Connecting Neurons

As we continue our Twitter chats, I was really excited for our growth mindset video that we were getting ready to watch this past Mindset Wednesday. This growth mindset video was about how challenges build the connections between the neurons in our brain that literally create new knowledge. Wow, I guess I was learning something new from our elementary growth mindset videos!

Image result for connection of neurons in the brain

In a previous fixed mindset I may have had in the past, I may have thought that this concept may be “too complex” for my third graders. Yet, this video breaks down a complex idea of neurons and how they work in the brain and explain it in a simple way that the students totally understood. I feel like understanding the actual Science behind growing our brains helped some of my scientific or mathematical minds finally see the true concept of having a growth mindset.

In our series of videos we have been watching, the character Katie has given Mojo advice in how to grow his brain and not give up when he comes upon mistakes. In this video, the roles change. Katie faces a challenge, and together they visit a scientist who teaches them that challenges are great for our brain muscles! Challenges literally allow our brain to make connections between new and old learning. Mojo was the support system for Katie in this episode, so I thought that that was an important point to focus on during our discussion. I explained how sometimes even when we usually have a growth mindset, or at least we think we do, sometimes we come to challenges that really forces us to work hard to keep persevering and not giving up. Having a positive support system in a teacher, friend, or family member can keep us on track. We all promised as a class that we would be each other’s support system to come to whenever we face a challenge.

Watch the video here

As a class, we constructed a discussion question to begin out Mindset Wednesday Twitter chat with Miss Griep’s class. We decided to ask: Think of an example of a time that you  made some new connections in your brain. What were you doing? Then we answered this question. I was so proud of one of my student’s responses. She said that yesterday we had learned about division and we made connections in our brain of how to do division by using previous learning of multiplication. This was a perfect example! I knew that now I could use this as an example to join prior knowledge to new learning. This is an important skill in reading especially. Students need to think about making connections between previous experiences and knowledge to make connections in fiction or nonfiction text.


In our Twitter chat, then we were excited to read Miss Griep’s class discussion question. She asked us to think of ways that we can make connections in class this week and to set one goal for ourselves. This was a great way to connect to our previous discussion of using the word yet to set goals for future learning. Students shared many ways that they could set goals for themselves using specific examples of what we are learning in the classroom. Some examples were: building stamina in reading, reading more difficult non-fiction text about topics we are interested in, studying all of our multiplication facts, and solving tough division story problems. We discussed how we need to challenge our brain, because that is when it really has to work hard and make those strong connections between neurons.


10 thoughts on “Connecting Neurons

  1. dezvillalobos October 26, 2016 / 4:51 am

    I like this. Many students do not gain a good understanding of how they learn until sometimes as late as college, and this is an important thing to know and is connected to a valuable skill to have which is how to study effectively. I do appreciate the way that the video simplified a very complex idea as well. Showing a student how they learn on a fundamental level may increase their metacognition and I think it will also boost their performance.


  2. thomasunc October 27, 2016 / 6:01 pm

    I appreciate your work on a growth mindset. It reminds me of our classes together and it reminds me that growing requires many parts. It requires challenge with the unfamiliar, support, and time for the growth to happen. It does not happen with only one aspect/element. Keep up the work with your students!


  3. kccogswell October 27, 2016 / 9:48 pm

    I find it very encouraging that your students were able to use some of the growth mindset knowledge and language independently. Wonderful idea to use your connection to Ms.Griep’s class to set personal goals! It sounds like your students are, and will continue to, benefit from these lessons throughout the year.

    I may have to ask for you to share some of your resources!


  4. whitneyallred October 28, 2016 / 12:01 am

    Do you use Class Dojo in other ways? Do you use the story features that work like Instagram?


    • jackieb38 October 28, 2016 / 1:00 am

      I have never heard of that, but it sounds interesting! Is it on the main site? I’ll have to check it out


      • whitneyallred October 29, 2016 / 4:36 pm

        I think it only shows if you have your class set up on there! So once you add students you will be able to see/use that feature!


  5. mereadair87 October 28, 2016 / 12:35 am

    My school uses ClassDojo as a PBIS tool. I’m interested to see if my 1st graders would be as engaged as your students are during the mindset videos. I love how you incorporated a chat with another class, especially at another school. I think that helps the kids understand that there are other students learning about the same things. Do the students have a journal where they keep track of their thinking or do you just use the questions for discussion?


    • jackieb38 October 28, 2016 / 1:01 am

      I just keep it as a discussion, but what I have decided to do is keep our big ideas on a bulletin board, and students can keep adding them. We do so much writing and journaling I feel like it’s a good time to take a break from that, haha.


      • mereadair87 October 28, 2016 / 1:28 am

        Oh, I def know what you mean about the writing! Love the bulletin board idea–that way students can see what everyone is thinking.


  6. ateach17 October 28, 2016 / 1:38 am

    I love how you are actively teaching your students about growth mindset and challenging them to set goals for themselves and realize mistakes are opportunities to learn! I am always amazed at the things my third graders grasp, that I may have thought would be too difficult for them.
    Thanks for sharing!


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