TEACHING WITH THE BRAIN IN MIND  BY   ERIC JENSEN

FOR MY CLASSES

(Inspired by the book, but not part of the book summary)

One minute commercials for the upcoming standards. Also, coming attractions.  Then perform the song with choreography. Their choice.

Each person forms an opinion about the topic  The goal is for each student to convince a partner in 30 seconds why his or her topic is more important.

When you finish with a topic, make sure that you allow learners to evaluate the pros and cons, discuss the relevance,

In transitions, have one student lead the class in movements.  I must do the movements too.

Up and flashcard each other.  Up and flashcard themselves.

 

 

Teach the most important material first and last.  Open and close the class with the three most important words or concepts.

Three questions for the beginning:
Why is it important for me to reach my goals?
What are my goals for today and this year?
What do I need to do today and this week in this class to reach my goals?

Tell students Diamond says, "When we enriched the environment, we got brains with a thicker cortex, more dendritic branching, more growth spines and larger cell bodies"

There are more support cells too.  This can happen within 48 hours after the stimulation.

  Make feedback an element of all presentations.  But if you're mean you lose points.  At the beginning of the year , give all standards to the class.  Ask them to write a list of what they know and what they  can guess.  and what the import might be.

Students use words and dictionaries to weakest link each other from candy.  Spelling bees from your five line essays.

Make metaphors to life experiences often.

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Teaching with the brain in mind by Eric Jensen
Teaching with the brain in mind by Eric Jensen

Teaching with the brain in mind by Eric Jensen
Teaching with the brain in mind by Eric Jensen

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Chapter one--------
             ------------- Models of education-------------
The education model that dominated much of human history was uncomplicated.  If you wanted to learn about something, you became an apprentice.

                ---------The knowledge explosion----------
Primitive models on the workings of the brain have been around for 2,000 years.  The brain has been referred to as a hydraulic system( The Greco-Roman model), a fluid system (Renaissance), an enchanted loom (the early Industrial Revolution), a city's switchboard (early to mid-1900s), and a computer (1950-1980s)
Later educators were educated to the triune model.  It is now outdated and educators should embrace the "whole systems approach".

              ---Interpreting Brain research-----
At the weakest or lowest level you have unreliability. At the other end you have original sources, fresh confirming sources, a variety of quality data gathering, and personal verification of data, perhaps even an eyewitness.

The strategies described in this book will be at a higher confidence level

                         Practical  Suggestions
What's an educator to do with all this information?  Three steps are indicated.  First, become consumer literate in brain research.  Second, more action research should happen in your workplace.  Lastly, make the information public.

CHAPTER TWO  THE LEARNING BRAIN
                    --The Human Brain--
Its mostly water (78%), fat (10%) and Protein (8%).  A living brain is so soft it can be cut with a butter knife.

In fact, if it were laid out, the cortex would be about the size of an unfolded single page from a daily newspaper.

The human brain has the largest area of uncommitted cortex.

              --  Taking sides in learning--
In general, the left hemisphere processes things more in parts and sequentially.  But musicians process music in their left hemisphere, not right as a novice would.  Among left-handers, almost half use their right hemisphere for language.  Higher-level mathematicians, problem solvers, and chess players have more right hemisphere activation during these tasks, while beginners in those activities usually are left hemisphere active.

The right hemisphere recognizes negative emotions faster;  the left notices positive ones faster.

The territory in the middle of the brain includes the hippocampus, thalamus, hypothalamus and amygdala.
the mid brain is 20% of the brain by volume.
Others say that there is no "limbic" system, only specific structures that process emotions.

The cerebrum is up to 75% and is AKA the "Association Cortex"

             --energy for learning--
The brain gets about 8 gallons of blood each hour.  The brain needs 8 to 12 glasses of water a day for optimal functioning.
Many of the so-called "smart drugs" that boost alertness enhance oxygen flow to the brain.  With only 36 percent of the k-12 students in a daily physical education class, are they getting enough of the oxygen-rich blood needed for highest performance?  Many worry that they are not.

              --Where Learning Begins---
Neurons are Greek for "Bow string"
For the sake of comparison, a fruit fly has 100,000 neurons, a mouse has 5 million, a monkey 10 billion.  We have about 100 billion.  We have half the number that a 2 year old has.

Glial is Greek for "Glue"

The axon has two essential functions:  To conduct information i the form of electrical stimulation and to transport chemical substances.  Myelin is to speed up the electrical transmission (up to 12 fold).

No neuron is an end point or termination for information; it only serves to pass it on.

                   ---How do we learn?------
    The stimulus
If we are repeating an earlier learning there's a good chance the neural pathways will become more and more efficient.  They do that through myelination.  Novices use more of their brain , but they are also less efficient at how they use it.

While exercise is doing what we already know how to do, stimulation is doing something new.  Stimulation produces greater beneficial electrical energy than old stuff.

Neurotransmitters are either excitatory (like glutamate or inhibitory (like GABA).

    --------------The formation of lasting learning----
Learning and memory are two sides of a coin to neuroscientists.  You can't talk about one without the other.  After all, if you have learning something the only evidence of t he learning is memory.

          -----learning and behavior----
Yet our behaviors are more likely governed by our complex emotional states and memories.

Our every day behaviors are heavily affected by the other "floating" chemicals in the brain: the monoamines and peptides.

