How the Brain Learns
By: David A. Sousa
Synopsis of February 17 book discussion.
During the School Family meeting yesterday, Dr. Miller led the staff in a collaborative discussion of the first two chapters of the book.
Some of the most important take-aways from the discussion:
- The brain is always working, even when we are sleeping.
- Neurons in the brain can regenerate and can be strengthened by diet and exercise, but weakened by prolonged sleep loss.
- Window of Opportunity is the period when the brain must have specific input to create certain life-long structures such as motor development, emotional control, vocabulary, spoken language, math/logic and instrumental music.
- The brain stores sequences of patterns, like recognizing someone by sight, sound or walk.
- Sight, hearing and touch contribute most to learning.
- Short term memory is like a clipboard and long term memory is like a file cabinet.
- Experiences determine the importance of a memory therefore; in our classrooms, it is important to activate prior knowledge and use anticipatory sets at the beginning of lessons.
- Emotion is a powerful force in learning and memory.
- Before students can learn, they must feel physically and emotionally secure.
- Chunking lessons into 15-20 minute components is important for long term memory.
- Information is more likely to get stored in long term memory if it makes sense and has meaning to the student.
- Connections, connections, connections!!
- Activities to help students store information are humor, movement, multi sensory instruction and quiz games.
- Read Chapter 3 for next week and be prepared to participate in the discussion.
- Send Dr. Miller an email reflecting on the first two chapters, mostly chapter two, and share your greatest take-aways as well as how you will use this in your instruction.
- The 4th grade team will lead out on the Chapter 3 discussion.