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Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  788 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Join the teaching revolution that's sweeping the U.S. ... and the world! 80,000 registered members worldwide, 3,000,000 YouTube views, 10,000,000 pages of free ebooks downloaded from, one of the world's largest, free, education websites! If your rambunctious kids are driving you batty, read this book. Guffaw with delight as your class, guided by the ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published March 4th 2013 by Whole Brain Teaching LLC
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4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  788 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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Nov 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I would actually prefer to give this book 0 stars.

As a professional who values each student and students developing as individuals, I found this book to be the complete opposite of that. If a teacher has good management practices (Fred Jones, Teach Like a Champion, Eric Jensen, Lisa Delpit are my mentors), then there is no need for the nonsense in this book. The thought of doing things like " Classss." "Yes!" "Classity, class, class.." And then the idea of all the class points, but never giving
Jamie Theriault
Jul 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Can honestly say I have very mixed feelings about this. Somethings I love (the aspects that address student engagement, procedures, ect), some things I absolutely hate (the 5 class rules - why, on earth, would one have a rule that says "ask permission to leave your seat" when you can just teach your kids to leave their seat when it is appropriate. As if I need a kid asking permission every time they need a material or to get a tissue...I prefer teaching my kids to self-regulate than inundating t ...more
Jun 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my life. I have a degree in special education, inner-city teaching experience, a veteran teacher of a top-rated district, and a noted reputation for making learning fun. Last year was extremely rough for teachers in our district, and I was miserable and burned out. In April, I attended one of the most intense and exhausting workshops, so intense that neither my colleagues nor myself even wanted to breach the subject of the day with our spouses. The next day I showed up to schoo ...more
Oct 12, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Gimmicky, unsupported by research, and heavy on behavior modification. It is not a student’s job to make the teacher happy. These methods certainly do nothing to develop deep relationships or inspire higher level thinking. I kept envisioning Hitler Youth meetings.

I would have thrown this book across the room except I was reading it on my new iPhone Xs.

Read Lost at School by Ross Greene for effective ways to work with challenging students. Ironically, Green
Joy Kirr
I abandoned this book at page 68. I think it would be good IF you had a classroom full of misbehaving young kids. However...

I felt that the "exemplar" teacher model was a more of a puppeteer than a facilitator of learning - focused on having CONTROL over the kids. Major management going on here. Some of it seemed like brain washing, and I was not comfortable with it at all. This book was not for me or my demographic of students.

My take-aways: 1) I need to come up with a sound to get students' at
Holly Loader
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Probably one of the most influential books on my teaching practice as a whole!
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
There's definitely some helpful stuff in here. I could see variations on The Scoreboard and The Super Improvers Team working really well as management tools, especially if you involve students in reflecting on their own improvement and setting class goals to work on through their Scoreboard. Some of the choral response/gestures/images are good tricks for helping concepts stick in kids' memory more easily, too.

That said, some of the techniques in this book are dangerously terrible and could crea
Nicole Campbell
Jan 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed the clear structure of this method and the fact that it can be implemented immediately. I had an issue with the "keeping the dear teacher happy" language as well as the way the scoreboard points were described. I think this is easily changed to "keeping the class environment happy/efficient/a place to learn" etc. I also feel like for the scoreboard, I would modify. I don't like the arbitrary giving and taking points for no reason other than the teacher feels like it.

Overall, a
Jan 19, 2019 rated it liked it
I found a lot of great gems in this book, but had to weed through a lot of not-gems. I appreciate some concrete strategies to make learning more fun for my students, but could do without all the scoreboard, shame-based, nonsense.
Nicole Shaw
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I haven't been able to actually go to a workshop but this was the next best thing. I highlighted and tagged so many different strategies for my class. I even dreamt of using some of these strategies,.lol!!!
Jan 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Some good ideas, but Fred Jones' Tools for Teaching is less hyperbolic and more informative.
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
The book presents an interesting new method to deal with and also to get the best out of problematic students. The points made are interesting but the book is somehow repetitive.
Mandy Ellis
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I promised a book review a month, but my second book was too good not to gobble up and I’m ahead of my resolutions. Just remember this when I may slack in future months on getting my thoughts down. I just finished reading Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle. I was initially introduced to the concept by first grade team, Jen Donavan and Courtney Erikson, last year when they provided PD on some of the basic components of whole brain teaching. I have seen how the “Class-Yes” s ...more
Daniél Minton
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am not a teacher, but I did major in elementary education for a while, and have been thinking about going back. I read this because it was available free on my Kindle, and I wanted something to get me in that teaching mindset to help with my decision.

At first I wasn't crazy about the method of classroom management. It seemed too controlling, for lack of a better word. However, Biffle says over and over that you cannot convey your passion for literature, science, the arts, or learning in gener
Feb 06, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction
This is very little new under the sun. Essentially it is extreme pair-sharing and chunking. That's it. I just saved you a read.

