Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Brain overload!!!!

I know, I know....I was supposed to post more on my student binders.....well, I'm saving that for another day because I am EXCITED about what I learned today.

Let me explain:

I get voluntold a lot......you know, "VOLUNTOLD".....as in Boss Lady walks in and says, " I need someone to do this train-the-trainer on technology.....any takers??" and everyone looks at me and she says " Thanks, Kim." even though I never volunteer.....that's voluntold....when you're TOLD you volunteer for something!!!

Anywho, I get voluntold a lot....and I got voluntold to do this summer train-the-trainer class.....for those of you who's district doesn't have that, we are a BIG district, so they get 1 or 2 representatives for each campus, train us on what they want the entire staff trained on....and then we go back and train our campuses. Can't complain....starts me back in school mode AND they pay me for it, so I guess I'm a lucky duck!!!

Okay...now to the excited part.....the training today was on technology ( I know....either you love it or you don't...and I'm a geek, I LOVE it)...but that's not what I'm excited about....that's old hat....been using it for years! There is a website/application/program (whatever you want to call it) called PD 360. I know a lot of schools use it because it talks about common core a lot and Texas doesn't DO common core....well, we do, we just don't call it that!

Gosh at the squirrels......

Anywho....we were on PD360 today and did a PLC (Professional Learning Community) demonstration on how we could use that technology......that part is not important....we got to choose the subject. And I chose (along with about 45% of the group )Brain Research by David Sousa.
If you've never heard of him (okay, his name SOUNDED familiar, but wasn't ringing all the bells)...he's like the brain guru often cited by Marcia Tate and Eric Jensen (SURELY you've heard of them).

Well, THIS is what I learned (or got reminded of the fact that I was supposed to already know this, I mean, I'm a teacher for crying out loud!) :
* Your brain makes melatonin which is the chemical that makes you sleep (or not if you lack it). The ONLY thing that gets rid of melatonin is .........
LIGHT. Yep, light.Not Diet Coke. Not chocolate. (Although that secret is safe with me because I swear the combination of chocolate and Diet Coke are melatonin dissolvers!)

I HATE the flourescent overhead lights of school. Its not appealing. It does something to my body chemistry. It puts me in a foul mood....so often I will open all the shades and turn off the overhead lights. According to this, I'm not a boring teacher putting my kiddos to sleep....its the stinkin' melatonin!!! SO.....I'm gonna have to go lamp shopping....because I still can't deal with overhead lights!!!

*You should never teach two simliar concepts the same day (or sometimes even the same week depending on how complex it is). The example he used was .....latitude and longitude. Yeppers.
Tons of generations damaged by yours truly. They will now grow up with their little dendrites not having solidified the mastery of latitude and longitude...thanks to me! Who knew!?!
According to Sousa, you should wait until you feel that they have mastery (or at least a true understanding) of the first concept before you introduce a similiar concept and you should NOT draw on their knowledge of the first concept to teach the 2nd one.....save that for the culminating activity because.....

*Your brain saves things based on their similiarities....and retrieves it by differences. Yep. That's why great culminating activities are Venn Diagrams.....to show both similiarities and differences!!!

* Your brain can only hold so much info at once.....and according to the theory of Primacy-Recency, you will remember the first and the last thing (or your kiddos will) of the thing being taught.
The longer the lesson length, the greater the downtime (where your brain goes all fuzzy and you start thinking of what you're going to do this weekend, and what you need to pick up from Wal Mart, and what color you should pick the next time you go for a mani-pedi) Kids ( and probably adults too) learn best (and most) when lessons are kept to 20 minutes.
During a 20 minute lesson, there is only about 2-3 minutes of downtime.
During a 80 minute lesson, there is 30 minutes of downtime. That's a lot of color picking and Wal Mart list making!!!
So, in short, you get more bang for your buck by chunking your lessons into mini-lessons. Keeping them short...and making them ACTIVE.
Also, you get more bang for your buck when you incorporate music and art.

The learning gods have smiled on me and blessed my idea of incorporating the Daily 5, brain breaks, mini-lessons, math workshops AND my craftivity!!!! OH happy day!

okay.....I know......these people (Jensen, Tate, Sousa, the Two Sisters) had this stuff figured out way before me.....but I'm excited in implementing it and seeing things click with my kids faster..even though I may slow down the pace a bit because I'm going for quality of things I get to stick rather than quantity of things I throw at them and half of them are lost!!!

Off to eat my fruit, drink my water, and have a brain break myself!!

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