Monday 25 November 2013

Show What You Know- The Brain (Grade 4/5)

With our school-wide focus this year being Social Emotional Learning (SEL), our staff has committed to using the program "Mind Up". This program was chosen because of its application across the grade levels K-5 as well as its ability to teach kids specific SEL skills such as self-management, self-awareness and social awareness. The first part of the MindUp program entails teaching students about 3 main parts of the physical brain and the job each part does. Students learn that the Prefrontal Cortex (wise old owl) is responsible for planning and organization, the Hippocampus (filing cabinet) stores facts and memories and the Amygdala (watch dog) controls their emotions. One of the major learnings we want students to come away with is that in order for your PFC and Hippocampus to be available to its user, we need to keep our Amygdala in a calm state of being. After spending a few sessions learning about our physical brain, I gave the students a task of choosing between 3 formats in order to "Show What They Know" about the brain, its
different parts and each parts' purpose. Students were able to choose between demonstrating this
knowledge through the use of play-dough, window writers or auto-rap. Students were given the choice to complete this assignment individually or in partners. I specifically chose to appeal to the students' various learning styles and learning preferences. Offering these choices also offers a need-fulfilling way to approach each student's individual need for freedom, power, fun and belonging (Glasser's Internal Needs Model). It was interesting that there was a diverse mix of who chose to use which format although most students chose to work in partners. After going over the project's criteria with the class as a whole, I gave the students a 45 minute period to complete it. This turned out to be more than enough time. We then took another 30 minute period to have groups present. The class as a group decided if each group had met the expected criteria and students were given their mark on the spot based on this assessment. All students met the criteria with ease and were pleased with  both their presentation and their final product. The photos shown are from the students' "Show What You Know: The Brain" presentations.

Post courtesy of Heather Rose

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