Watch Whole Brain Teaching in Action!

This video is worth a few minutes of your time.

Do you struggle to get young kiddos attention and keep it?
Does management seem difficult in the short amount of time you see the students?

Look into Whole Brain Teaching. I am!  I am happy to say I am embarking on a journey to research and try to implement whole brain teaching. My management plan is going great, however, I am still looking for ways to constantly engage students and I feel my old standard call and responses are starting to fade. Kids are becoming immune to them.  Maybe it’s because I am teaching from a chair? Not sure…However, this method, I think, has a lot of great ideas and can’t wait to try some of them and keep you in the loop as I do.

Start by watching this video of whole brain teaching in action in a 1st grade classroom and tell me what your initial response is- Anyone else tried whole brain teaching? Thoughts?


The Teaching Palette also posted about whole brain teaching awhile back right here. More great examples of this concept!

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Lauralee

    Hi Jess, THIS MAY JUST SAVE ME!!!! Brilliant -Thanks. You always seem to know just what we need. I have been on their site reading every word. I am very willing to give it a try. Timing is perfect. Be well!

  • Clare

    I was first exposed to Whole Brain Teaching via The Teaching Palette. I tried it out and it is amazing how it works!! The challenge I found is that I have to completely change my teaching style. When you are so used to doing something one way and have to shift gears… is challenging. I did my version of the score sheet last year and the kids loved it. I also had the kids say the rules….which took time away from class:o(. I also use “Class-Yes”….and I still do. But I am going to try some of the things I saw in this video… the “blow the answer in your hand and release”… that! Thanks for the post.

    • I tried the “Blow the answer into your hand” trick and the kids really loved it. They were so engaged.

  • Dee

    Years ago, I went to several levels of Quantum Learning training which uses similar theories and techniques. I learned there that using kinesthetics when teaching helps all learning styles retain well. Thank you for sharing this!

  • I LOVE whole brain teaching and used it when I taught Elementary. I LOVED how the kids retained the information from the previous year because of this teaching method. We could do way more advanced projects because we could truly build on mastery knowledge instead of “starting from scratch” the way it sometimes happens in the Art Room.

  • Anonymous

    This year I have started using the Class – Yes. It is AMAZING!!! I use it all the time, and I pair it with a “Mona Lisa”. I use it for important directions, in which students look like the Mona Lisa (hands together, eyes on me) to get all of their attention. Also, in the middle of cleanup where kids are at opposite sides of the room I can say Class, and help them redirect when needed.

    • I tried some of the strategies the other day and can’t wait to post a follow up. So happy some of you have used and like Whole Brain Teaching

    • I also really like the “Mona Lisa” idea – I will try that!

  • I am a huge fan of whole brain teaching and brain compatible lesson planning. It makes so much sense to draw upon all our new understanding of cognitive science. I really like your blog. Come and visit mine: I am very new to it all and I’d love your comment.Thanks!

    • Sara,
      It looks like your blog will provide so many great ideas and resources for educators, I’ll be sure to stop back.

  • I use whole brain teaching to teach the rules to my k-4 students. It takes 10 seconds at the start of each class to quickly go through each rule. The kids like the routine. I never have the excuse “I forgot the rule.” I also call them to attention with “Class…eyes hands.” They also enjoy teaching a partner because it gives them a chance to speak rather than just listen to my voice during instruction.

  • lauralee

    HI Jess,
    Have you found any info on this concept that applies directly to teaching ART? Samples of art teachers doing lessons, etc…Thanks

    • LauraLee,
      I think the teaching palette link on this post had an art example in video form. Hope it helps!

  • Oh Jessica you know I’m a fan. If you came in my classroom you’d see the kids LOVE Class/yes and classity class/yessity yes and any others I make up. One kid said WHY DIDN”T YOU SAY CLASSITY CLASS TODAY?

    As for repeating the rules everyday. . .
    With classes that come in talking (at all) I automatically say the rules and they repeat (sometimes in a funny voice.) SOME BEHAVIOR CHALLENGED CLASSES LOVE RECITING THE RULES (I have no idea why but I’m going with it.) Then I say rule number two and do the hand motion when they forget (raise your hand for permission to speak) they love this because it’s “what we do” so they do it.

    I also use my rainstick when I really just need quiet and then turn off the lights. You might have seen it in my post It also works wonders, it’s like the longest and calmest shhhhhhhhh.

    I abandoned the points a while back. I have a treasure box which I use A LOT in the beginning of the year, then ease of on slowly (which they don’t seem to notice usually.) I think it’s good to let them know in the beginning “I’m always looking for good behavior.” Yes it costs a lot of money but I don’t care. I also have a lot of no cost prizes. We have an awesome mix CD with upbeat songs lady gaga, etc. art class of the month too many to list! Maybe I’ll make a post about free prizes!

    • Awesome Tips, Erica! Keep posting all of your wonderful ideas because honestly we can all learn from you! The rainstick is a fabulous idea, too!

  • I’m using the whole brain approach with my art classes for the first time this year and am L O V I N G the results! My goal was to implement it with my youngest students, but it was working so well I sprung it on the older kids, too. I was surprised that my 7/8’s are so into it!
    This week I taught my little ones to “syllable-walk” to line up and it was really cute and efficient. We also practiced “papers-in, papers-in, papers-in”. Took kids three seconds to get their artwork organized and ready to be picked up.
    The scoreboard game is incentive enough for some of my classes, but for others I’m tying the scoreboard to earning a reward. My kids can earn one point for each successful class. Three points earns them five minutes of MumBall…well worth it in my opinion, or for the little ones three minutes of “Who’s Missing”.
    I’m so excited others are using this approach, too. Can’t wait to hear all your tips and tricks.

    • Clare

      I am curious…..what is “syllable-walk” and “papers-in”???

  • This is my BEST friend…
    :) She’s an amazing teacher…but an even cooler friend and person!

    Love her!!!

    • jess

      Well that is pretty cool you found her all famous on the internet! :) Tell her hi from all her fans.

    • LG, You are so sweet! You just made me smile! :) You’re an amazing teacher too!!! Gosh, we should teach together! Imagine that?! xo

  • Tried this with my special education K-3 segments…they loved it!!!