"The Brainies!” are powerful WBT tools used to help elevate reasoning, critical thinking, and Funtricity in the classroom! These simple and fun cue gestures better enable students to grasp abstract concepts by activating the motor cortex, visual cortex, and limbic system.
In addition, Chris Biffle, founder of Whole Brain Teaching, states, “The Brainies are a combination of sounds and gestures that when used are guaranteed to develop amazing writers. By using these Brainies, students WILL be college ready and prepared to write exemplary 10 page college term papers.”
I introduce this activity the first day of school, so I need to have my materials ready for each student. Above is an example of the Brainies Desk cue card, reduced in size, for each student. Below are directions for preparing the Brainies and introducing them.
I copy the sheet on card stock, cut apart, and laminate. Each student receives a copy for personal use at their desk. I tape it below their Name desk plate for a quick visual reference. Students use this as a cue card during Oral Writing, writing assignments, Prove it!, and Brainy Competitions. As students learn the Brainies, they become less dependent on the card as they speak and write. I make several extra cards to have ready for small group instruction as well.
I introduce Brainies the first week of school to set the expectations in my classroom. I introduce the end marks, comma, capital letter, because, and For example first. The students love the gestures, and they are asked to teach their families the gestures as well. If you can afford the colored ink, I send an extra card home for use.
Every day put up one or two Brainies: Capital Letter, Because Clapper, For example, Also, Compare, etc. When the kids are talking to each other during a Teach-Okay set, you are looking for them to add the gesture/concept . We want to move Teach-Okay beyond the crucial skill of paraphrasing and into Oral Writing and Critical Thinking. When you see kids using the Brainies, then praise them ... you see them continuing ... you can give them a star on the Super Improvers Team Wall.
The Brainies are easy to implement and "powerful"! So, after you do individual Brainies, then you can have them work on two or more! Another extension is to tell your students, "You pick the ones you and your partner want to work on ... and let me see if I can guess which ones you picked."
For more information on how to use the Brainies in your instruction, see Webcast # 579 and download the free ebook at wholebrainteaching.com, The Brainy Game. I encourage you to also check out Chris Biffle’s newest book, 122 Amazing Games! This includes the game, The Brainy Minute! which is a fun way to get your students started on using the Triple Whammy!
Here are some videos demonstrating the use of Brainies in the classroom. Don’t hesitate to leave questions!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kInK14Swh-s (see minute 33:30)