Friday, January 19, 2018

Celebrating BrainSMART’s 20-Year Anniversary: Teachers Speak

Florida Teacher leader Beth Brissette used BrainSMART strategies and principles in the classroom as a means of motivating students to learn new things and grow new connections in their brains. Here, she describes how she used pipe cleaners as a visual aid for representing these new connections.

Making a Model to Show How We
“Grow Our Brains”

In these demanding days of teaching in public education, what I learned from Marcus and Donna now 20 years ago has been my solace and inspiration.

I’d also like to share how much the BrainSMART strategies enriched my teaching life and the day-to-day lives of my past second-graders. I believe the most powerful lesson to begin each year with was that of teaching about dendrites.

I used pipe cleaners to demonstrate axons and dendrites. Then I explained how the children could actually connect their dendrites by learning new things, problem solving, etc. I explained that copying someone’s work won’t do the trick, nor will watching TV. Then I gave each student several pipe cleaners and showed them how to make a model of an axon with dendrites. I would pop up a scenario, and the children would either stand still, or connect their “dendrites” with another child’s pipe cleaners.

Then, throughout the year, the children were very cognizant that doing their own work, learning actively, doing cross-laterals, and learning BrainSMART strategies, was “growing their brains.” One of my boys stated that he “taught” his doctor about dendrites not long after that beginning-of-year lesson!

I attribute this to the research and sharing of professors Marcus and Donna Conyers! 

One of my past second-graders, Alissa R., was a fortunate recipient a of a visit from the BrainSMART team at my elementary school. She since has become a public elementary school teacher. She told me that she still vividly remembers Marcus teaching a Social Studies lesson about the Redcoats during the Revolutionary War, presented over ten years ago!

Beth Brissette

Florida Teacher Leader

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.