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The Brain at School

Just finished tweaking (I hope!) a presentation on brain research in the classroom that I’m doing tomorrow for the UnConference. Looking forward to some great conversation and thinking out loud with conference participants.

We don’t have a ton of time so will focus on just a couple of things that people like John Medina and James Zull talk about – namely the importance of prior knowledge and the impact of emotion/stress on learning.

I’m convinced that the more we know about how our kids’ brains work, the better teachers we become and the more effective our instruction becomes. The most important thing, I think, is when we think and talk about brain research, the focus shifts to our students and away from us.

As part of the presentation, I will have participants work through a few strategies that are brain compatible: the first is a visual discrepant event inquiry and the second is an example of inserting music as a part of a series of Civil War images.

The visual DEI asks kids to view a photograph and try and answer three questions about that photograph. The questions are: where is the event taking place, when does the event take place and what is happening in the photograph. The catch is that you reveal only a small portion of the photograph at a time. By forcing kids to look for specific details and by asking each other questions, you can activate a whole classroom’s worth of prior knowledge very effectively. (You can see a little of what it looks like by viewing the SlideShare presentation below.)

The second is a basic presentation software that incorporates emotional pieces of music together with appropriate images. The idea is to connect content with emotion thus making stronger brain connections.

Take a look, provide some feedback and let me know what you’re thinking.

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Very cool slide show Glenn!

    June 4, 2008
  2. glennw #


    Thanks! I’ve really been working to create brain-compatible, audience friendly presentations. Still have a ways to go but Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen book and site have been incredibly helpful!


    June 5, 2008

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