A lesson in ENTHUSIASM

3 year old Jonathan conducting to the 4th movement of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. This piece was conducted by Herbert von Karajan and the Berliner Philharmoniker, one of Jonathan’s favorite conductors and orchestras. Jonathan’s passion for classical music became apparent when he was only eight months old. Shortly after that he began conducting on his own.

What Brain Insights Can Boost Your Student’s Classroom Success?

brain based learning insights

This month, we’ll focus on how you can get your brain (and your students’ brains) to work better. There are countless ways we could go about this process, but since it’s the beginning of a new year, we’ll focus on what contributes to us feeling happy, smarter and even losing weight. Best of all, every one of these insights are free!

The Research

In a moment, I’ll share some of the brain-based insights in human behavior. There are just TWO (out of 50+) brain chemicals that do 90% of the work in your brain. These two are the “uppers and downers.” These two must have a poor PR agent, since most educators don’t know much about them or how important they are. They are named glutamate and GABA (gaba aminobutyric acid). (more…)

Over Half of all Teachers Make These 2 Mistakes.

Brain based teacherWe could focus on all the “holiday” stuff (like how to help you “navigate the holidays without adding inches to your figure”), but it’s the school year and we turn to how to affect one of the “Big Four.”

The first mistake (over 50% of all teachers make) is selling yourself short. You have far more influence than you think. The “Big Four” in teaching are: effort, behavior, cognitive capacity and attitude. When you strengthen these four, your students improve dramatically. The good news is that every one of these is teachable.

I’ll illuminate just one way you can influence a student’s attitude. The second mistake (over 50% of all teachers make) is to talk about a student’s “attitude” as if it was a fixed entity. Attitude is NOT fixed. In fact, new research shows how much teachers can influence a student’s attitude. For example… (more…)

The Long Road to Success – Extreme Schools

Madison School

Our featured “Extreme School” is an elementary school in St. Cloud, Minnesota. This high-poverty school had struggles for years. From 2006 – 2009 the school struggled to make annual yearly progress every year, missing in four and sometimes eight academic areas. Today, the school is different; it’s a high achieving school that does well in every single content area. The kids are the same, but the school is different.

How did they do it? (more…)

Do you have more self-control than a chimpanzee?

As we get closer to the start of the holiday season, we learn about one of the most important understandings you’ll ever have about your brain. In fact, for me, it’s one of the top 10 brain-based insights of all time. This understanding is fundamental to the amount of joy you have, your weight (that you’re always trying to manage) and satisfaction in life.

In short, this has changed how I understand my own brain and it just may do the same for you. We begin with a simple study about self-control.

The study pitted 19 chimps against 40 humans in a groundbreaking experiment. What you’re about to learn just may change your life… (more…)

Dunbar High School – Making Miracles Happen Every Day

Dunbar High School Florida

This month our featured “Extreme School” is a Title 1 high school. What’s unusual about it?…… For the first time ever in the 14-year history of school grades in Florida, this high school achieved consecutive grades of “A”.

Never before in the state had a high school with a free and reduced lunch population above 80% been able to earn not just one A, but back-to-back “A’s”. And test scores have been rising every year!

HOW DID THEY DO IT? (more…)

Stop Telling Your Students To “Pay attention!”

Getting students attention in classroom

Let’s explore the role of attention in your work.

This topic is always in the top 10 for requests, so it’s a good time for a review on the subject.

Whether you’re a teacher, staff developer or administrator, today’s audience expects quality. You need their attention for explicit learning. For starters, stop telling your audience to “Pay attention!” It sounds pathetic. Why?

What I have learned is below. For the surprising news and to keep reading… (more…)

Extreme Schools Making Miracles Happen

Foster Road Elementary,

Our featured “Extreme School” is a school in Los Angeles County, California. Not long ago, this high K-5 poverty school had neighborhood drug dealers coming ON CAMPUS. The outside aesthetics of the school were deplorable, with deteriorating buildings. The district rates schools (academically) on a scale from 1-10 (with 10 as highest). This school was a “1″ out of ten – the lowest possible ranking.

RESULTS? Today, it is the envy of the Norwalk-La Mirada School District! What did they do and how did it turn out? Are you ready for another miracle?

HOW DID IT TURN OUT?

(more…)

How Can You Foster MORE Student Effort?

brain-based learning

With school underway, I’d like to focus on getting students to work hard in school. Most teachers would say it sounds like a pretty good idea. I can just hear you saying, “Wow, my students just sit there. It would be great if they would put out a world class effort!” Listen; there are powerful reasons that kids don’t put out much effort. Each of the reasons leads to a powerful action step.

The first one is…

(more…)

Extreme Schools in an Extreme Interview

 Teacher Q&A

Instead of our usual featured “Extreme School” (of which we have many), we are featuring an unusual question-answer session. These were posed by real staff members from two real Title 1 schools. The questions cut right to the core of what it takes to succeed, but the answers may surprise you.

In fact, the answers apply to every single school, including yours. I have combined two school interviews so there’s enough variety for everyone. By the way, everything here applies to ALL schools, not just those in poverty. Enjoy! (more…)

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