BRAIN-TARGETED TEACHING

LEARNING UNIT

 

 

Teacher: Melanie Bowdish, Elisabeth Budd, Ashley Keys, Young Song      

Dates:6-8 weeks                                         Grade Level: Middle – High School

Unit Topic/Title: Personal Growth                                              

             

Brain Target #1         

Emotional Connection:

1.      Routine/Predictability: At the beginning of the unit, each student will receive a plant to feed and care for over the course of the unit. Each day, students will habitually water the plant and continue to learn about the needs of living/growing things.

2.      Affirmations: At the beginning of the unit, students will also make their own personalized box representing themselves. Students will discuss how to “feed and take care” of themselves.  This activity promotes control and choice in the classroom. At the end of each class day, the student will “feed” their personal boxes with a positive affirmation and something they learned in class that day.

3.      Trust & Acceptance, Warm & Supportive Environment: Sunshine Notes - at the end of each class day, the students will write a positive message to be delivered to one or more fellow students’ personal box.

 

Brain Target #2

Physical Environment:

1.      At the beginning of each class the students will participate in breathing, meditation, or relaxation exercises to control stress levels and clear their minds.

2.      Tree of Success – A physical tree (on paper or cardboard) is placed in the classroom at the beginning of the unit, and each class day will close with a gathering of students at the tree. Petals and/or leaves are placed on the tree as decided by the class as a whole. Students will address topics of group success (what did we do successfully today), group growth (how did the class grow as a group), and peer successes (what/who did we see as a success today). This activity presents a novel image in the classroom (the tree grows each day), aids in physical aesthetics pertaining to the theme of the course, and promotes movement in the classroom.

3.      “Neighborhoods” are established spatially throughout the classroom. As each topic of the unit is addressed, students visit different neighborhoods in the classroom. A physical house is added to the classroom each day, and students discuss the objects, emotions, or appearance of each house. As the neighborhood grows, the physical environment is constantly changing. These houses will also serve as anchor charts for the students. (For example, in the cognitive neighborhood students would illustrate and discuss the house of time management.)

4.      Seating arrangements will change daily based on the activities.


 

Brain Target #3

Concept Map / Advanced Organizer

Learning Goals: Students will be able to

1.      Students will learn to compare and contrast the characteristics/components between personal growth and plant growth.

2.      Students will learn to identify triggers and mechanisms to moderate personal growth.

3.      Students will understand the need for nutrition and exercise and develop strategies for improving physical well-being.

4.      Students will gain a holistic perspective on personal, peer, and global interactions.

 

Introductory “Big Picture” Activity/Assessment of Prior Knowledge

Begin their “Life Map” – students will begin the unit by setting personal goals for each of the topics – physical, emotional, and cognitive. The “Life Map” will follow a similar structure to the Concept Map (above). The students will keep this in their portfolio to be reassessed every two weeks. (See BT 6)

 

Brain Target #4

Activities for Teaching Declarative/Procedural Knowledge (See attached lessons)

1. Plant life and Photosynthesis (Melanie Bowdish)

Materials

  • Drawing materials such as colored pencils, markers, paint, or crayons
  • Paper or poster board
  • Scratch paper for ideas and sketches

 

Procedures

  • Students will be introduced to the function of photosynthesis in plant growth as well as the anatomy of a plant.
  • Students are asked to identify these parts in diagram form, using pictures and words to explain functions of various parts of the plant.

 

This activity will begin to introduce an academic content to the course and assist in reinforcing the unit’s theme (growing things & how they work).

 

2. Time Management  (Ashley Keys)

Materials

  • Balloons
  • Sticky Notes

 

Procedures

  • Students will form groups and blow up balloons. (The amount of balloons needed will be based upon the members within the group.)
  • Students will then post sticky notes on balloons describing the various ways in which they spend their time.
    • Examples:  cleaning, cooking, studying, Facebook, twitter, etc.
  • One individual from each group will be asked to juggle the balloons. (Students will make the connection that “juggling” (managing) their time can be more difficult than it may seem.)

 

This activity will help create a visual to express the importance of effective time management skills.

