Monday, August 4, 2014


Yup, those are the brains of sheep. 

Most of the staff at my school came together today for voluntary professional development.  It wasn't district mandated, it wasn't required, but it was sure to be exciting.  And boy, was it.  

The main focus for today was the brain body connection.  

Here, try this.  Go on, nobody is watching: 

  • While sitting, legs dangling, lift your right foot a few inches from the floor 
  • Rotate it in a clockwise direction, keep circling
  • Now, use your right index finger to draw the # 6 in the air in front of your face
  • Why did your leg start circling the other way?
Your brain and body are connected and not just by your neck! Did you notice the alternating color in the bullet points above?  Did it make them easier for you to read?  It should have! 

The brain is made up of various areas, each with specific tasks that connect with other parts of your brain and your entire body.  Once we started thinking about brains and then got the chance to investigate the actual sheep brain, I was hooked! 

A term that was used today was "amygdala highjacking." The amygdala is a tiny part of the human brain... about the size of an almond.  But what is really nuts (see what I did there?) is how this tiny part of our brain can respond to fear. Even perceived fear.  It doesn't even have to be real!  

If you aren't creating an environment for your students that allows them to feel safe, non-threatened, and important... 

They, quite literally, might not be able to learn at that time.  They might not be able to think rationally and "cool down."  They might not build trust for you because their brain is in a flight function.  

Now, listen.  I am no brain surgeon or rocket scientist.  However, I do know that there are ways to ensure that all of my students have the best possible learning environment that I can give them.  If I want them to use their brains, doesn't it make sense for me to learn how they work?  

If I want to change them for the better, I better know what I am trying to change.  Wouldn't ewe? 


  1. I love it!!! Great job reflecting! I couldn't have written that if I tried! Ewe are amazing! ��

  2. I am fascinated by the brain & what an amazing role it plays in our day to day living. In its complexity we can really get to know ourselves, and in turn, those awesome people all around us.

    Students, like many adults, don't understand how vital treating our brain with respect really is. I think it is the one thing that we take for granted. We don't realize all the factors that come into play when...

    *we don't get a good night's sleep
    *we don't eat healthy foods on a regular basis
    *we don't eat breakfast
    *we don't give our brain breaks from learning
    *we sit for long, extended periods of time
    *we don't feel comfortable in a situation

    I am sure the list could go on & on.

    I have been meaning to pull out a book I wanted to take another gander @... How The Brain Learns by David Souza. Today, reading the post, I plan on dusting it off right away.

    Sounds like amazing PD... Happy New Year by the way:)