My goal is to help you become extraordinary this year. Every single strategy listed below is a teaching “factor” that ranks in the Top 20 of ALL contributors towards student achievement (sources listed at the end of this newsletter).
Below, you’ll want to turn these “teaching factors” into reality. Take just one of these and practice it until it becomes automatic. That could take you as little as 30 days or as long as a school year. In either case, once it becomes automatic, you congratulate yourself, and then add the next goal.
Here is the list to choose from (limit one per educator)… (more…)
Our issue this month has seven changes you can make to save your life or extend it! You, or a family member, may be concerned about the “big two” killers (cancer and Alzheimer’s). This month we focus on cancer and the July issue will again be on Alzheimer’s.
By the way, every year these suggestions get so many rave reviews that they are re-sent, forwarded and “gifted.” Feel free to do so.
The first change will reduce your risk of cancer. A recent study shows that…
DISCLAIMER: Before I begin any comments about health, I am required by law to make a disclaimer. The disclaimer is, “The following comments are not meant to diagnose or treat any disease, nor have they been approved by the FDA.” (more…)
If you’re like me, you’re so busy, and the idea of stopping for reflection is a tough one. It is especially hard when the topic is on work habits, mindsets and strategies. Plus, the word “autopsy” triggers thoughts of something that died.
Actually, you should be “killing” off weak or wrong ideas. But, why do you and I keep putting it off? For one, it’s hard work. Second, it may be painful. And finally, it takes time, and who’s got extra time? I don’t, and you probably don’t either.
Yet, to become better, you want to discipline yourself to do the things that others won’t do. This creates “separation” between you and those that complain and stay the same. This, in fact, is what gives you job security. Help yourself get 1% better every week of the year and you’ll become fabulous.
You’re already a minute into reading this, so let’s do a five-minute reflective “autopsy” on what is not working well. (more…)
In a recent study, the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents who engaged in 12 minutes of (doing what?) was higher than the mean reading comprehension score of low-income adolescents in the control group. Not a little bit higher, but MUCH higher!
The most amazing part of this intervention was that it was easily replicated, verifiable and very low cost. What was it? (more…)
I try to provide what you want…. the newest, latest and greatest in brain research. Of course, I do read the journals and subscribe to many, like the Journal of Neuroscience. But, I am also a student of the history of learning. I often reread classic textbooks from my bookshelves to reactivate the solid research of the past. After all, a huge amount of research has already been done. (more…)
If you’re like me, you have memories of sharing content with your class of students, and many of them just looking at you and staring. Nothing’s happening.
You’re not sure if they even care what you are saying. OK, let’s say you did use “buy-in” strategies, so that area was addressed. Maybe you see that they just aren’t connecting to the content. Believe me, this has happened to the best of us.
There is a simple tool you can use to ensure this never, ever happens to you again. (more…)
This post is about something quite controversial. In fact, it’s so controversial that many of you will be upset and send me emails, telling me I am wrong. But, the way I see it, I am the messenger of the truth. I don’t make up the facts.
Here is an inside story of the most ignored population at your school and 3 simple things you can do to improve the situation… (more…)
So many teachers want the quick strategies they can use the very next day. Unfortunately, many of those are just more of the same. Sometimes what makes a strategy work (or not work) is HOW the teacher “sets up” the activity. Other times it works because of the timing or the environmental factors.
In short, it not about just the strategy. But for a moment, let’s say, you’ve already taken one of my amazing multi-day brain-based courses. The following might be good for a quick reminder:
1. The saying “too much, too fast,” means we won’t integrate and recall the information if you teach is quickly. Instead, chunk down the learning into small chunks; allow processing and settling time with partners or as reflective journal time.
2. Because every brain is different—genes + experience, plus the interplay between the two, recall the importance of honoring uniqueness, respecting differences. That means use huge variety to maximize learning. Use visual, with illustrations, and podcasts and DVDs. Then use movement with drama, hands on and energizers. Also use plenty of call-response with partner dialogs.
3. Most subjects can be learned under moderate stress; think of it as “healthy concern.” To ramp that up, use constant accountability. After every learning chunk, have kids create a quiz question, stand up, quiz their neighbor or create a short quiz of 10 questions. Use teams, peer pressure and deadlines to add concern. Remember the material better with an emotion embedded with it. After the quiz, celebrate the progress.
4. Thinking about thinking builds learning skills as active processing time. Add the process of journaling, discussion and learning logs valuable for better learning. Give students starter sentences such as “What I was curious (or stressed over) about today was”… Or, “What I learned today was… and, the way I learned it best was when I.” Until patterns emerge, learning is often random and messy, following no clear path over time, the patterns become more obvious. Pattern making is more complex in second languages like math and music.
5. Remember the value in non-learning or “settling” time, to consolidate the content. Take breaks, recess, lunch, relax time, walks, for passive processing. Even a quick energizer that’s fun and playful can be a good break.
6. Our brain can memorize, but our best learning is the trial & error learning; it’s a key to complex learning–there’s value in games done well, so use games, computers, competition, building, initiatives, etc. Games like hopscotch, relays, or just let kids quiz each other. Brains rarely get it right the first time—learning complexity is built over time Using checklists, peer teaching, computers, asking Qs, are all examples of using trial and error.