In fact, one researcher estimates that over 98% of all your brain's and body's internal communications are through peptides, not synapses.  If the neurotransmitters we mentioned earlier, like glutamate and GABA act as "cellular phones" offering specific communications, the other chemicals act more like huge bullhorns that can broadcast to wide areas of the brain.  These chemicals are usually serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.  These produce the behaviors that you can actually see in class like attention, stress, or drowsiness.


     -----getting smarter--------------
Our brain has been customizing itself for it’s lifestyle since the day you were born.  If you going to be good at music, your likely to sing, compose or play.  If your good at sports, you're likely to practice.

Almost 10% of children under 5 have a photographic memory as do 1 percent of adults.  Savants can calculate huge numbers and, in subjects that have spoken a dozen or more languages. Could we engineer the development of another Einstein?

Humans have survived for 1,000s of years by trying out new things, not by always getting the "right" tried-and-true answer.  That's not healthy for growing a smart, adaptive brain.

Good quality education encourages the exploration of alternative thinking, multiple answers, and creative insights.

CHAPTER THREE - GETTING STUDENTS READY TO LEARN


Educators continually complain that students are not ready to learn.
If they have been assigned homework, it's often not done.  Leave it up to the students to be more ready to learn when they walk in the door, or become a "surrogate family" are our choices.

         ---ARE KIDS REALLY DIFFERENT NOW?---------------
We understand that the first 48 months of life are critical to the brain's development.  But more often than not in today's world, the first few years are spent in a child-care center.  Typical rations of infants and toddlers to care givers are from 3-1 to 12-1.

How much temperament is learned and howl much is inherited?  About half and half.
For example, parents who recognize appropriate risk taking and acknowledge it will usually get a more courageous child.

     -----PREPARING THE EARLY BRAIN------
The question is, "For what are you customizing your early brain?"

       ----The motor brain-------
Most educators know the value of "crawl time".  Today's infant is "baby-SAT" by television, seated in a walker, or strapped in a car seat for hundreds of precious motor development hours.  Today's 2-year-old has spent an estimated 500 hours in a car seat.

"Infants who were given periodic vestibular stimulation by rocking gain weight faster, develop vision and hearing earlier."

       ---The visual brain---------
With more than 30 distinct visual areas in the brain (including color, movement, hue and depth). Television moves fast and talks about abstractions that are often nonexistence in the child's environment. The vocabulary is too fast.
The TV allows they no time to relax.  This stress can aggravate learning difficulties.  Many researchers say they would ban tv for all children before the age of 8.

     ---Early thinking skills----------
The brain is fully ready for thinking through tactile learning as early as nine months.  The cortex is not fully developed yet, but the cerebellum is ready.

   ----Language development-----------
Having a stressful pregnancy is highly correlated with the failure to show structural lateralization.  As a result , you often get stuttering and dyslexia in the child.

Infants whose parents talk to them more frequently and use bigger, "adult" words will develop better language skills.
82% of parents say they don't encourage reading in the home.
90 % of children 9-13 play video games.  43% play under an hour a day. 27% play 2-6 hours a day.

Some children will be ready to read at 4 years; others, just as normal, will be ready at 7 or even 10 years.  The child who reads at 7 might not be "developmentally delayed"

          -----Sweet dreams-----
Teachers often complain of kids falling asleep in school.  Why do they?  Puberty.

A teen's natural sleep clock generates a natural bedtime closer to midnight with a waking time closer to 8 am.
High school kids are grossly sleep deprived...It makes very little scientific sense to make these kids function at these very early hours.

Theta state is the first few and last few moments of sleep.

Brain wave cycles are about 4-7 per minute here.
Waking is alpha and beta.  From 8-25 cycles per second.
During Theta we can be woken easily and rehash the day's events or plan tomorrow.
The heavier, non-dream states of sleep are important for physical renewal.  During our "dead to the world" states, the pituitary gland delivers extra growth and repair hormones to the blood stream.  This helps rebuild tissue and ensure our immune system is in order.

The critical time in question is the dream state, or REM time.  This state is thought to be critical to maintaining our memories.

Of all the time to sleep , we need those last few hours the most for memory.

        --eating to learn----
Americans eat too few fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates.

Are specific foods particularly good for the brain?  They  include leafy green vegetables, salmon, nuts, lean meats and fresh fruits.
Vitamin and mineral supplements act as a "cleaner" for synapses" dissolving protein build up.

Most kids eat to get rid of their hunger and lack sufficient information to eat for optimal learning.

            ----drinking to learn----
Dehydration is a common problem that's linked to poor learning.  When we are thirst, it's because there's a drop in the water content of the blood.  When the water percentage in the blood drops, the salt concentration in the blood is higher.  Higher salt levels increase the release of fluids from the cells into the bloodstream.  That raises blood pressure and stress.  Stress researchers found that within five minutes of drinking water, there is a marked decline in corticoids and ACTH , two hormones associated with elevated stress.

Because the brain is made up of a higher percentage of water than any other organ in the body, dehydration takes a toll quickly.

Soft drinks, juice, coffee, or tea are diuretics that don't help much.  Teachers should encourage students to drink water throughout the day.

     PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
We can ask them to keep a private journal so that they can begin to link up what they eat with how they feel and do in school.  Guest speakers can provide some novelty or credibility.
At the staff level, we can influence what's served for school breakfasts or lunches.

At the school open house , we can offer parents a talk and a handout on "Eating to Learn"

CHAPTER 4 ENRICHED ENVIRONMENT AND THE BRAIN

   -----Environmental influence-----------------
Male pattern baldness is on the x chromosome, which comes from the mother.

Start by removing threats.
Those include embarrassment, finger-pointing, unrealistic deadlines, forcing kids to stay after school, humiliation, sarcasm, a lack of resources or simply being bullied.

         -------Our Malleable Brain----------------
Diamond says, "When we enriched the environment, we got brains with a thicker cortex, more dendritic branching, more growth spines and larger cell bodies"

There are more support cells too.  This can happen within 48 hours after the stimulation.

Dendritic branching was easy to find, but the evidence of synaptic plasticity is relatively recent.

Our brain has areas that are only stimulated by letters, not words or symbols.

On autopsy studies of graduate students, they had up to 40 percent more connections than the brains of high school drop outs
The brains of graduate students who were "coasting" through school had fewer connections than those who challenged themselves daily.

School age brain almost, "Glows" with energy consumption, burning at 225 percent of the adult levels of glucose.

         -------Enrichment for whom?---------------------
It's much easier, for example , to learn to play an instrument or learn a foreign language before age 10 than at any other time.

    -------------- What constitutes Enrichment?-------------------

 
The critical ingredients in any purposeful program to enrich the learner's brain are that first the learning is challenging, with new information or experiences.  Often novelty will do it, but it must be challenging.  Second, there must be some way to learn from the experience through interactive feedback.
Challenge is important; too much or too little and the students will bgive up or get bored.  This includes varying time, materials, access, expectations, or support in the learning process.  Novelty is important too.  CHange in the decor on the classroom walls every two to four weeks is valuable.  But have the students do it.
Change instructional strategies often: use computers, groups, field trips, guest speakers, pairings, games, student teaching journaling, or multi-age projects.

Second, maximize learning feedback.  Because feedback reduces uncertainty, it increases coping abilities while lowering the pituitary-adrenal stress response.  The brain is exquisitely designed to operate on feedback, both internal and external.

Our whole brain is self-referencing.  It decides what to do based on what has just been done.
The peer editing process is a superb way to get feedback.

While there may be little "hard biological research" on the value of cooperative groups, clearly they do two important things.  When we feel  valued and cared for, our brain releases the neurotransmitters of pleasure: endorphins and dopamine.  This helps us enjoy our work more.  Another positive is that groups provide a superb vehicle for social and academic feedback.

Several conditions make feedback more effective.  It must be specific, not general.
Feedback is ordinarily most useful for learners when it is immediate.
Immediate and self generating feedback can come from any sources:  having posted criteria for performance, checking against personal goals.

What should be the content of enrichment?  Fortunately, the sources are endless.  Here we'll address just five of them.   Reading and language, motor stimulation, thinking and problem solving, the arts, and the surroundings.

 ---------------- enrichment through reading and language-----------
Without exposure to new words, a youngster will never develop the cells to discriminate sounds.  Parents ought to read to their children beginning at 6 months, not wait until they're 4 or 5 .

Schools ought to expose children to larger, more challenging vocabularies and to foreign languages by age 12.
An easy way to get the larger vocabulary is for teachers to role model it.

Cursive is much easier and it's better to teach that first.

A bigger, faster left brain means words are distinct, not like a running stream of watery noise. That's what dyslexics hear.   New software programs that stretch out the words until the brain can learn to sort them out are highly successful in retraining the brain, says Tallal.

 ------------------Enrichment through motor stimulation---------------------------

  ---------Enrichment through thinking and problem solving--------


Both brain sides are ready for abstraction by 11 to 13.  The corpus callosum is fully formed by then.
You can solve a problem on paper, with a model, with an analogy or metaphor, by discussion, with statistics, through artwork, or during a demonstration.

Surprisingly, it doesn't matter to the brain whether it ever comes up with an answer.  The neural growth happens because of the process, not the solution.  A student could go to school for 12 years, rarely get right answers, and still have a well-developed brain.  Some learners simply choose harder and harder problems to solve.

   ------------------Enrichment through the Arts------------------
The evidence is persuasive that (1) our brain may be designed for music and arts and (2) a music and arts education has positive, measurable, and lasting academic and social benefits.

Think of music as a tool for usage in a least three possible categories: for arousal, as a carrier of words, and as a primer for the brain.

Neurons are constantly firing.  What distinguishes the "neural chatter" from clear thinking is the speed, sequence, and strength of the connections.  Have you ever put on a piece of music to help you get a task done like cleaning the house?

Lamb and Gregory found a high correlation between pitch discrimination and reading skills.

Listening to Mozart before testing is valuable; listening during a test would cause neural competition.

Arts education facilitates language development, enhances, creativity, boosts reading readiness, helps social development, assists general intellectual achievement, and fosters positive attitudes about school.

The old paradigm was that left-brain thinking was the home of the necessary "higher-order" thinking skills, and right-brain activities were frills.  That id wrong.  Much learning is both brained.  Musicians usually process melodies in their left hemispheres.

