Week 7 & 8 (Due July 23rd)

No virtual session for tonight and no recorded lecture for next Tuesday’s week 8 class:)

Please continue to work on your Unit Plan and Podcast/Flipped project. Post both on you GSite when finalized (add new pages).

See you at Rowley Hall for our next to last class on July 23rd.


  • Watch the video with Howard Gardner on Digital Youth via @edutopia and respond to at least 2 of the questions below the video.
  • Explore the resources at BrainRules.net and add a comment to this post about how you can apply a few of these rules in your future classrooms.
  • Read and comment on at least one of your classmate’s blogs.
  • Read at least one of the posts on mobile learning and post a reaction/review on your personal blog. Please include the link of the post you are writing about and include an image that supports the topic.

5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class via The Innovative Educator

Schools and Students Clash Over Use of Technology via Mindshift

1. What are specific ethical issues you see kids struggling when they use digital media?
Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/wall/foxmyrlthz

2. How is our sense of identity changing in the digital world? How can adults learn from kids and guide them at the same time?

Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/wall/nzmz3n8811

3. How does teaching and learning change in a world where information is at your fingertips?

Answer here >>> http://padlet.com/wall/4rs30vdbik

What do we know about the brain and how does what we know (or think we know) drive how we teach. John Medina and his book Brain Rules breaks the latest brain research into 12 principles/rules. His book is a great read and it is supported by a companion DVD. Much of the video content on the DVD is shared on his website @BrainRules.net. On this site you can access information/activities to support all 12 principles/rules by selection the icon at the top of the media window.

Check out this news report that does a great job of summarizing the book.

From Chalkboards to Tablets: The emergence of the K-12 digital learner.

23 thoughts on “Week 7 & 8 (Due July 23rd)

  1. I think this in an interesting way of thinking. I think that this would definitely work for some students. I think it’s like everything else in teaching…you have ot realize that all students learn differently. While some students would heavily benefit and enjoy from using a treadmill instead of a desk, some may hate it. They would probably benefit from it, but would resist and hate it. It is true though that when you are physically active and using your muscles, your brain becomes more active. This would something neat to try in the classroom. Maybe doing some sort of physical game and incorporating some sort of quiz or trivia into it. I think students would enjoy it….especially if the level of physical activity could be as much as they wanted it to be.

  2. What a great resource to learn about the brain! Here are a few ideas for how I would incorporate some of Medina’s Brain Rules in an elementary classroom.

    Rule #1: Exercise – I observed a first grade teacher who would turn on some music for a short “dance party” when kids needed a boost in energy and attention. The kids loved getting up out of their seats and thought of it as a treat not a brain-boosting tactic.

    Rule #6: Long-term Memory – The more elaborately coded the information, the better it will be remembered. Teachers can encourage students to make personal connections when reading or listening to information so they can associate that new information with their background knowledge/experiences. Some classes I’ve observed even use a connections hand gesture to encourage kids to share when they are relating to information without interrupting their classmates or the teacher.

    Rule #9: Sensory Integration – Watching the video clip about the “McGurk Effect” helped me realize the importance of seeing the speaker while listening to what he/she is saying (this may be especially important to keep in mind when speaking to English Language Learners). When creating podcasts/flipped lessons, it is helpful to know that students will benefit from having visuals (either video of the speaker talking or text/images that support the audio) to create a multisensory, “information-rich learning experience.”

  3. I really enjoyed watching Medina’s clip on explaining brain rules, especially with his humor and examples. Besides the rules that helped me learn how the brain could function well, it was surprising to learn that the single most important factor in a child’s academic success is emotional stability at the home. This made me think of some of the ESL students I came across while doing my field experience who were doing beautifully in school even though they left behind either one of their parents, a pet, a loved family member and/or struggled with poverty. I guess there’s an exception to every rule.

    As for applying these brain boosters in my classroom, the exercising and avoiding teaching boring things are the ones that I would like to apply in the future to create an engaging and productive learning environment. It would not be exercise per se, but I would like students to move around through physical activities and games and hands-on learning.

    There’s nothing I hate more than a robotic monotone voice teachers use when teaching or talking in the classroom, which, in my opinion, is a contributing factor in teaching boring things, and not just the visual aspect. Emotions grab attention, and when teaching with the intention of getting students to stimulate their emotions will help in retaining information. True I’m no Meryl Streep, but as an example, this can be done through an engaging storytelling that hooks the students attention, arouse their emotions, and make them connect to it.

