Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday! Super Improvers Wall

     Now that summer holidays have begun I have a substantial amount of time on my hands until I begin my two summer jobs (starting next week). I figured that in between setting up our home I would also work towards researching and organizing some new ideas for my next student teaching placements that start in September. I haven't completed a formal Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday post since before I was student teaching so I am happy to present you with information on the "Super Improvers Wall"!

     The "Super Improvers Wall" is a fun and long-lasting method used to increase student motivation WITHOUT pinning students against one another. I strongly believe that we, as teachers, should focus on creating respectful learning environments that not only foster a sense of community amongst our students but also ensure that our students feel safe. Although competition can be a great motivator for some students, competition amongst peers can often leave students feeling inadequate, embarrassed or ashamed. These types of experiences leave our students with a negative view of the task/subject or even a negative view towards school in general! What I like about the "Super Improvers Wall" is that it is based off of students beating their own personal goals, whether they are academic, social, or behavioural. No two students are ever EXACTLY the same at something and each student can have their own goals so competition between classmates is minimized if not eliminated. The following describes the "Super Improvers Wall" as it is stated by Chris Biffle in the free WBT e-book, Whole Brain Teaching Model Classroom (pg 7).
** You must have a free account to access and download the free e-books

      "When you observe students improving in any classroom activity... put their name on your Super Improvers Wall. As you note continued improvement in any learning or social activity, add stars after the child's name. When a kid has accumulated five stars, then something special happens.
    Bring in your camera and take the students picture with any friends he or she chooses. Encourage the kids to make funny faces. Children love to see pictures of themselves making funny faces.
     Develop the picture and bring it to class. Do not show the child the photo but replace their name on the Super Improvers Wall with the picture, image side to the wall. At this point, the child wants, almost more than anything in the world, to have the photo turned around and see his/her funny face picture with their friends.
     As you note continued improvement... put a star on the back of the photo. When the photo has five stars, make a big production of turning it around. Viola! Announce that your Super Improver has become a Student Leader! We almost guarantee that at least once a day, the student and her friends will go up and look at the picture.
     What should student leaders do?
     Assign leaders for one day to perform, at your request, any of the following call outs: class!, hands and eyes, mirror, papers, seats, lines, switch, teach, Mighty Groan, Mighty Oh Yeah. (Depends on what Whole Brain Teaching Strategies we are using in our classrooms. You could have them be a part of any part of your classroom routine as well.) Change leader tasks daily, not everyone who has a photo turned face outward, will be a leader everyday."

     Obviously this is a strategy that is more geared towards younger-age students but perhaps there are modifications to make it more appealing/appropriate for high school age as well? I will do some brainstorming but what are your thoughts?

super improvers wall, whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching motivation, student motivation, wibbiters
Check out this awesome Super Improvers Wall from "A Whole Brain Teacher"s blog
super improvers wall, whole brain teaching, whole brain teaching motivation, student motivation, wibbiters
Love the flare of this one created by Heather Hansen a WBT Intern 11/12
 Check out the Whole Brain Teaching website to see Chris Biffle's instructions in context or check out the videos on Chris Biffle's YouTube channel to see this strategy in action

Thanks for checking out Whole Brain Teaching Wednesday!


  1. Love reading your blog! The Super Improvers Wall IS amazing! A little clarification on levels. There are ten levels. Each level requires 10 stars before moving up. At the 4th level is when you start the Picture reward. Yes, it takes 5 more stars to turn it over. It's your class, so you do what you wish, but it's a LONG year so this gives you more use of your original 10 levels, as it takes 100 stars to complete it.

  2. Thank you so much Nancy! I will do some exploring through the video library as well as through some high school based blogs to see their ideas. It is so helpful to have the input of someone who is so well established with WBT already, I really appreciate your help.

  3. I am a new follower to your blog and WBT! I am excited to learn from you! I am sure I will have TONS of questions. =)

    I would love for you to come visit me when you get the chance. =)

    Heather's Heart

  4. Can you share ideas for how to keep track of each student's goals? Do they know a specific one they are working on and record it somewhere? I'm loving this idea and am jumping in but want to make sure I start it well. :-)