    ------Enrichment through the surroundings-----------------
In hospitals, a controlled study found that patients with a "view room" recovered faster than those who stared at a brick wall.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS

 Gone are the days in which any teacher could justify a barren classroom.  Boredom is more than annoying for teens - it may be thinning out their brains.  Fortunately, studies show the shrinkage can be reversed in as little as four days.

CHAPTER 5 ----- GETTING THE BRAIN'S ATTENTION

       -------------The Attentive Brain---------------
Teachers quickly classify students into tow categories: those who pay attention and those who don't .  Translated, that means the "good kids" and the "problem kids."  Consequently, an enormous amount of energy is invested in getting kids "to be good."  The stakes are high, and the tools include promises, rewards, noisemakers, threats, raised voices, and gimmicks.

Who now know the purpose of attention seems to be (1) to promote survival and (2) to extend pleasurable states.
For example:
Attention systems are located throughout the brain.
The contrasts of all movement, sound and emotions (like threat) consume most of our attention.
When we are awake we have an important decision to make every single moment: where to turn our attention.  We do this about 100,000 times a day.

Two primary determinates of our attention are the sensory input (such as a threat or an appealing opportunity) and the brain's chemical "flavor of the moment."

-------------------- The pathways of Attention--------------------------------
"Whoops, something's happening," then, "Where?" and finally "What is it?"   The answer to the final question wil usually tell us how long we ought to attend to it.

inputs that our "attention headquarters" gets as feedback from the cortex is nearly six times as high as the original input from the terina.

Proper attentional functioning means not just  stimulating many new neurons, but also suppressing unimportant information.
The brain's susceptibility to paying attention is very much influenced by priming.  The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) suppresses input when we look for a book that isn't book like.

We get used to a new smell within second, so it takes a new one to again get our attention.

       ---------The chemistry of attention------------------------


Cosrtisol, saopressin are particularly critical to our stress and threat responses.

 -----------------roller-coaster attention cycles----------


Natural attentional highs and lows throughout the day.  These are ultradian rhythms, one of our brain's key cycles lasting about 90-110 minutes.  We have 16 cycles in a 24 hour period.

Movements such as stretching or marching can help focus attention.
There's literally change in blood flow and breathing on these cycles that effect learning.

Eight subjects were tested for 3-minute periods every 15 minutes over an eight-hour day.  The upswing on verbal tasks went from an average score of 165 to 215 correct answers and a simultaneous downswing fro 125 to 108 on spatial.
We will get lower scores if we test students at the wrong time. It makes a case for choice in the assessment process.
Portfolios are more inclusive.

---------------------The role of processing time------------------
"What smart adaptive benefits might there be to having a shorter attention span?
It allows you to update your priorities by rechoosing the object of your attention.

-There are three reasons why demanding constant attention is counterproductive:
     first, much of what we learn cannot be processed consciously, it happens too fast.
     Second, in order to create new meaning we need internal time.  Meaning is always generated from within, not externally.
     Third, we need time to imprint.

Tens of millions of bits come down our optic nerve every second.  That is far too much to process consciously.  So the brain continues to process information before and long after we are aware that we are doing it.  As a result, many of our best ideas seem to pop out of the blue.

External input conflicts with the possibility that learners can turn what they have just learned into something meaningful.  Teachers might allow students to have a small group discussion after new material is introduced.

Rest time allows the brain to recycle CREB, an acronym for a protein switch crucial to long-term memory formation.
Writing in journals is good.  Cramming more content per minute, or moving from one piece of learning to the next, virtually guarantees that little will be learned.  Many teachers who complain of having to do so much "reteaching"  are the same ones trying to cram too much.

Teachers need more personal and better quality down time during the day.  To stay alert, teachers often become caffeine junkies.

MAKE A CHART OF PAGE 48  Not done in e-mail to facilitate format conversion!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                               --------------------------How attention affects discipline---------------------
As a guideline  8-12 minutes of direct instruction for grades 3-7 and 12-15 minutes for grades 8-12 are reasonable.
There's a genetic link between quick-tempered, novelty seeking, and inattentive behaviors and a specific receptor gene for dopamine.

                       --------------------attention deficit---------------
In the US , ADD accounts for almost half of all chial psychiatric referrals.

About 3% of all children under 19 are on ADD medication like Ritalin or Cylert.

Children diagnosed with ADD found evidence of smaller attentional structures in the outermost right frontal lobe areas and basal ganglia.

Children with ADD can't pay attention; they are paying attention to everything.

Ritalin is a central nervous stimulation that inhibits the reuptake of dopamine and norepinephrine.  They are amphetamines which boost the "signal" of the more important information.
First many students are misdiagnosed as ADD when their problem may be crowded classrooms, discipline difficulties, a teacher who demands too much attention or a lack of self-discipline skills.  Diet too.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Everything that is novel will garner attention.
For example, teachers can move to the back or side of the room during instruction.
Use a surprising piece of music one day., ask students to bring in something that makes music the next.  Have students present their learning to one another , then in small groups.  Guest speakers.  Use fun, energizing rituals for openings, closings and most repetitive procedures.  A
A double clap and foot stomp may introduce an important daily summary.  A change in voice tonality, tempo, volume, or accent gets attention.  Props, noisemakers, bells, whistles, costumes, music, or singing can get attention.
You can also include attention-getting rituals like raising a hand or a daily group clap.