  4. Of the 12 Brain rules Medina has outlined, I also found it very interesting the most important factor for academic success is stability at home. While I can completely understand the correlation, I’m pretty sure I cant control that aspect of my students lives- so instead I will focus on a few that I can control:

    Brain Rules #3 & #11- Every brain is wired differently & Male & Female brains are different reinforces the need for differentiated instruction in my classroom. Since all brains work differently, I need to attempt to create lessons that are tailored to the individual needs of my students.

    Brain Rule #1- Exercise boost brain power is a great reminder that students need the opportunity to move around and be active participants in learning. Whether this means allowing them a few minutes to dance around the classroom or creating lessons that require the students participate in learning activities that are also physical, movement is key.

    Brain Rule #4- We don’t pay attention to boring things- this seems like a pretty obvious thing for teachers to remember. We want to excite and engage our students. Obviously we have lessons and concepts we need our students to grasp, but taking the time to create fun and interesting ways to do so can serve our not only to maintain their attention, but apparently also boost their brain power.

  5. There are many ways to apply BrainRules into the classroom, and I think many teachers are already doing this or are exploring the possibilities.

    As Meredith mentioned, some teachers are getting their kids up and moving throughout the day beyond recess time. Exercise, reiterated by the Exercise BrainRule, gets the blood flowing and energy level up, which are required for effective learning. I’ve given this some thought before, and I think periodic breaks of jumping jacks or dancing would help stimulate students brains during the long day, and also add a little bit of fun to the classroom.

    The Senses BrainRule highlights the importance of sensory integration as being an active learning style. I think it would be very interesting to design lessons so that they tap into many senses and see the results. Many teachers seem to already be doing this as part of UDL and differentiated instruction techniques.

    The Attention BrainRule is a big one. It will be very important for me as a teacher to watch my delivery and activities to ensure that students are staying attentive and constantly welcoming information. I’ll have to figure out how to incorporate the 10 minute rule in there somehow!

    As Jessica Q. mentioned, we don’t have control over what happens at home. I’ll do my best, however, to reiterate the importance of how home environments influence learning during discussions with parents. Sleep is key! Adults might not mind that reminder so much themselves. 🙂

  6. I am buying this book! Brain Rule #1: exercise boots brain power. I’m an absolute believer that exercise does boost brain power, our mood, and energy level. Brain Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently. Brain Rule #5/6: Repeat to remember and remember to repeat. Brain Rule #10: Vision trumps all other sense. How will I incorporate these into my class?

    Exercise: Recess–most definitely. If we can’t get outside, there is no reason why we can’t get up and walk around the classroom for a few minutes to get the oxygen and blood flowing to wake us all UP.

    Brain wiring: This is very evident in each of the students that I am observing now. I will remember that everyone has different ideas/inputs and ways of learning and try to reach as many students as possible through various means.

    Vision: I will incorporate visual aids into my presentations through videos, photographs,etc to not only make it more interesting but also so the students remember the lesson.

  7. Very interesting stuff! I think I’m going to have to purchase this book too! In regards to how I can apply these rules in the classroom:

    Rule #1: Exercise increases brain power. This is an easy rule to follow, because it has so many other benefits as well! This rule can be easily incorporated through outdoor recess, making sure the kids are still active during indoor recess, stretching or just moving around the class between long lessons. I also could encourage students to participate in activities that involved exercise outside of the classroom, i.e. sports, playing at the park instead of sitting inside.

    Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses. I could incorporate this rule by making sure that I am presenting material in multiple ways so that the auditory, tactile, and visual senses are being used. For example, when learning about caterpillars and butterflies, I could read a book aloud, show pictures of the caterpillar life cycle, and also bring in a real caterpillar that they could hold and touch.

  8. I think these brain rules are very useful, and make a lot of sense. I think exercise increasing brain power is an underutilized tool. I’m not sure what I as a general ed teacher can do to impose exercise on my students.

    A couple rules I do think I can implement are rule # 4 we don’t pay attention to boring things, #5/6 repeat to remember & remember to repeat, and lastly rules #9/10 Stimulate more of the senses and vision trumps all other senses.

    Rule #4: I feel like this is a more perceived rule by most students rather than a believed rule by most teachers. I think every part of school can be interesting. There is no reason a student should be bored with one subject or another because they all have to potential to be so interesting. I think finding a way to connect students to each subject through their own interests will make the subjects less boring and far more exciting.

