Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Our Chapter on Cognitive Complexities Included in Free IAE Book

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Information Age Education announces the publication of its most recent free book which features a chapter by Marcus and myself:
Sylwester, R., & Moursund, D., eds. (March, 2014). Understanding and Mastering Complexity. Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. 
Cut and paste either of these links into your browser: 
Fourteen people collaborated in writing the IAE Newsletter articles that comprise the book. The book is for people who are interested in exploring ways that informal and formal education can help all of us individually and collectively deal more easily with the complexity of many problems and tasks.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Guest Blog Post: Suggested Strategies to Spark Motivation and Promote Empowered Learners

by Kara R. Morrissette
Graduate of the Ed.S. program with a Major in Brain-Based Teaching (Concentration in Teacher Leadership) at Nova Southeastern University’s Fischler School of Education

This year I left a position as a resource teacher serving gifted students to begin a new adventure as a kindergarten classroom teacher in a new charter school on Tybee Island, Georgia. Leaving the security and blissful schedule I had secured in order to experience emerging readers firsthand as part of my dissertation research left me asking myself, “Are you crazy?”
Kara Morrissette

Today, I’m happy to have the opportunity to share with other educators working to promote a positive state in their own classroom communities some suggested strategies for implementing metacognitive strategies to extend neuroplasticity in young learners.

You Have a Voice
I started by using my voice to motivate and excite my students. My low-level “good morning” was replaced with more inflection, a smile, and eye contact as every child entered their learning environment. This tiny adjustment offered immediate results, including returned smiles, increased verbal interaction, and more hugs than I could count. Use your voice. Apply it in a positive manner. Your enthusiasm will motivate both you and your learners and engender personal excitement.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Our Edutopia Blog Post Today: The Body-Brain Connection

Our Edutopia blog post—"Move Your Body, Grow Your Brain"—discusses how incorporating exercise and movement throughout the school day is an effective way to make students less fidgety and more focused on learning.

The blog post cites compelling research that shows a strong connection between body and brain health for people of all ages. We also provide several strategies that teachers can use with students to maximize the connection between body and brain. In addition, we include several great examples in the article of how teachers have effectively introduced movement to increase attention and engage students in the learning process. Here's an except:

"Studies suggest that regular physical activity supports healthy child development by improving memory, concentration and positive outlook. … The connection between learning and exercise seems to be especially strong for elementary school students. Given these findings, cutting back on physical education with the aim of improving academic performance, as some districts have done or may be considering, is likely to be counterproductive."

Read the entire article at Edutopia. Let us know what you think by leaving a comment at the bottom of the post.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making Learning Connections: Compare, Contrast, and Classify

One of the cognitive assets that we stress in our program is the ability to compare, contrast and classify. Teachers can help students find meaning in what they are reading or discovering in the classroom by suggesting that they make comparisons and classify new information. This helps them to analyze and connect the new information they are learning with what they already know. Thinking about how things are the same and different is useful even for young children as a first step toward classification and more detailed analysis.

For example, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics call for kindergartners to learn to “analyze and compare two- and three-dimensional shapes, in different sizes and orientations, using informal language to describe their similarities, differences, [and] parts.” By third grade, students should be able to “understand that shapes in different categories … may share attributes … and that the shared attributes can define a larger category.”

Explicit instruction of making comparisons involves calling attention to the steps of noticing similarities and differences and identifying key attributes that might be useful in classification.