CHAPTER 6 - HOW THREATS AND STRESS AFFECT LEARNING


      -----------------Why Common threats fail------------------
Many students don't have a better use of their time than staying after class. And if staying after is a miserable experience, the bad feelings "contaminate" the student's overall opinions about the teacher, classroom and school.

           --------------- Stress and Learning ---------
When we feel stressed, our adrenal glands release a peptide called cortisol.
Chronically high cortisol levels lead to the death of brain cells.

Sapolsky found that atrophy levels in the hippocampus of Vietnam veterans with PTSD ranged from 8 to 24 percent above the control group.

Chronic stress  creates a depressed immune system.   More test stress means more sickness, which means poor health and missed classes, which contributes to lower test scores.

Social position changes both attitude and behaviors.  This evidence suggests the value of  varying the leadership in class groups.
Under stress, the eyes become more attentive to peripheral areas as a natural way to spot predators first.

The students in the full-spectrum classes missed 65 percent fewer school days from illness.  Why?  The regular fluorescent lighting has a flickering and hum.
With full spectrum children report better moods.

Provide predictability through school and classroom rituals.  Peer cheer for celebration.

Young rats exposed to stressful shock experiences performed better than adults than nonstressed controls.  The military is well known for creating stress.  But neither of these cases involved creativity.

     ---------------Learned Helplessness------------------------
In order to "qualify" as learned helplessness, the following conditions have usually occurred.

1)Trauma.  Bullying in the hall or home or class.
2)Lack of control;  can be due to positive or negative lack of control.
3) Decision: "I can't do anything right"

At-risk learners are more susceptible to learned helplessness.

  --------------------The biology of Learned Helplessness-------------


After 30 to 50 draggings, the dogs started to go over to the non-shock side.
Unknowingly, , teachers often give up on these students after 5 to 10 positive attempts.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
Help students learn about what induces stress and what to do about it.  Teach them stress management techniques like time management, breathing, the role of down time, relationship skills, and getting peer support.  In the classroom, stress might be released through drama, peer support, games, exercise , discussions and celebrations.

The transition time might include something physical; stretching, dance, manipulatives, a game, or walk.  It could be interpersonal , such as a discussion.  It might be personal, including journal writing reflection and creative writing.
Reduce threats from other students in class by setting up clear expectations about classroom behavior.

If an impending test is becoming paralyzing, turn it into a "teachable" moment.  Explain how our bodies often react to stress.

CHAPTER 7 - MOTIVATIONS AND REWARDS
     

---------------Students and motivation------------------------------
There's an enormous difference in how the human brain responds to rewards for simple and complex problem-solving tasks.
More complex behaviors are usually impaired, not helped by rewards.

In fact, rats - as well as humans - will consistently seek new experiences and behaviors with no perceivable reward or impetus.  Experimental rats responded positively to simple novelty.  It could presumably, lead to new sources of food or shelter.

Choice and control over their environment produced more social and less aggressive behaviors.

Los Angeles County 8th graders scored 13% higher when offered 1$ for every correct answer on a national math exam.  Students may actually know the material but be unmotivated to demonstrate it.

  -----------------------Temporary Demotivation---------------------------

 
Students who make it to school each day have demonstrated a certain amount of motivation.
They are at times, however, temporarily unmotivated.  Why?  There are three primary reasons.

1)Associations with the past.  A teacher's voice, tone or gestures may remind a student's amygdala of a previously disliked teacher.

Students can feel unmotivated in the face of unsuitable learning styles, a lack of resources, language barriers, a lack of choice, cultural taboos, fear of embarrassment.

A third factor is their own relationship with the future.  This includes the presence of clear well -defined goals and belief in themselves.

Positive thinking engages the left frontal lobe and usually triggers the release of pleasure chemicals like dopamine as well as natural opiates, or endorphins.  This self-reward reinforces the desired behavior.

  ----------------Rewards and the Brain---------------------
We've assumed that children should get an immediate reward when they do something right.

The brain is perfectly satisfied to pursue novelty and curiosity, embrace relevance, and bathe in the feedback from successes.    Projects and problems solving where the process is more important than the answer creates intrinsic reward.

NMDA is and exitatory receptor site.  GABA is an inhibitory receptor site.

Rewards have already been studied and , to a large degree, rejected as a motivating strategy (Kohn 1993).

-------------Promoting Intrinsic Motivation------------------------
Motivation is made of compelling goals, positive beliefs, and productive emotions.  Any discussion about intrinsic motivation must also include the learner's natural search and subsequent construction for meaning.
One technique:
First, Student are to meet in small groups to brainstorm a list of the things that inhibit their learning.  The groups could then discuss how some of the problems could be alleviated.
SECOND, goal setting.
Third:  Affirmations, acknowledging student successes, positive nonverbals and positive posters.
FINALLY, feedback via projects, group work, checklists, peer editing and rubrics.

    -------------------The supercamp model-----------------------
Some of the likely sources of threat are threatening comments, "score keeping" discipline strategies, sarcasm, unannounced "pop" quizzes, a lack of resources, unforgiving deadlines, and cultural or language barriers.

Students need transition time from their personal lives to their academic lives and from one teacher to the next.  You never know what happens out in the hallways.  At the start of class, students could still be reeling from an insult, a break-up with a close friend, a fight.....

