OCEANA – Logbook – conference

Kids have the mic!

Kids of year 7 succeeded in their challenge: to give a talk in a auditorium with 150 persons in the audience, at AgroParisTech engineering school in Paris. The topic of the talk what: how the brain work, how to optimize learning?


All gathered by groups of 2 or 3, talking about content of the OCEANA program, they had picked their subtopic:


  • the brain, identity card,
  • What we don’t see with our eyes:
    • neurons and
    • glials cells,
  • the brain, this complex organ, how it works?
    • neurons get connected
    • neuronal path are created
    • nothing is fixed, the brain is plastic and we can learn all lifespan,
  • the brain, functioning:
    • multiples brain lobes and functions,
    • what regions of the brain are used when we want to cross the street?
  • the brain memorize, the brain learn: how to help memory? how to optimize it?
  • We need messenger, the 5 sense: student are testing perception with the audience. Can we treat information if the vision is blur?
  • We need to reactivate perceived information: children played the “kim game” with the audience,
  • At the end, children ask to the audience what they learned about the brain. Do to that, they use a “memory game” to challenge the audience memory, we learn only if we don’t have “stress, fear …” and when we are active in the learning process.


Well done kids!


Each of the group created a tool to illustrate the message that they wanted to give: model, film, comic, card game …

Bravo! again to the kids that elicited curiosity, involvement and participation from the audience. The feedack that they received showed that information was successfully transferred, new neuronal paths was created or consolidated for all.


We wish to thanks WaxYouth, Jérémie Chaligné that initiated the project, for his invitation. The class and each kids, by participating to this event, experienced talking in public, which is a skill must needed for their future.

Autor: Isabelle Malet

OCEANA – Logbook – colaboration

8 years old children, with Claire Birotat-Moncet.

Week mid March 2017 by Isabelle Malet


After introducing the brain to the kids in multiple sessions, we are preparing a conference. Activities that were done with the class will be presented to an audience of 200 persons. The school approved the invitation from Wax Youth that organise an event called “talking to an audience”. Isn’t it a situation where each children will have to deal with auto-regulation their mental states?


This Thursday 16, they met with M. Jérémie Chaligné, organizer of the event with our class. M. Chaligné answered their questions. Children explained their choice of topic, why they are excited about talking about the brain, and areas in the brain, what is in our head et that we don’t see, cells, neuronal path, cerebral plasticity, and how it works.


The follow up of our project around knowing about the brain take ground : how to control attention, emotions that can interact and compete with memory performance. They get aware and understand their mental states to control better their attention, a big challenge for each of the children.



OCEANA – Logbook – visit of the lab

While on the french side, our 3 classes continue the teaching and are arriving to the end of it, our first dutch class testing the kit give the teaching a try since January. Kids seems really interested and happy of this knowledge.

On the side of the OCEANA team, we are waiting for the detailed feedback of the teacher, but so far she seems to manage without help quite easily.

To thanks her to be our first dutch testing teacher and to give some meaning of this knowledge to the kid, we had the opportunity on this 20th of February to receive them at the Donders Institute. Quite an adventure for this 22 kids that we put together with another 12 kids from another school interested in visiting the donders. In total 34 kids aged from 8 to 11 years old were going around the Donders Institute today, bringing some smile to the researchers working there across their glass-open offices.

A quite intensive morning:

Kids had to run against the watch to see:

    • a presentation about research done at this neuroimaging center
    • a demo of the MRI

    • a EEG demo
    • a eyetracker demo

  • and to run to the anatomy museum to see some brain in bocals with one of our colleagues

They end up eating lunch in the Donders Institute canteen surrounded by puzzle and neurons plushes to occupy quick eaters. No time to rest, the bus was already waiting for them to go back to their home town, one hour from here.

OCEANA – Logbook – memory

Week January, 20th 2017 by Isabelle Malet

Do I have a good memory? Oh my memory fail me …
New chapter with the 8-9 years old children, but how important. Learning, is it memorizing all lessons done in the classroom?

