The Brain – is wider than the Sky The Brain – is wider than the Sky For – put them side to side – The one the other will contain With ease – and You – beside – The Brain is deeper than the sea For – hold them – Blue to Blue – The one the other will absorb – As Sponges – Buckets – do - The Brain is the weight of God – For - Heft them – Pound by Pound – And they will differ – if they do – As Syllable from Sound – Emily Dickinson
The Learning Brain: Optimize Learning with Brain-based Research Tender Bridges Advisory Council Bucks County Intermediate Unit March 31, 2011
Agenda • Welcome • Housekeeping • Material Review • Table of Contents • Introductions • The Program
Table of Contents • The BIG Ideas of The Learning Brain • The Brain • Brain Facts • Neurons • Neural Networks • Lots of Talk • The Issue of Quality • Attention & Memory • Enrichment
Introductions:Tender Bridges PD Planning Committee • KatherynBryner, BCIU • Gail Berkowitz, Council Rock SD • Lori Borman, Child Development Specialties • Pat Miiller, QCCC • Carol Mikulski, BCCC • Dawn Stear, First Friends Child Care • The Learning Brain • Dr. Eddie Frasca-Stuart • BCIU Director, Staff and Program Development • Collaborative Groups • KatherynBryner • Gail Berkowitz • Lori Borman • Pat Miiller • Dawn Stear
Introductions: • Your Introductions • Fill out NAME TENTS • First name – BIG LETTERS • School/Agency – small letters • Table group introductions • Introduce yourselves to your table group. • As a group, open the contents of your bag. • These items are related to today’s workshop. • Match the items to your game board to the best of your ability. • Whole group introductions
Contents of Your Bag • Almond(s) • Grain of rice • A marshmallow • A funnel • A bottle of water • A piece of bark • Pictures of… • Children exercising • A seahorse • A hippopotamus • A traffic cop • A frightened cat • A parent & child talking
LOOK FORS The role of patterning The role of experience The role of prior knowledge The role of novelty The role of safety The role of stress The role of challenge The role of feedback The role of culture The role of explicit instruction Brain-Friendly Strategies
The BIG Ideas • The issue is not Nature versus Nurture; it is much more powerful – the issue is, undeniably, that nature NEEDS nurture. • It is to the benefit of children, for all educators to understand how the brain works since it is the center of all learning. • Standards, Instruction and Learning Environments need to be based on how the brain learns. • The brain’s Attention and Memory systems are required to work in concert with one another for learning to occur. As educators, we need to learn about both systems in order to design brain-based learning activities. • Enrichment activities grow brain!
All behavior has its roots in the operations of the brain. • The brain is the most complex entity on earth. “The Brain – is wider than the sky” • An adult brain weighs about 3 pounds. An infant's brain weighs less than 1 pound. • It is energy hungry. • It is about 2% of the body’s weight • Consumes 20% of the body’s energy • The brain receives its energy from blood. b • Glucose, protein, trace elements, and oxygen • Receives about 8 gallons of blood/hour; 198 gallons/day
The Brain • The Brain receives oxygen via our blood blood supply. • Uses 20% of the body’s oxygen. • Requires clean air for • Higher levels of attention • Mental functioning • Healing • Requires moving the oxygen through the body • movement • physical exercise • The brain also needs 8 to 12 glasses of water/day. • Water is necessary for electrolyte balance. • Dehydration is connected to poor learning.
All behavior has its roots in the operations of the brain. • The brain is the most _______ entity on earth. • An adult brain weighs about __ pounds. An infant's brain weighs less than __ pound. • It is ______ hungry. • It is about 2% of the body’s weight. • Consumes ____ of the body’s energy. • The brain receives its energy from ______ . • Glucose, protein, trace elements, and oxygen • Receives about 8 gallons of blood/hour; 198 gallons/day
The Brain • The Brain receives oxygen via our blood supply. • Uses 20% of the body’s oxygen. • Requires ______ ______ for • ________ levels of attention • Mental _________ • Healing • Requires moving the oxygen through the body • __________ • physical exercise • The brain also needs ___ to 12 glasses of water/day. • Water is necessary for electrolyte balance. • _____________ is connected to poor learning.
The Brain contains two types of brain cells: neurons and glial cells. 90% of the cells are Glia and 10% are Neurons, however, despite their smaller number, neurons make the brain a thinking and learning organ. Approximately 100 billion neurons are found in the brain and in the spinal cord at birth.
Glia cells are helper cells of the brain. Four types of Glial Cells 1. Radial Glia: Guide neurons in the development of the fetal brain. “Glia”is derived from Greek word meaning “glue.’ 2. Macrophage Glia: assists in removing the debris of dead cells following damage to brain areas. 3. Oligodendrocytes: play a role in neural maturation. They lay down myelin. 4. Astrocytes: have a star-like appearance and their job is to maintain an appropriate chemical environment around the neuron.
NEURONS • A piece of brain the size of one grain of rice has approximately 10,000 neurons. • Each neuron can can make 1 to 10,000 connections.
A trillion connections are made as the baby experienceslife. Experience sculpts the brain.
Parts of a Neuron Neurons are Composed of a cell body or soma which contains the nucleus, thousands of short projections called dendrites, and a single axon. Dendrites receive information. Axons send information.
Types of Neurons Neurons come in several different shapes. Some are shaped like a pyramid. Others look like a giant sea fan.
