- Mixing whole-group, small-group, partner, and independent learning throughout my day.
- Looking at energy levels throughout the day to determine when the best time is to teach each lesson.
- Using Multiple Intelligence Theory to reach all learners.
- Integrating subjects to tie them together.
- Allowing kids to get up and move any time they want (water breaks, stretch breaks, etc.).
- Using colored overlays on document camera images to increase retention of information.
- Using reflection and metacognition through blogging to improve retention and synthesis of information.
- Activating prior knowledge and help students make connections whenever learning something new.
- Using graphic organizers to visually display our thinking (we recommend Creately.com for collaboratively organizing).
- Limiting the time spent with direct instruction and other "input means" and instead using the time for creation and exploration.
- Using Bloom's Taxonomy to ensure that students are thinking at all levels, including the higher ones.
- Encouraging students to do "crossovers" anytime they need to. Crossovers are when students stand up and cross the mid-line of their body with their arms and/or legs. This is supposed to fire chemicals in the brain that help students pay better attention if they are drifting.
- Making most lessons interpersonal to get kids to work with others. (Two brains are better than one!)
- Making sure that my classroom is psychologically safe through classroom meetings and whole-group discussions, in addition to the policies and procedures that are in place to ensure kindness and respect.
- Using simulations and PBL to experience new learning rather than just reading about it.
- Using technology in lessons is "novel," which helps students to process and retain their learning.
- Helping build students' intrinsic motivation through classroom discussions and modeled behaviors.
- Avoiding individual rewards, and instead focusing on "thanking" my students for their hard work as a class when appropriate with gifts of appreciation, not achievement.
- Avoiding competitions to continuously encourage children to help each other collaboratively.
- Using humor in the classroom whenever and wherever appropriate!
- Using a standard routine in skill-based lessons helps students learn math and spelling.
- Using "Passion Time" (based on Genius Hour) right before lunch to recharge their batteries and get them ready for the rest of their day.
- Alternating where I stand in the classroom to deliver instruction (each subject gets a different location in the classroom).
- Using brainwave music based on sound wavelengths and tempo. (To increase attention or energy or creativity, etc.)
Here are 24 brain-based strategies that I use in my classroom. Some might be recommended by the experts and some might not be! You decide!
Our Transformable Classroom:
Paul Solarz is a National- Board Certified, 5th grade teacher working hard to be a high-quality 21st Century Educator.