Summer Thoughts

summerreadAs we go into the summer, a huge ‘thank you’ goes to teachers, students and parents.  To the students, you’ve practiced focus and attention and this is no easy feat. It takes hard work to build and exercise an efficient brain.  To our parents, you ensured your children had a good night’s sleep and a great breakfast.  These are all incredibly important for the exercise process to be successful.  To our teachers, you continually refined your practices to bring the best environments together to achieve optimum learning.  And all of this is built on the foundation of “connectedness”.  It is a partnership that makes this work,  and YOU MATTER in this journey together.

Some things to consider as we head into the warm summer months:

  1.  Relaxation is important to brain development and solidification of neuronal pathways as much as focused exercise. Do something different – it makes the brain happy.
  2. Go to the library and grab books just for pleasure (short ones, tall ones, ones with lots of pictures, ones that teach something new or weird)
  3. Some sites that offer ebook reading:
    Unite for Library (early literacy)  http://www.uniteforliteracy.com/
    We Give Books  http://www.wegivebooks.org/books
  4. Create something – this uses different parts of the brain (they like working together).

Recently published from MIT neuroscience lab, is research on how the brain uses synchronization to form new communication circuits. (Synchronized Brain Waves Enable Rapid Learning) What I find interesting is what happens when the brain runs out of memory space when using rote memorization. Many students that struggle with reading use sheer power of memorization as their only strategy. This is only effective until they reach their limit. The research suggests that category formation between regions offers a way beyond rote memorization. I’m seeing a connection to why we practice forming categories while learning. Something to ponder… What do you think?

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In a Networked Community of Learners

It’s summer and the warm weather has certainly given us more chances to sit back and ponder over the year.  And what I’m reminded over and over is that WE have great people in each of our school sites doing great things to support our students.  Funny how sitting on a log, listening to the waves crash over rocks and seaweed allow a certain perspective to emerge. So here’s a list of things that I learned from my  Fast ForWord “community of learners”  (*Yes that’s you 🙂

  • one smile can light up and change a day for someone
  • even though we endured a year of districtwide reimaging which took down whole schools, we managed to increase the number of students we supported (*meaning our teachers are incredibly hardworking)
  • great questions take time to percolate when we expect deep connections
  • prevention trumps intervention (*it’s an art to deconstruct the reports)
  • communication is a multi-way street and allows everyone to gather wisdom
  • learning (including professional learning) is a matter of connectedness, of energy, of heart/soul and risk

As we move towards an online integrated process in the Fall, I look forward to learning and connecting with you all.  Have a wonderful summer of rejuvenation.

Assessments – Yearend

In our ongoing efforts to chronicle our journey, please complete the Yearend Assessment Data sheet and return by Thurs. May 26th 2011.    I have also produced the form online (click here) if you would prefer that format.  Student/teacher/parent surveys are optional, however, consider collecting those wonderful stories.  The surveys can be found online: Continue reading “Assessments – Yearend”