On Friday, I attended an NHASCD presentation by Dr. Judy Willis. Brain Friendly Strategies for Igniting Student Engagement and Learning was an overview of how the brain takes in, stores and uses information with specific classroom applications for teachers.
Her presentation was amazing! One thing that I found particularly interesting was that extra Dopamine is released when accurate predictions are made. She recommends using prediction as much as possible to sustain attention.
Although I frequently use prediction, her explanation of the neuroscience adds a new twist to what I’ve previously done. She suggests that students make predictions which they are allowed to revise as a lesson/unit progresses. She says that the brain needs to find out if its prediction is correct, so it is motivated to pay attention to find out.
It is important to be explicit so that the brain is fully aware that predictions are being made, and then reveal clues along the way to support revision of the prediction. Interesting pictures, riddles, Animoto commercials, student-friendly written subtopics are all ways to engage the brain in making predictions.
Now I know why the kids liked the Christmas Sock clues so much. I can’t wait to try new ways to incorporate more predicting in my lessons.