Professor Boom and the Dyslexic Brain
The Super D! kids get a flash drive delivery from Pepper the Pigeon. On the flash drive is a video from a Super D! Show viewer who explains that sometimes she feels dumb and wishes she could think like a “non-dyslexic.” The kids introduce us to Professor Boom, a “mad” scientist, who explores the differences between a dyslexic and non-dyslexic brain. He helps us see that there are many similarities between the two but that they just approach problem-solving differently. The kids remind viewers that to think differently is to think smart!
Students will make their own “brain maps” that display their unique strengths and what they like to think about.
In this activity, students will make brain maps. They will decorate the map with images or drawings that reflect their strengths and/or what they like to think about. Below is the template we used in the activity video—feel free to print this out or use your own design!
- In the video, Professor Boom comments that “Both of these brains are very intelligent, they just like to do their jobs in their own way.” What does she mean by this? Why is this idea important?
- What do you imagine a map of your brain might look like? In thinking about this, consider:
- What are your strengths?
- What do you like to think about?
In this episode of the Super D! Show, Professor Boom shows us that no two brains are exactly alike and that all of our brains work in different ways.
Make a brain map! What’s going on in your brain? What would a map of your brain look like? Draw your own map, or use one of our blank brain drawings to get started. Show us what your brain likes to think about and what makes your brain unique!
Teacher says, “In this episode of the Super D! Show, Professor Boom examines two different brains, and realizes that all of our brains work in different ways. In fact, no two brains are exactly alike.”
“Today your job is to make a map of your unique brain. You can draw your own map or use one of our brain templates. Fill in your brain map with images and/or drawings that show what’s going on in your brain. What are your strengths and talents? What kinds of things do you like to think about? Be creative and have fun!”
- Students can share their brain maps with each other. Some options for sharing include:
- Museum Walk – The maps are placed around the classroom, and students pretend they are in a museum as they view the art work.
- Partner Share – Students share their maps in depth with a partner. Then each student shares one aspect of his/her partner’s brain map with the class in a “lightning share.”
- Whole Class – Each student shares one or two aspects of his/her map with the class.
- Possible follow-up discussion questions:
- How are our maps the same? How are they different?
- Why is it important to celebrate the different ways in which our brains work?
- Students will take a stance regarding statements about learning and the brain.
- Students will physically place themselves in a location to indicate their opinion and will then explain their thinking.
In “Professor Boom and the Dyslexic Brain,” Professor Boom compares two types of brains and how each works just a little bit differently. Today we are going to consider some statements about learning and the brain. Get ready to move to show us if you agree or disagree with the statements! Can’t wait to hear why!
- The teacher should write one statement at a time on the board and read it aloud to students.
- After indicating which side of the room indicates agreement and disagreement, students should be encouraged to move to a spot that indicates their stance. The spot can be anywhere along a continuum. For example, a student could stand halfway between neutral and agree if he/or she agrees but not strongly.
- The teacher can then guide a discussion regarding why students feel this way.
- Call on several students at different spots on the continuum to explain their thinking.
- NOTE: It’s important to discuss expectations with students before engaging in the Agree—Disagree activity. Students should understand that:
- All opinions will be respected.
- There are no right or wrong answers.
- No two brains are alike.
- Learning challenges are differences, not deficits.
- Learning differences are normal.
- I appreciate my unique brain.
- Ask students: Did any of your ideas change during this activity? How and why?
- What went well about the activity and our discussions? How can we improve on this activity for next time?
Individually or in groups, students will make a Top 5 list detailing the best way for teachers and other adults to help their brains grow and develop.
In “Professor Boom and the Dyslexic Brain,” Professor Boom compares two types of brains and how each works just a little bit differently. As we know, all of us learn and think a little differently. Us adults can help you and your unique brain learn, but we need some help from you! What do you want your teachers and peers to know about how your brain works? Make a Top 5 list of tips for us to learn about your unique brain and how you learn!
- What is the best way for adults to help your brain grow and develop?
- What do you want teachers and peers to know about how you learn?
- The teacher should introduce the idea that a teacher’s job is to figure out the best way kids learn.
- Students can brainstorm as a group: What do you want teachers and peers to know about how you learn and how your brain works? You can start your response, “Teachers should know that…”
- The teacher should record a few responses on the board so students have a partial model.
- Pair-Share: What tips would you like teachers to know about your own brain and learning style?
- Students should be given time to come up with their own set of Tips.
- Students can share their tips with their teachers. Some ideas:
- Provide an opportunity for individual conferences to discuss the tips.
- Have student type or use Speech to Text to type their tips on a Google Document. Teachers can then write comments or notes back to each student.
- Have students revisit these tips from time to time and revise as their brains and learning change!
- Students may also want to share with their peers. Some structures for sharing:
- Museum Walk – The tips are placed around the classroom, and students pretend they are in a museum as they view the work.
- Partner Share – Students share their tips with a partner. Then each student shares one tip with the larger group.
- Students will enjoy a read-aloud of Your Fantastic Elastic Brain in order to learn how the brain works and how it develops.
- Students will engage in a 3, 2, 1 Thinking Routine that will help to spark discussion about what they’ve learned.
In “Professor Boom and the Dyslexic Brain,” Professor Boom compares two types of brains and how each works just a little bit differently. Today we are going to read a book that will teach us all about how the brain works. Get ready to learn some new facts and to share your thoughts and questions about your fantastic, elastic brain!
- What happens to the brain when you learn something new?
- What happens to the brain when you make a mistake?
- How does the brain stretch and grow?
- The teacher should read aloud Your Fantastic Elastic Brain, stopping briefly to explain relevant vocabulary or have students turn and talk about what they are thinking as needed (see discussion questions above).
- After (or during) a shared reading of the text, students will fill out a 3, 2, 1 Thinking Routine (template attached here). Students will list 3 facts they learned, 2 thoughts, reactions, or connections they have, and 1 question that came to mind (template attached below).
- Students can share their 3, 2, 1 template with a partner, and the teacher can engage the class in a full group discussion using the students’ ideas as well as the discussion questions below.
- Ask students to give a thumbs up or thumbs down in response to this question: Do you know more about the brain than you did when we started?
- Ask: How does your new knowledge about the brain help you when learning is hard? Students can turn and talk, and then share what a partner said. The teacher can record students’ responses as appropriate.