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10 very cool brain compatible classroom activities
Kathy Hunt Ullock

(Short of handouts, so may not have complete notes)

Learning pyramid - consider that some activities have better retention reate
Practice doing
Teach others

1. Primacy-Recency effects –
• Remember the most the stuff at the beginning of class and the end
• The stuff in the middle is picked up the least – time for independent practice
2. Hands on Instruction
3. Change Style of Instruction about every 15 minutes!
• They remember the first 15 minutes and then move on
4. Movement
5. Time for processing new information
• Need down time to process info otherwise doesn’t make it to long term
6. Chunking
• break into small bits of info (think of a phone number and how its broken down)

Recommended books: “How the brain learns” – David Sousa and one on classroom management
Corwin Press books

Communication Cards
A few ideas – (see master set of cards in handout- compass, glasses, spider, computer, heart, hourglass, flag, crown, etc)
1. For advisory class: Students in small groups of 4 or the entire class in a circle. Spread out communication cards face up so all can see. Choose in your mind only a card most like them. Share picture card and the reason they chose it. Have everyone share. Repeat with card least like them.
2. Use as an assessment tool. Give each student a set of numbered pictures cards in addition to a set of written tasks. In ELA, a teacher could have each student place the number of a picture card in a designated space on the “test’ that would best describe a certain character from a novel that the class read. Justify the choice using predetermined criteria. (creative and reflective analysis)
3. Place in groups of 4. Have one person in the group spread out all of the cards face up so all can see. Teacher call out a topic or make a statement and ask the group to agree on 5 cards that would show the others in the class how they felt about that topic or statement. Discuss and share with class and justification.
4. Place in groups of 4. Have group choose any 8 cards and stack up the cards not chosen. Do not give information on what they are doing with cards. Now, they must complete a writing assignment somehow using all 8 cards within the written answer.
5. You are the expert! (Come up with other areas you can use them for too)

Structural indexing
1. 9 index cards and groups of 3-4
2. 1 person has pink cards. Give 9 most important terms from unit. Once written on the cards, recorder shuffles cards.
3. The cards should be placed on a 3x3 grid with the words facing up and in the same direction.
7 4 5 6 8
1 ->
2 ->
3 ->
- 4, 5, and 6 are down and 7 and 8 are diagonal

4. Students make sentences to synthesize the concepts into complete thoughts.
5. Have the spokesperson share the group’s two best sentences. Helps if students can see the grid to show their sentence.
Do at end of unit, not the beginning. A little more complicated.
Punctuation and grammar perfect, without creativity is useless. Need to use creativity. Works in ANY subject area. Probably need at least 15 minutes for kids to get sentences.
• Order of the words matters
• Must use exact words (no change in tense or form
• Class brainstorm session -class creates words, rather than teacher directed words – students evaluate the words and determine what they think are the 9 most important words
• No class brainstorm session
• Types of sentences – connect to ELA – interrogative, exclamatory, use a dependent clause, etc Get a dual grade, ELA and the content class its in
• 4x4 or 5x5 grid – chose a 9x9 out of the larger grid
• Student can do a form of structural indexing on their own – a test (for experienced kids in structural indexing)
• Other!

Response cards
Use white boards
Quick check of learning
1. Students in small groups 3-4
2. Each gets a set of “response” cards. The set is made up of 5 8.5x11 tagboard sheets with a number of 1-5 on both sides of the card. Or use whiteboard and write answer.
3. All cards go up at same time.
Formative assessment questions – on overhead or other visual presentation.
Never acknowledge actual group responses. Have them put cards down before responding with “excellent”, or “it looks like I need to teach this more”
Don’t make it a contest.

Agree/disagree answer sheet
(A type of 4 corners)
1. Give a prompt. Have each person circle their response and write why.
2. Then students move into corner groups and discuss the reasoning. A spokesperson reports main reason for decision for the class.
3. Follow up questions for evaluation.

The human number line
Like 4 corners-agree/disagree, but on a number line

Dot buddies
Have class sign dots. If I sign John’s yellow dot, he signs my yellow dot. (Pairing activity like Olympic rings or seasonal partners)
Think-pair-share with dot partner.
Can add to pairings, like one of you is cat the other is dog. Cats share. Dogs report. Etc.

Post it note graphs
Name on post-it note
Post note on graph, showing where you are/how you feel about the topic (like from science literacy project)
Easy quick check for class thoughts
Easy to change opinions

Cross the room
Line across room
Agree on one side, disagree on the other.
Ability to move – cross the line

3 Brain gym exercises
hook up and such
get movement

(We were running out of time, so the last few activities were discussed really fast!)

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