Brains are Great

“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities”.
– Dr. Suess

I love learning about brain function — not sure if that qualifies me as a bit of a geek, but nonetheless, they fascinate me. I find myself in constant social interactions where only part of my attention is being given to the actual interaction itself, while the other part of my attention is wondering or predicting what parts of the brain are functioning together or what is going on in a person’s brain that makes them respond accordingly to the interaction. I read a book called Brain Rules by John Medina last year and ever since, I have been hooked.

When I am reading or learning about something I often have a mental video playing in my head… you know those brain animations when they are describing the anatomy and that part lights up. That’s what I think about. It’s very difficult to focus on something when you are constantly thinking about what your own brain is doing and how it might be processing the new information. Especially when brain research tells us that multi-tasking makes us much less effective thinkers/doers.

So, thank your ancestors for your brain and watch this video or read this book.

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Reteach and Enrich – How to Make Time for Every Student

Video

A presenter in my EPSY class shared her work on differentiated instruction last Thursday. One of the things she shared what this video.

I have struggled for so long with the idea of leveled groups. I often feel as if students know which group they are in. If they are in the lower group, this may effect their self-esteem and may cause bullying from students in other groups.

This video opened up a whole new concept for me. Even calling the groups “reteach” and “enrich” changes how teachers and students view the members of each group. Students get to learn about differentiated instruction and how everyone has certain strengths in certain areas. In addition, students in the “reteach” group aren’t “reteach” lifers. They get to move up. In turn, the “enrich” students will have areas in which they are challenged and have to have additional time to work with these concepts. Students even get to work with peers in other classrooms.

I especially liked the collaboration that the teachers showed in the video. The one who was stronger with the specific math topic taught the enrich students that week. The teachers are also modeling for students that one doesn’t need to be good at everything — everyone has strengths and everyone has challenges.

There are many pieces from this video that I know I can use in my own classrooms of the future. It would be excellent to be part of a school-team that taught differentiated instruction through “Reteach and Enrich”.

Project of Heart

In my pre-internship I worked with a classroom of grade four students. During my three-week block I taught about Canadian residential schools. We connected with Project of Heart where we had to do a number of tasks, some of which included inviting an Elder into the classroom, creating an action plan and painting the tiles seen in the image to commemorate students who died in residential schools.