So, to begin, all children are going to experiment situation of memorizing. Memory is at heart of children’s new questions: sure, it’s with our brain that we memorize, but what is the mechanism of memory? Is it efficient?
About 15 times are projected during 30 seconds. Children will have to list them on a paper sheet afterward. 20 minutes after, after the session, they will have to do it again.

By pair, they have to tell to the other a list of number, the other have to repeat what he recall. The list increase and they do it again. They succeed until the line with 7 numbers to repeat, after that, the success rate decrease. Indeed, it is possible to give back a list of number immediately but only for less than 7 numbers.
They is not only one memory but different type of memory. They lived two situations that illustrate short term, working memory and long term memory. Short term or working memory is used to maintain in mind a phone number in mind but is not saved for long. Recall in long term memory was more or less efficient today, according to students. You have students that have strategies and students that realized that it is really difficult to recall information seen one hour before.

We were able to observe a real dynamic between children that shared their own strategies. To memorize is such an essential of learning in school that some students were searching answer on the neighbor sheet even if the exercise wasn’t evaluated.

Next week, before the holidays, we will continue with learning about memory.

OCEANA – Logbook – cerebral plasticity and sessions about emotions


Session 4-2 on Dec. 01 with the 8 years old by Caroline.
The Donders brain puzzle is displayed on the board (I didn’t succeed to give children explanations about the different brain area but it was still useful to give some context to the recall about neurons). We talk again about new vocabulary seen at the last session. Once reactivated, we move to talk about neural networks and we define in detail synapse, electrical and chemical connections. Neurotransmitters can be inhibitors or exitators : so we end up saying that in order to learn we need to have positive emotions and that if we are too much stressed out, connections between neurons are not efficient.

We cut out neuron shape and we glued them on a board to make neural connections. We are touching the concept of cerebral plasticity:



Children are hyper receptive to all concepts and look at video, some say that they feel “more intelligent”

We end with the reading of Mimi the microglia, the tale, in which Mimi see the birth of a new neuron in a very precise brain area. Really? so the brain continue to make new neuron ? Yes it does !

Session 4-3 Dec.08 with 8 years old by Caroline.

We begin by reading the comic “cerebral plasticity”. Children were happy to see that they understand how the brain work and connections are make when we learn. The vocabulary is reactivated and its now totally assimilated by most of the children. After the reading, we come back to the cerebral plasticity and why being wrong matters to learn. Asking questions is the most important. We end this session by looking at Cline Alvarez video on brain plasticity. Children are now aware that they have a bigger neural networks than adults have. New questions arise: so are we more intelligent that adults are? Until the video explain that adults become expert thanks to a better organization of their connections with habits, exercise and repeating. No miracle, to become expert is based on repeating again and again!

Once again an amazing session that ended. During the school christmas market, I discussed with some parents in a informal way and all came to say that children are now talking a lot about neurons and how the brain works. They are “into it” and we feel that they are interested. New questions are : why ? the playful way to teach ? because we talk about them ?


Emotions, Our emotions.

Children are placed in groups of 6 or 5. They will discover the 6 basics emotions with the emotions games.
Each groups receive an emotion picture. They have to think in group on what it could mean, then they echange between groups. Emotions names came out and we write them on the main board.
In a second time, each groups receive one of the emotion card, a vocabulary card, and a picture card. They have to make a story out of it and then make the rest of the class guess which emotions they are talking about.

In a playful way, children used and review basic emotions.
Collectively, the class shared this emotions game. Children will be able to play later with it. The game is going to go in each family one day after the other, a nice way to play in family and gain new vocabulary.

OCEANA – Logbook – Starting with Neuroscience

After the introduction of what is the stress, we move to how the brain works. Children arrived to the question : why do we stress? It’s time to give them some basic information about the brain to see how this can be link to the cause of stress and how we can play on stress to reduce it if we understand better the brain.


We started with a question : how do we do to hold a pencil case ? I reach it with the hand. But how we do that ? What is happening? First I look at the pencil case, I decide that I want to get it and so I give the order to the hand to reach for it. We talked about the 5 senses. 

