Teaching Tips for Maximizing Brain Function

One way to improve student’s ability to learn is to play to their natural strengths   Most people have one side of their brain that is more dominant than the other.  This article will teach you how to help your children  During Class Focus on the hemisphere to be used. Below we have listed each hemisphere’s functions:

Left                                                                                                     Right

Details                                                                                                 The Big Picture

Linear thinking                                                                                  Abstract thinking

Readingwords                                                                                    Comprehension

Math facts                                                                                           Math reasoning

Verbal Communication                                                                       Non-verbal Communication

Small muscle control                                                                          Large muscle control

Physical Activities

Awaken your students’ brains by movement:

  • Activities that wake up the body-brain pathways: stand, walk, march, wiggle toes, stretch, hop, etc.  Anything that promotes communication between the hemispheres:
  • Cross-body movements like cross-crawl (elbow to opposite knee) and lazy 8s, tai chi-like movements, standing with eyes closed, walking on a straight line
  • Start with students balancing on one leg on the foot opposite the needed hemisphere.  Or have them do one-armed circles (again, opposite to hemisphere)—large circles for right, finger circles for left.

(The peripheral nerve pathways cross over to the opposite hemisphere)


Unlike other activities that work either the right or left side of the brain, music exercises both sides at the same time, training your mind to multitask better. If your student is in a band, orchestra or a choir, they are learning to work as part of a team — a key skill for kids with ADHD. 

Using background music during classroom activities as often as possible is great for both ADHD and non-ADHD students:

To stimulate the right hemisphere(creative) – low-frequency, harmonies, ‘new-age’

Classical                                                 Modern

Any Sousa march                                 ‘Mars’ or ‘Jupiter’ from ‘The Planets’ by Gustav Houlst

‘March Militaire’ by Schubert            ‘Winterfall Music’ by Paul Warner

‘Habanera’ from Carmen

To stimulate the left hemisphere(logical, group activities) – high-frequency, rhythm, lyrics, changes in volume and pitch

Classical                                                                     Modern

Ave Maria by Schubert                                           ‘Eventide’ by Stephen Halpern

Gregorian Chants                                                     ‘Venus’ or ‘Neptune’ from ‘The Planets’
Air on a G String by Bach                                        Most Jazz music

Self Esteem

In school and at home, many ADHD children struggle with low self esteem. There are many activities they can be involved with which can help build social skills and build the child’s sense of accomplishment.

  • Drama : The line memorization, the regular practices, the rush of being on stage – all this provides routine, sharpens concentration, and places the ADHD child in the center of a group effort.
  • Debate : In classroom topical debates not only get children involved in group activity, but can provide a personal intellectual challenge. Communication skills are honed, while the battle of sits and the thrill of one-upmanship (in a controlled setting) keeps kids coming back for more.
  • Old-Fashioned Games : Simple games are great for shorter attention spans, and small frequent wins can build self-esteem. Eventually, your students will want to play longer, and more strategic games like chess.

To stimulate the right hemisphere-               To stimulate the left hemisphere Use spicy scents delivered to right nostril.               Use floral scents delivered to left nostril.

Black pepper                                                                                    Apple

Burnt wood                                                                                       Banana

Coffee                                                                                                Cherry

Eucalyptus                                                                                        Chocolate

Lemon / Lime                                                                                  Grape

Mustard                                                                                            Lavender

Peppermint                                                                                      Orange

Onion                                                                                                 Pineapple



Books / Resources

  • Disconnected Kids by Robert Melillo
  • Brain Gym by Gail and Paul Dennison
  • The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand & Foot Can Improve Your Learning by Carla Hannaford, Ph.D.
  • CHADD ( Children & Adults with Attention Deficit / Hyperactivity Disorder) www.chadd.org
  • CHADD Educator’s Manual http://www.chadd.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Store


About Dr. Marina Zaré

I am a Chiropractic Wellness Consultant in NW Portland, OR, in the heart of the Pearl district in Portland. I focus on prevention and am extremely passionate about taking care of the young before damage occurs. I utilize numerous technologies in the field of Chiropractic such as Thermography, Electromyography, Heart Rate Variability, B.E.S.T. KST which enable me to help people with chronic pain, learning disorders, ADHD, allergies, injuries, depression, anxiety and other ailments that are caused by having vertebral subluxation
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