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Showing posts with label emotion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label emotion. Show all posts

## I started playing a game during Math the other day that I hadn't played in years!

We were practicing skip counting in my second grade class, and I realized a lot of these kids really need to practice skip counting a whole lot!

After all, research on brains and learning tells us that practice makes permanent. (This is good if they're practicing the skill correctly, not so good if they're practicing the skill incorrectly! I suspect we all know the pain of unlearning a bad habit!)

### So in order to practice the skill of skip counting, I remembered this game:  Countdown!

The children stand in a circle. The teacher decides which numbers will be repeated for the game. To start, we counted by 5s from 5 to 35. A child was chosen to start the game by calling out "five". The children went around the circle calling out the next number in the sequence. Whoever said 35 would sit down. They repeat the sequence, eliminating the "35" person each time, until there is only one left standing, the winner!

Luckily, they enjoy the game, so they're glad to repeat it, with variations on the counting pattern! Plus, brain research tells us that adding an emotional element (fun) improves the memory!

This game works for ANY sequence that needs to be learned. Here are some examples:
• the seven continents
• the states of matter
• the seasons
• the times tables
• prime numbers

### I'll bet you can think of more!

In case you're interested, I've written these directions out so you can download and put them in your files!  Just click the image or click here: How to Play Countdown!

## Everything I've read about brain research and memory tells me that there are strong ties between the memory and emotion.

As an experienced teacher, it's clear that children will remember events that are associated with emotional events. Personally, I prefer to keep that emotion a happy one while in the classroom. (Although I'll bet everyone reading this remembers events from extremely unhappy times, I'll leave those negative emotions to a power higher than myself... hopefully it's not the principal!)

I remember, a long time ago, I walked into a workshop after a long day of workshops. It was a long morning, and we were fed a good lunch. This was mid afternoon, the time when many countries like to take a siesta, and the rest of us wish we could.

As I walked to the room for my next workshop, I was seriously thinking of sneaking out to find a place I could slip in a little nap. I walked into the room, and I heard music playing. Not your typical "little kid" music, but fun music, the kind you'd hear at a party. Immediately I started smiling and happily found a seat, smiling at the other teachers in the room, who were also smiling. I saw lots of other people do the same... looking around, smiling, moving to the music, chatting happily... can you picture it?

When the workshop started, we were all in grand moods. I still wonder if I would have enjoyed that workshop as much, or even been able to stay awake, if it weren't for the "feel good" music while we were arriving.

I've remembered this moment many times. I've collected a number of classic "feel good" songs that I like to play when the children enter the classroom. These songs always bring smiles to faces. Even though they hate to see it end, they settle right down ready to work after the happy music.

I find this music is great for Open Houses, too. It's nice to see those parents smiling. I'm preparing my music for this Monday's Open House... it's their first impression of me, and I want it to be a good one!

What music makes you feel good? Here is one of mine! I can't help but smile when I hear Aretha!

HERE's a freebie with a list of many of the songs I use: