Friday, November 30, 2012

What Type of Exercise is Good for the Brain?

We have long known that exercise is good for our health. However, is it actually good for the brain? Could it actually help our thinking capacity? Researchers are continuously learning more about how we can keep our body-brain systems functioning better. Find out how here... Enjoy the Article!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Here's an interesting article on teenage brain development

Below are links to an article and interview about the brains of teenagers.

Find the Dobbs article at...

If you would like to hear an interview with David Dobbs, including a discussion forum with teenagers, you can listen to this NPR story:

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Scientific American Article

Check out a good article by Scientific American "New Classrooms Can Change Children's Brains" 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Play, Stress, and the Learning Brain By Sam Wang, Ph.D. and Sandra Aamodt, Ph.D.

Why do many species play? In an online article adapted from Dr. Sam Wang and Dr. Sandra Aamodt’s book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College (Bloomsbury USA, 2011; OneWorld Publications, 2011), the authors explore how play enhances brain development in children.

As Wang and Aamodt describe, play activates the brain’s reward circuitry but not negative stress responses, which can facilitate attention and action. Through play, children practice social interaction and build skills and interests to draw upon in the years to come." Parents and teachers alike will enjoy reading this September 24 article in Dana Press' Cerebrum.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Supporting Teachers to Implement Common Core State Standards

I am happy to see that there are a number of sessions at the Florida Virtual School conference to support educators in Florida and other states that are implementing the Common Core State Standards. Although the standards are not entirely new to many states that have had various types of standards, it is now expected that students will learn to use cognitive strategies alongside content. In many communities this is a departure from what has been expected, thus, it is important to include in professional development planning now and over time. To assist with implementation of cognitive standards in educational settings, consider doing a book study connecting local requirements for Common Core with our text, Thinking for Results, 2012 (

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

On Creativity

You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have. -- Maya Angelou

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Visit Us At The Florida Virtual School Conference

Thursday I am excited to be at the Florida Virtual School conference in Orlando! The school is an online public school. If you plan to be at the conference on Thursday, Judy Ingram and I will be at the NSU booth all day. Stop by and see us there! 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Helping Youngsters Become Academically Optimistic

One of our strategies that many teachers love and often use only takes a minute or so to share with kids. At the end of the school day (or class period) ask children "What is something good that has happened for you today?" Once they have had a chance to think about that and one or a handful have shared their thoughts, ask them "What is something good that might happen tomorrow?" The second question gets them planning and scanning for something good about school. For children who can't think of something, help them with the thinking and language of the positive.

Many parents who have attended our workshops have chosen to use this strategy at dinnertime or bedtime!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Four Lobes for Learning

Learn about your brain's four lobes by viewing Marcus Conyers' YouTube video (Brain Fact #4) with your friends and colleagues! Just search YouTube. Then type in 'Brain Fact #4' and one of the first videos will be Marcus with the orange background of the brain exhibit at the Orlando Science Center. 

If you haven't already, like us on Facebook at 'Brainsmart'! 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Marcus Conyers on Your Amazing Brain!

Consider sharing Marcus Conyers' exciting YouTube video (Brain Fact #3) with your friends and colleagues! Just search YouTube. Then type in 'Brain Fact #3' and then one of the first videos will be Marcus with the orange background of the brain exhibit at the Orlando Science Center.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Teaching 21st Century Skills: Financial Literacy

Most agree that financial literacy is important in the 21st Century. The following website gives teachers and parents ideas for teaching children this important knowledge. We have found financial literacy is a great way to teach practical math!
‎20 things kids need to know to live financially smart lives

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Educational Policy: Let's Help All Children Read in Early Elementary School

We believe that it is critical for policymakers and educational leaders to support effective teaching and learning with up-to-date policy. 

To access my ERIC article on the importance of educational leadership, policy, and reading, e-mail and ask for the article ERIC Record: ED523494 to be made available to you. 

Friday, August 31, 2012

About Learning

I simply like this quote and want to share...

'The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.' B.B. King

Thursday, August 30, 2012

100 Billion Reasons to Be Grateful!

Want to know more about learning and the brain? Check out our short YouTube video 'Welcome Video & Brain Based Teaching Fact #1' which features BrainSMART's Marcus Conyers from the Orlando Science Center.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Living Wellness

In our graduate studies we have long recommended as a reliable source on key areas including exercise, nutrition, optimism and other factors that empower all of us to achieve more of our potential. Check it out!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Aspen Brain Forum # 5: Neural Prosthetics Powered By Glucose for the Future

We really enjoyed hearing Rahul Sarpeshkar speak about his exciting work at MIT. His research is about creating brain/machine interface systems for the deaf and blind that could be powered by the bodies own glucose supply for the future.

