20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones: #14 Teach Your Rituals

In every school, there are teachers who very effectively manage students. At first, it was thought that those teachers had some big bag of tricks that other teachers didn’t have, which helped them to know just what to do in various situations. What the research is telling us is that effective classroom managers spend an inordinate amount of their time during the first few days and weeks of school establishing their expectations and procedures, in other words, their rituals. Continue Reading…

20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones: #9 Use Brain-Compatible Strategies

Research on the brain began more than 50 years ago when Dr. Roger Sperry attempted to control seizures in epileptic patients by severing the corpus callosum, the structure that joins the left and right hemispheres of the brain. These patients appeared to function normally but would use either the left or the right hemispheres of the brain depending on what the task required. Continue Reading…

20 Techniques to Detour Around the Danger Zones: #4 Light Up Their World

A school system was in the process of building five new schools to house their increasing student population. Having read the research on the detrimental effects of fluorescent lighting, I shared with the architects rationales for including additional windows or a different type of lighting in the construction of these new buildings. The experts thanked me for my input but proceeded to include fluorescent lighting in plans for each of the five new edifices. Continue Reading…

20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain: #14 Role Plays, Drama, Pantomimes, and Charades

I go into classrooms when requested and teach model lessons to the students. Teachers observe the lesson while I use brain-compatible strategies to provide instruction on a concept that the teacher is teaching. During one lesson in an American History class, I was asked to teach some vocabulary words that students will need to comprehend prior to their lesson labor unions. Continue Reading…

laughter, humor

20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain: #6 Humor

“Did you hear about the mathematician who’s afraid of negative numbers? He’ll stop at nothing to avoid them.”

If the math pun above made you laugh or even smile a little, it put your brain in a more positive state. Research tells us that jokes, riddles, celebrations, and other forms of positive interaction not only create a positive learning environment but may also facilitate learning itself.  Continue Reading…

art in school, art education, kids coloring

20 Instructional Strategies That Engage the Brain: #2 Drawing and Artwork

I worked for 30 years with a major school district in the metropolitan Atlanta area. Even though I have been retired from that system since 2003, I still have a vested interest in the district. I have a granddaughter who goes to school in the district and a son-in-law who teaches physical education there. I was very concerned when I looked at the headlines of a neighborhood newspaper that arrived at my house. Continue Reading…

Talk To and With Your Children

Talk To and With Your Children

Several years ago, my husband Tyrone and I were in New York City when I saw something that made me cringe internally. We were in a hotel lobby in Manhattan when I spotted a double stroller. In the stroller were two adorable children who looked to be about 2 and 4 years old. Built into each section of the double stroller was a DVD player. Continue Reading…

Let Them Play!

Remember when you were little and you used to play outside for hours on end? Or maybe you’d be inside in a playroom pretending to be a teacher or an astronaut or a princess? When children engage in play, they’re do much more than entertaining themselves. They’re learning and growing; they’re turning into well-adjusted human beings. Continue Reading…

Hug, Rock, & Love Your Children

I once heard a brain consultant by the name of Fritz Mengert say that if he had to choose between putting his grandchild in a day care center where teachers rock, hold, and hug children or one where academics are emphasized over all else, the decision would not be a difficult one. Continue Reading…

Read To and With Your Children

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.”— Dr. Seuss

A woman once asked Albert Einstein how she could make her son more intelligent. His response? Read him fairy tales. Continue Reading…

A Brain-Healthy Start

Success in school depends on many factors for students, but one of the most important areas that can be overlooked is proper physical health practices that encourage healthy brain development. The brain is a demanding organ. It comprises only 2% of the total body weight, but consumes 8 to 10 times more oxygen and glucose than any other organ in the body. If our bodies don’t receive the proper nutrition they need, the brain is the first to suffer.

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Overcoming Challenges

I’ve heard some teachers say that they have students who don’t want to be challenged. I disagree! One of the reasons that students can’t put down video games is because they look forward to moving to a more challenging level of the game. The difference between video games and classrooms is that when it comes to the game, students have the confidence to believe that they can succeed at a more difficult level. Continue Reading…

The Value of Building Relationships

Relationships are everything! Familial and friend relationships, workplace relationships, and spiritual relationships all make a tremendous difference in our lives.

When you look at the first chapter in my best-selling book on classroom management, Shouting Won’t Grow Dendrites: 20 Detours Around the Danger Zones, you will find that the first chapter is titled, “Develop a Relationship with Each Student.” Continue Reading…

The Importance of Purpose

When students cannot see the purpose in a teacher’s lesson, they will often ask the question, “Why do we have to learn this?” This question makes perfect sense, since the purpose of the brain was never to make straight As or score high on a standardized test. The purpose of the brain is survival in the real world. So the question becomes, “What does this lesson have to do with my survival?”

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The Power of Visualization

Stephen Covey, author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, stated the following: Everything happens twice – once in the mind and once in reality.  The once in the mind could be called visualizationVisualization has been defined as the use of mental images to influence bodily processes and is one of 20 brain-based strategies that enables human beings to remember what they are learning.

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Confidence: If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re actually right!

If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re actually right!

This thing we call confidence is often difficult for a parent to see in a child or for a teacher to see in a student.  We can even have a hard time seeing it within ourselves.  But it is not difficult to observe in sports, so I would like to use a sports analogy to explain the concept.
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