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Five Useful Tips and Tricks!

I've been teaching for 39 years. I've been teaching in my present school for 31 years. I've been teaching second grade for 17 years. You might say I've collected a few tricks up my sleeves! The more I read about studies on how the brain works, the more I realize that most teachers have figured these things out through experience. Now we just have the evidence to back it up!
Five Useful Tips and Tricks! These five tips are things that many teachers figured out for themselves, but now there's scientific evidence to back it up!

Here are five things that I always keep in mind in the classroom;
  1. Get Them Moving! We all know that children can't sit still for very long! Brain research backs that up. The average attention span is the child's age, plus or minus two. That means that my second graders shouldn't be expected to pay attention to anything longer than 7 minutes! They need brain breaks to break up those sessions. Plus movement aids learning (use gestures for the kids to mirror!) and helps get oxygen to the brain. 
    Guest Post for Rachel Lynette
  2. Get Them Talking! The human brain is social. Kids need to interact! Talking keeps the children engaged and helps them sort out their thinking. Check out THIS LINK to a guest post I did on Minds in Bloom called Keep Your Students Engaged With "Turn and Talk."  for more information and ideas on getting the kids talking.
    Music is magical
  3. Music is Magical! In fact, integrating all the arts will help with learning. Did you know that music boosts brain organization? It affects our moods and emotions. Playing music in the classroom really makes a difference. Different kinds of music work at different times. Playing slow, classical music helps kids focus and concentrate. Fun, upbeat music helps them find energy during those sleepy times of day (after lunch?) or just plain makes the kids feel good. Putting important information to a familiar tune helps them remember things. There is no end to the possibilities of music in the classroom. Click HERE for more suggestions and resources for music in the classroom.
  4. Don't Praise! Yes, you heard that correctly. Actually, experts tell us that false praise is actually harmful to the children. It's best NOT to tell children how smart or clever they are. However, honest feedback is essential for the children to grow. Instead of "you're so smart," tell them "You're getting better about remembering your math facts". Specific, honest praise is far more meaningful. It's ok to tell them they need to work at something. In fact, when they do work at that thing, and show improvement, that's when the self esteem builds! If you're familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, this is where the Super Improvers Wall comes in! (Sorry about the blurry picture, I'll try to get a better one when I'm done putting up this year's wall!) See the link HERE to Giving Feedback for more information.
  5. Keep a Sense of Humor! I suspect you already know the importance of a sense of humor in the classroom to survive as a teacher. Well, it's important for the kids, too. Learning and memory are very much related to emotions and having fun! I try to keep the jokes as much as I can, and include many games in my teaching. Making it fun means more learning will happen. (Plus, the memory needs repetition, and games keep that repetition from becoming boring!)
Links to other posts that have more information these sort of tips:

Music for the Classroom

Plus, HERE's a link to my Pinterest board on Brain Research if you're interested in learning more!
(This is my most popular board!)


  1. Wow! I'm so glad I follow you! You have SO much experience! This is only my third year of teaching! It must be surreal to think of all the lives you've touched over the years!

    x Serena x
    Magic Mistakes & Mayhem

  2. I LOVE THAT YOU USE MUSIC ALL THE TIME!!! Sorry for all caps, but that is how excited I am that someone else thinks the same way as me. There is hardly anytime during the day that I don't have music playing softly in the background!!
    The E-Z Class Follow on Bloglovin

  3. Don't praise, excellent advice I don't think many teachers really think of. You're amazing!


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