Dr. Zehr will give you the right blocks to build that 3 pounds of cerebral muscle: yours, your child’s, or those young adults who you teach or mentor.

Block by block, thought by thought, now is the time to build a better brain!

Welcome friends!

How in heaven’s name does someone BUILD A BRAIN! Please allow me to explain. In the late 1990’s, I was watching a webinar about teaching for intelligence. This very idea was counter to all I had been taught in college. Of course, intelligence is fixed - determined by the genes and early childhood. It can’t be “taught” or so I thought. But one man on the panel of child experts disagreed with everyone else. I saw his name was Reuven Feuerstein and he changed my life!

Dr. Jeanne Zehr

Episode 28 - Showing Self Control

Impulsivity seems to be a worldwide issue for school kids and national leaders. To build a REALLY top notch brain, this one is a “no-brainer”.

Episode 27 - Categories & Labels

How many assignments does my child have to do tonight, or how many pages does he need to read? Does he know? How many people are coming for the holidays? Our brain usually likes to know just how many items it needs to handle. It’s a great skill to build!

Episode 26 - Summing Up

How many assignments does my child have to do tonight, or how many pages does he need to read? Does he know? How many people are coming for the holidays? Our brain usually likes to know just how many items it needs to handle. It’s a great skill to build!

Episode 25 - Visual Transporting

So this is a simple yet profoundly important thinking skill. Can my brain copy something correctly from one place to another, like words and numbers? I’m great with letters, not so good with phone numbers, for example. If the brain cannot do this, then school and life will probably be very challenging.

Episode 24 - The Need to Make a Plan

What am I trying to accomplish here? What are my first steps to get there? Planning a trip to grandma’s house to a new career requires careful use of this power tool for the brain.

Episode 23 - Using Two or More Sources of Information

OK, what did I come into this room to get? We all struggle to hold onto items in our short-term memory. But practice makes progress! Just don’t give up!

Episode 22 - Collecting Precise & Accurate Data

Do I need this or not? What is really necessary to get the task done? Whether cooking dinner, building a new Lego tower, or creating a spreadsheet, we all need this thinking skill every day - especially if you are my brain surgeon or my car mechanic!

Episode 21 - Using Precision & Accuracy

The only thinking skill listed in both input and output is this one! Does my brain see how to accomplish small or big tasks and can do them carefully and correctly?

Episode 20 - Hypothetical Thinking & Testing Hypothesis

If I know this is true, then what else might be true? The core of creative thinking and good problem solving is this wonderful thinking skill! You want this one!!

Episode 19 - Conserving Constancies

Don’t overthink it! This just means the brain can consider what to recognize or keep (conserve) the same (constant). It might be circles and squares or our calendar. Helping children recognize patterns and consistencies is where this all begins!

Episode 18 - Give A Thoughtful Response

How often do we walk away form a conversation and wonder, “Why didn’t I say…?” Slowing the brain down just a wee bit and considering how to put our words together is a powerful thinking skill for all of life!

Episode 17 - Just A Moment… Let Me think!

If only we could remember to do this everyday before making a poor choice! On this podcast learn how trial and error is not the brain's best friend!

Episode 16 - Think Abstractly

To move away form concrete learning means the brain can see things inside and can use symbols. Holding onto a concept or an idea and learning at the highest levels requires this important brain builder!

Episode 15 - Providing Logical Evidence

So does that make sense? Is someone in your life lacking this power tool? Listen in for ideas on how to help them build this skill!

Episode 14 - Time Awareness

Always late for appointments? Difficulty deciding if you have enough time to complete all the task on your list for today? Managing time is what this thinking skill is all about. Don’t miss this one!

Episode 13 - Sensing Space

Knowing left from your right, in your head, not by looking down to see which hand you know you write with, is important for the brain. It’s called an internal reference system and we ALL need it to be well-developed!

Episode 12 - Blocking

Yes, there are times we have to do tough things and our brain can help us by not giving up, by not blocking, by not throwing in the towel. Don’t ever, ever, give up! Or when do we decide to just stop? That, my friend, requires a bit of wisdom!

Episode 11 - Ego-Centric Communication Modality

When the brain can consider a new perspective, life will be so much easier! When stuck in an ego-centric view, it makes for difficult communication! Add this power tool to your Build-a-Brain list of must-haves!

