Thursday, April 20, 2017

Move Your Body, Grow Your Brain

Incorporating exercise and movement throughout the school day makes students less fidgety and more focused on learning. Improving on-task behavior and reducing classroom management challenges are among the most obvious benefits of adding physical activities to your teaching toolkit. As research continues to explore how exercise facilitates the brain's readiness and ability to learn and retain information, we recommend several strategies to use with students and to boost teachers' body and brain health.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Engaging Brains: How to Enhance Learning by Teaching Kids About Neuroplasticity

Explicitly teaching students about neuroplasticity can have a transformative impact in the classroom. A central facet of our work as teacher educators is teaching about how the brain changes during learning. Many teachers have told us that these findings have had a positive effect on their expectations for their students and on students' perceptions of their own abilities.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Training the Brain to Listen: A Practical Strategy for Student Learning and Classroom Management

During the school year, students are expected to listen to and absorb vast amounts of content. But how much time has been devoted to equipping students with ways to disconnect from their own internal dialogue (self-talk) and to focus their attention fully on academic content that is being presented? Listening is hard work even for adults. When students are unable to listen effectively, classroom management issues arise.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Greetings from the ASCD Conference in Anaheim

Greetings from ASCD's Empower17 Annual Conference! We're looking forward to a wonderful varied experience here. This afternoon, we will be attending a couple of receptions. This evening at 7:00 p.m., we will be attending the ASCD dinner event for their authors who are presenting here.

This day promises to be both enjoyable and purposeful. I feel blessed that again we are here to present our own innovative and research-based work (actually a labor of love) in support of effective teachers worldwide! Going on almost 20 years with the wonderful Marcus Conyers and our BrainSMART! With appreciation to team members Mary Collington, Mary Buday, Karen Bankston, Lorraine Ortner-Blake, Karen Autrey, and Diane Franklin, alongside all our teacher and administrative colleagues, Pre-12, college, and university!

My heart is filled with gratitude to all whom I've had the privilege to learn and teach alongside for now many years!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Our Work Appears in The Progressive Teacher

While Marcus Conyers and I were presenting our work with Singapore teachers recently, The Progressive Teacher publication featured BrainSMART across India through an adaption of our article “4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy.”

As we approach the 20th anniversary of BrainSMART, we are pleased to write that our work in support of effective teaching and teacher well-being has now been featured in countries that include Canada, Netherlands, England, Poland, UAE, South Africa, Bermuda, Bahamas, Japan, South Korea, France, Germany, Singapore, India and the USA!

To see the article as published in India, visit the link at The Progressive Teacher.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

“Collaborating Minds” Is the Topic of Our edCircuit Blog Post

Marcus and I advocate for the importance of teacher collaboration in our recent blog post for edCircuit.

As we explain in the post, entitled “Collaborating Minds,” the traditional model of teachers working in isolation is no longer effective in this time of significant change in the teaching practice. Collaboration is critical.

In our work with thousands of educators over the last 17 years, we have facilitated a collaborative approach. In our edCircuit blog post, we stress the importance of capitalizing on what we call educators’ “combined sea of strengths.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Marcus Conyers and I Reveal ‘The Forgotten Secret to Leadership 
Success’

What is “The Forgotten Secret to Leadership Success”? Marcus and I provide the answer at our blog post appearing on the School Leaders Now website.

The forgotten secret is metacognition—thinking about thinking—which London neuroscientist Stephen Fleming confirms may be the most powerful tool that professionals such as educational leaders can use to question, monitor, and adjust their thinking as a means of driving action toward achieving goals.

Teachers can work together in using metacognition to improve their teaching practice too. By reflecting on best practices together, teachers can increase their opportunities for being more effective educators—both individually and collectively.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

We Promote the Importance of a Growth Mindset with Our TeachThought Blog Post

Marcus and I continue to stress the importance of cultivating a growth mindset in the classroom. Our latest blog post, which appears on the TeachThought website, stresses how developing a “mindset of practical optimism” is a key component of focusing on the brain’s capacity to change as a result of learning.

In the blog post, we talk about the “BrainSMART Big Five” approach, which identifies five key factors that teachers and students can use to improve engagement, motivation, and learning. These include: 

  • Keeping brain plasticity front of mind
  • Driving your brain with effective learning strategies
  • Asking for help when needed
  • Developing finishing power, and
  • Investing the necessary time and effort.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Our Ed Week Blog Topic: Help Students 'Take Ownership of Their Learning'

Marcus and I were pleased to take part in the four-part Education Week blog post: "Students 'Take Ownership of Their Learning' Through Goal-Setting," which was featured in the popular Classroom Q&A with Larry Ferlazzo portion of the blog.

In the post, we describe how almost all students who walk through the school door have the potential to live a joyous and successful life as each of them defines it. Of course, teachers' guidance is important in helping students set and reach important learning goals.

In the post, we describe our PEAK model to teach students a practical approach to achiving their goals. First, students must establish their clear intent by formulating a goal that is positive, motivating, ambitious, and achievable.

Friday, January 20, 2017

How a Growth Mindset Can Help Struggling Students: Our Latest Post on Edutopia

In our lastest Edutopia post, Marcus and I talk about the importance of helping struggling students build a growth mindset.

Our research aligns with Carol Dweck’s work on growth mindset—acting on the belief that abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.

As we explain in the post, a positive mindset focuses on the gains that are possible when students persevere through learning challenges. It’s important to maintain a positive mindset, even when school can be difficult, and for teachers to help students remain motivated to work hard to persevere through those difficulties.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Edutopia Post Describes How to Teach Empathy

Our latest Edutopia post stresses the importance of empathy—the ability to understand and share the feelings of others—and also details strategies on how to teach it.

In the post, entitled "4 Proven Strategies for Teaching Empathy," Marcus and I describe shared emotional response, or affective empathy, which occurs when an individual shares another person's emotions. We also define perspective taking, or cognitive empathy, which occurs when we are able to imagine ourselves in the situation of another.