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A World Leader In Brain Based Education More free learning materials available at For conference at your school or district

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Presentation on theme: "A World Leader In Brain Based Education More free learning materials available at For conference at your school or district"— Presentation transcript:


2 A World Leader In Brain Based Education More free learning materials available at For conference at your school or district

3 Electronic Biffytoons Electronic Biffytoons is a PowerPoint supplement to Biffytoons (a pdf available as a free download at Electronic Biffytoons, in addition to being composed of slides that can be easily rearranged, contains several features not found in the pdf. Each Electronic Biffytoons cartoon is followed by two “print” versions of the word. The first “print” version outlines the word in a box, to help students see the word’s shape. The second “print” version presents the word itself, so that students will be able to read without the aid of a cartoon or word outline. In addition, every word in Electronic Biffytoons emphasizes the beginning sound (phoneme) with a blue letter (or letters if the word begins with a blend). Students should be encouraged to sound out the blue letters as beginning exercises in phonics. As students gain experience with Electronic Biffytoons, duplicate slides of the more difficult words, add your own words, customize Electronic Biffytoons in whatever way will be most useful to your new readers. The introduction to the pdf version of Biffytoons follows.

4 Biffytoons Only 100 sight words, like “the, to, a, and” make up over 50% of all words children read. If students cannot master the 100 most common sight words by the end of the first grade, their chances for success in school are dramatically impaired. To make learning sight words easier and more entertaining for lower grade students, Electronic Biffytoons illustrate many of the most common words with cartoons. For example, here is the word “go”. Each Biffytoon presents a gesture that illustrates the sight word. Thus, when students learn the word “go” they point their hand, in the same way as the pig’s hand in the picture. Here are three more Biffytoons. When students learn “down”, they move their hand down, as the squirrel goes “down” the tree. When students learn the word “can,” they make the gorilla’s gesture, showing that they “can” do anything. When students learn the word “be” they should put one finger over their lips, as the tiger says “be” quiet.

5 For additional practice, some Biffytoons contain captions that use the illustrated word. In cartoons like the one above, your class should first learn the word, “get” and the gesture, reaching for an imaginary fruit. When these have been mastered, students can practice reading the associated phrase, “I get one.” All the phrases used in Biffytoons, employ several sight words. As a teacher guides a class through Biffytoons (or as a parent helps his/her child), children learn in four ways: -- visually (visual cortex): the word is illustrated by the Biffytoons cartoon -- physically (motor cortex): the Biffytoons character presents a memory gesture -- aurally (auditory cortex): the student hears the sight word pronounced by the parent/teacher -- orally (Broca’s area): the student says the sight word In addition, because kids love cartoons, the process of memorizing sight words using Biffytoons generates a great deal of fun (limbic system). We believe that involving students’ feelings in education cannot be overemphasized. The vast majority of Whole Brain Teaching practitioners are not college professors, but in-the-trenches K-12 educators. We know from experience that our kids learn the most when they are having the most fun learning. The more entertaining you can make Biffytoons, and especially practicing the gestures, the more quickly your students will learn sight words.

6 This PowerPoint program contains Biffytoons for 48 of the most common words arranged in three sets of 16 each: Set 1: Words 1-16 the, to, and, he, a, I, you, it, of, in, was, said, his, that, she, for, on Set 2: Words 17-32 they, but, had, at, him, with, up, see, all, look, is, her, there, some, word, out Set 3: Words 33-48 as, be, each, have, g, we, am, then, little, down, do, can, could, when, did, what The Biffytoons words are arranged in order of frequency in reading; thus, “the” is the most common word in English; “to” is the next most common word, and so forth. Despite their arrangement in sets, the words can be taught in any order you wish. Teaching Biffytoons Teaching Biffytoons is quite simple. Follow these steps: 1. Put a Biffytoons cartoon on the wall. 2. Tell your students the word and explain the gesture (see below) 3. Rehearse the word and gesture frequently in a variety of ways. a. Ask your students to repeat after you, as you say the word and make the gesture. b. Use the word in several short sentences; ask your students to do the same. c. Make the gesture and ask your students to say the word. d. Say the word and ask your students to make the gesture. e. When you have several Biffytoons on the wall, divide your class into pairs of stronger and weaker readers (of course, you won’t tell your students how they are divided.) Number the pairs in 1s and 2s. Have the 1s make gestures and the 2s say the associated word; then switch their roles. When you shout “switch!,” your class shouts “switch!” and the 2s’ make the gestures and the 1s say the words. 4. When your class has mastered a Biffytoons cartoon, replace the cartoon with the printed word. When students read the word, they should continue to make the correct gesture.

