Improving Attention Skills Presdentation - Brain

Using the Brain Target Teaching
Model to Improve the Attention Skills
of a Small Group of 4th Grade Boys
Elizabeth Harris, MA
April 2012
Learning Unit Objectives
• Group members will:
– Identify behaviors that demonstrate on
task and off task behaviors
– Understand the effects paying attention
has on their learning and emotions
– Identify potential distractors that may
draw them off task
– Learn strategies to stay on task and how
to apply them
Setting the Emotional Climate for Optimal Learning
Group Routine
– The group meets at the same time and location each week
– Relaxation Activity
Group begins with a few moments of quiet relaxation time using focused breathing,
stretching, or muscle relaxation activities
– Group Community
Rules for the group, group goals, and a group name were developed by students
during the first session and are reviewed each session
– Week in Review
During each group students share a situation in which they needed to pay attention
Students share if they demonstrated on or off task behaviors, strategies they used to
stay on task, and feelings they had regarding the experience
– Learning Activity
Students participate in a different activity each week focused on different learning
Group Dynamics...Group Leaders:
Provide positive feedback for respectful, productive, and attentive behavior
Remain calm when the energy level escalates to model self-control and settle
the group
Respond to inappropriate behavior with firm but sensitive reminders of rules
and consequences
Creating the Physical Learning Environment
Environmental elements that
enhance the learning environment
Environmental elements that detract
from the learning environment
Group leaders place chairs in a
semi-circle to facilitate group
Group leaders hang posters
representing different strategies
for managing attention in sight
of group
Group leaders eliminate visual
As the group arrives, leaders
play relaxation music and spray
a lavender scent in the room to
promote relaxation
Leaders have posted group
rules and in sight of the group
Borrowed space limits what
group leaders can do to
decorate and personalize it
Students have limited personal
space to move around in and
have no space to personalize
Students come to the group
from recess at the end of the
day and are VERY energetic,
adding physical energy to the
small space
Attention Concept Map
Teaching for Mastery of Skills and Concepts
Activity 1: Students learn which behaviors show they are paying
attention or not
– Students brainstorm behaviors that demonstrate being on task or off task
– Group leader lists behaviors on a T-chart on the board
Activity 2: Identify the effect paying attention has on learning and
– Students create a drawing or comic depicting a situation when they’ve been able to
stay on task on one side, and when they had difficulty staying on task on the other
– Students then add feelings associated with that situation to their work
Group leader provides materials such as stamps or feeling faces for embellishment
– Students present their work to the group and discuss:
Similarities and differences between their experiences
Specific distractors
Ideas about why they think paying attention is important
What they learned from paying attention
How they feel when they pay attention
– Group leaders direct discussion regarding coping strategies to stay on task using
leading questions such as
“What could he have done...? “
“What would you do...?”
“What seemed to help...?”
Teaching for Extension and Application
Activity 3: Students use role playing to identify distractors that lead
them to lose focus, and discussion to learn strategies for staying on
– Students break up into to three small groups
– Each group randomly chooses a situation that depicts a school, home, or
extracurricular activity similar to those identified in Activity 2 that requires
their attention
– Students assign the following roles:
One person attempts to stay on task
One person tries to teach or direct him
Two others act as distractors.
– The group makes up the lines, distractors, and how a person reacts to the
– Each group presents its scenario to the group at large
– The group leader leads brainstorming to generate strategies to stay on task
and lists them on board
Activity 4: Students develop a Self-Monitoring strategy
– Students brainstormed ideas for designing a cue card, then made their card to
tape to their desk as a reminder to stay on task
– Students in the current group chose a target or on/off light switch
Evaluating Learning
Activity 5: Students complete a project to demonstrate their
understanding of learning objectives
– Students will be given a chose to create a comic or write a story depicting a
scenario in which the main character is in a situation requiring their attention
– Student will be required to identify what distracts or potentially distracts the
main character
– Students will be asked to identify three strategies the main character applies to
stay on task
– Students will be asked to include how the character benefited, or what the
main character learned by staying on task
– The group leader will use a rubric to score students’ project
Other assessment options
– Observations by group leader and self-report from members during group
– Pre- & Post Self-Assessment and Teacher Assessment
Current group and their teachers have completed an informal pre-assessment
questionnaire and will complete post-assessments at the completion of the group

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