Refocusing the Classroom

Over the last two days I have had the amazing, fabulous, energizing opportunity to hear from the man himself, Dr. Spencer Kagan all about Brain Friendly Learning. Anyone who knows me as a teacher knows that I live and die by Dr. Kagan's strategies, and I was in complete awe the entire two days.

Whenever I attend a workshop such as this one, I always make a list in three parts. The first is things I want to implement day one back in the classroom. The next section is within a week, and the final section is a bit more long term. Today I am going to share my takeaway list of what I am starting tomorrow.
Making every moment count for the better in the classroom. My favorite is all about laughter!
 Now is the time of year that I have let a few things slide that are really important, and these items are just as much about me refocusing my efforts in the classroom as anything else. I hold myself 110% accountable for the mood, emotion, and energy level of my classroom, and there are a few things that need a little revamping.
Numero uno-start our day with a handshake for each student. I do this in the beginning of the year, but at some point it slid into oblivion. First thing tomorrow it is making a comeback!
Making every moment count for the better in the classroom. My favorite is all about laughter!
Next up is energizing our class with some structured exercise. I want to get those endorphins (17 points if you can guess the Legally Blonde quote I am thinking of) pumping first thing in the morning. A few calisthenics should do the trick to wake up both the body and mind. I plan on taking 1-2 minutes per hour in the classroom doing this to continue the flow of oxygen.

Rounding out the morning we will complete a class building activity and have our usual morning meeting.
Making every moment count for the better in the classroom. My favorite is all about laughter!
After recess I plan to institute a period of quiet time where I lead students through some metacognitive meditation. Admittedly this one is going to be tough for me. I am not the sit calmly and quietly with eyes closed and think inwardly type, but I am going to give it my best effort, because I truly believe it will be beneficial for my students because a calm-minded student learns easier.

In the same vein, I will incorporate more music in the sixty beat per minute range. I often use music during writing, but not other subjects. I have no reason for this, so it shall begin tomorrow!
Making every moment count for the better in the classroom. My favorite is all about laughter!
There will be more laughter in our classroom. I am going to start a joke jar that students can submit jokes to. We can pull a joke before each part of our day. We will also play games that make us laugh, listen to short funny podcasts, and watch hilarious videos of animals being adorably cute on YouTube. 
Finally, we will integrate more Kagan structures throughout our day both academically and as brain breaks. I have always included structures every day, but there are always room for more. Two new ones that I learned about this week are Sage-N-Scribe and Celebrity Interview. I can't wait to use them both with my class. 
Making every moment count for the better in the classroom. My favorite is all about laughter!
Here I am with the man himself. Please pay no attention to me as I am battling the fiercest allergies in the west, but look at him. He is my educational idol (one of them) and I am here to tell you that he is even more brilliant, inspiring, and amazing than I could have ever imagined. 
If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to go to a conference with him (or any other Kagan offering) run, don't walk, throw some elbows if necessary, because it is truly that great! 

5 comments:

  1. I am currently implementing the quiet time after recess! What a confirmation! Thanks for this post! As a new teacher I find it encouraging to see I'm practicing suggested methods! Thanks

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  2. Hi! I was just wondering what books you recommend of his! I was looking a couple of weeks ago, but ended up stuck! I am a 4th grade math teacher! Thanks in advance for the help!

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    Replies
    1. I would start with the book Kagan Cooperative Learning and then hit up Brain Friendly Teaching! They are all amazing!

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  3. Hi! I was just wondering what books you recommend of his! I was looking a couple of weeks ago, but ended up stuck! I am a 4th grade math teacher! Thanks in advance for the help!

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  4. Sage and Scribe is amazing! I used it during my formal observation in a math lesson... I got "Innovating" for my lesson b/c of this strategy!! Have fun!!

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