Reviewing the previous day'[s learning and stretching during physical activity are excellent.

Closure rituals help students put learning from the day in its own cognitive-emotional place.

You might consider arrival and beginning rituals that include music fanfare, positive greetings, special handshakes, hugs, or sharing time.  Certain songs can be used to bring students back from break and let them know it's time to start up.  (Music beats the bell).  Groups and organizational rituals also help, such as team names, cheers, gestures, and games.  Successful situational rituals include applause when learners contribute, a song to close or end something, affirmations, discussion, journal writing, cheers, self-assessment, and gestures.

In supercamp, students usually get this feedback 10 to 20 times a day through the purposeful use of sharing time, goal setting, group work , question-and-answer time, observation of others and journals.

Forced positive choice allows control.  Do I climb another step up this 50-foot ladder?  DO I jump off this trapeze bar?

CHAPTER 8 - Emotions and LEARNING

            -------Western Culture and Emotions--------------------------
What if it was more rational to include emotions in our thinking and decision making?

            ----------Emotions make the mainstream------------------
Emotions drive attention, create meaning, and have their own memory pathway

           -----------------The Measurement of Emotion-----------------------


Neuroscientists usually separate emotions and feelings.

-Emotions are generated from biologically automated pathways. They are the joy (pleasure) , fear, surprise, disgust, anger, and sadness.  Cross-cultural studies indicate that these six expressions are universal.

-Feelings are different;  they're our culturally and environmentally developed responses to circumstances.  Examples include: worry, anticipation, frustration, cynicism and optimism.

           -----------------The pathways of emotions-------------------------


While feelings travel a circuitous , slower route through the body, the emotions always take the brain's "Superhighways"
While our emotional system is acting independently, it's also acting cooperatively with our cortex.  For example, a student who's getting threatening looks from another student may strike back at the perceived threat before even thinking about it.  The teacher's "behavior improvement lecture" after the event usually does little to change the next "automatic" occurrence of hitting.

The amygdala is most involved with emotion.  There's no evidence that other areas of the so-called "limbic system" are heavily involved in direct emotions.  So LeDoux doesn't like it? Yes he does.

When researchers remove areas of the frontal lobe intelligence usually drops very little.
Removing the amygdala, however, is devastating.  That destroys the capacities for creative play, imagination, key decision making and the nuances of emotion.

                -----------------The chemistry of emotion----------------------
When you experience a gut feeling, it's because the same peptides that are released in your brain are also lining your gastrointestinal tract.

That's why once an emotion occurs , it is hard for the cortex to simply shut it off.

The old paradigm was our brain was managed by the physical connections made at the site of the synapse.  But the newer, emerging understanding is that the messenger molecules know as peptides are not only distributed throughout the brain and body, but exert huge influence.

98% of all communication within the body may be through these peptide messengers.

      ----------------------Emotions and Mind-Body states---------------


Thought is not caged in the brain but is scattered all over the body.  There is little doubt that the brain operates more like a gland than a computer.  It produces hormones, is bathed in them, and is run by them" Restak 1993.

We simply cannot run a school without acknowledging emotions.  Pep rallies, guest speakers, poetry readings, community service efforts, storytelling, debates, clubs, sports and dramatic arts address emotions.

   -----------------------------Emotions, learning and memory-------------

Write down three good reasons why reaching you goals is important to you.  Then share them.  The reasons are the emotions being the goals and the source of energy to complete them.

We have been biologically shaped to be fearful, worried, surprised, suspicious, joyful, and we must cease the long-standing habit of thinking of emotions as always irrational .  Emotions are a critical source of information for learning.
Students who feel tentative or afraid to speaking front of their peers are that way for a "logical" reason:  to fail may cost them significant social status.
Appropriate emotions sped up decision making enormously.  Quick gut-feelings: yes or no.

All values are simply emotional states.   If my value is honesty, then I feel badly when I'm dishonest.  Conversely, I feel good when I do honest things.

In addition, we remember that which is most emotion laden.
Some say emotions are so important they have their own memory pathway.

Its common for students to remember the death of a friend, a field trip, or a hands-on science experiment far longer than most lectures.

PRACTICAL STRATEGIES
    The old adage was, "First, get control of the students, then do the teaching.""  Today, neuroscientists might tell you to engage emotions appropriately.

Role Model:
Model the love of learning.

Celebrations:
Use acknowledgments, parties, high-fives, food, music, and fun.
After mind mapping, ask them to find at least two things they like about it.

A controversy:
Setting up a controversy could involve a debate.

Purposeful Use of Physical Rituals:
Those rituals could include clapping patterns, cheers, chants, movements, or a song.  Use these to announce arrival, departure, a celebration and getting started on a project.
Each time teams complete their tasks they could give a team cheer.

Introspections:
The use of journals, discussion, sharing, stories, and reflection about things, people, and issues engages students personally  Have them read letters to the editor and discuss or critique them.

CHAPTER NINE - MOVEMENT AND LEARNING
              ----------------Mind and Body-------------------------
What would happen if the cerebellum, an area most commonly linked to movement, turned out to be a virtual switchboard of cognitive activity?

First the cerebellum takes up just one-tenth of the brain by volume, but it contains over half of all its neurons.

