Slow Jog to the Finish Line

people doing marathon

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The end of the school year is coming. I know this because the calendar says so. I also know this because the weather is finally looking and feeling like summer. And yet, as far as the work goes, we are still in the thick of it. So since we are still working, I will do one final share of resources and articles until we return from summer break.

7 out of 10 adults say they experience stress or anxiety everyday

First is somethingShawn Achor shared on Twitter.  Achor wrote The Happiness Advantage which we are reading as part of our positive education implementation. But honestly, if you interact with other people in any way, this is a book you might want to read regardless. You can read more about the book here in our ShipleyReads blog. This post from Happify is titled, How to beat stress and boost happiness. I feel like this is something we all could use at times and Happify has created a lovely infographic that offers numerous science-based suggestions that are easy to do.

“I don’t do math.”

Next up is a year’s worth (probably more) of materials from Jo Boaler that will enhance your teaching towards a growth mindset. The first is the mathematical mindsets teaching guide, teaching resources, and teaching videos. Next, if you have not browsed YouCubed’s site, you might want to get started. There is a wealth of material there including lessons, resources, articles, videos, and learning opportunities. It is really a treasure trove for those who teach or work with students. And for fun, an article from Stanford Magazine, Jo Boaler Wants Everyone to Love Math.

“You can’t get to the content if the relationship and the social-emotional well-being piece is not being attended to first,” 

If you boiled down positive psychology to just three words, they would be “Other people matter.” This next article, “The Power of Teacher Student Relationships to Boost Learning” highlights the importance of relationships between teachers and students to student learning. 

Consequences of Passive Learning = memorization without engagement

Continuing along the lines of how students learn best is this robust post, 102 Brain-Based Learning Resources for Brain-Based Teaching. This is basically a psych major’s dream list. There is A LOT here beginning with research. If you scroll down you will see a list of Brain and Learning Blogs including Brain Rules (which was one of our all school reading books) and Judy Willis’ R.A.D. Teach blog. Judy gave a two-day professional development at our school a number back in 2010 and I still remember the strategies she suggested to help the information stick. Towards the end of the article, you will find General Brain-based Learning Resources. 

I hope you have found these posts useful and that you will come back for new ones in the fall. Until then, I will repost some of the more popular posts from the archives!

 

How Things Catch On: Marketing Your Lesson’s Message

4281814950_7feffddb9d_mI took a great course from Wharton through my favorite online learning site- Coursera. The course was called, “Contagious: How Things Catch On” (currently called “Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content”) and I loved learning something new. However, while it is a marketing course, I think it has applications in education, especially for teachers who are trying to teach lessons and concepts- which is all of us!

One of the questions Professor Berger posed in the course is Why do some messages stick and others don’t? As teachers we can edit this to read, Why do some lessons, topic, concepts stick while others don’t?

There are six principles of “stickiness” that make up the acronym SUCCESs:

1.Simple– “Less is more”

We can apply this idea to our lessons. What is the one idea (maybe two or three max) that you want your students to walk away with today? Use analogies to help relate or compare the idea or concept to something your students already know and understand. Find the core then pull your students in, leave them wanting more tomorrow. Simple opens up a “curiosity gap”.

2. Unexpected– Novel or surprising

We need to make our messages novel or surprising. We need to hold our students’ attention so that they want to find out what happens. If they think they already know what is going to happen, their minds may wander. Add something unexpected to keep their attention and interest. “This is not about doing something crazy, it is about violating expectations.” (Berger, Week 1)

A few years ago we had Judy Willis -educator and neurologist come to speak about brain-based teaching and learning techniques. The principle of making our messages novel, unexpected, or surprising is a brain-based methodology. Information and stimuli need to be selected and accepted by the Reticular Activating System. To get through the RAS, information must be novel, changed or different. If information is not selected by our RAS, it will not reach consciousness and not be retained. To sustain the attention we can use Discrepant Events. D.E. are novel or unexpected so the RAS will let them in; they’re predictive because you already are thinking one way then you throw in a discrepant event and people are curious.

“Once you have their attention, you empower your students to become engaged in their learning process. Using wonder (discrepant events), humor, movement, change, advertising, and provoking curiosity capture students’ attention. They will be ready to focus on the sensory input (information) in the lesson . . . ” Judy Willis

3. Concrete– “Show, don’t tell”

As teachers we can apply this principle of concreteness to our practice. We can use vivid language & images that help students imagine/visualize/see the message we are trying to make stick. The question we should keep in mind is, Can you see it?

4. Credible– Use statistics and information in a WOW way

Just like we can use analogy to help students understand new concepts by comparing them to things they already know and understand, we can share statistical information with our students in comparison to things they already know. For example, we can make a numerical analogy to give large numbers a context, California is larger than the 12 states that make up New England and the Middle States or 20 of Rhode Island (source).

5. Emotional “How can we get people to care about what we are saying?” (Berger Week 1)

The principle of using emotions to help messages stick incorporates concreteness as well. Concrete ideas generate more emotion. The more something pulls us in, the more likely we are to remember it. The more we are able to evoke emotions in our students with the concept or idea we are teaching, the more likely the students will care about and remember what we are saying. So we can do this in many ways. In social studies and history, we can utilize personal accounts, reenactments, experiential learning, and historical fiction  so that we can pull our students into that time in history. If we think about the emotion we want our students to feel then we can design the lesson’s message to evoke that emotion and make the message of the lesson stick.

6. Stories

It is much more interesting to listen a story than to just a list of facts and figures. It also helps with memory because stories often trigger emotions, allow the listener to create images in their head, and make connections to things they already know. Additionally, “stories are easy to retell.” (Fahey)

For some highlights from the course, you can check out my Storify.

How will you use SUCCESs to make your content stick?

photo credit: beautiful bun (Shannon 139/365) via photopin (license)