Saturday, December 24, 2011

Celebrating a Time of Joy, Friendship, and Goodwill

December 24, 2011
Today we awoke to a beautiful, crisp and sunny day on the gulf coast of Florida! It is hardly like the beginning of winter, though it looks like the puppies scampering on the sandy shores of sparkling quartz might just be playing in a blanket of bright, white snow that has fallen far away.
However, we are wise to remember what others have noted. That is, in fact, around the world many celebrate Christmas during the grey, cold, and possibly gloomy season of the year. Indeed, we are fortunate that this time of holiday, joy, and the warmth of fire help to soothe the feeling of cold winter air in many sites across our earth! In this season, though the cold winds may blow strong, and snow may fall heavy, the warmth of love and joy glows ever more brightly.
While respecting that spiritual beliefs may differ around the world, the love of family and valuing of friendship is universal among people. We wish our friends worldwide a joyful and peaceful holiday season 2011! 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology Conference 2013

Marcus and I have just learned that the 2013 IACEP Conference will be held in Leiden, The Netherlands. The city's site on wikipedia states that Leiden is a city and municipality in the Dutch province of South Holland. Leiden is located on the Old Rhine, at a distance of some 20 kilometers from The Hague to its south and some 40 kilometers from Amsterdam to its north. A university city since 1575, Leiden houses Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Centre. It is twinned with Oxford, the location of England's oldest university. We are very excited about the possibility of presenting at this conference! 

Author David McCullough: On Giving Thanks to Those Who Have Gone Before

Happy Thanksgiving. On this special day we are listening to prize winning author, David McCullough, at the National Book Fair in Washington DC. In a presentation on Book TV McCullough is sharing a powerful concept. It is this, how much those who have gone before us have had a strong influence on our lives to this day. He is speaking, for example, about the writers who have captured in words the vital thoughts and emotions that resonate with us today. In another example, he speaks about the architects who read, studied and then built structures we enjoy today...and so much more. Tune in to this wonderful presentation of gratitude today!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Correction to Previous Post - Join Us for the BrainSMART Georgia Fall Tour Celebrating Teachers This Week!

Due to the success of our first fall tour in Georgia this year, we scheduled another! This week after the Georgia Reading Forum today, hosted by some fabulous teacher leaders I'll be in the following locations. To request more information about attending these events, contact Mary Collington at Hope to see you at one of these events! 

Nov. 7th:                                               GA Reading Forum,Macon, GA
Nov. 8th :                                              George Washington Middle School, Cairo, GA
Nov. 9th:                                               Applebee’s, 400 Barrett Pkwy, Kennesaw, GA
Nov. 10th:                                             Johnny Carino’s, 3330 Camp Pkwy, Atlanta, GA

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Georgia Reading Association Fall Forum

After a great NAEYC conference in Orlando, I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends and colleagues from across Georgia on Monday, November 7, at the Georgia Reading Association 2011 Fall Forum. The forum will be held at the Macon Centreplex. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

BrainSMART at NAEYC Conference

This morning I am pleased to be joining our team members, Diane Dahl, Karen Sinclair, and Cari Rottenberger at the National Association for the Education of Young Children annual conference in Orlando. We hope to see you at the BrainSMART booth where you can sign up for complementary books and learn about the exciting programs in education, mind and brain study at Nova Southeastern University!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Welcome New UAE Colleagues and Friends!

Marcus Conyers and I are back in London as of last evening and on our way to Boston today after a most rewarding trip to the UAE! There we met wonderful teachers, administrators, leaders and new friends. Participants from all over the world attended our sessions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi dignitaries including the minister of education also heard and enjoyed learning about cognitive neuroscience and BrainSMART methods during Marcus Conyers' inspiring keynote. While there, we often spoke of our excellent graduates and student scholars!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

From Cambridge University to Dubai

As usual we have found, read and integrated information from the Cambridge University Press and other bookstores in Cambridge, England. It's exciting to learn from publications found in the oldest operating bookstore in England to add insights about why BrainSMART works so well before heading to Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Most importantly, we are excited about continuing our writing projects as we travel and sharing the great work our graduates and students are doing with others across the world!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

BrainSMART Strategies In Action

Check out University instructor, Dave Krupke's, blog. After hearing Marcus Conyers' keynote at the International Reading Association Regional Meeting in Iowa, he wrote about the powerful impact of some BrainSMART strategies.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Learning and Teaching Math

Recently at the NY Academy of Sciences conference in Aspen, Marcus and I met and had lunch with John Mighton, founder of JUMP Math. Interesting research on the approach suggests that youth have far more potential to succeed at and enjoy learning mathematics than is typically expected. Furthermore, the research indicates that differences in achievement can be reduced by applying principles from cognitive science in the classroom.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interesting Insights on the Cognitive Neuroscience of Learning

Now that the conference is over and I'm enjoying a late cup of coffee...What a wonderful experience Aspen and meeting others here has been:) We have lots to do to highlight this exciting new research that supports our programs in teacher education and graduate studies! For example, Marcus and I heard Daphne Bavelier - University of Geneva speak of her research on learning and action video game play, Silvia Bunge - University of California Berkeley present on reasoning training and brain connectivity, and Clancy Blair - New York University discussing executive function and school readiness. We lunched with John Mighton and enjoyed hearing of his research about nurturing math with every child. There is far to much to write about in one posting. Over the course of time, I'll be sharing more.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We are enjoying a great conference!

