Mirror is a technique used in Whole Brain Teaching. If you’ve been a teacher for any length of time, it’s not a new concept. What makes it unique in this context is that Whole Brain Teachers maximize this technique to promote deep engagement with their students. Not surprisingly, the more I used Mirror with my students the better I got.
Mirror is called the Class Unifier because it draws your students’ attention and keeps them focused on the lesson. When using this technique, hold your hands up on either side of your face with the palms facing the students and say, “Mirror!” Students mimic your gesture and repeat, “Mirror!” Their eyes should be locked intently on you. Why? Whatever gestures you make, they have to act like a mirror and imitate those same gestures. Now you have your students engaged in the lesson and concentrating on the gesturing that supports the content of the lesson.
Motor Cortex Power
Don’t underestimate the power of gesturing! When students are repeating your gestures, their motor cortex is involved. The motor cortex is the part of the brain with the highest memory retention. That’s why, even if it’s been 20 years since you last rode a bike, you could do it again today with little to no difficulty. Your motor cortex is that powerful at retaining memories! Take advantage of that fascinating aspect of the human brain and use it to strengthen your lessons and student learning.
There are several variations for Mirror, as you might expect. The variations expand on the usefulness of this technique, which is a great way to immediately see who is on task and increase the “fun level” in your classroom.
- Mirror Check – Swing your arms around as if “warming up” for exercises.
- Itty Bitty Mirror – Make tiny gestures with your fingertips. Guaranteed to create giggles!
- Crazy Giant Gestures – Go in the opposite direction and make over-sized gestures.
This video by WBT expert Kate Bowski gives examples of three more variations you might want to try with your own students – Mirror Words, Magic Mirror and Mirror Ventriloquist.
If you have some really introverted students, don’t be surprised if most of their gesturing resembles the Itty Bitty Mirror version. That never bothered me. As one of my quieter kids said, “At least I’m trying!”
So Long to Summer…
Today is my last Friday post before the start of a new school year. This time next week I will already be on my third day of school! What?! I definitely enjoyed floating on the lazy river with my friend Patti – we called those days our $12 trips to “Florida” – but it’s always nice to return to a clean classroom. There are new clothes in my closet, new supplies in my classroom and a whole new set of strategies thanks to Whole Brain Teaching! Year #18…let’s do this!!