Information send to neurons. What is a neuron ? They use the plush and quickly they loved it. Then, we pin tem on the blackboard so everyone can see them. Then we decide to draw our new neuron-friends. After a beautiful representation of neurons, we listen to the reading of the first chapter of the tale Mimi. We begin to talk about the electrical signal and the action potential. But it’s too much for one time, they stay with a lot of new vocabulary : dendrite, soma, axon, axonal terminal. The brain plasticity will be addressed next time to allow continue in this topic.


For the 10-11 years old : introduction of information that are exchange between neurons, each child cut a neuron from the game and put them on the wall dedicated to it, they had to respect the direction of how we can assemble them. Children that didn’t had time to put their neuron, had to do it during the week, 2 or 3 per day. 

Everyone place his neuron where he want, a neuronal network emerges in a unic way but … a lot of other shape was possible, the idea of plasticity and unicity of the brain emerges.

The idea that we are unic, that neurons are working all the time, idea that fight the determinism because we are always in action and the brain is always able to perceive and treat information, we are always able to learn.

Session with 5-6 year old:

The group is really active, so we decided to change a bit the program and begin with relaxation exercises in parallel to teaching about the brain.

Starting the relaxation : to be here, foot in the floor, go up to the ankle, then the knees …
Along the exercice, children get calmed, even silent for 2 minutes.

Progressively, during the relaxation exercice, they begin to stop talking, move less and now they say during the week : “well we are not “here”, we are moving too much” 

A first success.

OCEANA – logbook – End of session about Stress

  • week 3 : frozen pictures
In the OCEANA program, we are progressing slowly on the sessions about stress. After being confronted to a stressful situation : make a oral presentation, it’s time to look at video make during the week and the previous session. Will the children be able to catch stress signs ?



Children watch presentation videos. Looking at themselves, most of them didn’t wanted to look, hiding their eyes. When I asked them why, they said that they were ashamed, that they didn’t want to see themselves for real(most interesting thing, the perception of a self, a mental projection very different that what we imagine of us, is it link to self confidence ? can we work on it ? could this relationship evolve ?). After that, childrens used a A4 paper sheet with the three pictures took in session 1. They read the comments from last week and had to make a A3 summury in little group. Working in group in hard for 7-8 years olds, they don’t succeed to work together. They drew squares in which each of them are going to write an individual comment. So no collective thinking, but we re going to work on that during the year and also with the program.
I didn’t look at the result of it in detail yet, but they are not able to make a summury table on their own, next time, we will make it all together. But they also are looking forward to see the videos from the other class.


  • Week 4 : meeting the other class


This 4th week should be the session 3 of the program. Few events on Isabelle side slow us and it was hard to find a common slot to discuss the sessions. So I lead it but without precise aims. Little fail, it happens. Childrens looks at the video from the class in Paris. They liked to hear a different french accent than they have. We discussed signs of stress linked to the table that Isabelle made to prepare the session which was far more developped that what we succeed to define together with the childrens of 7-8 years old butthe parisian clas is 2 years older.
For the future, it would be great to separate the signs of stress that we can see and those that are internal. Childrens ended the session by reading the table with all the signs and looked at if they could fine it in the videos from the parisian presentations. A good way to increase their vocabulary.

It’s hollidays time now, we will starts with the brain when we are back and rested ! To be continued …

On Isabelle side, both class (10-11 and 5-6) also progress well.


Today, for both class of oldest, it’s time to begin with the functioning of the brain. Firsts questioning are there helped by the introduction with the stress activity.They are ready to talk about neurosciences.


For the youngest class, it’s time for questionnaire. It was long and difficult but they were really consciously doing it ! even talking about it during lunch time.


