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Claudia Bowen PBIS Return Team Training June 29, 2011 How They Support the Gems We Teach.

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Presentation on theme: "Claudia Bowen PBIS Return Team Training June 29, 2011 How They Support the Gems We Teach."— Presentation transcript:


2 Claudia Bowen PBIS Return Team Training June 29, 2011 How They Support the Gems We Teach

3 Thanks to…  Alana Lovett, School Psychology Intern, Towson State University  Daniel Coleman  Martha Denckla, M.D. Kennedy Krieger Institute  Eric Jensen  John Medina  William Stixrud, Ph.D.  Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed.

4 In this session, participants will:  Discover how changes in brain development may impact student behavior and learning  Learn how extended experiences of negative emotion impact brain development  Be able to apply recent research on brain development to PBIS primary/universal supports

5  We can’t force development to accelerate by enrichment (Denckla)  Timetable for children’s neurological development is unchanged  Most things are more easily learned by a more mature brain  Instructing too early leads to bad habits and attitudes that are hard to break  Instructing too early leads to stress and increases sense of failure  Any benefits from early advantages (if there were any) “wash out” over time Martha Denckla, M.D. Learning and the Brain Conference May 2010

6  Stress Makes Us Stupid (Daniel Coleman)  By age 6, poor children have three times more stress hormones  Children in poor day care have significantly higher levels of stress hormones  Poor children have greatly higher levels of stress hormones

7  In 2010…  Today’s 5-year-olds function like 3-year-olds; 7-year-olds like 5- year-olds  Children move less, sleep less, less exposed to nature  Traditional societies, adolescence 2-4 years  Contemporary societies 8-15 years  Graduation from college is now 6 years  People aren’t expected to function as adults until mid 20’s to 30 William Stixrud, PhD. Learning and the Brain Conference May 2010

8  Play provides opportunities for positive, social-emotional experiences.  Neuroplasticity, the shaping of the brain by repeated experience, may explain why Social Emotional Learning benefits students.  When the brain experiences distress, memory, attention and learning are impaired.  In other words, because of the way our brains are wired, our emotions can either enhance or inhibit our ability to learn.

9  What do you know about your brain?  What was learning in school like for you?  Think about a positive memory of a teacher or classroom experience  Think about a negative memory of a teacher or classroom experience.  How old were you?  Cognitive (mind) vs. Emotional (heart)

10  Grapefruit to cantaloupe sized  Weighs ~3 pounds  Texture of soft butter  Full of wrinkles or folds to maximize surface area  Unfolded it’s the size of a newspaper

11  Contents:  78% water  10% fat  8% protein  Made of:  100 billion Neurons – process and transmit information  1-5 trillion Glial Cells – provides support

12  Cerebrum  Cerebellum  Limbic System  Brain Stem

13  Receives, categorizes, and interprets information. Involved in rational decisions and activation of behavioral responses.  Right – processes information as a whole, in random order, and spatially (creative), controls movement on the left side.  Left – processes information in parts, sequences, and language (logical), controls movement on the right side

14 Solving Problems  Solving Problems is the number one, all time best activity for brain growth  Increases neural connectivity  Increases the number of glial cells  Increases overall brain mass Eric Jensen (2008). Brain-Based Learning

15 Solving Problems (cont’d)  Best problems to solve meet the following conditions  They are novel (change content and process of solving problems often)  They are challenging (make sure the difficulty level is appropriate for your audience) Eric Jensen, Frank J. Kros and Judy Willis

16 Solving Problems (cont’d)  Best problems to solve meet the following conditions:  They are non-threatening (everyone should want to contribute  They stimulate emotions (learners should feel anxiety, joy, anticipation, surprise, or celebration Eric Jensen, Frank J. Kros and Judy Willis

17 Greater Depth of Meaning  As the brain learns, it stimulates cells to growth branch-like extensions called dendrites  Each dendrite is another neural pathway by which cells can connect to each other  Maximize the number of connections by providing multiple contexts for learning the same thing



20 Cross Laterals “Unstick” Learning  Right side of the brain controls the left side of the body and vice versa  When learners get stuck, it is usually for one of two reasons

21  When the Left Brain is stuck, the learner is in an analytic quagmire.  “I tried everything”  “I did this, I did that and I just can’t seem to find my way out of this problem” Eric Jensen (2008). Brain-Based Learning Cross Laterals “Unstick” Learning (cont’d)

22  When the right brain is stuck, the learner is overwhelmed  Everything  I’m hopelessly lost Eric Jensen (2008). Brain-Based Learning Cross Laterals “Unstick” Learning (cont’d)

23  Cross-lateral activities force the brain to talk to itself from both hemispheres  Movements that cross the body activate both hemispheres at once. Cross Laterals “Unstick” Learning (cont’d)

24  Cerebellum helps provide smooth, coordinated body movement  Cerebellum is a computing machine for perception and motor control

25 Movement as the Basis of Thought  Movement is essential for the existence of the brain  Things that don’t move don’t need brains  Constant activity in our brains and bodies says movement is an on-going life force John Ratey, M.D. A User’s Guide to the Brain and Spark

26 Movement as the Basis of Thought (cont’d)  Visualization How many televisions are there in your house, including portables and cell phones?  Your brain created motor images or simulations to answer this question  You used the same brain regions (in parietal and frontal lobes) to visualize as if you searched physically  These same brain regions play a large role in planning, mental calculations, and forming intentions

27  Higher brain functions evolved from movement and are still dependent on it  Brain circuits used to order, sequence, and time a mental act are the same as the ones used to time a physical act  When we plan or solve problems, the sequencing and shaping are done by the prefrontal cortex, which guides the motor cortex Movement as the Basis of Thought (cont’d)

