Celebrate good times, come on!

August 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm 2 comments

Last week I attended a workshop called Brain-based Learning: Brain Power! with Deb Estes. The presenter was both funny and knowledgeable. She used the strategies she wanted us to use as she was presenting. But it was not demeaning the way it can be when adults are taught as if they are children. It was simply fun and informational.

The presenter offered lots of teaching ideas as she described the chemistry and biology of learning in the brain. I could not possibly include everything she discussed here, but I will tell you that costumes, toys and songs are not only entertaining. They are an important way to grab students’ attention and wake up the brain when it starts getting sleepy.

Certain costumes, toys and songs can act as memory anchors after students have explored a concept and made meaning of ideas. If not directly related to a new learning concept, they can be a way to build a positive classroom culture – as in the classroom “celebrations” offered  by Dr. Jean at www.drjean.org.

My favorite part of our workshop was when the presenter asked us to stand up and belly laugh silently. You would think this would feel awkward, but the silence made it easier. And after a few seconds of fake laughing, you can’t help but real laughing. And then you start laughing harder because it so hard to laugh silently.

Our presenter said that the brain needs movement at least every 14 minutes in order to receive enough oxygen and glucose. So, go on! Get celebrating!


Entry filed under: Costumes, Manipulatives, Motivation. Tags: , , , , .

Confession and Commitment Going a Mile Deep

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mrsbasement  |  August 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    I went to a workshop on addictions and the limbic system. The presenters big take home message was that we use cognitive behavioral interventions to address addictions, but that cognitive behavioral interventions tap the prefrontal cortex, while the meat and potatoes of addiction happens in the limbic system. Big point: group therapy, family therapy, nature, mindfullness, and expressive arts therapies help people change behavior — not talking and writing. thats clearly true for learning, too. yay us for agreeing with eachother! ;}

  • 2. Rebecca  |  August 12, 2010 at 3:43 am

    You have been going to so many cool workshops!

    This is really interesting! I recently had a similar experience with a fifth-grade student where whenever she seemed to start to be losing focus we would take a break to jump up and down and dance. It got to the point where she would notice if she needed to refocus and ask to take a jump break. But I had no idea it should happen every 13 minutes! I need to get on that!

    I am always on the lookout for ways to incorporate multi-sensory learning into my work with students. One of my favorites is the rockin the standards album of math songs. I’m also interested in investigating ways of body-based learning, like body rhythms for learning math.

    It’s so weird that we have enshrined this silent/passive sit and listen, read quietly, write quietly, think quietly, learn invisibly model, when learning through singing, dancing, manipulatives, and games just works so much better!


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