Monday Minute-Brain Edition!

April 22, 2019

Why the Brain Issue?

Some of the best PD I ever attended was CIESC's Teacher Leadership Academy, the brainchild of Cindy Whalen Stergar, who died far too young from cancer. She told us that not applying available research amounted to education malpractice. With advances in brain research and adolescent development, it is incumbent upon us to seek, apply, and share available resources. She felt so strongly about this that even her gravestone has her mantra, "The Responsibility of Knowing is Sharing." Hopefully, you will find something in this issue that you can apply to your practice.

Retrieval Practice and the Science of Learning

I have learned so much about learning from Dr. Pooja K. Agarwal, Ph.D, a cognitive scientist and founder of retrievalpractice.org I first learned about Dr. Agarwal during Matt Miller's Ditch Summit in 2017. Then she presented for Classroom 2.0 Live in 2018; you can view that webinar and see the extensive resources that accompany it here. I thoroughly enjoy the weekly updates provided through the Retrieval Practice site; you can sign up here.


I also participated in a book study on Make It Stick, a book Dr. Agarwal contributed to; several districts and organizations have used it as well. Dr. Agarwal and Patrice Bain, Ed.S have a new book coming out this summer, Powerful Teaching. Here is a useful article from Dr. Bain about her experiences in applying metacogntion in the classroom, "The Secret to Student Success? Teach Them How to Learn."


Here is an additional, shorter article, "You're Already Harnessing the Science of Learning (You Just Don't Know it) As much as I've communicated with Dr. Agarwal, vis tweets, emails, and live webinars, maybe I'll get to meet her one day!

Webinar 4/25- Upgrade Your Teaching: Understanding by Design Meets Neuroscience

Jay McTighe of UBD fame joins with Judy Willis in a free ASCD webinar this Thursday to explore

"How can educators leverage neuroscience research about how the human brain learns?"

You can find out more information and register here. While some ASCD webinars are for members only, they also have free ones (often connected with books they publish) and access to archives here.

Edutopia Resources on the Brain

You can find several useful stories on the brain on the Edutopia website. Some recent articles in the category "brain-based learning," include

"Building Metacogntion into Test Prep" (dealing with stress can be part of the preparation)

"Activities That Prime the Brain for Learning" by Lori Desautels, one of our keynote speakers for our upcoming conference

Decoding the Teen Age Brain (in 3 Charts)

Rick Wormeli: Memorization Still Matters

In this extensive article from AMLE, Rick Wormeli includes the benefits of quick access to items in working memory, as well as 25 techniques to aid in memorization/information retrieval. Not surprisingly, he references Dr. Pooja Agarwal! This article would be good for a staff discussion, or in a few segments with students.

The Mother's Conversation with Her Son That Went VIral

You may have seen this post from December/January. When Jo Eberhardt responded to an anonymous Quora post by a mother who didn't know how to tell her son that at times she didn't even want to be around him, her answer struck a nerve. It shows the value of explaining to adolescents about the changes that they are undergoing, including their still-developing brain. What better way to promote understanding and working together.

How a growing number of states are hoping to improve kids’ brains: exercise

This post from the Hechinger Report includes an aspect often overlooked in improving learning: movement. There are studies linking physical fitness with improved academic achievement. How could this affect classroom practice and daily scheduling?

Yale's Free Class on Happiness: The Science of Well-Being

This free class on Coursera claims that happiness can be learned by applying psychological science. Here is an article from Justin Maimin, one man taking the course, explaining that halfway through, it was already working. If you've been interested in learning what a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) is like, this could be a good start.

More Brain/Learning Resources

Shining Star Nominations Open

IMLEA and Horace Mann have partnered for the last several years to recognize students and teachers for outstanding contributions in support of their school. The Shining Star Award is open to any student in grade 5 – 9, or any teacher with any number of years of experience. Any certified staff member from an IMLEA member school may nominate a student or a colleague, but the nomination form must be signed by a building administrator.

Teachers designated as "STAR" winners are recognized in honor of Dr. Roger Boop, a retired professor from the education department at Butler University and long time friend and supporter of IMLEA. You can find the applications and more information for both on our website. Nominations are due May 1.

IMLEA Conference, September 29-30

Big picture

Our conference website is now live. You may register your staff members (no price increase) and make hotel reservations (an increase of only $3 from last year.) Stay tuned for more information on the breakout sessions that will be offered!

Special STEM Opportunity at Purdue

We've been asked to help spread the word about this special STEM opportunity at Purdue from July 23-26. The focus of this 4-day intensive PD will be on helping educators learn how to facilitate student research projects, integrate science data collection in your curriculum, and effectively use a 5E Inquiry Model in science project planning. Additionally, educators will learn how to collect pedosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere data through the NASA sponsored GLOBE program and become certified GLOBE teachers. You can find out more information and apply here.

INSPIRE3 : New Spotlight on Service Article by Beth Smith

This month's update from Beth Smith includes a focus on the positive effects on social-emotional learning from service learning. You can find this and more information on the INSPIRE3 page of the IMLEA website

Opportunities for Educators & Students

Times Up!

With testing beginning this week, we wanted to provide a "brain break" of sorts for you. Best of luck for glitch-free iLearn testing.


Please forward this to staff or anyone else who might benefit from the content. As always, we welcome your contributions and suggestions! Past editions of the "Monday Minute" and our newsletters are available under the 'Publications' tab on our website.


Do you have any favorite brain-based resources you'd like to share? Please send them to me! Who knows, maybe there will be a Brain Edition, Volume 2!


Brain Background Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay