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Brain compatible approaches for motivating reluctant learners

The reluctant learner…

  • Has trouble paying attention
  • Seems bored/forgetful
  • Doesn’t participate
  • Disruptive/silent
  • Seems capable but unmotivated
  • If they choose not to participate, then at least they are in control rather of the situation. Its better to

Strategies that you can use tomorrow!

  • 8 raised hands- I won’t call on anyone til I see 8 raised hands. Call on each, just say thank you at the end of each. It
    provides more processing time for el and slower students. After all have
    answered, then give the right answer.
    Don’t need to do it every day, just pull it out whenever. But you get more learning time
  • look over the shoulder- give then time to write down the answer and look over their shoulder. When they have a great answer tell them you would like them to share, or
    share their answer.
  • class consultant-rather than call on her to answer, her job is to tell if someone else has the correct answer.
  • I don’t know…. yet, We’ll come back to you…. –idk is not an answer. We will move on to the next question and come back to you. The point is, it’s a soft accountability but gives them time to have a positive success.
  • Preemptive success- tomorrow you are going to answer question 5, gives them 23 hours to figure it out
  • “What I do know is…” when kids don’t know the answer, you can contribute what they do know. So many times, kids have 80% of the answer but won’t say anything
    because they don’t have 100%
  • Stand up to share- brain needs plenty of glucose and standing moves improves circulation getting more circulation around

Reluctant learners and the brain….

  • Does this belong to Abi Normal? Comparing two brains- one highlighted throughout and one that is less active. One is beginner the other an expert teenagers playing tetris. The beginner has more activity as they
  • Neurons that fire together, wire together – examples: homework takes the learning beyond the daytime to evening, choral response has thought, visual and verbal.
  • Rat brains- as the rats learned more, the brains were heavier do to more synapses, more connections (neuroplasticity) rats in unstimulating environments were lighter, connections deteriorating. Silent
    think time 20-30 seconds.
  • A nurturing, stimulating classroom environment – an environment which is meaningful, challenging, and in which the students’ minds are actively engaged. see-pictures on the wall, words written, colors, hear- music, new words. No matter how well planned, interesting stimulating,
    colorful or relevant the lesson.
    If the teacher does all the interacting with the material the teacher’s
    – not the student’s- brain will grow new connections.
  • Rat example, had a rat able to observe but not interact a stimulating environment, the rat brain was the same as the brain of the isolated rat. What does this mean,
    showing kids a demo does little, the kids need to be involved if they are going
    to learn. They need to be engaged
    in the activity to get something out of it.

Reciprocal teaching strategy- Find a partner- step 5 steps raise hand, high 5. With partner, designate who goes first (length of hair) Give 39 seconds to review everything we just did, no notes! Switch – the other person fills in the

Research says that you can spend about 1 minutes on an activity per year of age. Max
overall 10-12 minutes on any one activity then shift.
  • Notetaking/notemaking- take notes for 10 minutes, then take a few minutes to summarize. It breaks up the activity. Many ways
    to break it up.
  • 5 Modalities- out loud with a partner, drawing, out loud with teacher, silent think time, writing.
  • Summary- the big idea-a few sentences, give a title, a picture
  • Highlight- what stands out
  • Rhyme/rap- there is always time, to create a rhyme
  • Slogan- the art of persuasion- (“Got neuroplasticity? stimulation=brain growth, isolation=shrinkage?” my idea – engage the rats - connect today keep it forever) The
    energy level goes up, you need to review the content
  • Comparison – compare photosynthesis to a lawn mower – how to connect them requires thinking. The brain is not linear, so comparisons help build new connections.
  • Question- the one who asks the most questions learns the most. Get them to write a question that they don’t know the answer to for themselves. Or have them write a question they know the answer to (there
    is your quiz and they will all get at least one right)
  • Translation- take something that is a difficult text to something a younger student could understand. A language shift requires them to understand it well enough.
  • Speculation- teach, pause guess, then they get the answer
  • Acronym- ROYGBIV, KPCOFGS, PEMDAS, FOIL give them an acronym, ok… have them create, they will definitely remember
  • Alliteration- use a letter to help remember – alliteration vs accuracy can be a delimna “brains beget brilliance”
  • Examples-
  • Reflection-
  • How long to pause? Pause for 30-90 seconds – long enough for the brain to engage.
  • Motivating Learning! What has he done to motivate learning?
  • Modeling activities, pauses make it go by faster, music (which increases emotion- which increases learning) to start, close, movement/transitions, during conversations. The pace of the music manages the pace. Music create
    belonging, like a laugh track on the tv show, create some privacy for talking
    so other partners eavesdrop less.
  • Humor- laughter can increase retention up to 50%! Boosts immune system. Even if you are not funny, at least the attempt gets their attention because they will listen for
    one that might be funny. Try
    googlecartoons – cover the captions.
  • Validate all members that participate
  • Movement- get circulation going,
  • Frisbees- get more hands up to call on someone,
  • Guessing- then you want to know the answer,
  • Applause (validation),
  • Safety-need to feel safe physically and emotionally (gentle high 5, you don’t need to know what tetris is),
  • Procedures,
  • Unusual times (you have 39 seconds) always give less time because that is memorable and motivating- no time to do other things,
  • relevance,
  • enthusiasm,
  • choral recital,
  • high five,
  • personal connections,
  • music,
  • laughter,
  • pauses for engagement.
When you want to make changes, do one step at a time. Start with you favorite class then spread to the others. Builds your
own success too!

Conscious classroom management by rick smith – leave it in the bathroom

Succeed with difficult students video


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Comment by Mary LeFever on November 7, 2010 at 7:54am
Thanks for the thorough notes! I'm going to share with teachers I know are interested but were unable to come.

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