May 2015

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Students Using an Electronic Reader with BrainWise Content

Students Using an Electronic Reader with BrainWise Content

Students Showing Their Own BrainWise Posters

Students Showing Their Own BrainWise Posters

The Manitou Springs school district has done an incredible job of teaching BrainWise to their students.  Trained by Colorado State University’s (CSU) Christine Cerbana, teachers have taught thinking skills to 539  K-5 students and administered pre and posttests.  CSU’s analysis of the data found the children made significant improvements in positive decision making, emotional regulation, goal setting and relationship skills.

CSU’s research team – Sabrina Norwood, Juliana Rosa, Kimberly Fairbanks, Danielle Dawes and Christine Cerbana will present the poster at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association’s 2015 annual meeting.   Juliana Rosa will present a more detailed poster at the prestigious Society for Prevention Research 23rd Annual Meeting to be held in Washington, D.C. May 26-29.

RMPA 2015 BW EF & SEL Poster

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.

hot headed at computerThe Wall Street Journal reports that research conducted by Duke psychiatrist Murali Doraiswam explains why it is easy for people to send off angry emails.  By scanning people’s brains when they are making decisions, he found that when our emotions get aroused – by excitement, stress, love, anger, and these “hot cognitions” trigger the emotionally driven limbic system and amygdala.  http://blogs.wsj.com/experts/2015/03/23/the-neuroscience-behind-hot-headed-emails/?mod=WSJ_article_EditorsPicks_3#&mod=wsj_valettop_email

As a BrainWise practitioner, you will recognize this and understand why it happening!  You also know what to do to prevent the incidents.  Dr. Doraiswam suggests that to avoid these incidences, simply being aware that you are getting “fired up” – or, in BrainWise terms, recognize your internal and external red flag warnings.  To help you calm down (or lower your Emotions Elevator), he suggests using meditation and getting support from a friend.

You have these skills, and even more, at your disposal.  You understand how your five senses trigger your emotions to react impulsively, and that building neural connections to your Wizard Brain (prefrontal cortex), you learn how to stop, think and control your behaviors. When you stay off of your Emotions Elevator, you can quickly assess the problem, identify your choices, consider the consequences and communicate effectively.  And this is why hot-headed emails are not a problem for BrainWise users.