 

3. Peer Relationships  (Young Song)

Materials

·         1 skein of yarn

 

Procedures

·         Explain to the class that they will be doing an activity to get them thinking about what friendship means to them. 

·         Give the ball of yarn to one student and ask him/her to name one quality that they consider important in a friendship. Have the student pass the ball of yarn to another student (not sitting next to him/her) to continue the “web” until everyone has identified one quality that is important to him/her.

·         Discuss how everyone is connected in a web of friendship in some way (interconnected, reliant upon many parts, etc.).  What would happen if one person dropped their piece of the web?

·         Continue to discuss friendship qualities. Prompts include

§  Is your view of friendship the same as everyone else in the group? What is different? 

§  Why is a certain quality more important to you than others?

§  Are there different ways to act with different friends?  (i.e. acquaintances, close friends)

§  What are some easy/difficult things about maintaining friendships?

§  Do your friends have the qualities you think are important?

§  What do they think makes them a good friend?

 

4. Nutrition and Diet (Elisabeth Budd)

Materials

  • Pen/pencil
  • Paper

 

Procedures

  • Students will brainstorm their food consumption over the last 72 hours and draw pictures of their favorite things to eat.
  • Students will share their meals and snacks consumed and discuss them collectively to identify trends and patterns.
  • Discuss the skin replenishment cycle – every 35 days skin replaces itself and makes new cells from the food you eat. Students will then tape the foods they drew onto themselves.
  • Discuss the food pyramid and healthier food choices.

 

This activity will help students to understand the importance of why they need to eat healthier foods and gives a direct and immediate connection to their current lives.

 

Brain Target #5

Activities for Extension and Application of Knowledge

1. Plant life and Photosynthesis – Melanie Bowdish

Materials:

  • Drawing materials such as colored pencils, markers, paint, or crayons
  • Paper or poster board
  • Scratch paper for ideas and sketches

Procedures

  • Students will begin this lesson in a discussion about metaphor and symbolism. What does metaphor mean? What does symbolism mean? What are some examples of symbolism and metaphor?
  • Students will then review learned course content:

§  parts of the plant: seed, flower, stem, root, leaf

§  photosynthesis: water, oxygen, nutrients, sun

·         Students will further discuss the essential function of each of these elements in the growth of the plant. Students will brainstorm metaphorical connections between essential functions of plants to their personal growth.

·         Each student will then brainstorm symbols that could represent their metaphor. (For example, the sun gives energy to plants, and friends give energy to me, a symbol may be hands, to represent the sun in my life.)

·         Students will draw their “anthropomorphic” plant, writing the connection to parts of the plant along the edges of the image.

·         At the culmination of the course, each student will present their project to the class and explain the symbols they chose to represent each part of the plant.

·         These projects will begin with a rubric and will be graded at the end of the course.

 

2. Time Management – Ashley Keys

Materials

  • Time Management Template
  • Highlighter

 

Procedures

  • The facilitator will ask students what they think the definition of time management is.
  • The facilitator will ask students why time management is important. (me, them, world case scenarios)
  • The facilitator will ask students if they believe they have effective time management skills and evidence to support their beliefs.
  • Students will then be given a time management template to fill out alone that will assess how they manage their time daily.
    • If students are not sure how to completely fill out the template, they will be asked to complete as much information as possible.
  • After students complete the templates individually, they will be asked to swap templates with a partner.
  • The partner will highlight any space left blank or noted as “free time.”
  • The students will return templates to the original owners.
  • The class will discuss the results from their findings.
  • Students will be asked how they could better manage their time.

 

Students will be able to extend the connection between how they believe they manage their time and how they actually manage their time.

 

3. Peer Relationships – Young Song

Materials

·         Colored paper

·         Pencils

 

Procedures

·         Explain to the class that they will be doing the same activity as yesterday except that this time after naming the friendship quality that they feel is important, they will toss the ball of yarn to a person in the class they feel has that quality.

·         After everyone has had a turn, discuss how people feel about what happened.

·         Hand out paper and pencils. Have each student write his/her name in the middle of the paper.

·         Have each student draw a sun around their name.

·         Explain that we are going to pass the papers to the right and each person has to write a friendship quality on the paper they receive.

