external image brain1.jpgexternal image ERPoster2006.jpg

Student Behaviour Management using the Emotional Rooms - pdf article
Learning with the Brain in Mind: John Joseph - article
Learning with the Brain in Mind: John Joseph - FULL article
John Joseph Publications

Enhance Learning with Technology: Brain Research
Neuroscience for Kids
Brain Lesson Plans - varied levels
More Brain Lesson Plans - varied levels
The Human Brain - Lesson Plans
Brain Awarness Week - Lessons

Brain Games
Brain Videos
Me and My Brain - Link to Jeanette's planning

Classroom Energizers!
Master Brain Based Learning in 10 Steps!
Enhance Learning with Technology (Brain Based Research Wiki)
Brain Based Learning Overview
12 Design Principles Based on Brain Research

Brain Based Teaching & Learning By Amanda Post

external image brainimganim2.gifThis was a presentation of a class project for an American grad course in Brain Based Teaching & Learning.

Description of Setting
  • I teach in a kindergarten classroom consisting of 22 students.
  • The children's ages range from 5 to 7 years of age
  • Three students have speech/language instruction 60-90 minutes per week.
  • Two students receive special tutoring at least 30 minutes per week through the At-Risk program.
  • Three students have been retained (two of which transferred here from other schools).
  • During the course of this semester, we've had three friends move away, while three new students have joined our class.

Types of Students and Goals

Global Focus on the Classroom Environment
I need to change the way I manage activities in the classroom to create a safe environment for learning. Also, I want to improve the sense of community because many of my students fight with one another on a daily basis.


Interesting Student

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My perfect student is a successful and motivated learner. Her learning is supported at home by parents who encourage her to learn and behave her best. She has good relationships with her classmates.
My interesting student falls behind in class work. She seems distracted, and occasionally adds to classroom discussion. She is sometimes motivated, but most work is not completed. Motivated or not, everything is done slowly, from writing her name to eating snack. She also struggles in her relationships with other children in the classroom.
My groaner student is a constant disruption to every aspect of the day. He is impulsive and active which often results in altercations with other students in the classroom and at recess. During instruction, he either calls our answers and concerns, or bothers other students. Otherwise, he is quite creative, catches on quickly, and seems to enjoy learning.
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I would like my perfect student to work with and support other learners in the classroom.
I would like my interesting student to become a consistent, active participant in classroom activities, and to complete projects in a timely manner.
I would like my groaner sudent to minimize interruptions and to gain control of his actions against other students.

Brain-Based Techniques Implemented in my Classroom
How this relates to the brain
water bottles, more bathroom breaks
Most students have a water bottle from which to drink freely. With increased hydration, the students needed more bathroom breaks. I don't have thirsty students anymore! They can also tell me why it's important to drink water.
According to Jensen, research has shown that dehydration causes higher salt levels in the blood which in turn raises blood pressure and stress. Also, since the brain is made up of more water than any other organ in the body, dehydration takes a toll quickly. It causes a loss of attentiveness, and lethargy (26).
morning snack
We have a small snack, drinks, and they are ready to listen. No complaints about hunger anymore!
Jensen suggests eating certain types of food for optimal learning like fruits and vegetables, nuts, and lean meats (25).

While we did not eat these types of foods, we know that the brain needs energy and children need to be comfortable in order to learn.

provide breaks between activities
We started taking our bathroom break in the middle of our reading time rather than before or after. When we moved on after the break, they were more focused and ready to work.
According to Jensen, movement can help focus attention (44). He also suggests providing processing time after teaching in order for students to solidify learning. This, however, pertains more to down time when external stimuli is shut down and allows the brain to make associations (47).
change schedule to fit students' needs
I decided to schedule work time when they were ready to work, and rest time when they were ready to rest. After lunch, we have centers or instructional time. After snack, we have rest time. Everybody's happy!
Jensen says everyone has natural attentional highs and lows throughout the day. Teachers should take advantage of these cycles rather than fight them. (44 - 45).
have positive interactions with students
I try to personally greet each student when they arrive in the morning, and I am more aware of what I say to students.
Threats biologically impair a student's ability to learn. In his book, Jensen points out that there are three areas of threats: threats from outside class, threats from other students, and threats from the teacher. The teacher can control threats from him or herself and threats from other students (59).
improved transitions
The children now have a set routine they follow during transitions, and I ALWAYS warn them 5 minutes ahead of time.
Like threats, stress also biologically impairs a student's ability to learn. Knowing what to expect and establishing a routine helps reduce stress.
rearranged the room
The furniture was rearranged to provide more space, and to more comfortably seat students. I added a small table for my groaner, which made table time much easier for him.
The new arrangement reduced stress by allowing students to have more personal space, and see the front of the room without having to turn their chairs around.
vary learning activities
We used musical instruments to find beats in words, cut apart sentence strips and used our bodies to order words in sentences, played rhyming games, and cut back on activities with less active student involvement.
"We remember that which is most emotionally laden," says Jensen. Emotions stimulate our brains to recall things better. Choosing activities which are new, or require students to engage their emotions, faciliates learning (79-80). Novel activities also attract attention.

Did I Achieve my Goals?

Classroom as a Whole
I have less stress, so the students probably have less stress. Student behavior was much improved after I implemented these techniques. I also have not noticed my students fight with one another like they had in the past. I want to continue working on reducing threats and stress for my students.
Perfect, Interesting, and Groaner Children
Nothing really changed, other than classroom environment, for the perfect and interesting children. The groaner still needs help in many areas. Changing the seating arrangement helped his behavior at the tables, and a more structured transition time helped greatly as well.

Books (Available at amazon.com)

Teaching with the brain in mind - Eric Jensen
Brain-Based Learning & Teaching - Eric Jensen
The Learning Brain - Eric Jensen
Introduction to Brain Compatible Learning - Eric Jensen
Brain Compatible Strategies - Eric Jensen
Magic Trees of the Mind - Marian Diamond
Your Child's Growing Mind - A guide to learning and brain development from birth through adolescence - Jane Healy
Making Connections - Teaching & the Human Brain - Renate Nummela Caine & Geoffrey Caine
How the Brain Learns - with learning manual - David Sousa


Build Your Baby's Brain - Through the Power of Music
Music for Mothers-to-be - Lullabies for Mother and Child

Related Websites

Artful Minds - This project provides theoretical information and practical applications about arts education, brain research, and technology use and integration.

Brain-Based Learning - This page provides an introduction to brain-based learning
Library - links to interesting articles
Brain Compatible Learning - This is an excellent article by Jane McGeehan on brain-compatible learning including a brief history, implications, and applications. She focuses on they key brain research findings 1) emotion is the gatekeeper to learning; 2) intelligence is a function of experience; and 3) the brain stores most effectively what is meaningful from the learner s perspective.
The Brain Lab - This page within the New Horizons website links to articles related to brain-based learning.
Brain Connection: The Brain and Learning - This website provides resources, links, and ideas for incorporating brain-compatible learning projects into your classroom.
Brain Research Concepts - This page explains six brain research concepts.
Is the Fuss About Brain Research Justified? - In this excellent article, Sousa (1998) answers tough questions about the importance of brain research in education.
Surprising Truths: The Implications of Brain Research - This article by Maria Almendarez Barron provides interesting, practical implications from brain research.