The Educator's PLN

The personal learning network for educators

Brain Based Teaching


Brain Based Teaching

A group of educators interested in maximizing student potential through the use of brain-based teaching techniques. Teach to the way the brain learns best!

Members: 137
Latest Activity: Aug 1

Discussion Forum

Google collaborative maps

Started by 7mrsjames Feb 27, 2012. 0 Replies

Hello fellow educators!  If you could spare a few minutes for our Food technology class- we are studying the changes in Food habits over the last 200 yrs of Australian history. If u have a google…Continue

Tags: map, Collaborative, Australia, foods, Staple

Teaching Metacognition: Be a guide on the side...

Started by Diane Dahl. Last reply by Maria R. Diaz Nov 19, 2011. 4 Replies

In her book, Wiring the Brain to Read: Higher-Order Thinking for Reading (2010, p. 9), Dr. Donna Wilson says, "While some teachers may see their role as the 'sage on the stage,' teaching students to…Continue

Tags: metacognition

Increase Study Skills and Test Performance through Predictions

Started by Diane Dahl Apr 17, 2011. 0 Replies

Making predictions utilizes the higher-order thinking skills of our frontal lobes.  Teach students the metacognitive power of predictions to ensure interest, motivation, as well as current and future…Continue

What does the research say?

Started by David Wees. Last reply by Sue Hellman Apr 2, 2011. 3 Replies

I'd love to know more about what the research says on how the brain works when learning is happening. I've been using some simple examples with my students that I know, and I'm finding it really…Continue

Tags: research

Comment Wall


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Comment by Diane Dahl on June 18, 2015 at 9:04am

Check out this list of Brain-Based Learning resources on Edutopia. Excellent!

Brain-Based Learning Resources

Comment by Glenn Whitman on January 29, 2014 at 12:22am

For those interested in connecting research in how the brain learns with their teaching practice, check out this fun video from The CTTL that published Think Differently and Deeply.

Comment by Donna Wilson on January 24, 2014 at 5:04pm

Teaching Children to Think About Their Thinking—and to Think More Positively


Of all the things we aim to teach children, guiding them to learn how to learn should be near the top of the list. Diane Dahl's blog post above connects metacognition to the topic of reading which is so important. 


When teachers offer explicit instruction on strategies and skills to puzzle through problems and approach a learning challenge from a different angle, for example, their students are learning the benefits of reflecting on and regulating their thinking. These strategies can then be applied to improve such skills as reading comprehension and math problem solving. By applying these lessons, children become more self-directed learners—or as we like to say, they learn to “drive their brains.”


There’s a fancy word for thinking about your thinking with the goal of improving learning: metacognition. This concept is at the foundation of the Thinking for Results approach that is taught in graduate degree programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching, offered online through Nova Southeastern University.

We are always excited to discover and share research about metacognition, including recent findings that everyone from preschoolers to adults may benefit from learning to think about their thinking. Educational researchers have found that children as young as ages 3 to 5 can learn problem-solving strategies that may help them succeed at school.


Our approach encompasses 25 teachable thinking skills, or “cognitive assets.” I’d like to focus on just one of those skills in this post, that of practical optimism. Children of all ages can be guided to take an approach to life that focuses on taking practical positive actions to increase the probability of successful outcomes. In our recently published book Flourishing in the First Five Years: Connecting Implications from Mind, Brain, and Education Research to the Development of Young Children (by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers, Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2013), we offer several ideas for guiding young children to develop an optimistic outlook:


[Developing and maintaining an optimistic outlook will help young children be more open to undertake learning challenges and persist through obstacles and setbacks to achieve mastery. Through these strategies, you can guide children to embrace positivity in their learning endeavors and relationships with others:]

  • Seek out and share examples of positivity in action. The story of The Little Engine That Could is a classic example of an engaging character who persists in her efforts to accomplish a difficult task all the way to success!  
  • Model optimism through persistent effort, and applaud the outlook when children exhibit positivity in their playtime and learning activities and when interacting with peers.
  • Provide children with opportunities to achieve mastery. Plan learning activities in manageable steps, and celebrate small successes on the way to achieving a big goal.
  • Emphasize and model positive emotions and experiences. Educational research shows that parents’ and teachers’ expectations and the examples they set have a powerful influence on how children learn. (adapted from p. 65)