Neurons differ from other cells in the body in two ways: • They do not regenerate on a regular programmed basis - the neurons a baby has are the same neurons the senior citizen has! • They are able to communicate with one another via electrical impulses and chemical exchanges. • Electric nerve impulses • Synapses • Neurotransmitters
Brain Break! • Let’s color!!!
Neural Connections Chemical to Electric to Chemical Communication Between Neurons
Neural Connections “Neurons that fire together, wire together!” The Role of Culture Fluffing Dendrites It is only by neurons making connections with one another that learning can occur.
Impoverished Neuron Enriched Neuron Inability to make connections Able to make Many connections • Impoverishment • Stress • Threat • Hunger • Boredom • Frustration • Lack of Interaction • Harsh Relationships • 100% Directed • Passive Learning • Irrelevant work • Enrichment • Love • Lots of Talk • Challenge • Feedback • The Arts • Nutrition • Exercise • Choice • Problem Solving • Critical Thinking • Discovery Nature NEEDS Nurture – the Right Kind
Lots of Talk • The role of oral language ages 0 – adulthood • Rhythm of language • Patterns of language • Meaning • Syntax • The role of phonemes • Playing with language
Meaningful DifferencesHart & Risley,1995 • After decades of collaborating to increase child language vocabulary, Betty Hart and Todd Risley spent 2 1/2 years intensely observing the language of 42 families throughout Kansas City. Specifically, they looked at household language use in three different settings: 1) professional families; 2) working class; 3) welfare families.
The Issue of Quality “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” William A. Foster U.S. Medal of Honor Recipent Adult/child interactions is the single most important factor in the assessment of quality in early childhood education. Getting it Right From the Start: A Principal’s Guide to Early Childhood Education Marjorie L. Kostelnik & Marilyn L. Grady
Levels of Quality • Read the hand-out on Levels of Quality for early childhood programs. • COMPARE, ANAYLZE & GENERATE CONCLUSIONS • Levels of Quality • Meaningful Differences • Information on impoverished and enriched dendrites • Whole group sharing of Conclusions
Efforts that Affect Quality • Pennsylvania’s Early Learning Standards • Infants and Toddlers • Pre-Kindergarten • Kindergarten • First Grade • Second Grade • Pennsylvania’s Academic Standards/Common Core State Standards • Third Grade • Program Standards • Keystone Stars
OK, so we understand about neurons and neural networks and the role of enrichment • OK, we understand the role of oral language • BUT, how do we influence what a child learns?
Getting the Brain’s AttentionAttention + Memory = Learning • If either system is down, Learning does not occur. • Back to the Brain • Parts of the brain • Four Lobes • Frontal Lobe • Parietal Lobe • Temporal Lobe • Occipital Lobe • Cerebral Cortex (Bark) • Cerebellum • Brain Stem • Microstructures • Many Microstructures • Thalamus • Amygdala • Hypothalamus • Hippocampus • Reticular Activating System
Receives Tactile Information • Processes higher sensory & • Language functions • Cerebral Cortex • “tree bark” • ¼ inch top layer • Planning • Problem Solving • Creativity • Judgment • Decision-Making • Takes in Visual Stimuli • Visual Cortex • Auditory Cortex • Takes in auditory stimuli • Hearing • Meaning & Language • Controls the production of • speech and memory • Balance • Posture • Motor movement • Memory Brain Stem • Regulates heart • beat & breathing • Filters motor & • sensory info
Cerebral Cortex Brain Stem
Microstructures • There are many….
Brain Microstructures for the Emotional Brain (The Limbic System) The Limbic System is a brain region that links the brain stem with the higher reasoning elements of the cerebral cortex. It is a major player in learning and memory. It also controls emotions (feelings & motivations), instinctive behavior, and the sense of smell. • Limbic System Microstructures • Reticular Activating System • Thalamus • Amygdala • Hypothalamus • Hippocampus
The Reticular Activating System (RAS) • The reticular formation comprises much of the brainstem core. • All sensory data has to go through the RAS. • All but olfactory data is sent to the Thalamus. • The trick is to help • determine which • information gets • through the RAS.
Millions of bits of sensory data available every second... Only 2,000 bits can get through the R.A.S.
The thalamus receives all incoming sensory data from the RAS except olfactory data. It is the traffic cop of the brain. Next Stop:The Thalamus A small ovid mass of about 3 cm. long. Located at the base of the cerebral hemispheres.
A Major Player!The AMYGDALA • An almond-shaped neural structure. • The Emotional Center of the Brain. • As part of the limbic system it plays an important role in: • motivation, • emotional processing • formation of long-term memories. • Olfactory data goes directly to the amygdala.
Two more supporting players Hypothalamus • Shaped like half of a hippopotamus. • The hormone autopilot. • Controls the body’s temperature. It can make us sweat to cool us down, and makes us shiver to warm ourselves. • It isimportant to the expression of emotions. Hippocampus • Shaped like a seahorse. • Involved in Motivation and Emotion. • Has a central role in the formation of memories.
Parallel Processing The thalamus sends info in two directions simultaneously – the positive or negative content of the info determines how it is processed. In a Stressed State Input goes directly to the AMYGDALA (reactive) In a calm, relaxed state Input goes directly to the PREFRONTAL CORTEX (reflective) Negative Feelings Trump Thinking!
The goal is to keep the brain calm. Strategies for calming the brain: Removal of threat Absence of stressors Meaningful routines and procedures Meaningful relationships A sense of community Appropriate challenge Specific feedback Relevant work Choice Regulating the amygdala’s responses is critical to the learning process.