The New York Academy of Sciences and the The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation are putting on a very informative conference about the educational implications of cognitive neuroscience. A host of well known researchers such as Bruce McCandliss-Vanderbilt are sharing recent findings with regard to learning and the brain. As we listen and dialogue, it is clear that instruction makes the largest difference for children at school. We hope that policymakers take away the point that it is critically important that teachers have the support needed to help all students reach their potential through effective instruction.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New York Academy of Sciences and Aspen Brain Forum Foundation Conference

We are pleased to be at The Aspen Institute attending a conference sponsored by The New York Academy of Sciences and the The Aspen Brain Forum Foundation. The purpose of the conference is to discuss current scientific research and implications for education. Our day started with a lovely hike along the riverside and through the aspens. The weather is sunny and brisk...a perfect fall day! We will follow-up with more information once the conference begins.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Positively Grateful Classrooms

Over the last few days I have had the pleasure of talking with a number of graduate students who are studying our education, mind and brain curriculum for teachers at NSU. These teachers are very inspirational! A theme among them is that they have found the research about the importance of positive optimism fascinating and the practical strategies they are learning helpful in the classroom! One example from their teaching strikes a particular chord during the autumn season-the importance of gratitude. Several teachers spoke with me about positive effects among their students when they encourage gratitude as a part of each school day beginning early in the year. As they bring a spirit of thankfulness into the classroom, students tend to keep it front of mind.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Field Trips: A Great Way for Students to Experience Joyful Learning

If you ask adults what they remember from school days, they often think of field trips! Field trips are a great way to help students gain personal meaning through the learning experience. Some tips for meaningful school field trips are as follows: Engage students in deciding which opportunity to take, make links to important curriculum content you are teaching, take a trip as early as possible in the year, and make links back to the positive experience throughout the year. Trips may be as simple as right in the neighborhood or to a more distant location. When a field trip to another location outside the schoolhouse is not possible, take a virtual trip by exploring other locations with students online!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Effective Teaching in the Learning Zone

When teachers and students are engaged in learning, the class seems to be "in the groove" or "in the learning zone." When this is happening it feels as if the day flies by! Effective teachers provide these experiences often as they continuously improve their expertise and foster student learning. Whereas in the past the focus was more often on what happens in individual minds, many cognitive scientists today focus study on learning as both a social and cognitive endeavor.  Therefore, since school is a place where most of nation's children have opportunity for learning and thinking with others socially, the support of effective teaching is of great national importance. It is teachers who make the positive difference for our children each day! Support teaching!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Welcome Back to School - Good Teaching Matters!

Most realize the importance of good teachers! Today scientists give us one more reason to understand why teaching is key to student success and that teachers should be supported. Educators who study with us have been fascinated to read about experience-dependent synaptogenesis. This process involves the connecting of neurons ongoingly when learning occurs, followed by pruning of those connections that are not frequently used. As a new year begins, do support the important work of schooling our nation's children! Support good teaching practice! It matters!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Passionate Teacher Leader: BrainSMART Teacher Steve McCrae

We met passionate teacher leader, Steve McCrea, in our session at the NSU Global Leadership Conference. He has lots of ideas for educators. You might want to check out his list of tips and resources here.​theguideontheside/56-tips-for-​teachers

Monday, August 8, 2011

NSU Global Leadership Conference 2011

At the 'Research Leader' presentation at Disney Contemporary, we celebrated 12 years of putting research on education, mind, and brain into practice with NSU. We enjoyed meeting with teachers and administrators from across the world while there! There were 1,000 plus doctoral students in attendance at this large event.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

NSU Global Leadership Conference 2011

We look forward to seeing you at the 2011 NSU Global Leadership Conference this week in Orlando! If you're in the audience introduce yourself before or after one of my sessions there! 

Research on Omega-3 and Depression

Omega-3 is a key to mood and brain performance. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Teacher Leader Assists Students To Become More Effective Learners

You will enjoy teacher leader D'Jon McNair's article in the Acworth (Georgia) Patch newspaper.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology

We have thoroughly enjoyed the International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology conference in Boston. There are many countries represented here and our presentation went well! We are already planning our proposal for Denmark 2013. Now on to Orlando - Disney for the NSU Global Leadership Conference!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Principal Mark Morawski: The Importance of Teacher Leadership

View this link to see principal, Mark Morawski, explains how teacher leadership is critically important today if the system of education is to move forward. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Prevention and Wellness

Join many who learn how to live and teach even healthier at The following links to a good article specifically for busy women! Enjoy!

Teacher Leadership Round the World: A Message from Diane Dahl

Teacher Leader and current BrainSMART student, Diane Dahl, just posted about how her students' video of cognitive skills is being used in reading instruction in New Zealand! 

