Helping BrainWise Grow

Posted On: May 6, 2015

Shawn Cohen, a social work intern, teaches BrainWise to groups of 4th and 5th graders twice a week. She says that one of the reasons she loves BrainWise is that it explains the skill and gives activities to teach the skill, but allows the instructor to be creative in delivering the lesson.  She gave the following example:  “This week we are working on Wise Way 10:  Communicate Effectively.  I was able to change the on-Verbal Greeting Game in a fun and age-appropriate way, and the kids loved it.  I wrote down different messages, such as ‘I am listening and I respect you,’ ‘I’m distracted and thinking about something else,’ and ‘I’m upset, leave me alone,’ and put them in a jar.  One at a time, each student pulled a message out of the jar, read it silently, and then acted out the message non-verbally by greeting everyone in the room with aligned body language.  We then debriefed and discussed what red flags we saw, how students could use their constellation of support in those situations, etc.  The students responded well to something hat felt like a game, but was still socially and emotionally educational.”

Shawn’s success with the 4th and 5th graders led her to explore implementing the program school-wide next year.  She plans to visit other schools that teach BrainWise and meet with staff and get ideas for expanding the program.

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