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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in brain-based teaching

Posted by on in Literacy

Play-Doh

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Halloween with my kids is one of the reasons despite the loads of candy they receive. This is why I love Costco and the small containers of Play-Doh they offer so parents have an alternative to candy and what they offer to trick-or-treaters. There is another reason I love those small containers of Play-Doh....

Reading nonfiction texts may not be the most exciting task for middle school students. Add to this task long periods of silently seated work and repetitive highlighting and annotating, and teachers will find students at all levels of reading fleeing away from reading engagement. Of course, there are times when reading silently is necessary. And, there are times when highlighting and annotations are important. In fact, I have led several workshops on close reading and effective highlighting reading strategies. However, if the process becomes stagnant, readers, especially reluctant readers, will become complacent and reading gains may be limited.

I recently shared a reading strategy that involves tactile movement performed during reading of a nonfiction text. Adding movement activities to lessons does not always entail having students get out of their seats. Some teachers shy away from having students stand and move due to time constraints or interruptions to the flow of a lesson.

For this activity, I chose a nonfiction text that could be easily chunked. Since this text was meant to involve close reading strategies, the text was limited to two pages. The text features included subheadings, which were clearly marked and placed for a natural stopping point for students. I handed out Play-Doh to each participant and gave them specific instructions as to what to do and what not to do with it. Since this was the first time using Play-Doh, class routines had to be set and taught. The amount of emphasis needed for routine instruction depends on the needs of the students .

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

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Enthusiasm is building about 'growth mindset' and how it helps students persevere and stay open to new challenges.  In line with this, understanding the 'fixed mindset' can also help us find new ways to help students push through their fears of failure and inadequacy.  

What's a fixed mindset?

A person with a fixed mindset believes that ability and intelligence are things we're born with or not, and there's not much we can do to change the 'fixed amount' we are born with. 

Why should you care?

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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As the students were working on their bell ringer today (recalling radioactive decay equations), I stood in the middle of class and read the following to them:

He was the only person making his way into the city; he met hundreds and hundreds who were fleeing, and every one of them seemed to be hurt in some way. The eyebrows of some were burned off and skin hung from their faces and hands. Others, because of pain, held their arms up as if carrying something in both hands. Some were vomiting as they walked. Many were naked or in shreds of clothing. On some undressed bodies, the burns had made patterns—of undershirt straps and suspenders and, on the skin of some women (since white repelled the heat from the bomb and dark clothes absorbed it and conducted it to the skin), the shapes of flowers they had had on their kimonos. Many, although injured themselves, supported relatives who were worse off. Almost all had their heads bowed, looked straight ahead, were silent, and showed no expression whatsoever. - "Hiroshima" by John Hersey

Then, I showed them haunting imprints of people killed by the blast...

This was my prelude to starting the discussion on nuclear fission and fusion in chemistry today. And, while the images students undoubtedly saw in their minds upon hearing the above story were gruesome, my purpose was clear. I wanted to evoke strong emotions.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

Stressed student

Stress Impairs. Stress Damages. Stress Kills.

Stress stinks really bad.

Fear, anxiety, shame, powerlessness, hopelessness. These are all feelings that can lead to stress.

But are they real? 

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Posted by on in Education Resources

The strategy I am presenting you with today is a game changer. It has the potential to make experts out of learners and it makes learning last.

You might already know the learning strategy I am talking about, because it's been around the block. I have not invented it. I knew it before, but it was not until I took a Coursera MOOC "Learning How To Learn" By Barbara Oakley and Terrence Sejnowski that I understood its true power.

So... Ask yourself: Do my students know it? And, do they know how to use it? And, do they use RECALL consistently when studying?

I believe most students mainly re-read information when they study. However, even if your answer to the 3 questions above was a "yes," you will find a few nice Recall Hacks in the Infographic below that can help you be a more effective instructor and your students learn more effectively. And, isn't that what this whole education shindig is all about?

recall-2.png

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