Ravenous for Reading


Question Answer Relationship is such an important part of students success when it comes to the upcoming End of Grade tests! If our students can determine what type of question they are answering that is half the battle. We teach them strategies all day long about how to attack a reading passage only to have the questions trip them up! Those comprehension strategies would be so much more effective if our students knew where to locate the answers within that passage, or what source, either the book or themselves to draw their answer from. After completing the Question Answer Relationship W. B. T. lesson plan, the students had a better idea of the different types of questions. They used the gestures and call and response to help solidify the meaning of the information we were teaching. The next lesson is a key step in the students understanding of how to use QAR. We must show them examples of questions and have them determine for themselves what type of questions they are, and practice finding the answer based on that knowledge. In my experience the students seem to only look back in the text for “Right There" answers and some "Think and Search." These types of questioning deal with the information they find in the book. Our students unfortunately do not YET have the self-evaluative skills to evaluate the knowledge they bring to the text as valuable and helpful in drawing meaning from what they read. Our school has worked really hard at preparing our students for making connection to texts read, and making them aware of what background knowledge is in relation to the passage being read. However, this could be a hindrance, because now we are seeing that the students are making random connections to everything and not truly understand what the question is asking for. We are seeing that the background information is more prevalent than the actual text they are reading and then their answers are skewed. If we can get them to determine if the question is asking them to use their background knowledge or not that will limit the number of skewed answers where the actual information has taken a backseat to their background knowledge. That is what understanding Q.A.R. can really help our students to do. 

I Mustache you a Question....
 Do you know what the Question Answer Relationships are?
When introducing the Question Answer Relationship (Q.A.R.) to the students I chose to present it to them Whole Brain Teaching Style. I created gestures that represent each of the different Q.A.R. relationships. I used the the call and response and teach o.k. and Q.T.'s to gauge students understanding. If you would like to see an example of the lesson take a look at the Q.A.R. Power Point on the Links page. It is very important that students understand the relationship between the questions being asked and where and how to find the answers. This strategy is imperative when students take the End Of Grade (E.O.G.) test, so that students really understand what the questions are asking them and how to answer them.  
    Being aware of Question Answer Relationships help students understand where to look for your answers, if it’s “right there” in the text, or if you need to “think and search” for the answer, if it is a “writer and me” question using my background knowledge and the authors words to answer it, or if you have to think all “on your own” to get the answer.

After the lesson I had the students apply what they had just learned and not only identify those types of questions, but create them as well. They got into leveled reading groups of 3 and read a non-fiction book. Then students independently created think and search questions for their friends to answer.  I gave them the opportunity to become the teacher to ask the questions they created to their partner. In turn this gave the other students the chance to learn how to go back in the text to think and search for the answers. The way in which I presented the lesson to the students was very beneficial. This is evident now in the classroom, because when I ask the students what type of questions they are answering they tell me correctly and use the gestures.  The gestures really help them remember the concepts being learned. 

Reading is remarkable, it is touches every part of your life as a child and into adulthood. My belief is that every child can learn, its just a matter of how. We as teachers strive to instill a love for learning and reading is a big part of that!  Well you might ask how do we do that? Well it's simple! We Make Reading FUN! Whole Brain Teaching has developed so many fun ways to learn its near impossible to use them all. My goal is to create a fun, nurturing, educational environment where students feel comfortable and ready to learn. I use the Whole Brain Teaching (WBT) approach daily in the classes I co-teach and  in our Monday afternoon tutoring sessions. The amount of enthusiasm I see in the students as they are learning is awe-inspiring. I asked my 4th grade students to complete a report card on me, and to let me know how I am doing as their teacher. When asked how they feel about the way that I teach them one of my students replied, "Ms. Hardy makes me feel strong and brave enough to show everyone what I have learned. She knows how to teach me the way like, and I always learn lots when I'm with her." If we can get all children children to feel this safe to learn without reservations just think of the possibilities! WBT helps me create that for all my students through games like the Crazy Professor Reading game, peer teaching with 1, 2, 3, Teach/Okay, the 5 classroom rules, and lessons using all learning styles such as visual/kinesthetic with the use of gestures, audio  with the use of call and response, and tactile with the  use of manipulation of content through technology. Reading is Remarkable when we get kids to LOVE Reading! 

Reading is Remarkable with Whole Brain Teaching!

I have used Whole Brain Teaching http://wholebrainteaching.com/ strategies in my classroom for the past two years.  This research based strategy helps me cater to every child's learning style. My Co-Teacher and I have just begun a new tutoring session using the Whole Brain Teaching lessons and strategies. The Whole Brain Teaching tutoring sessions on Monday afternoons have become quite the popular place to be. The students have been spreading the word throughout the school, about the awesome learning experiences they are having in our classroom. We even have students from other schools who are trying to get transportation arranged to take part in this awesome learning opportunity we are offering here at West Smithfield Elementary School. We have seen so much growth in all our students since we began using these strategies in our classrooms.  We have seen how Whole Brain Teaching can help any student achieve success in reading, writing, and math.

Our first session consisted of getting to know the students through QT assessments and a learning style inventory. After we gathered our data we developed our partner grouping based on this data. We paired our students low/high for all activities. We have an A group and a B group. We call them our Peanut Butter and Jelly Partners.  We established our classroom rules and Classsity Class Class/Yesity Yes Yes. We have a scoreboard up in the class at all times, and the students strive to get points. We have let them come up with some celebrations on their own. Their ideas are great!. We will post videos of their different celebrations soon. We have incorporated a version of the score board to promote a ‘positive behavior support’ in our classroom. It's called our Get Spotted Board, which allows students to get spotted doing something awesome. The more they are spotted doing something awesome the higher the probability they will win the weekly prize. I will post the pictures of our Get Spotted Board as well.

We also taught our students the terms and gestures for listening, repeating, mirroring, peer teaching, and directing and redirecting their attention. They picked up on all of them rather quickly. Their favorite gesture is when they raise their hands to answer a question.  They blow their thought into the palm of their hand and raise it high in the air and wait to be called on until they see everyone's hands This is a great strategy for allowing all students to have thinking time before the answer is blurted out.

Our sessions are broken up in to three time periods. We have QT (quiz time) where the students take a 2 minute math fact quiz and a 1 minute Super Speed 100 fluency builder. We will be transitioning to the slide show for Super Speed 1000 when our students master the Super Speed 100. We have our students then track/graph their own progress in math facts and reading fluency. This takes about 15 minutes. We then have a period of time focused on reading and a period of time focused on math.  The first few concepts we have worked on during the reading periods is main idea and story sequence. We use expressive vocabulary and acting out the story using gestures to boost their sequencing and comprehension skills. We will be using the Crazy Professor reading game to help focus on comprehension as well, and the Genius Ladder to work on the writing process.

Our next scheduled session for WBT  (Whole Brain Teaching) tutoring will be focused on using the Genius Ladder to assist students in understanding how to write in complete thoughts. With the use of the visuals provided by the team at Whole Brain Teaching this fun way of diagramming sentences will hopefully prove very helpful to our students....I'll keep you posted! 

                                                                                 Raven Hardy, Ravenous Reading WBT Teacher


  1. This sounds awesome! I am so very thankful there are teachers at WSE that show such passion about wanting a child to learn. I can't wait to hear more. THANK YOU BOTH for your hard work and dedication.
    Kim Byrd, parent of Matthew Byrd

  2. mix-match-share is when you play music and you dance,walk,run and when the music stops you go back to back with the person that is next to you ms. hardy will say I MOUSTACHE you a question and we say please tell me your question she tells use the question and then she says 123 teach and we say 123 ok and we answer and then we do it again ,fouth grade student:)

  3. I like time tables 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,it is my favorite. fifth 5 grade student

  4. my favorite thing in whole brain tutoring is multiplication disco is because we have fun and dance with a disco ball and he light out.
    3rd student

  5. I applaud Ms.Hardy and Mrs. Jacobs on the wonderful work that they have done with my child. As a parent I see the wonderful techniques they have used that enable all children to know that they have the capabilities to learn. They have made learning fun by using the gifts that God has given them to know that each child has the capability to learn more than has been expected. As teachers they have extended themselves above and beyond their duties and it is greatly appreciated.

  6. Stephanie WhitleyMay 20, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    This has been the best year of school that Elizabeth has had. The tutoring has been a major part of her successful year. We hope it will continue for next year. Twice a week would be even better!

    Stephanie Whitley