    Rule #5/6: I think these rules are under appreciated in school. Particularly in the elementary general education classroom where each teacher has the ability to “remind” a student in a later part of the day about a previous lesson. Also, I think that repetition is not used much or at all because it is mostly synonymous with memorization. Remembering something is more about knowing it and recalling it, memorization is more about only recalling it and not really understanding why. Finding a way to create natural ways to repeat important facts or concepts makes learning easier and more fun.

    Rule #9/10: I’ve never thought about the idea that incorporating more senses helps with learning. It obviously makes sense since it helps you access more parts of your brain when you try to learn it, letting you store that information in different or multiple parts of the brain. These rules kind of apply to the 4th rule about boring things, the more ways that a student can be stimulated the less bored they will be.

    I will definitely use these rules in my future classroom.

  9. This is really interesting information!

    Rule #1: Exercise Boosts Brain Power. I’m a big believer of exercise and being active. Exercise boosts your “happy” endorphin’s which affects your mood and consequently how you react and take things/information in. What I’ve never thought too much about is how much exercise directly correlated with a rise brain power. After reading through BrainRules I’ve realized it’s extremely important to be sure to include an active time for students aside from recess such as breaks in instructional time and incorporating an active activity within a lesson plan is . For example if weather permits taking kids outside for a counting lesson by playing hopscotch or have kids do jumping jacks or jogging in place and when the teacher calls out a vocabulary word everyone freezes and they must stay frozen until someone uses the word correctly in a sentence.

  10. I just like the helpful information you supply
    on your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and check once more here frequently. I am fairly sure I will be told plenty of new stuff proper here! Best of luck for the next!

  11. Hi, just wanted to mention, I loved this article.

    It was funny. Keep on posting!

  12. Wow, this is interesting stuff!

    #4 We don’t listen to boring stuff! That is a FACT. I definitely don’t and children do not either. This is a challenge to every teacher, I’m sure because there are just some things that are simply not as fun as other things. For me, it’s Math. I get bored which leads me to a lack of attention and I don’t retain any new information. This is something that I want to keep out of my classroom. I don’t want to see boredom in my classroom and I will try to implement ideas to keep this to a minimum.

    #9 Stimulate more of your senses! YES. I love this and truly believe it for a classroom. Using an activity that uses more than three of your senses is a wonderful thing. The kids will enjoy it and ultimately I’ll enjoy it. I love sensory activities in classroom and so do kids.

  13. I really like the bit on Multitasking. I am always amazed at people that can manage more than one thing at a time. After hearing and reading some of the facts however, it looks like I am just making more work for myself with probably more errors when I try to juggle more than one thing at a time.

    I think this really applies to kids in school as well. Completing tasks is sequential and I think that steps in a project or assignment can be much more easily accomplished when they are laid out sequentially. Students can move from one step to the next with less risk of errors and complete a task more comprehensively.

    I am also a really big fan of rule #1. I think there is such a strong link between physical activity and what the brain is capable of at any age, especially when it comes to young learners. Making time for this, whether it be outdoor recess or playtime, or simply an inside game that gets kids moving in the classroom makes a big difference when it comes time for a class to but their brains to work.

  14. Cool book! In regards to how I can apply this to the classroom…

    Rule #1: Exercise.
    As everyone’s already said, there’s obviously such a strong connection between physical activity and our brains that it is crucial to teach this at an early age so that young learners can take full advantage of their brain’s potential. I want my students to develop good habits at an early age, and as their teacher, I will be responsible for helping these habits turn into life-long routines.

    Rule #4: Boring Things = We don’t listen to.
    I have to agree with this. I like how it said that what we pay attention to is based off of previous experiences, and culture is involved as well. Reading this from a teacher’s point of view, I think that I will have to keep my lessons different and always changing. If I develop too much of a routine, my students might get bored! While structure within the day is good, I do not want my students zoning out when it is time to concentrate and learn!

    Rule #11: Gender.
    Male and Female brains work differently.. so my reactions with students should be different as well! I liked the part about how our emotions are different, and that emotions are important because they make the brain pay attention. I will need to remember the differences between males and female brains when I make lesson plans in order to help my students stay as engaged as possible! I want to create positive emotions that connect my students to what they are learning!

  15. Exercise isn’t just good for your physical health, but your mental health as well. Before our ancestors learned how to domesticate animals they were always on the move, following herds, gathering food, avoiding danger. Our bodies were made to be in motion. Why else would was have the ability to run, walk, skip, or jump? But in many classrooms students are told to sit in a chair all day and be quite. This is just doesn’t make biological sense for us. Instead students should be able to move through out the day. This could be done in “organized chaos” where students are working on assignments, but allowed to move around the room to talk to discuss with other students or to act out their learning using their body. Connecting learning with other senses also helps students to make deeper connections to a topic and store it in their long term memory.

