On Stretching Your Brain – SOLC 2 of 31

For the past month I’ve been going classroom to classroom reading the book The Fantastic Elastic Brain by by JoAnn Deak Ph.D. and Sarah Ackerley. It’s a book that’s growth mindset meets grit and perseverance.  This picture book is a well-illustrated and well-written book that gives students an idea of how the brain works, all of its parts and what each one is responsible for (storing memories, controlling emotions, coordinating balance, thinking and speaking, etc.)  The premise of the book is that the more mistakes you make and the more you keep trying to get something right, the more you are growing and stretching your brain.  It’s a great message for students K-5. 

But it’s left me feeling a bit guilty about my own brain. Have I been doing enough learning and reading on my own? Certainly my daily life brings me plenty of challenges (and mistakes), but am i reading, trying new things and taking care of my own brain?

One part of the book specifically talks about the Amygdala (which controls emotions) and how you can stretch that part of your brain every time you confront something that is scary or anxiety producing and do it anyway. This I can relate to. There are many “uncomfortable” moments that we are presented with daily – but we do them anyway.  And, it’s true, the more you push through them, the easier (not more comfortable, but easier) they are to have.

I wonder how I’ll stretch my brain today. How about you?


  1. Leah said,

    March 2, 2017 at 11:10 am

    Thanks, you have inspired me to read this book to my grade 3 students.

  2. Andrea Clark said,

    March 2, 2017 at 11:42 am

    This is a good thing to think about this morning! I sometimes feel so rushed with everything I have to do in the school day to help students learn that I don’t often leave time for me to learn. That’s one of my favorite things about school breaks: getting to read those teacher books I always want to read.

  3. parkers said,

    March 2, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    You just made me feel smarter. I know struggling with anxiety and pushing myself and my children to engage even in tough situations has empowered them. Thanks for the reminder that this is helping my brain even though I often feel like it is a burden. There’s another mindset shift.

  4. caroline524 said,

    March 2, 2017 at 5:05 pm

    I must get a copy of that book to use with my students. I like the message that even though things may be scary and we may make mistakes, it makes us better. I think this 31 day challenge already makes us stretch our brains.

  5. Suzanne said,

    March 2, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I am also going to get a copy of this book, thank you for posting about it! I love how you related it to students and to their teachers! We all need to practice what we preach and understanding the benefits of facing those scary moments and puzzling through a struggle brings it all back to ‘growing and learning every day’!

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