Sunday, November 10, 2013

Brain Gym and The Ultimate Learning Position


Friends~Combining ideas from Brain Gym and years of teaching- I have found the Ultimate Learning Position! 
I pride myself in running a tight ship in my classroom.  Don't get me wrong, we have a ton of fun but it is managed in a way that there is still structure.  My students know what I expect in all situations.  One of the ways that I make this happen is instructing my kiddos in what a learner looks like.Brain Gym and The Ultimate Learning Position, The Schroeder PageMy kiddos know that when I am teaching or giving directions I am looking for a couple of things from them.  I like them to sit crisscross with their hands in their laps and eyes up front.  I also ask them to push their buttons to turn their focus on.  They gently push their tongue behind their front teeth.  This increases relaxation and extends focus.  
Most students can sit in this position for mini lessons and directions. 
(I have had to modify this for certain students.)
 I have had students that have needed to hold an object to find ultimate focus. Or a student may need to sit in a chair or use a cushion.  The important key is to have them cross their midline in some way to achieve focus. 

The reason I always insist on crisscross with hands and legs is because it forces the student to cross their midline.  I like to tap into the idea of Brain Gym in my classroom. Movement with intention to increase learning.  I truly believe that this movement allows students to find a focus and a calming point.  
Brain Gym and The Ultimate Learning Position, The Schroeder Page
Learning to read and write go hand and hand with crossing the midline.   I watch every year as my struggling students learn to track words across a book and write across a page of notebook paper.  It seems so simple but until a young learner is able to cross their midline tasks such a shoe tying and letter writing can be almost impossible to master. 
This is a great beginner video to introduce you class to the ideas of Brain Gym and crossing the midline.   

I also love some lazy eights!  This is a great exercise where students trace an 8 in the air and on paper.  It allows the learner to activate both sides of their brain.  
Discovery Den has a great post about lazy eights and crossing the midline.  
Be sure to watch the Smilebox at the end.  
I hope you will try out some of these ideas in your own classroom!
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