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Friday, May 25, 2012


O.K.  I’m a sucker for brain books.  I think I have read every book that has been written on how brain research can influence teaching practices.  The truth is, I think I knew a great deal about the brain before I read the books.  Good teaching is good teaching!  You KNOW when the kids’ eyes light up and you are making those connections!

The first brain book I read was BRAIN BASED LEARNING by Eric Jensen.  I’ve bought several more recent editions, but it is still my “go to” book.  When I read it 15 years ago I kept thinking, “I know that!  I know that!” because it simply reaffirmed my experiences in the classroom.  Some brain books are a little boring and too heavy on the biological aspects of the brain.  (When I start my car I don’t really care about how the engine works – I just want to know how to make it go.)  I am more interested in how I can improve classroom instruction and get my message to children’s brains than the chemical connections.

A teacher recently recommended BRAIN RULES by John Medina.  It’s a great read!  Seriously!  This guy is an entertaining writer and integrates humor and personal experiences to make his “12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School” come alive.  Look at his list and give yourself ten points if you already do these things.  I bet you'll all score at least 100!!!

1.     Exercise – exercise boosts brain power.
2.    Survival – the brain adapts and evolves.
3.    Wiring – every brain is wired differently.
4.    Attention – we don’t pay attention to boring things.
5.    Short- term memory – you have to repeat to remember.
6.    Long-term memory – remember to repeat.
7.    Sleep – sleep well, think well.
8.    Stress – stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
9.    Sensory integration – stimulate more of the senses.
10.  Vision – vision trumps all other senses.
11.   Gender – male and female brains are different.
12.   Exploration – we are powerful and natural explorers.

Knowledge is power!  The more knowledge of the brain you possess, the more power you have to justify singing, moving, playing games, and making sure children are smiling and truly engaged in learning!

Shut your door and kiss your brains!!!