Thursday, June 14, 2018

Motivating Middle School Minds

Impassioned educator Christina Issac has never shied away from a challenge—like focusing her talents on tumultuous ’tweens in middle school.

Issac’s experience as a middle school teacher includes teaching sixth-graders at Washington Middle School in Cairo, Georgia. In an interview with the BrainSMART publication, Effective Teaching, Successful Students, she explained that BrainSMART retention strategies transformed her classroom, including inclusion students in special education.

Her students were allowed to look up during tests, to activate the visual part of the brain that is connected to memory. Practical Optimism and the EFFORT strategy helped get her adolescent students in a receptive mindset for learning.

Teaching the middle school grade level is not easy. With students’ hormones in full fluctuation, Ms. Issac observed that it is easy for this age group to become moody and pessimistic. But aided by visuals of an ant carrying a watermelon, Ms. Issac has been able to keep the kids focused on their brains’ tremendous potential for learning and achievement.

Ms. Issac, who earned a M.S. degree with a major in Brain-Based Teaching, encouraged other educators to look into the graduate degree program, saying it helps teachers earn the respect and pay increases they deserve. She also described the program as helping to equip them to reach more children with diverse needs. “This is a new way to look at teaching and a new way to reach children,” she concluded.

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