I teach third grade at Vincent E. Mauro Magnet school in New Haven, Connecticut. Vincent Mauro is an interdistrict elementary school with a Science, Mathematics and Technology focus. My third grade classroom is in an urban district and is composed of a diverse, multicultural community of learners that encompass a wide spectrum of achievements, interests, learning and social needs. Students come not only from New Haven but from surrounding suburban communities as well. Since this classroom is a part of a science, mathematics and technology magnet school the students are provided with the means to explore their multiple intelligences and interests and utilize different learning styles to strive to reach their goals. Students are given opportunities to choose how they respond and how they are assessed on various integrated curricular tasks throughout the year. Assessment is done via a project driven rubric and students are not limited as to how much they can achieve.
As mentors and role models for children it is extremely important that we not only teach academics but help students understand who they are and why certain things happen to them. This unit is designed to help students piece together the fundamental elements of the brain, how we learn about it and how stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and other recreational drugs affect how the brain works.