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Elementary Teacher Resources, Issue #032 - Tickle Your Brain!
March 15, 2009

Tickle Your Brain!

I have been taking some staff development classes, and the whole premise of one course is raising student achievement through higher teacher expectations.

I fell in love with the class and what we were learning!

One of the things we discussed was Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Yeah, kinda dry, I know.

But, I was sure there was a way that I could make challenging the kids with higher order questions fun…

So, I made a “Tickle Your Brain!” wall in my classroom.

My kids traced one student on bulletin board paper, cut it out and colored it.

We hung the picture on the wall and the fun began!

I then started a week-long unit on using questions to “tickle our brains”!

We started with “tickle our toes” questions. Those are the questions that you can answer without even using your brain. Who, what, where, when why…

I modeled using these questions with a student in front of the class. For example, I asked, “Why do you like to play outside?” and “Who is your best friend?”

Then the children did a turn-and-talk and asked each other questions with the key prompts.

Each day our questions got harder and harder as we slowly worked our way up the picture.

As the week went on my students started using these questions in their discussions, in their writing and more often in our turn-and-talk sessions.

Before we added any new questions to the picture each day we quickly reviewed what we had up there so far.

It was a fun, 15 minute a day activity that really changed the way my class and I looked at asking questions.

I now find myself looking at the chart while teaching to find “harder” ways to probe for answers during lessons.

I hope you try it out and “Tickle Your Brain!”

For a great list of questions, you can visit

Check out my podcasts on my podcast blog. They are fun and helpful!

I hope that you have enjoyed this newsletter. Please feel free to email it to friends and family who are teachers or homeschool moms!

Also, don't forget to get your copy of my free new teacher handbook! It's full of great tips and tricks to make your year go great.

Looking for new centers ideas? Check these out!

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

See you next month!

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