19 January 2009

Free Your Mind (aka: Brain Drain!)

In my years as a classroom teacher, one of the activities I regularly used with my students was an activity that I called "Free Your Mind." However, my students quickly renamed as... "Brain Drain" and the term stuck!

The Rules

Step 1:
Set the timer for 5 minutes. Once the timer starts, your pencil has to be writing... continuously. Anything that comes to your mind goes on paper (appropriate, of course)...even if it is just doodling. Five minutes... no talking... no stopping... just writing (oh yeah, always have extra pencils handy... lead breaks!).

Step 2:
When the timer stops, pencils go down... right away... no dawdling. Now take out 3 colored pencils (or crayons).

Step 3:
Pick up one colored pencil (or crayon). Read over your "brain drain" list. Circle everything on your list that is positive.

Step 4:
Pick up your 2nd colored pencil. Highlight anything on your list that YOU have the power to improve.

Step 5:
Pick up your 3rd colored pencil. Cross out everything else!

Step 6:
Group share session = everyone shares something positive and something they can improve.

Step 7:
Set individual goals based on your "brain drain" results.

Step 8:
Revisit and repeat as needed.

The Results:

My students (and myself - since I tried to be a "do as I do" kind of teacher) "drained their brains" of all of the stuff floating through their minds. They were able to organize their thoughts. They were able to set more realistic goals for themselves. They found it easier to let go of some of the things that they had no control over.

It became a favorite activity in my class.

So...now you know how to "Free Your Mind" OR "Brain Drain" (whichever you want to call it). Try it out. See if it works for you.

And now, I'm on my way to complete Step 1 of the "brain drain." I have too many thoughts running through my mind and I won't be able to sleep until I move some of them out onto paper! Tomorrow, I'll highlight and sort my thoughts.

~ K

4 Cheers (not Jeers!):

Lois Brown said...

Awesome activity, I'll have to remember that if I ever teach seminary again! Hope you are able to sleep tonight!

Kira said...

I am going to try this. I think that it might help me not be so stressed!
By the way, you come up with the greatest things!

April Riley said...

Love this! I can't remember if you've shared this activity with me before or not, but I'm definitely going to have to store it somewhere safe (outside of my brain of course!).
... So we haven't seen each other in forever, and you can only blog about so much. We definitely should get together in the very near future! :-)

Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

What a great idea! I love stuff like this and now I'm eager to try it. Thanks for sharing it! :-)

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