As teachers, we all know that all kids learn differently and need lots of interactions with materials outside of up just saying something once. We use repetition, lots of examples and modeling, tapping into multiples intelligences, incorporating movement & gestures, and checking for understanding to make sure our students understand each new concept.
Actually naming and describing the different parts of the brain incorporated in Whole Brain Teaching helps not only me to understand it better, but will be a great way to introduce this to admin, other teachers, parents, and even kids!
Here we go!
Parts of the Brain
1. First, clasp your hands together in front of you with your fingers interlacing:
|I'll call this "Brain Position" during this explanation to help.|
2. With hands in this Brain Position, wave your pinkies- this area of your brain is the prefrontal cortex. Have kids point to their forehead and explain the prefrontal cortex is the boss of the brain (gesture: put hands on hips), in charge of planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and moderating social behavior. [source]
3. With hands back in Brain Position, wave your middle fingers- this area is the motor cortex responsible for voluntary movement (gesture: move your arms side to side like you are running).
4. With hands back in Brain Position, wiggle your thumbs- this area is the visual cortex responsible for processing visual information (gesture: point to your eyes).
5. Now, you will be separating your "brain" into left and right hemisphere- have the kids say "ew!" as you move your hands apart, keeping fingers bent toward your palm. You could use this opportunity to describe some of the differences between the left & right hemisphere:
7. Point to the outside left middle finger knuckle- this is the Wernicke's Area responsible for understanding written & spoken language (gesture: point to temple, pretend to write and make talking gesture).
How Does This All Tie Together?
Traditional Teaching relies upon the student's Wernicke's Area to understand information that is delivered primarily by the teacher talking.
Whole Brain Teaching and Brain Based Teaching relies upon all of the other parts mentioned above to teach and involve students in learning, including:
- Prefrontal Cortex- used to make decisions about adding "because", giving examples, being in charge of their learning
- Motor Cortex- moving & gesturing to learn and practice a concept
- Visual Cortex- posting purposeful signs in class, watching our partners gesture when we "Teach!" to help us see it as well as practice it
- Broca's Area- teaching our partner, using our words to think critically (using "because", giving examples), mirroring with words
- Wernicke's Area- still being used, but now in conjuction with sooooo much more of the brain!
- Limbic System- all of this ties together and allows us all to have fun while learning! This angages our limbic system which makes it fun and ties it to our ling-term memory- yay!
It gets pretty quick & easy to explain, so I may even try to throw this in during Back to School Night with parents. This would give them an example of a WBT-style lesson as well as a fun explanation for why our class may look and sound differently than years past!