ChrisRekstad posted this great explanation of Brain Toys, the newest goodies from Whole Brain Teaching. Here is the forum post and below it Chris' explanation. Enjoy
There are three levels of understanding: memorization, paraphrasing and original thinking. Brain Toys are used to engage the prefrontal, visual, motor and auditory cortex in original thinking, learning’s highest level.
1. Props: books, pencils, papers, keys, even a whole classroom can become problems, ideas, events, abstractions, etc.
2. Air Blackboard: clean the dirty left corner; pull the screen to any size you want, make invisible diagrams. Good for illustrating the relationship between ideas, creating outlines, anything that can be drawn.
3. Mirror: Use your hands to act out a story. "First", (Hold up one finger)"the man drove his car to town" (Pantomime driving a car), etc.
4. Sockless Hand Puppets: great for conversations between opposing points of view: can be used to compare and contrast or in any dialogue situations.
5. Infinity Sack: Use the Infinity Sack when you need something that can't be illustrated by a single prop. Pull anything you want out of your infinity sack: mountains, cities, people, an ocean, a mouse, a planet of daffodils to use in any explanation...
6. Example Popper: Pop example out of the top of your head to illustrate important points.
7. Vocab Candy: Pop one in your mouth and automatically use a vocabulary word in your next sentence!
8. Two Finger, All Terrain, Action Figures, with Anti-Gravity Boots:
use them to recreate any sequence of events in a story or a process. Walk your Action Figures on your desk, in the air, up your arm, anywhere. They're All Terrain! And they hop free of gravity!
9. Because Slappers: "Because" is probably the single most important word in clear thinking, because it introduces evidence for your conclusions. Slap one hand on top of the other when you use "because" to show your are "building" evidence.
10. Compare/Contrast: Bump your fist together when contrasting; lace your fingers together when comparing. Compare/Contrast is probably the most powerful, most deeply explanatory of all Brain Toys...use frequently!
11. Combos: Use any combination of the above.
Use these when you use the "Teach/Okay". Instead of (clap twice) "Teach"...try this...(Clap Twice) "Props" and the kids say "Okay".
This adds variety and builds massive critical thinking. Try it out tomorrow!