Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Whole Brain Wednesday: Mirrors

I'm back with another Whole Brain Wednesday... and today I'll be talking about Mirrors!

I talked about Mirrors about a year ago but learned of some other additions to mirrors at the National Conference this year. In addition, I talked a lot more about what mirroring means in that post. In this post I will talk about WHY it works well as well as the different versions of mirror, including the "new for me" mirrors... Magic Mirrors! Oooooh! If you'd like to read last year's post, check it out here.

Overview: Using mirrors is a great way for students to use their motor skills to help with their learning. Students are watching (because they have to copy the movements) which activates their visual cortex. Movement helps to activate the motor cortex which creates the strongest memories in the brain. Think about it... riding a bike is something you don't forget how to do.. it's physical motion! In addition, mirror neurons are firing in the brain as they copy what you are doing and/or saying. Think of small children copying what adults say & do. Students are activating ALL these areas of the brain through this simple WBT strategy. Are you excited yet?

Different uses of mirror:

Silent Mirror

Gesture: Hold hands up to either side, Say: "silent mirrors" Gesture: make quiet quiet gesture (finger in front of lips), Say: hmmp (or some other silly noise)... students repeat.
Students "mirror" (copy) your motions as you teach. Using brainies (post here) or general talking gestures or gestures that "show" what you're saying while you teach gives students motions to copy. These motions will help them to commit the learning to memory.

Mirrors & Words: Gesture: Hold hands up to either side, Say "mirrors and words" when you say "words" quickly put one hand in front of your mouth then return hand to original position... students repeat.
Students will "mirror" (copy) your motions and repeat your words as you teach. Use the sames types of gestures mentioned above, just be sure to break up your teaching into small chunks that are easy for the kiddos to copy & repeat.

Magic Mirrors
Gesture: Hold up hands to either side and wiggle fingers, Say "magic mirrors"... students repeat.
Students will create their own gestures as you teach.
This is the new version of mirrors for me. I think students will have to be experienced with the other versions of mirrors before they will be able to come up with their own gestures. It will be interesting to see how this works in my class, at the very least, it will definitely make the kiddos have to think about making movements that will help them to remember what they're learning.

Mirrors during Teach, Okay:This is something I will be better at encouraging this year. I REALLY want students to use mirrors as much as possible when they are teaching each other. A lot of times this past year and the year before, the "talker" would be gesturing but the "listener" would just be listening, rather than copying gestures. This year I will be sure to set the standards of teach, okay to include students mirroring gestures.

Check out my new WBT rules & procedures posters on my TPT store & enjoy the rest of your week!

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