Making a Model to Show How We
In these demanding days of teaching in public education, what I learned from Marcus and Donna now 20 years ago has been my solace and inspiration.
“Grow Our Brains”
I’d also like to share how much the BrainSMART strategies enriched my teaching life and the day-to-day lives of my past second-graders. I believe the most powerful lesson to begin each year with was that of teaching about dendrites.
I used pipe cleaners to demonstrate axons and dendrites. Then I explained how the children could actually connect their dendrites by learning new things, problem solving, etc. I explained that copying someone’s work won’t do the trick, nor will watching TV. Then I gave each student several pipe cleaners and showed them how to make a model of an axon with dendrites. I would pop up a scenario, and the children would either stand still, or connect their “dendrites” with another child’s pipe cleaners.
Then, throughout the year, the children were very cognizant that doing their own work, learning actively, doing cross-laterals, and learning BrainSMART strategies, was “growing their brains.” One of my boys stated that he “taught” his doctor about dendrites not long after that beginning-of-year lesson!
I attribute this to the research and sharing of professors Marcus and Donna Conyers! One of my past second-graders, Alissa R., was a fortunate recipient a of a visit from the BrainSMART team at my elementary school. She since has become a public elementary school teacher. She told me that she still vividly remembers Marcus teaching a Social Studies lesson about the Redcoats during the Revolutionary War, presented over ten years ago!
Florida Teacher Leader