Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

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The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning

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'my brains - let me show you them' photo (c) 2007, Liz Henry - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

One of the most popular resources on this blog, and a lesson plan in my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, that I know is one of the more popular chapters in it, is about teaching students that they physically “grow” their brains when they learn new things.

I’ve posted a number of links to related resources on My Best Posts On “Motivating” Students list, but I thought it would be useful to bring some of those posts together with resources I’ve recently found and create a brand new “The Best….” list.

Here are my picks for The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning:

First, here is a series of posts where I specifically describe what I have done in my classes (though I’m in the process of revising those lessons):


Reading Logs — Part Two (or “How Students Can Grow Their Brains”)

“Now I Know My Brain Is Growing When I Read Every Night”

“This Is Your Brain On Learning”

“What Would You Tell You’re Parents You Learned In Class This Month?”

“I Know My Brain Is Growing…” Slideshow Of Student Work

Here are other more recent posts that include information I’m incorporating into those lessons:

“How Does Our Brain Learn New Information?”

“How to Take Better Advantage of Brain Plasticity”

What Does Learning From Mistakes Do To Your Brain?

Learning, adaptation can change brain connections, CMU researchers say

Neuroplasticity: Learning Physically Changes the Brain is from Edutopia.

Your Brain On Learning is by Barbara Bray.

In series of posts I wrote about my lesson, and in my book, I share links to some videos that actually show what learning something new physically does to the brain. I’ve recently found a few other videos that do the same thing. In each of these three videos, the relevant portion is in the first minute or so:

This is a very good short video on how our brain learns. It also reinforces the importance of deliberative practice:

Fascinating Study On What Learning From Mistakes Does To The Brain

Mind, Brain and Education is a very good paper from an organization called Jobs For The Future (I’ve never heard of them before, but that’s more of a reflection on my limited universe than on anything else). It gives one of the best, if not the best, explanation that I’ve read about what happens to the brain when it learns something new. Though some of the “implications” of its findings seem a little shaky, particularly around second language learning, my quick scan of it leads me to think I can use parts of it with my students.

Study: Reading For Pleasure Makes Your Brain Grow (Literally)

I’m preparing a lesson plan on Reading and the Brain, and thought I’d share the resources I’m using for it. I’m adding them all to The Best Resources For Showing Students That They Make Their Brain Stronger By Learning:

The Importance of Deep Reading is from ASCD.

Here are two videos of Maryanne Wolf. The first four-and-half minutes of the first one is the part I’ll use from it.

Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene has a website full of images. Most are incomprehensible to laypeople, but there are a few that are usable in the classroom. They are:

2.3
2.4
2.6
2.20

“This Is Your Brain On Reading”

Here’s news from Scientific American:

Learning a new language can grow one’s perspective. Now scientists find that learning languages grows parts of the brain.

Scientists studied the brains of students in the Swedish Armed Forces Interpreter Academy, who are required to learn new languages at an alarmingly fast rate. Many must become fluent in Arabic, Russian and the Persian dialect Dari in just 13 months. The researchers compared the brains of these students to the brains of medical students who also have to learn a tremendous amount in a very short period of time, but without the focus on languages.

The brains of the language learners exhibited significant new growth in the hippocampus and in parts of the cerebral cortex. The medical students’ brains showed no observed growth.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

3 Comments

  1. Pingback: ReadingPower1 12/06/2011 « READINGPOWER

  2. Lots of fascinating stuff! I’ve read information about what happens when someone is playing or singing music. Research has shown that musical training actually improves brain function.

  3. Definitely worth a closer look. Thank you. One small question though, what about social / human diversity of actions and stimulation (in lack of better words) – e.g. suitable rest, physical human interaction (rather than virtual), reading a book – rather than watching a TV show, be in nature – rather than behind a PC. To me (old school) but all actions that are mentally engaging – and stimulating.

    Cheers,

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