The last place information is processed is in the cerebellum, before it is sent to the cortex, is the dentate nucleus.  Thought the dentate nucleus is missing in most mammals, it is largest in primates with the highest learning capabilities.

Autistic children have smaller cerebellums and fewer cerebellar neurons.  He also has linked cerebellar deficits with impaired ability to shift attention quickly from one task to another.  He says the cerebellum filters and integrates floods of incoming data.

    ------------------------ Motor development and learning-----------------


While simple movements like gum chewing are controlled by basic brain circuits nearest the spinal cord, complex movements shift focus in the brain because it has no memories to rely on for execution.  Suddenly we engage the prefrontal cortex.

      ---------------Physical education and learning------------------------


We know exercise fuels the brain with oxygen.
Those who exercised 75 minutes a week demonstrated quicker reactions, thought better, and remembered more.  Chronic stress releases the chemicals that kill neurons.  Exercise reduces that too.

        ----------------------The movement arts-----------------------------
Teaching students art also has been linked to better visual thinking, problem solving, language and creativity.

Students who tip back on two legs of their chairs in class often are stimulating their own brains.

PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS
       Goal setting on the move:
Everyone pairs up.
Students can charade or mime their goals to a partner or go for a short walk while setting goals.
ASK THESE:
Why is it important for me to reach my goals?
What are my goals for today and this year?
What do I need to do today and this week in this class to reach my goals?

    Drama, Theater, and Role Plays:
DO one-minute commercials adapted from television to advertise upoming content or review past content.  Coming attractions.

    Energizers:
Rewrite lyrics to familiar songs in pairs or in a team.  Then perform the song with coreography.

Each person forms an opinion about the topic  THe goal is for each student to convince a partner in 30 seconds why his or her topic is more important.

    Cross-Laterals:
These are exercises that force brain hemisphers to talk to eachother.  Pat your head and rub your belly.

    Stretching:
PE is being cut.  Allow learners to be mobile if they don't disturb anyone.

CHAPTER 10 – The Brain as a Meaning – Maker

 

          ------------The Search for Meaning-------------

This virtual avalanche of data can cause us to simply “shut off”.

One of the solutions is to ensure the quality of information, not the quantity.

 

In this chapter we’ll avoid the dictionary type of “pointer” meaning and deal with the “sense” type of meaning.

 

            ---------------The Biology of Meaning ------------------

When something is meaningful during reading, there’s usually more activity in the left frontal, temporal, or parietal lobe.

 

If there’s a more spiritual meaning, it’s probably a parietal lobe activity.

If it is an emotionally felt meaning, it may show activity in the frontal , occipital and mid-brain areas.

 

In short, meaning is complex.

 

              ---------------The importance of Relevance--------------------

Buckminister Fuller’s conversations were rich because he could make so many associations that nearly everything reminded him of nearly everything else.  A conversation about birds might go to …..

 

For many students the problem is the opposite.  Classroom information lacks the personal relevance necessary for any meaning.

 

                -------------Practical Suggestions for Making Meaning--------------

Give students time to link prior learning with discussion, mapping, and journaling.  Use the power of current events, family history , stories, myth, legends, and metaphors to help make the learning relevant.

 

Let learners explain what is taught in their own words.

 

Teachers who continue to emphasize one-sided lecture methods are violating an important principle of our brain:  Essentially we are social beings.

 

Ask: “Could you compare this with a personal experience?”

 

                   --------------The Importance of Emotions-----------------

Intense emotions triggers the release of chemicals that say  “This is important – keep this!”

 

A master chess player uses less glucose while engaging larger patterns from the right side of the brain.  And clearly, a historian would more likely see a centuries-old pattern in human behavior than a 4th grader.  As a result, teachers can see the themes, connections and relevancies that a student cannot.

 

    Practical Suggestions

Ask students how they know what they know through the use of “how” questions.  How does democracy work?  How might they have….?

 

His students use graphic organizers with color coding to intensify important material.

 

Before beginning a topic, give global overviews using overheads, videotapes and posters.

Help students use motor skills to walk them through a learning process in advance of needing to know it.

Days or weeks before actually starting a topic, prepare learners with oral previews, applicable games in texts or handouts, metaphorical descriptions, and mind maps of the topic posted on the wall.

 

When you finish with a topic, make sure that you allow learners to evaluate the pros and cons, discuss the relevance, and demonstrate their patterning with models, plays and teachings.

 

CHAPTER 11 – MEMORY AND RECALL

 

            ----------------Key memory discoveries-----------------

 

Doubts but quotes of Wilder

 

              --------------------Fluidity--------------

Memories of sound are stored in the auditory cortex.  And researchers have found an area of the inner brain , the hippocampus, that becomes quite active for the formation of spatial and other explicit memories, such as memory for speaking, reading, and even recall about an emotional event.  Memories of names, nouns and pronouns are traced to the temporal lobe.  The amygdala is quite active for implicit, usually negative emotional events.  Learned skils involve the basal ganglia structures.  The cerebellum also is critical for associative memory formation,  particularly when precise timing is involved.

 

This “spread the risk” strategy may create redundancy in the system.

 

                 ------------Formation------------------

Long term potentiation is the process by which memories are formed.

 

CREB  serves as a logic switch, signaling nerve cells to store the memory as short-term or permanently engrave it.

