NMSA: Teaching the Middle School Brain

MY THOUGHTS IN ALL CAPS

Presenter: Dr. Spencer Kagan

Session Description: In this active, hands-on, brains-on presentation, you will view active brain images and experience a range of brain-science based instructional strategies to meet the unique needs of middle school students. The strategies 1) dramatically enhance engagement and achievement; 2) improve peer relations; 3) increase liking for class and learning. The engaging strategies include Traveling Heads Together; Listen Right!; and Take Off, Touch Down. An extensive handout is provided.

LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS ONE…WIFE ATTENDED KAGAN TRAINING THIS SUMMER AND LOVED IT, HAVE THE BOOK OF STRUCTURES AT HOME ALREADY, WILL BE INTERESTING TO HEAR WHAT HE’S GOT TO SAY!

Brain is more engaged during social interaction. Not enough to say Talk to a Partner or “Work Together”

Student Selector Spinner used to get materials collectors for group.

Goals of the session:

  1. 5 Principles of Brain Friendly Teaching
  2. Align Instruction to How Brain Learns Best through Structures
  3. Silly Sports & Goofy Games lead to Brain Friendly Classroom
  4. Deepen our Understading of our 3 Pound Miracle

Quiet Signal – under 5 seconds, when you see the signal: Raise Hand, Focus Fully on teacher, Signal Others…Attention leads to Retention…Quiet Signal gets folks attention quickly…External/Novel Stimuli gives an Orienting Response in the brain…Brain designed for survival so novel stimuli engages this trait…

Pair Discussion – Why you came to this session, what you know about brain, what you hope to learn – not good cooperative learning…actually increases gap between higher and lower student…high students talk and learn, low student minds wander VERY INTERESTING…MAKES SENSE

Rally Robin – trade sentences with partner…GREAT IN CLASSROOM, BUT WOULD NEED LOTS OF PRACTICE…KIDS TOTALLY WOULDN’T BE USED TO THAT TYPE OF INTERACTION…Leads to Verbalization which leads to Retention.

Mirror Neurons – Contagion of Attention…When you look at someone performing something, our brain acts as if we are doing that…basis for empathy…look of disgust on someone’s face causes you to feel disgust…baby doesn’t even know it has a tongue, yet it sticks out in response to you sticking out your tongue. VERY COOL…

Take Off – TouchDown – Say something, if true, stand up, if not sit down…instead of raising hand, moves whole body…Leads to more glucose and oxygen in the brain than just raising hand…Better nourishment…Brain Craves Novelty…Mix up structures

Brain is only about 2 pounds but gets almost 20% of the glucose and oxygen and nutrients

Hand comparison of brain and neurons

Novelty leads to Attention which leads to Retention

Stand Up, hand up, pair up –

Students remember more of what they say than what we say…want high achievement? Stop TALKING!

Frequent Processing

  • More energy for new learning – frequent processing lessens inhibiting responses which drain energy
  • Clarify and refine thinking – fills in gaps
  • Store in long-term memory
  • Clear working memory – very limited capacity for working memory
  • Engage multiple intelligences and multiple memory systems

Emotion helps lead to Retention

Celebrity Interview – Example questions: Where have you lived in your life? What would your friends say they like about you most? Each person makes two questions, 45 second round robin with each person answering whichever questions they choose.

Amygdalae starts firing it shuts down the pre-frontal cortex…stress shuts down real thinking and leads to only survival thinking.

Silly Sports and Goofy Games – Hagoo – game played by the Inuit…challenge is to make the other person smile or laugh…if you make them laugh yell I Got You! and the other person says I’ve Been Gotten. Find a new partner and continue.  Releases endorphins, lowers cortisol levels.

Brain is never more engaged than during social interaction.  Must decode their words, facial expressions, gestures, body language…activates mirror neurons…Encode my own thinking…

Social Interaction leads to Engagement leads to Retention

 

Books

Spark by John Ravey

MIRRORING PEOPLE  BY MARCO IACOBONI

Memory and Emotion by James McGaugh

Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

GOOD SESSION…LOTS OF INFO…LOOKING FORWARD TO DIGGING INTO THE STRUCTURES FURTHER…GREAT WAYS TO ENGAGE IN CLASS, BRAIN BASED, SHOULD FIT RIGHT INTO MY CLASSROOM ALREADY, WITH SOME PRACTICE OF COURSE!

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