Aspen Brain Forum # 4: Adult Neurogenesis

Professor Gage, the leading expert on adult neurogenesis, was thrilled to hear that we begin our live events and graduate programs with research showing that adult brains can create new cells. We shared that as educators learn that their own brains have tremendous potential both to create new connections and produce new cells across their lifespan, they are inspired to enhance their own learning. As some of our teachers have said, "It is no longer true that you can't teach an old dog new tricks!" Marcus also explained to Fred Gage that after he had shared this research and some learning strategies with his own mother, that she began taking art classes in her 70s and through hard work with an excellent teacher has had her work featured in an international art publication. Fred Gage then said "Give my congratulations to your mother!"

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Aspen Brain Forum #3: People with paralysis control robotic arms using brain-computer interface | Brown University News and Events

Marcus and Leigh had a delightful dialogue at the Aspen Brain Forum where they exchanged excitement about the work they are doing. Leigh was discussing positive results from research on brain and machine  interface For more on this exciting work out of Brown University go to ...

People with paralysis control robotic arms using brain-computer interface | Brown University News and Events

Friday, August 24, 2012

Aspen Brain Forum: Post 2

We have heard David Van Essen from Washington University in St. Louis who spoke about the systematic exploration of human brain circuits in both wellness and disease. He spoke specifically about the Human Connectome project consortium with healthy adults. This project will include 1,200 individuals including twins and non-twin siblings. The speaker indicated that resulting data that should yield valuable information about the healthy human brain and will be made available to the neuroscience community.

Aspen Brain Forum: Post 1

We are currently writing from the exciting conference 'Cracking the Neural Code' This morning we heard Christof Koch from the Allen Institute for Brain Science in WA speak about the 10 year project to study principles that explain how information is encoded, processed, and represented in the mammalian cortex and other related structures. This effort explores visual perception, consciousness and decision-making in the mouse. The goal is to integrate knowledge so as to better understand the wiring of the cortex at both functional and structural levels.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wishing You A Great New School Year!

Each year of my life for decades has brought excitement in August and beginning September with the beginning of a brand new school year! First as a young elementary aged child I anticipated both fun reconnecting to friends as well as learning of new knowledge and skills and, yes fear of failure. Would I be able to succeed?  Would my friends be in my class? Would my teacher help me learn? Now as a teacher educator and learner I am honored to know many teachers who make a positive difference in the lives of students each day. As the 2012-2013 academic year begins, we wish teachers across the country all the best and look forward to communicating with you throughout the year ahead. It is YOU who are creating our collective future through your exemplary teaching. Thanks for all you do!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Aspen Brain Forum

Today Marcus and I are preparing for our trip to Colorado tomorrow. We will be at the Aspen Brain Forum this next week where we will connect with neuroscientists from around the world. The title of this forum is 'Cracking the Neural Code' and promises to be an exciting conference! Last year at the Aspen forum we were delighted to connect with some of our students.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reading Today Article

If you, your school or district have a membership to International Reading Association journal Reading Today online check out this reading strategy...happy reading! 

Training The Mind's Eye: “Brain Movies” Support Comprehension and Recall. Donna Wilson. Article first published online: 9 JUL 2012. DOI: 10.1002/TRTR.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Teaching Students to Become the Boss of Their Brains

Greetings, All. 

If you copy and search the following, you should find my short article about helping students become more metacognitive and able to learn to be independent learners.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NSU Global Leadership Conference 2012

Yesterday we left after a wonderful NSU Global Leadership Conference at Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando. It was wonderful to connect with so many  of our students, faculty, and those coming  into the programs! We welcome many of you here!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

NSU's Global Leadership Conference

We hope to see many of our students, colleagues, and friends at the upcoming Global Leadership Conference at the Disney Contemporary Hotel in Orlando. Our session is called ... Leading the Way: Putting Mind, Brain, and Education Research into Practice

In our session you will discover how key findings from the fields of education, mind, and brain provide hope, promise, and practical implications for schooling today. We will share research findings based on studies of graduates of these exciting studies. Participants will learn about new discoveries regarding brain plasticity that support adult and student learning, the power of adopting and modeling practical optimism, and strategies for increasing attention, memory, and finishing tasks. These findings on the impact of MBE studies are based on several datasets that have been shared in recent months at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, American Educational Research Association (INET), National Association of Elementary School Principals, and the International Educational Organization’s symposia in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Research and applications shared in this session will also be included in an teacher education textbook currently in development with Teachers College Press and an article in The Reading Teacher journal, both of which are tentatively set for publication in 2013. Visit us at

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

For the Love of Teaching: Metacognitive Thinking Skills for Life and Learnin...