·         Continue until everyone gets their sun back.

·         Give them time to read over what students wrote on their sun papers.

·         Discuss how this makes students feel to see.

 

4. Nutrition and Diet – Elisabeth Budd

Materials

  • Construction paper
  • Markers or crayons
  • Magazines

 

Procedures

  • Students will build upon previous lesson about food and draw from other knowledge gained in the unit to create a menu of dietary options, developed from their actual groceries at home.

Students will design healthy and nutritious meals that will not only meet their dietary goals, but also enhance their fitness goals.

 

 

Brain Target #6

Evaluating Learning

 

1.      Art Integration Activity (Anthropomorphic Plant): Allows students to demonstrate knowledge of subject matter and to bridge a metaphorical connection to their own growing minds and bodies. (Parts & Needs of a Plant, Emotional, Physical, and Cognitive Growth)

2.      Portfolio Review - assesses all required materials (students given templates at beginning of course)  Rubrics for Individual Activities/Projects

3.      Mixed Review - baseline assessments every two weeks (interleaving of learned content)

4.      Goal Setting - frequent re-assessment of goals & completion of “Life Map.” The final map will serve as a “take away” for students to keep in their portfolio, complete with mechanisms for controlling behavior, building relationships, planning for healthy nutrition and exercise, controlling time management, and articulating goals.

 

 


Brain Target 4 Lessons

 

Plant life and Photosynthesis – Melanie Bowdish

Materials

 

Procedures

 

Time Management – Ashley Keys

Materials

 

Procedures

 

This activity will help create a visual to express the importance of effective time management skills.

 

Peer Relationships – Young Song

Materials

·         1 skein of yarn

 

Procedures

·         Explain to the class that they will be doing an activity to get them thinking about what friendship means to them. 

·         Give the ball of yarn to one student and ask him/her to name one quality that they consider important in a friendship. Have the student pass the ball of yarn to another student (not sitting next to him/her) to continue the “web” until everyone has identified one quality that is important to him/her.

·         Discuss how everyone is connected in a web of friendship in some way (interconnected, reliant upon many parts, etc.).  What would happen if one person dropped their piece of the web?

·         Continue to discuss friendship qualities. Prompts include

§  Is your view of friendship the same as everyone else in the group? What is different? 

§  Why is a certain quality more important to you than others?

§  Are there different ways to act with different friends?  (i.e. acquaintances, close friends)

§  What are some easy/difficult things about maintaining friendships?

§  Do your friends have the qualities you think are important?

§  What do they think makes them a good friend?

 

Nutrition and Diet – Elisabeth Budd

Materials

 

Procedures

 

This activity will help students to understand the importance of why they need to eat healthier foods and gives a direct and immediate connection to their current lives

 

Brain Target 5 Lessons

 

Plant life and Photosynthesis – Melanie Bowdish

Materials:

 

Procedures

§  parts of the plant: seed, flower, stem, root, leaf

§  photosynthesis: water, oxygen, nutrients, sun

·         Students will further discuss the essential function of each of these elements in the growth of the plant. Students will brainstorm metaphorical connections between essential functions of plants to their personal growth.

·         Each student will then brainstorm symbols that could represent their metaphor. (For example, the sun gives energy to plants, and friends give energy to me, a symbol may be hands, to represent the sun in my life.)

·         Students will draw their “anthropomorphic” plant, writing the connection to parts of the plant along the edges of the image.

·         At the culmination of the course, each student will present their project to the class and explain the symbols they chose to represent each part of the plant.

·         These projects will begin with a rubric and will be graded at the end of the course.

 

Time Management – Ashley Keys

Materials

 

Procedures

 

Students will be able to extend the connection between how they believe they manage their time and how they actually manage their time.

 

Peer Relationships – Young Song

Materials

·         Colored paper

·         Pencils

 

Procedures

·         Explain to the class that they will be doing the same activity as yesterday except that this time after naming the friendship quality that they feel is important, they will toss the ball of yarn to a person in the class they feel has that quality.

 

 

 

Nutrition and Diet – Elisabeth Budd

Materials

 

Procedures