Unlocking the Mind: Translating Brain Science into Better Teaching

Return address - https://go.mgpd.org/utm

Groundbreaking research on the brain is revealing fascinating insights into how students learn best. In this information-packed session, we will explore the cognitive science behind memory, attention, critical thinking, and more. Learn powerful evidence-based strategies to harness the brain's natural learning capabilities and limitations. 

Discover how knowledge of neural networks, plasticity, and cognitive load theory is translated into improved teaching methods, curriculum design, and educational technology. Whehter you teach preschoolers or PhD candidates, this session will provide applicable takeaways to enhance your instruction.

Brain-Based Learning

Access the slide deck for this session (click the picture to the left).

You may want to catch up on brain-based learning (see books at bottom of page), but this blog entry has a nice summation.

Engage students’ brain with these approaches:

True and False Stuff

Did you know that there are a ton of brain-based learning myths? 

Bonus: See Brain-Based Strategies That Work

Think-Pair-Share Activities

Here are two of my favorite Think-Pair-Share activities variations. Learn about others.

Inside-Outside Circle

Sage and Scribe

Develop students' ability to explain concepts in a clear manner. Taking notes or detailing the process in writing also is a surface learning activity, great for introducing new ideas, skills. 

What's YOUR favorite
Think-Pair-Share activity
to engage students?

AI Powered Brain Breaks

Here are some ChatGPT generated brain break prompts. 

Note: Prompt used to generate these below appears at the bottom of the page.

Prompt: What are some prompts to generate brain breaks for use in K-12 classrooms across content areas? Suggest prompts that teachers can use with chatbots to get brain breaks in their classroom.

Simon Says: "Simon says touch your toes, now touch your nose!" - Get students moving and following simple instructions.

Quick Math Challenge: "Solve this math problem: 7 x 4 + 12." - Engage students in a quick mental math challenge to stimulate their brains.

Word Association: "I'll say a word, and you respond with the first word that comes to mind. Ready? Apple." - Encourage creative thinking and vocabulary building.

Breathing Exercise: "Let's take a minute to practice deep breathing. Breathe in slowly for four counts, hold for four, and exhale for four." - Help students relax and reduce stress.

Would You Rather: "Would you rather be a famous actor or a successful scientist? Share your choice and why." - Spark discussions and critical thinking.

Describe the Weather: "Close your eyes and describe the weather outside using only your senses." - Encourage mindfulness and descriptive writing.

Story Starters: "Write the beginning of a story about a magical forest where animals talk." - Foster creativity and storytelling skills.

Guess the Riddle: "I have keys but open no locks. I have space but no room. You can enter, but you can't go inside. What am I?" - Challenge students' problem-solving abilities.

Silent Scavenger Hunt: "Find three items in the classroom that are the color red without making any noise." - Promote observation skills.

Stretch and Move: "Stand up, stretch your arms high, and reach for the ceiling. Now, touch your toes. Repeat three times." - Get students moving and energized.

Fun Fact Share: "Share an interesting fact you learned today or recently." - Encourage knowledge sharing and retention.

Emoji Story: "Create a short story using only emojis." - Enhance visual literacy and creativity.

Quick Draw: "Draw a picture of a happy animal in less than one minute." - Stimulate artistic expression and fine motor skills.

Mystery Sound: "Close your eyes and listen carefully. What sounds can you hear right now?" - Develop listening skills and mindfulness.

Brain Teasers: "Solve this riddle: I am taken from a mine and shut up in a wooden case, from which I am never released, and yet I am used by almost every person. What am I?" - Challenge critical thinking and lateral thinking skills.

AI-Powered Bell Ringers

Inquiry Question: "What questions do you have about today's topic or what would you like to learn?" - Encourage curiosity and activate prior knowledge.

Word of the Day: "Define today's word of the day and use it in a sentence." - Build vocabulary and language skills.

Historical Photo: "Examine this historical photo. What do you notice, and what questions does it raise?" - Spark historical thinking and discussion.

Current Events: "Share a recent news headline and your thoughts on its importance." - Foster critical thinking and awareness of current affairs.

Math Challenge: "Solve this math problem: 3x + 5 = 17." - Engage students in a quick math problem related to the day's lesson.

Quote Reflection: "Reflect on this quote: 'The only way to do great work is to love what you do.' - Steve Jobs. How does this relate to your life?" - Encourage reflection and discussion.

Science Mystery: "Here's a mystery: Why does ice float on water? Share your hypothesis." - Promote scientific inquiry and critical thinking.

Literary Analysis: "Read the first paragraph of a story. What predictions can you make about the plot, characters, or themes?" - Develop reading comprehension and literary analysis skills.

Geography Challenge: "Name three countries in South America and one interesting fact about each." - Enhance geographical knowledge.

Creative Writing: "Write a short story that begins with the sentence: 'The door creaked open, revealing a hidden world.'" - Stimulate creativity and storytelling.

Timeline Exercise: "Create a timeline of significant events related to [historical era or topic]. Include at least five events." - Develop historical context and chronology.

Vocabulary in Context: "Find a sentence in your textbook or reading assignment that uses a vocabulary word from this week. Share the sentence and its meaning." - Reinforce vocabulary skills.

STEM Challenge: "Design a simple experiment to test the effect of [variable] on [outcome]. Describe the steps." - Encourage scientific inquiry and experimentation.

Art Appreciation: "Examine this famous artwork. What emotions or ideas does it convey, and why do you think it's considered important?" - Promote visual analysis and art appreciation.

Critical Debate: "Debate: 'Should [controversial topic] be allowed in schools? Share your stance and reasons.'" - Develop argumentation and critical thinking skills.