28 Mental Control and Motor Control  Overlap of frontal executive and motor systems  Executive function is all about action, goal directed output ▪ The whole front half of brain is devoted to organizing action and executive processes such as working memory, motor planning and inhibition ▪ At their base, higher cognitive functions are about organizing actions Martha Denckla, M.D. Learning and the Brain Conference 2010

29 Corresponding neurological changes from physical activity (Movement)  Stimulates production of BDNF (considered a “brain fertilizer”, as it important for the growth of the brain and for helping cells “wire together” Brain-derived neurotrophic factor also known as BDNF is a protein that, in humans, is encoded by the BDNF gene. BDNF is a member of the "neurotrophin" family of growth factors, which are related to the canonical "Nerve Growth Factor", NGF. Neurotrophic factors are found in the brain and the periphery. proteingeneneurotrophinNGFNeurotrophic factorsbrain John Ratey and Judy Willis

30 Emotion  Emotions are intertwined with motor abilities (root of emotion means “to move”)  Adjacent systems  Limbic system is right along side of basal ganglia and cerebellum  Hence the close relationship between emotion and movement and feelings of emotional consequences of our actions


32 Emotion and Movement  Interconnection of movement and emotion  When we are happy we smile and when we smile we feel happier  Feedback is bi-directional: If you activate a lower level, you will be priming an upper level. So smiling can improve our mood  Stress response underscores how attention, emotion, and motor systems work with and on each other (The most fundamental attention system involves the fight, flight or freeze response) Gary J. Durr. 2010 Anger Management for School Age Youth (Triggers)

33 Limbic System (inner brain) Brain Gem for Emotions Principal regulator of emotions, filters information before it reaches the cerebrum.

34  Hypothalamus – Asks “What is happening inside?” Monitors regulatory system, automatic functions, emotions, “flight, fight or freeze”.  Thalamus – Asks “What is happening outside?” Relays all incoming sensory information. Judy Willis. M.D. M.Ed. Learning and the Brain Conference May 2010

35 Limbic System (inner brain) Gems (cont’d)  Amygdala – Brain’s 911 system, reacts to incoming survival and emotional information. Encodes emotional messages to memories for long term storage.  Hippocampus – Plays a principle role in learning and memory. Checks new information with stored experiences. Creates new meaning, converts short term to long term memory.

36 Consequences of Stress  Effects of stress on the brain  Prolonged stress shrinks the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex  Prolonged stress increases the size and reactivity of the amygdala

37  It doesn’t have the working memory to store new thoughts  It doesn’t have the physical resources to make new memories (glucose, acetylcholine, etc.)  It doesn’t have the space in the hippocampus to store even a temporary memory.

38 Stress Stress response in an evolutionary context “I’m stressed out of my mind”  The stress response =fight or flight or play dead (amygdala, hypothalamus, hippocampus, pituitary, adrenal gland)  When in a real emergency don’t want to over think your response

39 Stress interferes with learning (makes us feel stupid)  Attention  Stress makes it hard to concentrate  Organization and other executive functions  Memory  Under stress students and adults will work harder but produce poorer quality work  Daniel Coleman

40 Kids “download” the negatives of chaos, disharmony, poor relationships, foul language, poor manners, and weak vocabulary just as quickly and just as automatically as they would any positive or enrichment input.

41  Sustained exposure to hostility can erode IQ and ability to handle stress, sometimes dramatically  Children will rewire their developing nervous system depending upon the turbulence they perceive


43 Mirror neurons allow us to mimic social cues; infants have to be taught how to respond emotionally. Otherwise they “pick it up” from the wrong sources… like other kids.

44 Of all the things researchers have discovered about the value of quality relationships, one of the most surprising is that they are strong mediators of stress. Good relationships diffuse stress and make your life easier. Eric Jensen, 2008 Why Positive Emotions Matter

45  Emotional ecology into which child is born can profoundly influence how the nervous system develops  Children are highly attuned to perceptions of safety John Medina. 2010. Brain Rules for Baby.

46  Social interactions during the first two years of life provide the foundation for learning  A child’s social environment-particularly the one created jointly by mother and child has an enduring effect on future development and learning (Schore 2005)

47  The more strangled children feel emotionally, the more stress hormones swarm their brains, and the less likely they are to succeed intellectually  Say, ‘Wow, you really worked hard!” John Medina. Brain Rules.


49  Think about your children’s emotional landscape while they are at school Emotions likes and dislikes over time  Help your children make friends while they are at school  Speculate on another’s point of view so that your children will begin to take another’s point of view  Develop an empathy reflex with your child  Describe the emotion you think you see  Make a guess as to where it came from

50  CAP your Rules  C stands for Clarity Rules are clear, reasonable, unambiguous  A stands for Accepting Rules are delivered in a consistently warm and accepting environment  P stands for Praise Every time a child follows a rule, reinforce the behavior

51 Stability and familiarity through repeated experiences Songs Routines Jobs Quiet zone Consistent enforcement

52 .......... Suspenseful Pause To build curiosity and captivate the Limbic System’s attention

53 Surprise! discrepant events Prior knowledge activation Advertising Color Costumes-Music Movement

54  Start with something that promotes “Buy-In”  Current events - student interest

55  When students have to search for what is important they cannot devote full mental resources to processing the information.  Scaffold students with cues.



58 Cerebrum  Frontal Lobe – judgment, creativity, problem solving, planning, short term memory  Parietal Lobe – higher sensory and language functions  Temporal Lobe – hearing, memory, and language  Occipital Lobe – vision

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