Power Teaching as Classroom Inquiry

As part of the West Tennessee Writing Project, my Classroom Inquiry will involve Power Teaching, the classroom management and learning program promoted by Dr. Chris Biffle at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. His homepage is homepage.mac.com/chrisbiffle/Personal17.html

Power Teaching provides techniques for focusing student attention, building classroom community, focused skill and task instructions and differentiated instruction through gestures, student sharing, listening, laughter and fun.

I discovered power teaching at the end of the ’07-’08 school year and just had to try it out. We only had three weeks of school left, but those three weeks are typically difficult each year for a two reasons: The school year is finishing and testing requires changes in routines and the school year is finishing and the kids are ready for summer. Generally speaking, these two things work against each other. Discipline begins to be more of a problem, just when students need to focus for the finish.

Power Teaching proved to be the perfect tool to keep my class together to avoid the end of the year disintegration. Students enjoyed the techniques, caught on quickly and benefited academically from the thirty second micro lessons. I was surprised and delighted at how well they retained the information from the micro lessons. The only challenge for me was coming up with the gestures to go with those lessons.

I took the opportunity as a Focal Team member at the WTWP Summer Institute, to introduce the teachers participating to Power Teaching. Their classrooms ranged from kindergarten through college and they were all quite intrigued. As the month went on, we all adopted the class/yes technique to bring the class back to attention during different activities. Everyone was quite inspired when they viewed the Teacher Tube video with Chris Biffle teaching pre-service teachers about Power Teaching.

I hope that as I progress in my classroom inquiry, I will be able to convey how the process has unfolded during the new school year. My end of the year experience was somewhat different since there was plenty of groundwork that had already been established between my students and I. I anticipate that my new students will be somewhat shy about participating at first, just as the adults at WTWP were initially. I look forward to seeing how this all turns out.

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Jenny,

    Congratulations on becoming a Power Teacher. I am based in Western North Carolina. I am a Power Teacher Trainer, approved by Chris Biffle.

    I would like to offer you any help you might need in furthering your use of Power Teaching. The website listed is my blog on becoming a Power Teacher.

    “Power to the Teachers!”

  2. I have only seen Power Teaching through video clips and wondered how successful this would be with JH and HS ages. I did see the excitement in the younger age group.
    Also, I have been looking for information on how this method of teaching correlates with achievement test scores. Are students across board achieving higher scores on their state and local tests? I would love to get information on this matter.
    If you know of any videos demonstrating effective and ineffective instructions, please pass that information along. One can “hear” what an effective teacher looks like, but seeing it demonstrated visually and seeing it compared to ineffective methods might make the point come across better.

  3. Hi Jenny!

    Wanted to check your blog to see what you were doing with Chris Biffle. I’m using it too! It’s wonderful! Thanks for turning me on to it. My principal has been stupified over my management technique but hasn’t asked. And I’m not telling till she does! Ha Ha!

    Love you girl! See you Saturday!

  4. Hi there, I just came across your blog here while looking for some power teaching ideas. I too teach second grade and started out this year power teaching. I have the best class I have ever had and enjoy teaching so much this year! I think we need to start a power teaching blog/website so that we can share ideas about things that are working. I too need help in coming up with gestures and with working the “teach/OK” into my lessons more. Email me if you would like I can share what has worked for me this year!

  5. Hi Jenny,
    I also teach 2nd grade and just found the power teaching video with a kindergarten class last night. I want to try it out but I wasn’t sure just how much to implement at once or what kind of rewards to use with the smiles and frowns. Any advice or help you’ve discovered would be great.

    I love the idea of only teaching for a few seconds and then having the kids teach each other, but is there a training of the kids and how do you go about that part? Even though I haven’t done it yet, I want to implement it no later than after Christmas but now I’m thinking go ahead and start – Christmas is ususally a hard time to teach so what do I have to loose?

    This method would be great for my ADD kids, struggling students and ELL kids. Of course my whole class will benefit as well. I’m curious to know if you still need to use cards for individual discipline or if you just use the smiles and frowns all day.

  6. I am currently going through a post-bac elementary education class. I need to create a 2-3 minute math power teaching activity. Anyone have any good ideas of where to start?

    Thanks,

    Casey

  7. Hi!

    I am really interested in more ideas on Power Teaching. I’ve been teaching fourth graders now for eight years and I am looking for something new to implement for the upcoming year. I just watched a few of the videos. I would love to start my year with it. Any suggestions?
    Thanks

  8. hey!!! im working on a reasearch paper about power teaching, i want to know if there are people who has worked on this topic before.plz let me know.

  9. I am currently conducting an action research project for my master’s degree on power teaching. Does anyone know where I can find research articles about Chris Biffle’s power teaching?

    • I know he has changed the name of the program to Whole Brain teaching. contact him directly. I’m sure he’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.


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