If you are keen to learn how to help youth learn to be more effective listeners (another of our cognitive assets), visit my blog at

Comment by Donna Wilson on August 29, 2012 at 10:30am

We have just been at the New York Academy of Sciences and Aspen Institute Brain Forum 'Cracking the Neural Code'. There Fred Gage, a leading expert on adult neurogenesis, was thrilled to hear that we begin our graduate studies with research showing that adult brains can create new cells. We shared that as educators learn that their own brains have tremendous potential both to create new connections and produce new cells across their lifespan, they are further inspired to enhance their own learning. As some of our teachers have said, "You can teach an old dog new tricks!" Marcus also explained to Fred Gage that after he had shared this research and some learning strategies with his own mother, that she began taking art classes in her 70s and through hard work with an excellent teacher has had her work featured in an international art publication. Gage then said "Give my congratulations to your mother!" We thoroughly enjoyed the conference! For more check out my blog at 'brainsmartu' or facebook at 'Brainsmart' 

Comment by Jennifer Berryhill Carroll on August 29, 2012 at 8:38am

As a gifted education teacher I am always researching the latest information concerning brain based teaching. Glad to find you here. I'm looking forward to participating in this group!

Comment by Glenn Whitman on July 18, 2012 at 9:28am

Our Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning ( has a specific focus on linking educational neuroscience with instructional practices. Check out our blog: We look forward to being part of this PLC. I just got back from the Lausanne Laptop Institute in Memphis that had a number of sessions touch on the impact technology, the 1:1 laptop environment, has on how kids learn and and what educational neuroscience is saying about the impact on the brain.Check out its Twitter feed at #li12.

Comment by Diane Dahl on January 18, 2012 at 8:13pm

Welcome Miss L, we're glad to have you here. Your blog looks great, I'll spend some time reading through it!

Comment by Miss L on January 18, 2012 at 2:02pm

Just joined The Educator's PLN and this group on the recommendation of a fellow educator on Twitter. I look forward to networking with all of you and learning some great things!

Comment by Donna Wilson on December 29, 2011 at 5:03pm

Diane, I am delighted to read your story of success discussing the use of the young chlidren's curriculum Thinking for Reading. You are such an inspiring teacher! Specifically, you are giving your students a gift that keeps on giving, not only in the short term, but as they continue grow into independent life and work in the 21st century. As you know so well, the cognitive skills you are teaching your students will assist them to learn not only academics, but job and life skills/strategies as well! All the best to you as we enter new year 2012! 

Comment by Diane Dahl on December 29, 2011 at 4:53pm

New blog post on how teaching thinking skills saved my sanity!


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Nov 20
Harry Zepeda posted a blog post

Do you have a spending problem?

Shopaholics do not agree to the fact that they are shopaholics until and unless they are forced to agree that they are affected by the addiction of shopping, and they need to do seriously something about it so that they do not waste their entire savings and cry about it on a later date. In this post, we will help you spot the problem and if you spot the issue, go ahead and look for a remedy so that you get enough time to be at ease in the future. 1.    Your credit card balance is always close…See More
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Natalie Marie Lopez posted a blog post

Are there any great websites for K-12 students?

Hello Collective wisdom!I wanted to know if there were any great websites anyone can recommend for elementary school students (K-12) that introduce primary sources?With Common Core State Standards, I notice students are introduced to primary sources in the 3rd grade and there is a local history assignment at one of the schools I talked to.  Know any good introductory sites?  I'm currently building one as part of a project for my multimedia course and would like to look to the left and right for…See More
Nov 19
Joyce Matthews posted a blog post

"I am the greatest"

I was 6 when I decided I wanted to be a PE teacher. A lively child, I loved taking part in any kind of sporting activity. It was 1971 when I set eyes on our new track suited next-door neighbour. I was hooked. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to go to work in a tracksuit and trainers and play sport all day. No amount of persuasion or…See More
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