Learning Center Model Presented by Joanne M. Billingsley M.Ed.
Alexander Fleming 1881 – 1955
“ One sometimes finds what one is not looking for."
Start with a VISION and recognize it will be a JOURNEY.
Create a Brain-Friendly Science classroom
Deliver Differentiated Lessons
Construct an Enriched Environment that Meets the Needs of All Students.
Establish a Nurturing Place to Learn, Share and
Learning Center Model
Absence of fear
Meaningful Content - relevancy
Choices & Control
Enriched, Stimulating Environment
Adequate Time – for completion and reflection
Immediate, Meaningful feedback
Eight Brain-Compatible Elements to Improving Complex Learning
Improving Metacognitive Skills For Successful Learning
The learning Center Model enhances students’ metacognitive skills In this learning environment, students are encouraged to:
Take conscious control of learning
Plan and elect strategies
Monitor the progress of their learning
Analyze the effectiveness of learning strategies
Change learning behaviors & strategies when necessary and redirect their efforts.
Minimizing Fear & Stress in the Learning Environment
Students do not work in isolation. They feel supported by other group members.
Students have increased access to teacher feedback and support.
Students feel safe asking questions and exploring new ideas within a small group. They are less fearful of being “put on the spot” in front of the entire class.
If someone experiences a “put down” by another group member, they have permission to change groups. Students have a choice in selecting their station partners. They are encouraged to work with a wide variety of students. The rule is, “Finish up, get up, split up.”
5. Students determine how much time they spend at each Learning Center activity. They have adequate time for completion & reflection.
6. Students see a connection between Learning Center activities and student learning goals, reducing the stress of an unknown purpose.
7. Learning Centers are novel, multi-sensory activities that make the content more meaningful, reducing perceived irrelevance and lack of personal meaning.
8. A well-designed Learning Center creates a “hook” to which addition information can be attached during elaboration. This results in a more balanced playing field for students with limited prior knowledge and/or limited life experiences.
Social Interactions Facilitate Cognitive Function The Brain is Social Organ
“ Human brains evolved to link to other brains and depend on connection and communication to stay alive. Stimulation, challenge and being needed by others tell the brain to be alert, learn new things, and grow. Lack of stimulation, repetitive routines, and isolation tell the brain to direct the body’s energy elsewhere.”
A simple exchange of views between students solving a problem at a Learning Center requires that they:
pay attention to each other
maintain in memory the topic of the conversation and respective contributions
adapt to each other’s perspective
infer each other belief’s and desires
inhibit irrelevant or inappropriate behavior
In differentiated instruction the students are placed at the center of teaching and learning.
Attempt to match learner’s ability with appropriate materials
Blend of whole class, group and individual instruction.
Use numerous approaches to facilitate input, processing, and output.
Develop challenging and engaging tasks for each learner (from low-end learner to high-end learner).
Agriculture Age Farmer Industrial Age Factory worker Information Age Knowledge worker Concept Age Creators Pattern recognizers Meaning makers A Whole New Mind Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future By Daniel Pink
Why Stand & Deliver
was so effective for
But a disaster for
Why don’t students seem to value information like they use to?
Teacher is no longer viewed as the most value resource for information.
Easy access of information decreases its value.
Information Age Conceptual Age
I Taught but They Didn’t Learn!
They are hardwired differently.
They Demand Relevance
It is difficult to convey relevance in a lecture.
Relevance is usually discovered during the learning process.
Meaning is something we must search for as individual
Emotion- Memory, Meaning & Recall Building an Emotional File Folder Increasing the likelihood that information can be retrieved at a later time.
Using content trailers to show relevance , invoke emotion , motivate student learning and increase retention.
Delivering Content in Contexts with an Emotional impact
Students helping students find relevance.
Students accepting responsibility for their own learning.
No more forced feeding
Provide concrete multi-sensory experiences. These experiences will become the foundation or “prior knowledge” to which new information can be attached.
Goal # 2
Create a brain friendly classroom that incorporates brain friendly lessons.
Goal # 3
Reducing direct- teach time by 50% and replace it with student-centered learning.
Goal # 4
Encourage and provide opportunities for students to accept MORE responsibility for their own learning.
Looking at the Brain to Understand How the Brain Learns .
Building a Web of Knowledge
Learning creates a PHYSICAL CHANGE in the brain! Learning involves building and expanding your neuronal networks.
Learning really is about making connections.
How does learning change the brain?
Learning is physical. Learning produces physical changes in the brain. Learning means the modification, growth, and pruning of our neurons, connections–called dendrites – and neuronal networks. Learning changes the brains structure and therefore alters the ways that the brain functions.
What does the brain do with all of the sensory information?
Sensory input is routed to the back cortex
Integrating new information to create meaning and images.
Connecting the new with the old (prior knowledge.
Searching for and making connections to create meaning.
Connecting Takes Time
Integration of new information takes time and REFLECTION.
The brain must reflect on prior experiences to create meaning.
As associations are made the new sensory information begins to develop meaning.
Meaningful information becomes part of memory.
Intelligence is a function of experience.
Schools need to be able to equalize student experiences in order to increase understanding of content.
Prior Knowledge - Creating a Hook
What Determines Intelligence?
It is not the number of neurons but the number of connections between those neurons that account for the human intelligence.
Learning Center Model A Balanced Approach to Learning
Reaching a Balance
Pressure to increase the amount of information in our classes
Information delivered to fast to integrate & comprehend.
Not enough reflection & connection time.
Active Learning/Student Centered
Emphasis on social interaction
Exploration & communication
Classroom becomes a playroom.
