Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Brainies!

Today I'll be talking about Brainies!

What are brainies? Well, they used to be called Brain Toys but are now referred to by the Whole Brain Teaching founder Chris Biffle as Brainies.

The Brainies cover 3 categories: critical thinking, grammar, punctuation & specials.
Each brainy is a gesture that stands for something under one of these categories.

Here's a graphic with ALL the brainies. You can find it & 196 additional pages of information about brainies FOR free at the download is called The Brainy Game.

There are so many brainies! I'm going to talk about some that I used this past year in my class and how we used them. I plan on using many more this year and more often. I tend to refer to the use of these as "Oral Writing." I'm sure I didn't come up with it, but it's what I've adopted because it really is a wonderful way for students to practice skills aloud/in gestures that they will use when writing.

Here are some ways we used Brainies last year...

When we said the date:

The student who was picked to do the calendar would use the Brainies to share the date with the class. Then, while the student was flipping over the calendar number card, the class would say the date aloud while using Brainy gestures.

When we talked about our reading:
 We used the because clapper a lot when discussing literature to prove our thought, opinion, answer. This gesture will be included in my T.A.P. rubric next year which is used for answering questions about reading and stands for: Turn it Around (gesture*hold one hand flat, with pointer finger make a circle above hand), Answer it (gesture*hold one hand flat, pretend to write on flat hand), Prove it (old gesture*hold one hand flat, stamp down with other hand... new Brainy gesture*because clapper). I think using the because clapper will reinforce that when students use a because clapper they are further explaining or proving their answer.

We also used Brainies when comparing and contrasting:

We do a lot of comparing and contrasting, and using these gestures, helped my kiddos remember that compare meant they were alike and contrast meant they were different.

Some of the brainies I'd like to use this year are...

For example:




Quotation Marks:

Detail Adder (this gesture asks students to add more details to their answer):

Topic Sentence:


Help Me (this gesture gives students a simple way to ask for help when they need it especially when answering a question aloud or working with a partner):

Complete Sentence Please (this gives the teacher a gesture to remind students to speak in a complete sentence):

I am excited to use all of these Brainies this year with my students. I have found over the last year and a half using WBT that when there is a gesture associated with learning, students retain the knowledge much more easily and have more fun! I think using a lot of these brainies will be a great way for students to practice their writing orally. If they can use gestures, speak in complete sentences, add details to answers aloud they can do the same in writing.

I hope you enjoyed this week's Whole Brain Wednesday and will consider using some Brainies in your classroom this year!

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1 comment:

  1. Ashlee,
    I've started looking into Whole Brain Teaching (you inspired me with your posts about it!) and I love the ways that it works to engage the students. This post was interesting to read - it's almost like a new form of sign language!



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