What’s up guysss?
One of the more productive ways I have always love to start classes is with – Brain Warm-ups.
I’m sure most of us would have went for a couple of workshops or courses previously where the instructor would flash Brain Teasers once in a while (and of course, those free candies on every group tables!) to sustain engagement and active participation.
I’d like to share an experience I had at an enrichment education centre of which I was previously invited to observe sometime last year.
The lower primary school students were solving complex arithmetic questions mentally, Professor X style effortlessly. The trainer kept shooting random mathematical questions and interesting ‘sorting’ questions to his students and he went on and on and on before delivering the actual lesson programme. And the students’ responses were quick too!
They were certainly conditioned. How?
I prefer to call it – Brain Warm-ups. I am not sure what its real terminology is and yes, I believe they have a scientific boring name for it but let’s just stick to Brain Warm-ups and keep it simple.
I could recall vividly from prior knowledge that these Brain Warm-ups are effective at improving our working memory and more importantly, staying cognitively healthy and sharp as we age.
Here’s a little preview of what I do –
- Count backwards from 50. (Or any random 2-digit number)
I personally go for ‘duels’ of 2 students going at it turn by turn one at a time. I’d record their timings and take note of which number they would stop either by uttering a wrong number or a long 3 to 5 second pause.
- Match Noun to Alphabet.
Our students LOVE this! I would list down all the alphabets on the whiteboard in alphabetical order and choose a ‘theme’. For example – Food.
A – Apple
B – Banana
C – Char Kuey Teow
And so forth..
Then it’s going to be a ‘duel’ again, 2 students challenging each other and their turn ends until they get speechless with a 3 second pause.
I’ve tried schoolmates’ names, teachers’ names, countries (fairly easy and should be a starter theme), Mathematical terms, Movie titles, anything… you name it!
A – Andrei
B – Bernice
C – Coco
And so forth..
What a beautiful 10 minute lesson starter. I love to demonstrate one round to the class myself, I mean we all want the benefits as well.
So, what benefits?
The beautiful thing about Brain Warm-ups is that it creates those ‘spider-web’ kind of neurological connection in our brains by activating all hemispheres in our brains to communicate with each other.
It improves our working memory because we have to consciously keep track and retrieve information simultaneously during a Brain Warm-up round. The moment we say Apple, we already need to think of a noun that fits the theme for the letter B.
It teaches how to think fast and to access our brains much more efficiently.
More importantly, it teaches us and our students how to focus and concentrate. You can’t scroll through Facebook and simultaneously say names of your students in alphabetical order without pausing right?
Share this with fellow budding educators ya! You’ll have a good time (and laughs) with your students. Liven up the class. Let’s go!
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