Knowledge about brain-based learning is such an important part of being able to teach. By knowing how the brain works we are better able to assist our students when they are being taught. It is vital for students to also know the type of learner they are so that they can better adjust to differing tasks. This all leads into differentiation. All students are different, they learn differently, they have different lives outside of the classroom, and they need differently things within the classroom to be able to fulfill their potentials. Reading the other blogs this week just reaffirmed what I believe. When students arrive in our classrooms they are coming from completely different worlds outside of the classroom. Different stresses, different family dynamics, even different ways that they do things. When they get to our classroom it may be the only safe place that they have in their lives. It may be a place they don’t want to be, or a place they absolutely love being. As teachers we need to create an environment in the classroom that is safe and comfortable. I was reminded this week that we also need to create a safe social environment, when kids are kind to each other, use manners, and learn to solve their own personal issues (with mentoring, when needed) in and out of the classroom. If they feel listened to and comfortable with the other kids in the classroom it allows for them to become open enough to share their thoughts and ideas. It creates an engaging environment that includes willing participants.
I really liked the site Gonoodle.com that Amanda wrote about. It has brain break activities that kids can do in between activities. Research states that we should only have students sit for a short period of time when giving direct instruction. It also states that having them active in between classroom activities can really help students focus, allowing for more oxygenated blood flow. It is hard to incorporate this for a lot of teachers, but it is proven to be helpful. Even adults need movement, this is why I love having classes that are online. I can put a headset on and walk around if I need a break from sitting. Then Scott mentioned how some kids need quiet when doing their work, while others might need a little movement. In order to incorporate the needs of all, having them do it all together will assist in this situation. Constant differentiation and monitoring of styles and needs is such an essential part of the learning world for our students.