Episode 10 - Consider Another Point of View

When the brain can consider a new perspective, life will be so much easier! When stuck in an ego-centric view, it makes for difficult communication! Add this power tool to your Build-a-Brain list of must haves!

Episode 9 - Cause and Effect

Sometimes life is so overwhelming the brain cannot see relationships between cause and effect. We might be living episodically, just moment to moment. Also known as “survival mode” it is not a good place to stay. Learn tips for developing this critically important thinking skill.

Episode 8 - Working Memory

Life is full of complicated tasks to accomplish, whether you are five years old or fifty years old. Problem solving requires holding onto several of pieces of information and working with them. This is foundational to good executive functioning in school, in life, and on the job!

Episode 7 - Compare

This power tool for the brain has been deemed one the most important thinking skills. If we cannot recognize similarities and differences wisely, we will make poor decisions.

Episode 6 - Search for Relevant Cues

Knowing in the moment what is important and what is not important is vital for good thinking! Join Dr. Zehr as she explores one of her personally favorite thinking skills!

Episode 5 - Define the Problem

Problem, what problem? In this episode we discuss how the brain has to recognize there is a dilemma before it can problem solve for it. It could be a big problem or just a small one. Either way, it needs defined!

Episode 4 - Labeling

Learning new vocabulary is important or we might get tricked by someone who knows more or bigger words. This power tool for the mind is a definite brain builder!

Episode 3 - Systematic Search

Have you ever looked frantically for your keys or phone? We all have! In this episode learn how important it is that we model careful searching for lost items or information.

Episode 2 - Focus and Perceive

The brain cannot learn if it is not focused and perceiving, using the senses. This podcast will review easy strategies for achieving and maintaining focus.

Episode 1 - Introduction

Join Dr. Jeanne Zehr for an introduction to 28 specific thinking skills necessary for all learning, thinking, and even in the workplace! These cognitive abilities were first recognized and organized into three phases by Prof. Reueven Feuerstein, and Israeli psychologist and the person from whom Dr. Zehr learned.

About the Podcast

I went on to pursue training in the Feuerstein method every summer until 6 years later, 2004, I was a trainer for the Feuerstein Institute in Israel. By 2008 I was traveling internationally to train in the method and have visited 12 countries in the process.

I have seen hundreds of children and adults who have experienced a life transformation. I am a Christian, though rest easy, I will not preach at you! However, there is a stunning quote from a guy named Paul who said, “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” You can read this in Romans 12:2 if you care to look it up.

Reuven described our psychological networks in a theory that was ahead of its time called “Structural Cognitive Modifiability.” Our learning and thinking structures are cohesive (they network), are transformative (they can change), and they can self-perpetuate (they carry on without prompting). This should ring a bell for you as this also describes neuroplasticity, the science of how the brain can change, for the better (or sadly - for the worse). How does this happen? By neurons adding dendrites to make new networks and the really good news is that can happen at any age. So we can literally build our brain - dendrite by dendrite - block by block - thought by thought! My analogy to using building blocks, omnipresent in most homes with children, is simple and straight forward. Feuerstein provided an analysis of thinking and learning with 28 cognitive functions. Consider the heavy lifting required of learning to read, how to do algebra, or a new software at work, especially if it is brand new to your brain. You will have to use some extensive mental operations, many of which were identified by Jean Piaget, like analysis and synthesis, deduction and induction, etc. Reuven recognized that these operations also required cog wheels of thinking to operate well and gave the world the cognitive functions, a beautiful organization of 28 little cog wheels of thinking. They are beautifully simple, yet profound.

On this podcast, we are going to explore these 28 thinking skills that are the building blocks of thinking, learning, and living! Acquire these and you can move up in your job, move faster in school, move more confidently through life.

So this podcast is for those of you who are members of the human race - a parent, a teacher, a leader, a mentor, a youth pastor, a teenager.

A few years ago I had the honor of meeting some wonderful people who have helped me in the journey of logo design, website development, and podcasting! So to Sarah, Nate, and Kibwe - thank you! This podcast only exists because I met all of you!

I hope you will subscribe and join me every week to build your brain, or of someone you love - one dendrite at a time, one block at a time, one thought at a time!