    Brain Gym is also another great resource for teachers. Each activity is used to allow students to move around in various ways. These exercises walk students up and start firing up their brains to increase functioning. Its important that teachers allot a few minutes each day to allowing their students to move around and exercise. Its as simple as leading some Brain Gym exercises for 2 minutes during transition. It can help students get back to focusing and not zoning you out as the day goes on.

    Exercise works for everyone! I read an article on a study of ID students engaging in structured exercises for at least 15 minutes a day throughout their school day. For the older elementary students (3rd-6th grade) there was a positive correlation for all of these students. Working out helped them perform better.

  16. ^^Opps sorry Professor Knight. I forgot to sign into my account before posting. This is Theresa!

  17. I am absolutely going to keep the general rules for memory on hand for using in the classroom, and will try that repetition trick for getting the information into working memory. I also found the rule on using visuals very good, and will be sure to use lots of pictures with my students.

    I also thought it was pretty interesting that using something emotionally relevant every ten minutes helps to keep memory going. This reinforces the idea of needing to make learning relevant and meaningful to our students. If I implement this rule, I think it will be very helpful.

    I will also try to keep my students focused so they can learn one thing at a time, rather than try to multitask too much and miss the important information. When I saw that slide, it made me think of a disc that needed refragging, and I certainly do not want my students getting jumbled information.

  18. What an interesting resource!
    I can see using #1 Exercise in my classroom. In between subjects, especially if it has been a rather long one and you noticed the students getting a bit squirrely it might be useful to turn on some music and let the kids wiggle or just do a little stretch to get them up and moving.

    #4 we don’t listen to or pay attention to boring things. Make presentations and lessons more engaging. I don’t want to get into a pattern of always doing the same thing all the time, change things up to keep the students on their toes and interested in what they are learning.

    #6 long term memory
    If we encode the information more elaborately when we are learning it will will remember it better. So when we are learning a new concept we should try to make connections with the information. This way we can remember it better later on.

  19. I think the majority of brain rules were things I had already been considering, whether I had them defined as that or not. Two that jumped out to be were the survival and explorative.

    The survival aspect can be utilized in problem-based projects. Have the project directly affect the student’s community, family, or way of life. This will cause ownership and urgency to kick in.

    I also had always thought of the brain as explorative but never considered how that translated in confining spaces, like a classroom setting. I had thought that getting students outside of the classroom regularly would be good for them, but because of Vitamin D intake (and because their teacher will be happy outside). I had not thought of the the subconscious benefit their brains will receive.

  20. Brain Rules provided a different perspective on learning that I really hope to incorporate into my classroom. John Medina mentioned that “the strongest brains survive, not the strongest bodies.” Our species is characterized by the level of thinking we can implement in solving problems. In other words, the brain is made for survival. If this is the case, I can see why students can become frustrated with repetition and drills. Once the activity is no longer a problem or a challenge, the brain begins to lose interest. I think that it is important to incorporate relevant activities into lessons that serve a clear purpose. If an activity is simply busy work, allow students to have reading time, or even recess, instead. At least those activities serve clear purposes. I also found it very interesting that male and female brains function so differently. The information that Medina provided goes to show that the whole gender role debate cannot simply be contributed soley to nature. Once we have a better understanding of these differences, we can use them to our advantage. I could see this brain rule being very useful to group assignments. If males and females contribute different strengths and weaknesses, they should be grouped together. I think a group that can understand both the overall importance, and the supporting details, is far stronger than one that just focuses on one or the other. The brain rules will absolutely be useful to know when teaching a class full of students.

  21. I am in fact happy to read this webpage posts which consists of tons of valuable information, thanks for providing these data.

  22. The attention rule reminds me of something that we learned in ED502. Students will not pay attention to you if they are preoccupied with something that they find more interesting.

  23. The first rule that interested me was #1. I have read about brain gym in classrooms, which is trying to get the right and left part of your brain working together to help with learning. This reminds me of that. I think in my classroom, we will definitely have movement activities during lessons. Once example may be learning while on a nature walk. The key point seemed to be that the best learning comes while movement is happening. The second rule I liked was # 9 and stimulating more of the senses. This, again, is something that has been taught in many classes. Looking at objects from all angles helps the brain process. Why not try to turn your lesson into a multi sense lesson to incorporate higher processing with your students.

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