Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!
Kids (and teachers) sometimes arrive in class with “foggy brains.”
Not enough sleep the night before perhaps, or a low or no protein breakfast are the culprits, or…you name it…dozens of demands at home can drain energy and cause foggy brains.
What to do?
Start school days in brain boosting ways!
Lead by example. Tell kids when your own brain feels a bit “foggy.” Quickly add that you’re glad that you have Brain Boosters at hand.
Ask if anyone’s brain feels a bit “foggy.”
Announce to your students that for the days ahead, they need to come to class ready to play Brain Boosters…call them Brain Boosting Games…to become focused and on task in class.
Brain Boosting Games (BBGs) are quick ways to start school days. They have to be quick to fit into busy class schedules.
Try this BBG…
Play Who Am I? – Kids love guessing games.
When you’re about to head into your first lesson of the day, ask for everyone’s attention, and secure it by holding up a sheet of brightly colored paper, like a piece of red card stock, quick as a flash.
Tell the class that behind this sheet is a picture and a poem. The poem’s title: Who Am I?
Explain that you need students to listen carefully as you read the poem and guess the answer the poem reveals behind the bright blank sheet.
A free-verse poem titled, Who Am I (about a puppy), like the one shown above, might read like this…
I am cute and cuddly, soft and loving,
With big eyes and a cold, wet nose.
I may be blonde, white, black or brown,
With short or long ears and tail.
I am fluffy, sweet, playful too; maybe big; maybe small.
Yes! I like to chase cats, but sometimes they scare me.
I am an animal; who am I?
How else can you start school days in brain boosting ways?
Try these BBGs…
Name That Bean!
Play a Name Game that Celebrates Beans – Begin this fun and attention-getting Brain Booster with a Q for kids:
“If breakfast was a part of the start of your school day, what did you eat?”
Call on a few students to offer answers aloud.
Note if anyone mentions beans, as a student might if he/she ate Huevos Rancheros (ranchers’ eggs), a popular Mexican dish with black beans.
If no one mentions beans, note that you didn’t hear anyone call out this worldwide diet staple.
Regardless, announce that it’s time to play a quick game titled, Name That Bean!
Ask who can name at least five kinds of beans fast.
Let kids call out. Releasing energy helps clear “foggy brains” at the start of a school day, adding value to Brain Boosters.
Help the class if students can’t think of answers…
Beans include green beans, black beans, butter or lima beans, baked beans, pinto beans.
Oh yes, and what about Mexican jumping beans, seed pods inhabited by the larva of a small moth?
Listen for a quick thinker to call out the name of what is perhaps the most popular bean, especially this time of the year, at least in the US and the UK…jelly beans.
Play What’s Up with UP? – Help your class de-fog their brains and start the day in a brain boosting way by challenging older students to guess a word (in English) that has more meanings than any other two-letter word.
That word is UP . The word UP is listed in the dictionary as an adverb, preposition, adjective, noun or verb. Wow, talk about multi-functional!
When you offer UP the answer (if your class can’t guess it), liken the multi-functional nature of this little word to our multi-functional brains.
Encourage kids to put UP with this quick crazy game and offer UP ways the word UP is used…
When you pause the game of What’s Up with UP, give kids a minute to refresh from this brain booster before you head into the next lesson.
Make the WRITE Connections – Brain Boosters are especially effective at the start of school, but they can energize activities throughout the day.
For example, you can incorporate Brain Boosters into late morning or afternoon writing time.
Who Am I?, the theme of the guessing game outlined above, is also a good working title for a writing activity in grades 1 – 5.
Invite students to write free-verse poems that describe themselves without naming who they are.
Distribute pre-printed paper with lines for their poems below the pre-printed title, Who Am I? to younger children as writing time begins.
After students complete their writing, ask volunteers to give you their poems to read aloud to the class. See who can guess the authors/who the poems are about.
Up, Up and Away in a Hot Air Balloon! is a focus for story writing that you can instruct students to use.
This theme picks up on the fun and funny discussion about the multiple meanings of the word, UP, described above.
Encourage kids to imagine themselves lifting off in a colorful hot air balloon. Ask them to create a fictional story about their adventures up, up, and away.
Get students to suggest questions that their stories might answer, such as where does my balloon take me, as part of pre-writing time.
Creative, catchy brain boosters make learning fun. Please send comments about brain boosters you use.
Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet