So much has to happen in the brain in order for it to process information and experience into memories, starting from when our senses first pick up on a stimulus. In the case of a classroom, where a teacher would like a student to remember what is covered in class, the experience often begins with a description of what will happen in class or directions that should be followed.
Whether a student can focus on the description or directions will depend upon many factors. Did they have sufficient sleep the night before? Are they thinking about something else as a result of a hallway encounter that took place on the way to class? Are they suffering from seasonal allergies and trying to cope with itchy eyes, scratchy throat, or nasal passages that are either clogged or overflowing? Oh yuh, what did the teacher just say?
As noted by Marilee Sprenger on page 16 of her book, How to Teach so Students Remember:
The brain is always attending; our students just may not be attending to what we desire. Attention requires three elements: arousal, orientation, and focus (Carter, 1998).
Having spent approximately twenty to thirty minutes with the first loosening up activities, hopefully faculty will be comfortable and relaxed enough to focus on what comes next. And what comes next is designed to provoke a number of responses:
• following written directions
• laughter (from doing the activity)
• listening to music
• movement (going up to the board or moving to the music)
• touch (interacting with the SMART Board)
• reflection (after doing the activity)
Surely there will be responses that I have not even considered! This activity is also meant to tickle their brains with a preview of some words and ideas in preparation for the remaining simulations.
This is the sixth of about twenty or fewer posts and for further information about this series, please read Closings and Openings. As you follow the development of this activity, please feel free to chime in with suggestions or questions!
Click to see a full size version of the Directions screen.
p.s. The Digital Wave sessions are finished and were fun to do! Spread out over fifteen different sessions we had 83 slots filled by 40 faculty (some took more than one session).