Happy July 4th! I'm reposting Diane Dahl's post today for educators and other friends and colleagues who seek to learn more about the importance of optimism generally and academic optimism specifically. What a wonderful disposition to have in school and life!

For the Love of Teaching: Metacognitive Thinking Skills for Life and Learnin...: This is the first in a series of thinking skills for life and learning. Those of you who follow my blog know the dramatic successes I have...

Monday, June 4, 2012

NSU's education programs now have highest level of national accreditation

In addition to regional accreditation, NSU's education programs now have highest level of national accreditation

FT. LAUDERDALE-DAVIE, Fla.May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nova Southeastern University (NSU) President and Chief Executive Officer George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., has announced that the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) recently granted accreditation without qualifications to NSU's Abraham S. Fischler School of Education.

Hanbury said that in addition to NSU's regional accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), this means NSU's education programs have been vetted at the highest levels for quality and the ability to produce effective, high-achieving educators.

"Excellent teaching is both an art and a science. Now more than ever there is a need for great educators," Hanbury said. "NSU is proud to receive NCATE accreditation because it is a testament to the high quality of our educational offerings and our top-notch graduates who will ultimately benefit generations of students to come."

NCATE is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation as a professional accrediting body for teacher preparation. Including NSU, NCATE currently accredits more than 650 colleges of education. NCATE also represents more than 3 million teachers, teacher educators, content specialists, and local and state policy makers committed to quality teaching.

Hanbury said NSU reached NCATE accreditation through the guidance of Fischler School Dean H. Wells Singleton, Ph.D., with the help of Fischler School faculty and staff members, and by the support and collaboration provided by NSU's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences and Center for Psychological Studies.

He also said this collaboration and resulting achievement embodies NSU's Core Values of Academic Excellence and Scholarship/Research, as well as NSU's Vision 2020 statement that:
"By 2020, through excellence and innovations in teaching, research, service and learning, Nova Southeastern University will be recognized by accrediting agencies, the academic community, and the general public, as a premier private not-for-profit university of quality and distinction that engages all students and produces alumni who serve with integrity in their lives, fields of study, and resulting careers."

Through its Abraham S. Fischler School of Education, NSU has helped develop the careers of more than 60,000 teachers, administrators, trainers, and other educational professionals who are now teaching across the nation and beyond.
In addition, there are also approximately 300 current superintendents and 33 current college presidents across the nation who hold doctorate degrees from NSU's Abraham S. Fischler School of Education.

For more information about NSU's Abraham S. Fischler School of Education, please visit For more information about NCATE, please visit

About Nova Southeastern University: Located in Davie, FloridaNova Southeastern University (NSU) is a dynamic fully accredited Florida University dedicated to providing high-quality educational programs of distinction from preschool through the professional and doctoral levels. NSU has more than 28,000 students and is the eighth largest not-for-profit independent institution nationally. The University awards associate's, bachelor's degreesmaster's degreesspecialist, and first-professional degrees in a wide range of fields, including business, counseling, computer and information sciences, education, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, dentistry, various health professions, law, marine sciences, early childhood, psychology and other social sciences.  Classified as a research university with "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU was also awarded Carnegie's Community Engagement Classification in 2010 for the University's significant commitment to and demonstration of community engagement.   For more information about NSU

SOURCE Nova Southeastern University - Abraham S. Fischler School of Education
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Monday, May 7, 2012

Remember Teacher Appreciation Week May 7-11!

If you can read my blog remember to thank a teacher during this week, May 7-11. Teacher Appreciation Day is May 8. We hope that all our teacher friends and colleagues who give so much have a wonderful week and fully internalize all you do for your students and school community!

Friday, April 13, 2012

American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting

I just finished presenting at the INET Parent Education meeting just prior to the formal start of the American Educational Research Association annual conference. While at the INET meeting this morning I met teacher educators from across the world. What a wonderful start to the AERA 2012 conference! I'll be sharing more later!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Most Recent Events with BrainSMART and CIEP

There has been a whirlwind of activity recently as Marcus and I have recently presented at the National Association of Elementary School Principals, held four events in Colorado, and are now headed to present at two SIG meetings at the American Educational Research Association conference in Vancouver. There I will present the effects of graduate study in education, mind and brain in terms of parent education and the informal learning of teachers. For more on these upcoming presentations at AERA, e-mail at

Thank you again to our teacher leader hosts in Colorado!!! So enjoyed being with you, meeting your colleagues, and growing these exciting studies in Colorado! On a personal note, I have so enjoyed spending time over the Easter holiday with our nephew, Clancy Wilson, a fine young man who is going back to the dorm today for early classes tomorrow! Now on to put the final touches on my presentations for AERA!!!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Colorado Tour: Education, MInd and Brain Studies and Professional Development

I am so excited to meeting with our education, mind and brain graduate and host, Kathleen Bohrnsen, today in the Denver area! It is wonderful to meet with teacher leaders and their colleagues and friends across our country! Later this week I'll be meeting with more Colorado teacher leaders, Stephanie Schulfer and Alisha Florian:) Cities: Grand Junction, Rifle, and the Glenwood Springs (Roaring Fork School District) area. For more contact Mary at!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Repost: From Teacher Leader Diane Dahl

You may want to check this out...