Like Caroline say : to be continued …


Take a look at the example video to present oral presentations without or with stress as a sum up of knowledge about signs of stress made by Héloïse and Isabelle : (do you find the sign of stress too ?) in french

OCEANA – Logbook – bonus

Novelty in the program

 The arrival of a 5 years old class in the program
We had the pleasure to give the start to a new class, a 5 years old class from Paris. So for them, it was the stage of the initial questionnaires
A challenge for such a young participant, they have to follow the row to answer, to understand the question. It takes some time but the teachers Isabelle and Marie-Odile are motivated and are looking forward to the results of the questionnaires. 
They are not the only one, children are answering conscientiously to the exercise. They want to understand the question very well to answer it as accurate as possible. A surprise!
 Start of the autoevaluation questionnaires
In the class, questionnaires of “activity autoevaluation” had been used for the first time. In Caroline’s class, it was after a math lecture and with Isabelle, it was after mental computing : subtraction of integer on a slate
A surprise was awaiting Caroline on next monday, children requested the questionnaire after another activity, an exam about math this time. Did they need to express their stress ? or to tell their teacher about how they felt ? 
And the tuesday, again. 
Now, Caroline is ready ! She have copies of the questionnaires on the corner of her desk to answer the request. 
In Isabelle’s class, 10 years old answered questionnaires already 3 times, it’s short and apparently, it’s appreciated. 
So, what sensitivity or needs are we puling the string with this questionnaires? 
On the team side, we are looking forward to analyse the questionnaires !
Take a look at some example of them : 

OCEANA – Logbook – Week 2

A stressful situation

This second week, it’s the first activity session : the face-to-face with a stressful situation. Our two pilot class work in partnership. Students are making oral presentations (about a talent) and make movie of themselves. Videos will be sent to the other class.  
… So unknown students, on the other side of france, are going to see their video This is quite a stressful situation (if only doing an oral presentation in front of their classmate was not stressful enough)
Then, they analyse others’ performance. How they behaved ? How did they feel ?



The programme started with the 10 years old. Stuents talked about this stressful situation because presentations were filmed and will be sent to another class, that they don’t know. I didn’t say anything about details of the other class from the south of France, we are waiting for their movies.

We began by the signature of a chart on our future well behavior, every one agree. I will send it as soon as I have a better wifi : it’s was a very solemn moment.

I will try to send during the day the sum up obtained after the three first speeches : the feeling of students that did the talk and the comments from the students in the audience … It was noted the sentences heard : my question:
– it seems to me interesting to make a table with all comments and count how often they come back .. what do you think?

Have a good day.



Here we are! We are relieve to have started the project.
We begun by the reading of the well behavior consent. Students had a lot of questions. But why? what is it for? Students were so excited when I announced that we are going to work with another class from Paris that I add to calm them down several time. Overall the session 1 was a success. To know that unknown students will watch their speech created a real tangible tension.

The presentation of the talent transformed in a presentation of “after school activities”. But the comments explaining “what I felt” and “what I observed” were anyway relevant. The word stress emerged quickly.

Four students did their presentation in front of everyone, all others filmed themselves in pair. We are looking forward to see the video from the Parisian students.

Vivement la semaine prochaine !

OCEANA – Logbook – Week 1

Between the 19 and the 28 f September 2016, Caroline and Isabelle (and Caire) give initial questionnaire to children to fill in. Theses questionnaire were testing the focus, empathy, or emotion perception skills of students. 

Firsts needed adaptations appeared quickly:
  • the idea to help student to answer with picture representing the Likert scale (5 choice between “I agree” and “I disagree” with the sentence) was a success. 
  • some sentences requested explanations. Both teachers choose to read the question and to ask all children to answer one question after the other, all in parallel. To avoid that explanations influence students answers and to be sure that we all talk about the same concept, we wish to define example to explain the question for the later the use of theses questionnaires (later in the year and year 1).
  • the last things to modify for later will be to realize a computerized version of the quizz to win time on the gathering of data.
third years of primary school student (of Caroline) and fifth ones (from Claire and Isabelle) succeeded to answer, only the first years of primary school that will may be participate remains. We are looking forwards to see how hard it will be for them, we are thinking to remove 2 out of the 5 questionnaires that might be more complex. 
Dispite everything, third years students demonstrate a great difficulty to answer questionnaires in this begining of scool years, they are just out of second years. Let’s see later if this is due to a lack of knowledge about emotions, their physical and mental states or this difficulties is link to a lack of skill in answering questionnaires. The second questionnaire in few month will tell us about that. 
It would be tempting to look at results, but this could influence the behavior of teachers in the realization of the program. So, let’s be patient!