Smarter Teaching, Better Learning: Neuroscience in Action at Indian Creek School

Indian Creek School (ICS) is part of a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. As an official partner of The Dana Foundation’s Brain Awareness initiative, we launched “Smarter Teaching, Better Learning: Neuroscience Research in Action at Indian Creek School” on January 5, 2015 with a professional development day for faculty and staff. Over the next 40 days, look for interesting examples of how Indian Creek teachers use neuroscience research to create excellent learning opportunities for students.

The national focus on Brain Awareness is providing an exciting opportunity for Indian Creek to share information about how faculty apply the latest research about how students learn best to all they do. The kick off for faculty and staff featured a session on Neuroscience and Diversity facilitated by Upper School Spanish teacher and Director of the Diversity Program Lorraine Hanley and Upper School history teacher Jamor Gaffney. This interactive exercise was designed to help faculty and staff understand the importance of core cultural identifiers and how making connections between neuroscience research and core cultural identifiers helps create and maintain an inclusive and engaging learning environment at Indian Creek.

Another session featured a “Let’s Make a Deal” game created and led by Second grade teacher Michelle Turner and Upper School Music Director Jill Woodward that provided interactive and funny reminders about the 12 Brain Rules documented by developmental molecular biologist and research consultant Dr. John Medina. Every teacher provided concrete examples of how they use the Brain Rules and neurodevelopmental constructs to create instructional strategies to help students become independent and strategic thinkers. Faculty members also shared illustrations of how they create learning environments that enhance classroom experiences and reduce student stress. All of this information will be shared with Indian Creek School parents, alumni, and prospective families through a social media campaign, ICS website updates, and other outreach efforts. Some students will participate in the creation of brain art that will be installed on both campuses and will be on display throughout the official Indian Creek Brain Awareness Week, March 2-6, 2015.

Some other exciting Brain Awareness efforts include:

  • The addition of Brain Rule or neurodevelopmental construct information to all Lower School Club offerings that started in January.
  • Students in Mrs. Pratt’s Middle School health classes will be working in pairs or small groups to research and present a topic of choice on an area, condition, or disease of the brain. Final projects will be displayed in Middle School and shared across grades.
  • Upper School Advanced Placement psychology class students hope to talk with Middle School students about the brain projects they completed earlier in the year.
  • Art teachers Hilary Briles, Inna Slutskya, Mary Todd, and Laura Zlatos will put their creative spin on neuroscience with an art installation on each campus. Students will complete a 10’ x 5’ canvas painting of the brain that highlights the areas affected by or involved in the various Brain Rules and/or neurodevelopmental constructs.  
  • Evergreen Campus Research Specialist Amy Coleman is engaging students in grades one through five in projects related to the brain and learning. They include specific focus on the neurodevelopmental constructs of attention, social cognition, memory and higher order cognition. In addition, fifth grade students will explore sleep and why it matters. 

Throughout our 40 days of Brain Awareness, look for stories in the Friday newsletters as well as additional information on the ICS website that provides examples of smarter teaching and better learning at Indian Creek School.

 

     

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