 

CREB activation gives fruit flies photographic memory. 

 

              -----------Chemical----------------------------

 

Researchers suspect that calcium deficiencies are linked to the memory loss of the elderly.  Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter that is linked to memories associated stress.  Phenylanine , found in dairy products, helps manufacture norephinephrine.  It is also involved in alertness and attention.

 

Adrenaline acts as a memory fixative, locking up memories of exciting or traumatic events. 

 

Acetylcholine is used in long-term memory formation.

 

Lechtin, found in eggs, salmon, and lean beef is a dietary source that raises the choline level and boosts memory. 

 

Learning acquired under a particular state (happy sad stressed, or relaxed) is most easily recalled when the person is in the same state.

 

                  ---------Reconstruction--------------------

Most memories are reconstructed on the spot.  There are two theories on how this miraculous process happens. 

One is that we have “indexes”

It is like just on time manufacturing.

This is ingenious as “parts” are reusable.

 

A word like classroom is very likely linked to several related indexes.

 

This theory explains why a similar word – close, but still wrong – will come out of our mouths when we are trying to say something.

 

The other theory is that memories are frozen patterns.  They are like ripples on a bumpy road that make no sound until a car drives over them.

 

This is advocated by “William Calvin”

 

                    -----------------Variety----------------

Its common for us to be good at one type of recall, like faces and places, but not others.

 

                      --------------------Retrieval--------------------

We have to start thinking less of “our memory” and more of “which kind of memory and how  it can be retrieved.

 

EXPLICIT MEMORY

                ----------------Semantic Pathways----------------------

In fact, only explicit memory (aka semantic) pathways have a short-term or working memory.

 

Short – term refers to the length of time we can “hold it” in our head, which is usually 5-20 seconds.  Working memory refers t o the number of units of information we are holding.  For the average adult, this is usually seven.

 

The brain may simply not be well-equipped to routinely retrieve this type of  semantic information.

 

This may be a relatively new need; humans have had little use for semantic recall until recent history when books, schools, literacy, and social mobility became common.

 

The largest portion of our learning is only temporarily extinct.  It can be recalled under the correct conditions.  IT can be recalled as long as attention was paid initially.    Forgetting may be only a temporary performance deficit.

 

We recall details and text learned in the morning and relationships in the afternoon. 

 

We also seem to remember things that are new, first on a list , different from others, or just unique.  If the novelty is strong enough, the likely recall of the material goes up dramatically.

 

Our working memory is limited by chunks and is usually good for less than 20 seconds unless rehearsed, reviewed, or reactivated. 

 

Unfortunately this type of memory requires strong intrinsic motivation.  This is often described as textbook, handout, or “book learning”.

 

Teachers who require moderate to large amounts of recall from texts are, at best, developing self-discipline in the learners.

 

               -----------------Episodic Pathways-------------------

“What did you have for dinner last night?” and most people immediately ask themselves first, “Where was I?” The location triggers the content.

 

Our visual system has both “what”(content) and “where”(location) pathways.

 

The smell receptors bypass the sensory integration center, the thalamus.  In that way, smell goes directly to the brain’s frontal lobes and , more important, limbic system.  

 

IMPLICIT MEMORY

 

The memory is in our brains still, we just have a retrieval deficit.  We know it, but we don’t know it.

 

                 -----------------------Procedural---------------

Riding a bike

Procedural memory appears to have unlimited storage, requires minimal review, and needs little intrinsic motivation.


PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS

To create strong retrieval  for explicit memory we can use strong activation with rhymes, visualization , mnemonics, peg words, music, and discussion. 

 

Otherwise reading a chapter becomes an all-too-forgettable event.  Remind students to stop often every quarter to half page and take notes, discuss what is read, and reflect. 

Conduct oral or written review, both daily and weekly. 

 

Students can pair up or rotate in teams to present daily reviews.  Your might repeat them in 10 minutes of original learning, then 48 hours later and in all in 7 days later.   

 

Take pauses during reading.

 

Use acrostics (My very educated mother just sells nuts until Passover).

 

Create action pictures that tie the words together. 

 

Create a flip chart. 

 

Teach the most important material first and last.  Open and close the class with the three most important words or concepts.

Wholes should be taught first details later.

 

We remember cliffhangers.  Ask a question to be answered tomorrow.

 

                           -------------------episodic strategies-------------------------------

Folks do better on tests when they are not neutral, but emotional.

Teach from different parts of the room.  Create theme days. 

 

On “skeptical day” students are asked to challenge their assumptions about everything. 

 

                            -------------------------Procedural strategies-----------------------------------

 

Use movement.  If you have three points to make, ask students to rise and take three steps in any direction.  For each point they move a step.

 

We need strong emotions at the middle of class (the beginning and end are given precedent by default).

Debate, or songs redone, rap, oldies. Build a model,  Use dramatic concert reading.   Make a story using the key items;  it will supply a meaningful context  and the plot creates provides  an associative thread of ideas so that one triggers the next. 

 

                           --------------------------Reflexive strategies----------------------------

Fill-in-the-blank tests a good for retrieval.  The more practice the more “automated” the learning.  Flash cards, games.  Rap helps many who could not otherwise learn.

 

How much should schooling require the need for memorization?    Memorization is a critical skill.