7 5. As your students develop fluency with sight words, go on to SuperSpeed 100, a sight word reading game for beginning readers available at The first 48 words in SuperSpeed 100 are arranged in the same order as the 48 Biffytoons words. We, and many others in education, believe that gestures, the kinesthetic component of learning, are enormously powerful education aids. The motor cortex is the brain’s most reliable and long lasting memory area. If someone hasn’t been on a bicycle in 30 years, they can still ride flawlessly, because bike riding skills are stored in their motor cortex. Associating a gesture with a sight word will have a magical impact on your students. You will notice that some of your students, when stumped by a word, will, nonetheless, make the gesture... their motor cortex is cueing the rest of their brain’s recall! The following is a list of the 48 Biffytoons with an explanation of the gesture for each. Students do not need to learn what some characters “say”... these notes can simply be used when you explain the gestures to your children. Set 1: Words 1-16 the: forefinger on nose: the tiger is saying “the nose” to: the forefinger of one hand moving toward the palm of the other: the cat’s finger is moving to the palm and: closed fist (no thumb up): the bird holds a worm and a flower he: students’ forefingers point at their imaginary bow tie a: thumb and forefinger make a small circle: explain, “see the ‘a’ has a small circle and your thumb and forefinger make a small circle.” I: thumb moves vigorously toward chest you: forefinger pointing at an imaginary person, you. of: hold up an imaginary piece of paper: the rabbit is saying, “I have a piece of paper”

8 in: put the thumb inside the fist: the tiger says “my thumb is in my fist” was: move one thumb over the shoulder to indicate the past: the bear says “that was yesterday” said: open and close the fingers once his: point one forefinger at an imaginary bow tie (note the difference from “he” that uses both hands) that: point one finger in the air at an imaginary butterfly: the squirrel says “that is a butterfly” she: point two fingers at an imaginary hair bow for: hold a tiny elephant in one hand and point at it with the other: the giant says “the hand is for holding” on: students put one hand on their head: the rabbit says “my hand is on my head” Set 2: Words 17-32 they: point both hands in the air and waggle them at imaginary birds: the character behind the wall says, “they are birds” but: put one hand on the cheek: the lion says “but I don’t know” had: using one forefinger, play with an imaginary yo-yo: the monkey says “I had a yo-yo” at: put one hand on the hip as shown: the rat says “my hand is at my hip” him: raise an imaginary hat (note that this is the same bear as in “he” and “his”) with: interlace the fingers: the dog says “my fingers are with each other” up: move one hand upward see: point two fingers at the eyes (note difference with “look” below) all: rub both hands past each other: the duck says “all my fingers” look: shade the eyes with one hand is: wiggle the fingers of one hand in the air: explain “see, the word is has a shape like wiggly snakes and so we wiggle our fingers” her: point one hand at a hair bow (note difference from “she” above): say “she has a hair bow” there: point one finger on each hand at an imaginary object

9 some: tap your teeth: the rabbit says “I have some teeth” word: hold an imaginary pencil in one hand and write a word in the air out: thumb’s up gesture: the thumb is out of the fist Set 3: Words 33-48 as: throw an imaginary ball: the cat says “as I throw” be: the forefinger touches the lips (note difference from “the” where the forefinger touches the nose): the tiger says “be quiet” each: with the forefinger of one hand, touch the fingers of the other hand: the bear says “each finger” have: wrap your arms around yourself: the bear says “I have me” go: with the arm outstretched, point the forefinger: the pig says “I go” we: bump the knuckles of both hands together or, more fun, students bump knuckles with each other: the sharks (and students) say “we are friends” am: hold up an imaginary mirror: the duck says “I am me” then: extend your hand at arm’s length, open and then close your hand: the chipmunk says “open then closed” little: put your thumb and forefinger together, making a “little” gesture: the mouse says “I am little” down: move one hand down do: repeatedly move the closed fist, holding an imaginary banana, toward the mouth... the fist is moved repeatedly to show present tense, an ongoing action (contrast with “did” below): the gorilla says “I do eat” can: hold up both arms like the gorilla: the gorilla says “I can”... note difference with “could” below could: hold up one arm, imitating the gorilla’s gesture: the gorilla says “I could”... when: tap an imaginary watch on your wrist: the hippo says “When it is time” did: moved the closed fist which holds an imaginary banana once, decisively toward the mouth indicating past tense, a completed action: the gorilla says “I did eat” what: hold both hands out in the air, as if saying “what?” For additional free learning materials, visit

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