I'm a middle school English teacher. This book insisted the ideas could be used in all grades, even in college. But the math teacher attempting it in our middle school is fighting against the students who think it is ridiculously elementary. For a book that insists it is a K-12 system, they spent the bulk of their time with elementary examples. Their conflict resolution
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Whole Brain Teaching is a method of teaching where students become engaged in the lessons. The lessons are interactive allowing students to better understand the material. The information, along with simple classroom rules, included in the book is constantly repeated. The lessons also involve the five senses of seeing, hearing, doing, speaking, and feeling. This teaching method finds success because all students can easily learn in a fun environment. Even if kids learn differently, there are ma ...more
Dave Suscheck
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
It's fine.
Feb 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: education
This book is not research-based and when questioned, Biffle rarely has answers. People who try to work with him tend to lose faith in his methods over time.

However, there are a few techniques I found useful, such as the Super Improvers wall (which is based on intrinsic motivation if done correctly), but the key pieces are all available online. After trying to use it several times in my classroom, I'm not a fan of most of Biffle's methods. They don't work with my teaching style or my early child
Aug 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Every teacher should read this book! This seems to be an excellent way to handle classrooms that are becoming much more challenging. I love that the book gives very specific dialogue to teach class procedures that are based on brain research. The book also includes examples of classrooms from Kindergarten to College which is unusual. After reading this book, I have excitement for my classroom and teaching and I can't wait to recommend this book to my colleagues. It is certainly thought provoking ...more
Amy Shook
Jul 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I think the ideas Biffle puts forth in this book are perfect for what the world needs now in education. Let's face it, educating our children has become a money game left in the hands of Corporate America and that has made the job of teaching much more difficult for those of us who teach. These ideas are based in solid brain research and are aligned with best practices. What a great way to give students small, digestible chunks of information, keep them engaged, stick to the topic, review and pr ...more
Beth Stephens
Aug 27, 2015 rated it liked it
It's a fun idea to have phrases that get kids' attention and have them interacting in the class. I like that the students are re-teaching their peers what they just learned, but the implementation of the behavior plan at first confused me. After re-reading it, I realized it would be hard to keep up with all the little different pieces of paper on the wall with students names changing colors and adding stickers to them. I would like to use most of the phrases/ideas in this book to keep attention ...more
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was a little skeptical to read this book because of all the mixed review it received. However, I really enjoyed it. This was a book that not only told you the theory behind the classroom management technique, it also showed you EXACTLY how to go about doing it in your classroom. There was a lot of information packed into this one book. I am excited to implement these techniques into my classroom this year and love that there are free resources that go along with it. What else could teachers as ...more
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I have been teaching for five years now so I wasn't expecting to read anything I haven't heard before, but I was wrong! This book is full of great ideas, strategies, scripts, and resources to get your class organized and in line. I read it on my kindle and now I want to get a colored paper copy to mark up and use in the classroom. This book seems like one that I can return to again and again for new ideas.
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book has changed the way that I teach forever! I have re-read sections of it several times as it has helped my classroom management & teaching effectiveness in a positive way. I started out with a few of the ideas from the book, and have added more ideas throughout each school year to build on the success.
Cathleen Bonville
Jan 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle
I completely and wholeheartedly recommend this book. I found success with y students with just the first few items I read about. I cannot wait to incorporate more into my classes. Although the book is geared toward classroom teachers, I am easily able to adapt to my music classroom. Perfect for my high poverty low motivation students.
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some great ideas!!! I'm already using some of the techniques in my classroom--surprising how quickly even primary age students can pick up the strategies and use them. A good resource you'll find yourself coming back to again and again.
Jerri Gardner
Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I have already implemented pieces and parts of this in my classroom, which the kids have responded well to and enjoyed. I enjoyed reading about some different strategies that I would like to try this year, but there are some things that just don't resonant with me and the kids I teach.
Jul 28, 2014 rated it liked it
Good ideas for teaching. I've used parts of this book but mostly, I've slipped back into my old style of teaching (which isn't bad, by the way). However, I'm going to try to refocus on a few of these ideas because I see the validity in them.
Barb Keltner
Aug 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Some great and simple teaching techniques that are fun for both students and teacher -- but effective ways to keep students focused and learning. I've watched some of the videos that go with it and want to watch them again, now that I've read the book!
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Interesting and helpful, especially in terms of an author actually laying out precise information about how to make WBT work in a classroom. I will implement many of these practices in my classroom next year and may come back and change my rating based on the outcomes!
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“We enter teaching because we want students to be successful and we are daily beaten down by the kids who most need our help.” 1 likes
“(On a side note: we believe there will be no substantial educational reform until administrators, specifically principals, roll up their sleeves, step into rebellious classes and show teachers how to instruct unruly students. We need educational leaders… not financial bean counters.” 0 likes
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