This year it meant no school for our students and professional day for the teachers. My day was split into two categories: brain research that I was super interested in and state requirements for TBT paperwork (I am not even going to comment on this).
Ann Anzalone was our presenter about the "Missing Link: Root Skills of Learning." I was trying to think about how to describe her presentation. So I turned to her website for some ideas but loved what it said. I am quoting it here: "her presentations are very practical and focus on the development of
techniques, strategies and tools to optimize learning and communication
skills." I cannot word it any differently than this. I left with a LIST of ideas to implement immediately into my life, my children's lives, and my student's learning.
So...the missing link. What did it boil down to? Well...a lot. But if I had to think of one main thing that I got out of my time with Ann it would be movement. Physical movement, mental exercise, and social interaction are the three things that are going to stimulate their little brains. And they need more of it.
Based on my learning, I made some small changes today. As we reviewed our sounds, we touched our shoulders by crossing our arms. When working with my intervention group, we crossed our arms and touched our knees as we counted. This cross body movement is nothing new in the learning community...but I need to weave it in throughout my day.
Ann pointed out that as our society has changed and technology has increased, some activities are not as prevalent in the lives of our children. Some examples that she gave: balance beams in K and 1st grade classrooms, pin the tail on the donkey, handwriting, spinning and rolling. Each of these activities impact the brain in a different way. For example, balance activities are important to the cerebellum while rolling impacts the function of the moro reflex.
When our time with Ann was up, we clapped. We wished for more. I left motivated. But maybe too motivated.
After I picked up my two girls, I told them about what I had learned. We went a little overboard:
-we hula hooped
-we cross arm counted
-we walked on pretend balance beams
-we pinned the tail on some trees
-we drank lots of water (oxygen)
-we ate eggs for breakfast the next morning (protein)
-we changed some food choices (that could be a whole other presentation)
-we rolled down some hills
-we spun around on the driveway
I was so thankful for a day so filled with motivation, good conversation, and excitement. My team of teachers came in today excited to try out some new techniques. We were well hydrated and ready to teach!