Thursday, March 15, 2012

BrainSMART at Georgia Gifted Education Conference

Sue Hyzer and Diane Dahl are running the BrainSMART booth at the Georgia Gifted Educators conference. For our Georgia colleagues at the Georgia Gifted Education, do come by the booth and stay awhile! Importantly, Sue also has a BrainSMART presentation tomorrow at 8 am! If you're there, plan to attend this exciting session where you will meet Sue and Diane!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Press Release

For immediate release

Research on NSU’s Abraham S. Fischler School of Education Graduate Programs with Majors in Brain-Based Teaching Shared at National Teacher Education Conference

A qualitative study on the effective teaching practices of graduates of the Nova Southeastern University programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching was featured in a presentation at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) recent annual conference.

Donna Wilson, codeveloper of the M.S. and Ed.S. degree programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching, presented the study “Strengthening Teacher Effectiveness with Education, Mind, and Brain Research: A Qualitative Study of K-12 Teachers Focusing on Higher Needs Students” at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Chicago on Feb. 18. Wilson is Team Leader of Academic Affairs for the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention (CIEP, and BrainSMART (

Wilson’s presentation summarized ethnographic research involving seven recent NSU graduates with a focus on how what they had learned about education, mind, and brain research influenced their teaching practice. Several of the teachers who participated in the study reported student achievement gains, and they attributed that progress, in part, to the neuroeducational principles and strategies they learned while earning their degrees.

The term neuroeducation refers to an interdisciplinary field bringing together research from neuroscience, psychology, and education with the aim of improving teaching methods and outcomes. The NSU graduate degree programs with majors in Brain-Based Teaching emphasize several principles from neuroeducation, including the potential for all students to learn, physical changes in the brain that result from learning, and classroom research demonstrating the academic gains that result from teaching students metacognitive strategies, or thinking about their thinking with the aim of improving learning.

“This study is based on in-depth interviews with seven graduates, but many of the teachers who have earned their degrees with majors in Brain-Based Teaching tell us this foundation from neuroeducation on how student learn best has been extremely useful in their classroom practice,” Wilson said.

Wilson is a nationally known presenter at educational conferences and professional development events for teachers and school administrators throughout the United States and in other nations. In fact, she will be presenting next at the International Roundtable on School, Family, and Community Partnerships on April 13 in Vancouver, British Columbia, on “Improving Students’ Health and Cognitive Skills: An Examination of the Impact of Education, Mind, and Brain Research on Teachers’ Interactions with Parents.” The upcoming roundtable conference is sponsored in conjunction with the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA,

Marcus Conyers Walking the Talk

Marcus is known for his great work communicating wellness findings teaching others across the world to become healthier. Importantly, he walks the talk. This weekend he will be running in Sarasota's (FL) half-marathon event! Let's cheer him on from far and near!!!!! The link is below...

Monday, January 9, 2012

Learning in the 21st Century

Having spent the last few days digging into Robert Sternberg's work in the fields of learning and intelligence, I thought it an important topic for blogging. His research and theories are timely for those interested in making schooling more relevant in the 21st century. In particular, the idea that we can become smarter and able to function at higher levels across the lifespan is key today when we are in need of a diverse cadre of problem solvers across the globe.

In some of his latest work, Sternberg writes about the importance of creative and practical thinking, as well as  analytic thinking such as comparing, summarizing, and logical thinking. This work is an example of current knowledge and research that underpins our studies in education, mind and brain. Through these education, mind and brain programs ( effective teachers across the world are now helping their students prepare for adulthood by learning ways of thinking they will be able to use to not only adapt to society as it now exists, but to help shape it into a better world! Let's all do our part to support effective teaching today!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

We embraced the first sunrise of 2012 by exercising as we biked on the beach while enjoying a beautiful sunrise this morning! We are renewing our commitment to exercising, eating right, and embracing every opportunity to learn new knowledge and skills so that we can realize more of our potential and help others to do the same. Happy New Year 2012!