

 
At June 15, 2012 at 1:52 AM , Blogger Miss N said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and stopping by my blog! I'm your newest follower!

Shanyn
Coffee, Kids and Compulsive Lists

 
At June 15, 2012 at 5:30 AM , Blogger Miss L said...

Hey Misty! I wanted to let you know that I am adding your blog to my list of WBT blogs that I have posted on my website! If you would like to check it out my blog address is www.misslwholebrainteaching.blogspot.com

If any information needs to be changed or if you would like to be removed from the list let me know!

Best wishes :)

 
At June 15, 2012 at 2:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My thoughts on having a rule of "Keep your dear teacher (or worse, your dear Mama) happy for children are- It's is a thin layer of schmaltz painted over the ultimate authoritarian edict, "Because I said so!"
Now, if you really want to get into just how far people will go when obeying authority figures, remember the Milgram Experiments. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BcvSNg0HZwk
Jerry Sandusky also impressed on his victims the importance of keeping him happy- and that each was unique, special and he loved them. Ask yourself, how a child rapist gets away with it in plain sight for decades.
Rule 5? Nope, nyet, nein. Not for me or my kids. I've raised a skilled debater. Yes, it meant I'd better have good reasons for my decisions. It meant sometimes I had to change my mind when his arguments compelled me changing. More time consuming but definitely worth it. Be an authority not an authoritarian, you'll be glad you did, I promise.

 
At June 15, 2012 at 2:57 PM , Blogger ThinkWonder Teach said...

Hello -

I agree with you 100% about teaching children how to negotiate and the need for having a reason for the decisions you make.

My oldest has Asperger's syndrome... he has to have a reason why for everything. It has to be logical and make sense to him. It has to go beyond the "because I said so" mentality. There have been many times where I have lost a debate to him and there have been times he has lost to me. We are a team, we work together BUT I have the ultimate authority.

Rule #5 is not about negating these skills or not providing a reason why. For me, it simply helps expand upon my thoughts and reasoning in such a way that I do not have to consistently articulate my expectations. For example, if I ask my son to clean the kitchen (he is a teenager and capable of this) I usually will explain that I do not have time as I have homework (or whatever the issue is why I can't or he should). If it is not done according to expectations, rule #5 comes into play. What are the expectations for cleaning the kitchen? Does this look like it would make mama happy? No. Why not? Because..... was not done.

Does this better explain my use of this?

 
At June 15, 2012 at 4:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It reiterates what you've previously written, which I believe I understand. I just don't agree with it- what so ever.
Tell me, Do you then have your teenage son repeat Rule 5 as fast as he can for two minutes, as per WBT
instructions? Do you keep a t-chart and have him give you "a mighty groan" as you mark the "frowny side?

 
At June 15, 2012 at 4:35 PM , Blogger ThinkWonder Teach said...

Hello again -

I believe with any program you have to find what works for you and your situation.

My teenager would not understand the repetition of this rule or why it was necessary nor would he understand the t-chart. These are part of his special needs and so I have adapted accordingly.

This goes the same for my classroom. With the demographics I work with we have not utilized the mighty groan nor have we utilized repetition of the rule in order for one to learn it. Instead, I use these simply as a framework from which to work with my students. The thing that they need most is love, understanding, and to feel safe. Whatever it takes to achieve that climate in my classroom, I am willing to do.

Now I do use the T-chart (scoreboard) in my classroom as it goes well with the emoticons I use for other things. I have adjusted how I use this also according to the needs of my student.

I do not think there is a one-size fits all program to anything. Why do I believe this? Because everyone one is unique and as such has unique needs. That is why I am exploring this summer to see what new techniques and skills I can bring to my classroom and students this upcoming year. WBT is not the only concept I am looking at. I am in fact looking at brain-based theories of education in a wider sense. While my journey in this field is just beginning, I am excited about what I have learned so far.

What methods do you use in your own classroom or home that you feel would be better?

 
At June 15, 2012 at 11:13 PM , Blogger Ann said...

I think it's great! Good thoughts!
ann
The Caffeinated Classroom

 
At June 16, 2012 at 1:43 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I strive to be authoritative with my kids. Sounds like you do too, when it comes down to it. Good.
I've known, indeed know, people of all ages who've made great decisions, difficult decisions, precise split-second decisions, lousy, irrational, absurd decisions, haven't you? So what to make of this? "Anyone who is into brain based teaching knows the decision making portion of the brain isn't fully developed until a person is in their early 20's. They don't have the capability during their school age years to just be able to make smart decisions on their own." ...I'd rather light a candle than curse your darkness.
http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/daniel-willingham/willingham-3-brain-facts-educa.html http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/research/researchers-take-new-look-at-t.html

 
At June 18, 2012 at 12:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

While I'm still hoping for a response on my last comment (26th).. Let me turn you on to this Blog Phenom, Rule 5 Breaking Beauty (if no one else has yet.) I'm guessing no one told her or her folks her brain was deficient. She's only a measly nine years old. http://neverseconds.blogspot.co.uk/

 
At June 18, 2012 at 12:32 PM , Blogger ThinkWonder Teach said...

Hi -

I apologize for my lack of response. I was overwhelmed with homework and family commitments. Thank you so much for taking the time to share those links with me. They are great! I am reading Eric Jensen's Enriching the Brain right now and it shares many of the same things that the articles you shared with me do. Each day I am learning and discovering something new. I believe that as a teacher and a parent, I have to continue learning as I will never be perfect. I will never know everything and I will certainly make mistakes. The only thing I can do it to continue to learn from them.

I haven't read the blog you sent yet but I am eagerly awaiting sometime to do so.

Thank you again for all of your comments and your willingness to share your experience and wisdom with me.

 
At June 18, 2012 at 12:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're welcome.. I feel like, I'm the one who needs to apologize here.. "While I'm hoping for a response" is too terse and demanding. I'm sorry.
Yeah, that latest blog- The author, "Veg," and the people who've responded to her are a delight. I hope you enjoy it.

 
At June 18, 2012 at 2:06 PM , Blogger ThinkWonder Teach said...

No apology necessary. =)

I have read portions of the blog (I couldn't resist!) and I love it! I am trying to figure out how I want to use this with my students. Each year, I try and do some sort of community service project. This is such a great example and written by a child! I love how supportive the Dad was in this.

With my students, they choose the project, collect the supplies, and implement it. It is so much fun!! It is one of my favorite things.

 
At June 18, 2012 at 6:47 PM , Blogger Jill said...

Great post, I teach kdg and I finish that statement with "because my dear children are learning". I think it reciprocates that fact that we care about each other. I have given the eye to a deserving child and another one will try to intervene "oh, no, our dear teacher is NOT happy! you have to make smart choices!"
jh

 

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