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My Breck Story: Don't MIND If I Do

Don’t MIND if I do! 

“Since my experience at Project Zero Future of Learning and the Learning and the Brain Conference, I have been surging ahead teaching my students about the brain and growth mindset. We piloted an online brain program called “Brainology,” which is now being used by Middle School, and learned about the learning process by using the “Learning Pit” as our model. Students also learned about the importance of using a growth mindset, which is the belief and understanding that you can “grow” your intelligence, and that intelligence is not static or fixed. Students then learned about behaviors that promote the growth of neural pathways, such as taking on challenges, persevering, stepping out of their comfort zones, asking questions, trying multiple strategies, analyzing errors, trying new experiences.... This focus changed the climate, conversation, and culture of my classroom into one that focused on and valued thinking and learning. 

I am currently broadening my knowledge of Visible Thinking through a Harvard online six-week course. Together with my ‘Spark Group,’ consisting of Lower School Director Peg Bailey and Lower School Instructors Anne Savage and Kim Schafer, we are learning how to use thinking routines to deepen and focus student thinking, different ways to document and learn from our thinking, and how to foster student thinking dispositions in the classroom. Using these thinking routines will help students realize how they can choose different types of thinking routines to achieve different results, and to become more sensitive to thinking opportunities. 

Lastly, I have had the privilege to be part of a group of Breck fellows who are receiving training in All Kinds of Minds through the Peter Clark Center for Teaching & Learning. I am looking forward to implementing the information on neurodevelopmental constructs in my assessments and teaching.

I am deeply grateful to the Annual Fund for allowing me to pursue my passions in neuroscience and cognitive psychology findings so that I can continue to grow and learn as a teacher. My hope is that my learning will, in turn, have an effective impact on the students that I teach.” 

— Lisa Hunninghake, Third-Grade Instructor