Brain Frames

Brain Frames are a set of graphics that organize, but they aren’t traditional graphic organizers.

Forget about pre-made handouts — a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and the right strategy will do the job. By drawing their own Brain Frames from scratch, teachers and students can show what’s in their brains by constructing a visual “frame” so they can see, reflect on, and share what they know and understand. Thus, they can visually capture their ideas graphically without being constrained or frustrated by someone else’s pre-made organizer.

Brain Frames are visual displays of the patterns underlying basic things we do with language all the time.

All day, every day, from a very young age, we:

  • tell what we know
  • sequence ideas
  • make comparisons
  • show contrasts
  • identify causes
  • recognize effects
  • categorize
  • show relationships between concepts

Awareness of these language patterns is largely unconscious to most people, but it directly influences comprehension, expression, teaching, and learning.

Brain Frames can be used by teachers and students alike.  With only six to learn, students have a manageable set of strategies that they can use in any subject and any grade level to help them organize ideas and “do school.”  Teachers use Brain Frames flexibly across their curriculum to show how new ideas and concepts relate to one another — to anchor discussion, guide and assess student understanding, and teach what’s hard.

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