"Since I don't have access to my school email anymore, I'm going to have to share this with my students through facebook. Remember the video we made of our thinking skills? A class in New Zealand used it to help them learn their thinking skills and made their own video. Here it is":

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Positive Classroom Management: Foundation 101

New teachers or others seeking a refresher might enjoy this video from teachers for teachers. Let us know what you think:)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy July 4th!

Thanks for our teachers who keep us free thinking and military who keep us free!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Link to Teacher Leader Therese Reder's Article Here...

In this article New Jersey teacher, Therese Reder, talks about her enjoyment of teaching and specifically using memory strategies with her 7th grade students.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Teachers we know enjoy sharing Harvard's Healthy Food Pyramid when they assist students to understand the importance of healthy eating. Feeding the body well is a way for parents to help their children prepare for a school day of focused learning. Learn more at

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Good Summer's Read for Educators: Helping Students Reach Their Potential

July 10-14 I will be presenting at the International Association of Cognitive Education and Psychology alongside presenters from Feuerstein's institute (ICELP) where I did post doctoral work some 15 years ago. The following book by Feuerstein and associates, though not a how-to book, offers profound theoretical insights particularly for those interested in learners with challenges. Alternatively, check out his website at 

Beyond Smarter: Mediated Learning and the Brain's Capacity for Change offers readers insight from two important research streams. The first is Reuven Feuerstein's seminal theoretical insights that provide frameworks for research and practice based upon his theory that humans across cultures and backgrounds can become functionally smarter through the use of specific cognitive methods. The second is John Bransford's insights in the foreword. Readers may recall that in the late nineties Bransford was the leader of a group of federally funded scholars who authored How People Learn. This text has been widely read and has had a great impact on research in the field of learning over the past decade. Later, after a second committee of scholars met, Donovan and Bransford wrote a text titled How Students Learn with a focus on using research from the science of learning in the classroom for the teaching of history, math, and science. Importantly, Bransford states an eagerness for connections to be made between neuroscience and Feuerstein's theory. 

The authors, Reuven and Rafael Feuerstein and Louis Falik, discuss key concepts from the seminal work of first author, Professor Reuven Feuerstein. In this introduction the reader learns of this important body of work as a hopeful alternative for teaching children and youth with neurobiological (ie diagnosis of Down syndrome) and/or environmental challenges (ie issues of abandonment, loss, or lack of preparation for learning at school). Readers will enjoy Feuerstein's story (in his own words) of his work with Jean Piaget at the Geneva Institute and how Andre Rey's support there was critical to his work on cognitive functions and assessment. Importantly, Structural Cognitive Modifiability (SCM), the framework that gives hope for those who have learning challenges is defined and discussed. 

Mediated Learning Experience (MLE), is defined as the method by which a more experienced adult (teacher, parent, or other) assists youth to learn how to learn and, in Feuerstein's words, become more cognitively modifiable. In Feuerstein's theory, it is MLE that renders the child a motivated, effective, and successful learner. In other words, without at least one mediator (you might think of a special kind of guide) a youth would likely not become a successful thinker and learner. The necessary parameters of the mediated learning experience are discussed, for example, caring and intentionality. Further, the authors discuss other criteria for MLE such as the mediation of belonging, sharing, and individuation that should be mediated over the course of time. 

Dynamic Assessment and Instrumental Enrichment, specific tools Feuerstein developed are introduced (more training is needed to begin to become proficient at using these tools). Dynamic assessment utilizes the test-teach-test approach and is helpful to determine what kind of intervention is necessary and how much mediation is needed in order for the learner to become able to learn independently. Instrumental Enrichment, Feuerstein's program for teaching youth (approximately age 9 and up) thinking habits for school, work, and life is also introduced in this text along with the newest edition to the Feuerstein programs, Instrumental Enrichment Basic for young children. 

This book represents seminal and important work that weaves together the power of mediated learning and emerging understandings of neuroplasticity and human potential. I had the honor of completing postdoctoral study with Reuven Feuerstein in Israel. The experience has had a profound impact on how I work with teachers, administrators, and graduate students in our Brain-Based Teaching programs. In particular, this book brings the importance of mirror neurons in the process of mediating learning to life and amplifies the importance of diversity. Reading Beyond Smarter helps to empower the reader with a refreshing initial understanding of how effective educators can cultivate key cognitive skills for thriving in the 21st century. The thinking of Reuven Feuerstein has been a great gift to me over the span of more than two decades as it has been to many others across the world who have had the pleasure of learning from him. This book is an excellent way for individuals to connect to his powerful work! 

BrainSMART Blogging: In Full Support of Teachers

We are proud to introduce our blog! Here is an example of the kinds of strategies that we share on this blog.

I just saw BrainSMART graduate student Diane Dahl's blog at her blog, For the Love of Teaching. Her blog post 'Reading Levels Jump 5 Months in just 2.5 Months' tells how she is using her BrainSMART studies to benefit students. Diane also shared with us that she had a record number of students qualify for gifted programming after teaching her students cognitive and metacognitive strategies.

Though our blog focuses on practical knowledge and strategies for teaching and learning, we also share research from the fields of education, mind, and brain.