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Brain Hacking 201: Moving Information from Working to Long Term Memory

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Having things is neat. Some things we need to survive. Others fulfill certain wants. But all things eventually crumble. It is this impermanence of tangible objects that has me convinced a meaningful life is made up of memories not things.

Memories become stories we tell our children, grandchildren, and, if we're lucky, great grand children. We recall them at the dinner table, around the camp fire, or on a road trip undertaken to create more memories. Some are so exhilarating they are told in books or adapted for screenplays of Oscar-winning movies.

Memories are meant to last. But how do we make them last?


We make lasting memories by processing life as it happens around us. Memories is what life is made of. Process, Learn, and Live Life to the Fullest.

This is Infographic #3 in the BRAIN-BASED LEARNING SERIES. Please check out Infographic #1 to learn how to Leverage Sleep to Maximize Learning and Infographic #2 to get Strategies on How to Fight Procrastination.

Much of the information above is inspired by what I learned from a Massive Online Open Course or MOOC through Coursera and University of California, San Diego named "Learning How To Learn" developed by Dr. Barbara Oakley and a Peter Doolittle TEDGlobal 2013 Talk "How your working memory makes sense of the world." I strongly encourage you to watch Dr. Oakley's TEDx Oakland University Talk on "Learning How To Learn." In my infographics, I combine what I learn with personal experience as a middle school and high school teacher to make K-12 learning accessible to all students.

Thanks for reading/looking and I hope you enjoyed this post. Please share it with other educators and especially young learners who can greatly benefit from this information. They might even like it. I will feature the fourth infographic: "Brain Hacking 202: Making Sense Out Of Nonsense" in my next NEWSLETTER, so please SIGN UP if you would like to receive some tips on how to help your students improve comprehension of difficult and abstract concepts.

And Remember: You have the power to change the world. Use it often.

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Oskar is a Science, Engineering, and Learning How to Learn teacher and an author of the Crush School Book Series.

His professional interests are brain-based teaching and learning, flexible seating (#StarbucksMyRoom founder), social-emotional learning, social justice, and using technology to enhance learning.

He is also a fan of the Jedi order (and uses DA FORCE frequently), ninjas, and the superhero in all of us. He is on a Quest to Change the World because he can. We all can.

  • Jon Harper /  @Jonharper70bd
    Jon Harper / @Jonharper70bd Friday, 04 March 2016

    Oskar I have enjoyed your series and I can relate to this post. I have honestly found that the older that I get, the more I find that I can't store even the simplest things in my brain. Sometimes I wonder if we try to store too much and too much of the wrong stuff. Either way, I like this graphic and can use it to help me improve.

  • Oskar Cymerman | @CrushSchoolSpy
    Oskar Cymerman | @CrushSchoolSpy Friday, 04 March 2016

    I am glad you find it useful Jon. Neuroscience says our brains can store "limitless" amount of information and it cleans itself of the stuff we don't use. That means we need to practice and recall the information several times over several sessions (allowing the in between processing while we sleep etc.) before it's made permanent. Even then, it needs to be used at least sporadically. This is why it is better to read a book a few times and discuss its contents with people than reading several books - the "less is more" paradigm.

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