I enjoyed this week's readings, and my colleagues' blog posts this week revealed that we have some really great teachers in AK who are both savvy in the way they engage students but also very wise in their approaches to creating research-based, brain-friendly learning experiences for students in their classrooms and schools. Tyler, Megan, and Tristan's blog posts were the ones on which I focused this week, and I appreciated their thoughts on the text and the additional resources they shared. Tristan's detailed post was especially interesting, as she really explored how brain-based learning should and can manifest itself in the classroom. A teacher who truly wants to make a difference for students must take the brain research into account when planning, teaching, assessing, and interacting with students and their families. There is no denying the findings of available research (or the volume of research out there!), and it is every educator's responsibility to understand the research and apply it in the classroom setting.
I came across a few additional resources after my initial post that provided new ideas and information. Paul Gorski's article from Educational Leadership is one that should be required reading for every teacher in rural Alaska (everywhere, really). The myth/reality arrangement of the article is both readable and so very practical. Especially for teachers new to Alaska, there are so many pre-conceived ideas about what children living in poverty can and cannot do, and Gorski concisely debunks the myths while providing hope and encouragement for educators. Ruby Payne's "Nine Powerful Practices," another article from the April 2008 issue of Educational Leadership, provides specific and "do-able" strategies for helping educators support students from families who are not connected to school. I shared this article with Tyler, as he hit on many of the same poverty-related topics I addressed in my blog post this week. Payne's recommendations are so simple...but those simple things are too often the access points we miss when it comes to connecting with students. Educators are famous for taking the long way around; articles like Gorski's and Payne's do a nice job of focusing on the basics that we simply cannot forget. All the differentiation in the world won't matter for a student who doesn't feel connected to the classroom, and the above-noted authors provide timely reminders of this.
Edutopia. Six Tips for Brain-Based Learning. Retrieved on 12 Apr 2015 from http://www.edutopia.org/brain-based-learning-strategies-resource-guide?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=post&utm_content=guide&utm_campaign=brain-based-learning-guide-update-repost
Lema, C. Infographic. "Smart Teaching: Understanding What the Brain Can't Ignore." Retrieved on 12 Apr 2015 from http://orangeblogs.org/252basics/2012/02/28/smart-teaching-understanding-what-the-brain-cant-ignore/
Gorski, P. (2008). "The Myth of the Culture of Poverty." Educational Leadership, 65(7). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr08/vol65/num07/The-Myth-of-the-Culture-of-Poverty.aspx
Payne, R. (2008). "Nine Powerful Practices." Educational Leadership, 65(7). Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/apr08/vol65/num07/Nine-Powerful-Practices.aspx