K-2 Early Literacy: How to use Brain Studies in the Classroom to Meet the Needs of All
Last weeks recap: I introduced Renate and Geoffrey Caine’s (2011) 12 principle’s of how the brain learns. I decided to break the 12 principles down into 4 manageable parts so that we could get a clear understanding of each, therefore getting a clearer picture of how to apply this information in the classroom. Last week we were able to discuss: learning is physiological, the brain is social, and the search for meaning is innate
Part II: How the brain learns
#4. The brain’s search for meaning occurs through patterns. The brain learns when it it makes a connection with the perceived new information it is encountering. Building a new lesson off of known background knowledge will make learning more likely to take place.
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#5. This kind of patterning involves emotions. Emotions play a strong role in perception. Students need to perceive a safe environment in order to make the connections needed to learn. They need to be able to connect new information to already known facts. They can not do that easily in an environment that feels threatening.
#6. The brain is a complex machine that can work with both wholes and parts simultaneously. So when we teach a skill we need to connect it to the whole process for deeper meaning making. For example, lets say we are working on a phonics skill. This is an important skill to aid in our decoding fluency and our spelling. However, it is important to not just teach the phonetic “skill of the week” but to bring it back to the whole of decoding and fluency as well.
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