Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! Class-Yes

    One week has come and gone and I'm excited to be writing my second Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday post! I hope that this focus on a specific WBT strategy is helpful to those of you who are wishing to learn more about how a certain strategy may work and what my personal experience with it has been. Last week I highlighted "Teach-Ok", this week I would like to introduce you to the WBT strategy of "Class-Yes". (I realize that my introduction of these strategies are not in any specific order).

     "Class-Yes" is a classroom management strategy that allows for us, as the teachers, to gain our students attention quickly and efficiently. We all know that it happens, we have asked for our classes' attention only to have two, three, or maybe more students continue talking. Maybe they didn't hear us? I will admit, my voice gets higher as opposed to louder when I attempt to raise my voice so I avoid raising my voice whenever possible! Maybe they are ignoring us? This can sometimes be the case as well. There are definitely times when student's are going to want to finish a conversation about a favourite activity rather than listen to a lesson. Whatever the reason, if we are not able to gain our classes' attention that will be only the beginning of our classroom management concerns.

whole brain teaching strategies, get your class's attention, classroom managementThe strategy of "Class-Yes" is incredibly simple. So simple, in fact, that I can feel foolish even explaining it. Since they entered the school system, our students are taught that certain cues given by the teacher are asking for a desired behaviour. Maybe it was that if the teacher raised their hand, the students knew that they too must raise their hand and stop talking so they could hear instructions. Maybe it was that is the teacher started counting down from 3, the students knew that they must be quiet by the time the teacher reached the number 1 so that they could hear instructions. Or perhaps, the teacher would yell out "Eh-oh" and the students would respond in turn and then await instructions. Makes sense right? It is not only teachers that use these techniques, I have seen camp councilors and athletic coaches use similar techniques to gain the attention of a crowd. The following describes the "Class-Yes" version of these strategies as it is stated by Jeff Battle on the Whole Brain Teaching website.

To get my classes’ attention I simply say ‘Class!’ and then they reply ‘Yes!’. Next is the catch, the hook that makes this fun, and gets them invested in it in a way that has them looking at me and grinning rather than continuing their conversations.

When I say ‘Class!’ and they say ‘Yes!’ they have to say it the way I said it. If I say ‘Classity-class-class!’ they have to say ‘Yessity-yes-yes!’. If I say it loudly, they have to respond loudly. If I whisper, they respond in a whisper. They have to match my tone and intensity.

     In my experience, this was the easiest strategy to incorporate into my classroom because most teachers already use some variation of this idea anyways! As I was in Grade 10, I did not modify this strategy much in regards to what I actually say (Classity-class-class) because of their age level but I did modify the tone of my voice and the pitch. Before this, I would usually attempt to get attention by saying some variation of, "Ok, Grade 10's..." but, as mentioned, I would usually have some students who would not hear me or may have been ignoring me. The great thing about this strategy is that even if some students can't hear me personally, they definitely hear the other student's who are responding, "yes"! This is something that I will definitely be using during my upcoming student teaching practicum in Grade 5 and who knows, maybe I will incorporate some the silliness that Jeff suggests.

Check out the Whole Brain Teaching website to see Jeff Battle's instructions in context or check out Chris Biffle's YouTube channel to see this strategy in action.


  1. There is nothing more frustrating that feeling like no one is listening to you! Great way to get student's attention. I might have to try this out this afternoon :)

  2. If you do make sure to leave an update on how it worked in your classroom. :) I can imagine it can be difficult to get attention all the time in an art room, especially if students are very focused on their work!

  3. 5th graders would love the silliness of that! Wonder if I could use it with my husband??

  4. I definitely cannot wait to try out some silly variations with my Grade 5 class during student teaching. hahaha Jackie if it works with him you should let us know lol

  5. Thanks for stopping by and following Dana! WBT is so much fun and is perfect for 1st Grade. I am heading on over to your blog right now :)

  6. I have been doing class yes this whole week. I still have some who keep talking. I am having trouble incorporating the smilies and frownies for buy in. I think I should have modeled a little more. I do review the rules a few times a day. That is helping. I have a first second combination class.

    1. Keep with it Ellen! Like any classroom procedure, it can take a while for students to get used to the new routine. Think back to your previous years, if your routine was to was put your name on assignments before you hand it in I bet you had some students that forget. The same is true with "Class-Yes", it just takes some time.
      Have you considered having a portable scoreboard to make it easier to use the smilies and frownies when appropriate? If your students are sure of your expectations they will respond appropriately so just keep with it and be clear!