Lack the intense concentration needed in learning.
Getting the right mix of activities to engage the whole brain.
Engaging the Whole Brain Concrete experience-sensory input
Reflection takes time
Magic # 7
Examples must connect with prior knowledge
Ask: What does this remind you of?
A picture is worth a thousand words A metaphor is worth a thousand pictures Acquire new information
Back Brain Activity
The value of trail & error learning
Engaging the Whole Brain Changing information into useful knowledge
Create (new ideas)
Generate ideas that are an action plan for the future
Information produces new thoughts
Change from a receiver to a producer
Power to generate new ideas without outside sensory input. Not teacher dependent .
Front Brain Activity
Study the diagram and analyze the model at this station.
What does the cardboard tube represent?
What about the yarn that is wrapped around it?
What do the multi-colored strips represent?
Why did I place the tube in a plastic bag?
What does the box represent?
What is one limitation of this model?
List three ways you could improve this model.
Write a short paragraph that describes the relationship between the terms Chromosomes-DNA –Genes.
Amazing Ice Melting Blocks It’s not magic…It’s Science!
Did you guys see what just happened here? Totally weird…
What are students doing at those learning centers?
Collect-Connect-Reflect (finding meaning)
Hypothesize-Create-Act ( generating new knowledge)
They are using their whole
Provide sensory experiences that build prior knowledge
Provide a brain friendly environment
Include brain friendly lessons & activities
Are student centered. Students accept responsibility for their learning.
Reduce direct teach time by 50%
Engage the whole brain
What do Learning Centers Look Like?
Guidelines for Design
Use Clarifying Statements to establish a list of learning goals.
Each center should address one learning goal.
Balance front vs. back brain activities.
Students directions must be clear and self explanatory.
Consider different learning styles in planning centers. Diversify.
Ideally students should move approximately every 15-20 minutes
Be available for immediate feedback
Centers should provide a multi-sensory experiences when possible
Provide extending learning opportunities for the gifted and remediation of the struggling students
Examples - Framework
Researching information on the web
Organizing information into a foldable
Building/analyzing models and diagrams
Solving an inquiry lab
Exploring interactive websites
Graphing data/ Interpretation of data/ making predictions
Predicting future results & applications
Compare & contrast
Some things are best done in a cooperative group , some things are best accomplished individually and some content is best taught to the whole class .
Engage – Explore – Explain - Elaborate - Evaluate
Modified Direct Teach
Modified direct-teach with learning centers in place.
Learning Center Reflections
The reflection process is a complex mental activity involving memory, analysis, and high level thought. Reflection creates a bridge between previously acquired information and new data, so that learning can take place. There is power in the process of PERSONALIZED REFLECTION.
Guidelines for Reflective Writing
When creating a written reflection, include the following features.
1. Description - Briefly describe your experience (class activity or reading).
2 . Impact - Tell what you have learned and how you feel about what you have learned. React to what you have read or done by agreeing or disagreeing.
3. Intent (Action) - Make a statement about what you intend to do because of your learning and feelings. Be specific and give examples.
Student Guidelines For Learning centers
Students Guidelines for Success Learning Centers
Please do not move chairs without permission.
Do not rush but do not WASTE TIME. Stations usually take 10-20 minutes to complete.
Stay on task: All conversation should be related to the station activity.
When you complete a station, MOVE ON don’t wait for friends.
Clean and straighten up before you leave each station.
Take all of your stuff with you. Don’t leave folders behind.
Push in your chairs when you leave a station.
COPYING = CHEATING = ZERO: working & discuss with your partners but ALWAYS compose & write your own answers.
Check off each station as you complete it.
Place all student activities you complete into your folder.
Turn in your folder at the end of each class period.
Organize you handouts by number with cover sheet first and staple the upper left hand corner before turning them in on the last day.
I will be responsible for my own learning. I will support and encourage other group members. I will not distract or disrupt other classmates from learning. I will use my time wisely and put forth good effort.
Student signature __________________
Warning 1 2 3
Student Folders NAME Scientific Measurement Learning Centers
Chemistry Learning Centers: Part 1
___ Pocket Book (Elements & Compounds)
___ Does it all add up?
___ Measuring properties
___ Amazing Ice melting Blocks
___ Peroxide Bubbles: what are they?
___ Compound Confusion
___ Properties (Chemical & Physical)
___ What is an Element?
___ Carbon Foldable
___ coversheet & Word search
Centers 1-10 required
Centers 11 & 12: optional
Learning Centers: 10 pts each
Coversheet: 5 pts
You must attempt all questions and follow all instructions to get full credit.
Elements of an Enriched Environment
Characteristics of an Enriched Environment
Modified from Magic Trees of the Mind by Marian Diamond and Janet Hopson
An Enriched Environment
Includes a steady source of positive emotional support
Provides a nutritious diet with enough protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories
Stimulates all the senses (but not necessarily all at once!)
Has an atmosphere free of undue pressure and stress but suffused with a degree of pleasurable intensity
Presents a series of novel challenges that are neither too easy nor too difficult for the student at his or her stage of development
Allows for social interaction for a significant percentage of activities
Promotes the development of a broad range of skills and interests that are mental, physical, aesthetic, social and emotional
Gives the student an opportunity to choose many of his or her own activities
Gives the student a chance to assess the results of his or her efforts and to modify them
Offers an enjoyable atmosphere that promotes exploration and the fun of learning.
Above all, allows the student to be an active participant rather than a passive observer.
Teaching is the Art of Sculpting The Brain.
If you use the correct tools, are patience and thoughtful in planning the design… you can sculpt a masterpiece.