Brains Working

I had such fun today, starting the process of teaching students how their brains work. I introduced the “Identity Project,” which I wanted to use as a way to get to know my students before we got down to the work of history. I then wanted to start them learning why I find working with students so exciting each year. I introduced the Four Minute Silence.

I told them to find a space around the room where they could sit quietly for four minutes. We talked briefly about why they shouldn’t just sit in the circle of their desks – too easily distracted by their classmates, the giggles. They wanted to know if they could jot down notes while they were sitting. I told them, “No, because that would take their brains off of their thinking.”

I gave them four minutes!

Four minutes with no movement, no distractions, no texts, no books! It felt like four hours! They sat and sat.

Their responses at the end were amazing to them, though!

“I thought SO much!”

“I got it all planned out! Amazing!”

“I didn’t know I could think that much!”

And the year has started! Pointing students in the direction of their own learning is the whole point!

Final Products of the Identity Projects! I love what students do when given choices and a personal connection!
Identity 1

Identity 4 Identity2Identity5b


5 responses to “Brains Working

  1. I found the very last statement of this post to be very important. You said “I love what students do when given choices and personal connections.” Throughout the semester in our EDM310 class we have been discussing how allowing students to have choice in their learning process creates better learners. After discussing this at some length, I couldn’t agree more. Students who have a chance to use their voice in the learning process makes what they are working on more meaningful to them. I think you show that with your Identity Projects. I have enjoyed reading the posts on your blog.

  2. Mrs. Hadley,
    I loved this post! I think it is great how you allowed your students four minutes to think. I believe that it is important that you didn’t allow them to take notes. This is definitely a concept that I will want to use in my classroom.

  3. Mrs. Hadley,

    This is great! I loved this idea. Sometimes four minutes can do so much! Honestly, I wish I had someone to force me to sit down and think for four minutes!! Identity project is a phenomenal idea. It gives the students the opportunity to express themselves. Upon my many classroom observations I have noticed that incorporating some form of personal reflection engages students who may not normally become engaged. This also gives you the opportunity to see the students of your class on a more personal level.

    I love your blog, and cannot wait to read the rest of your posts!

  4. Mrs. Hadley,

    I find this post completely captivating! Getting the children away from all other distractions other than their own minds is truly a wonderful idea. With so much centered around technology these days, it’s nice to let them “get inside their own heads” and see what they can conjure up. I wish my teachers would have adopted such an idea! I believe that this is a concept that I’ll probably adopt one day.

    I truly love reading your posts! You have such an intriguing mind!

  5. Hey Mr. Hadley! I like this activity that you posted about. It shows students why taking their time to think is important. It teaches them how to think (such as finding a quiet place to concentrate) and being patient. Good study habits can come from this activity (because studying requires thinking). This activity can also show students the importance of focusing on themselves is important. Having quiet time to yourself is a great way of getting to know who are and what kinds of ideas you have. I love it!

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