Aug 22 2015

Make Learning Relevant for Lasting Memories

Katrina Schwartz of Mind/Shift summarizes William Klemm, senior professor of neuroscience at Texas A&M University speech who STEM and science teacher training by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowskispoke at the Learning and the Brain conference “Making Lasting Memories”. Interesting theories about how memory, focus and good teaching can work together to help kids learn. Klemm is a proponent of teaching students how to learn to solve many of the problems our educational system faces. I’d like to take it a step further, and dig deeper and ask teachers to rethink how they teach. Are the daily interactions they have with their students engaging, enriching, and making connections to the real-world? It’s my belief to make lasting memories for students of all ages teachers must strive to develop a classroom environment that is student-driven vs. teacher driven. A classroom environment that helps to develop and strengthen critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration. What use does it make to memorize useless, route memorization facts? The key to making lasting memories is to give students ownership of their own learning, and provide meaningful learning experiences vs. memorizing a “bunch of disjointed facts and concepts”. When I’m contracted to conduct science or STEM training, I make it clear to the client that my first goal in my trainings is to get teachers to analyze how they teach and to develop a classroom environment that is student driven. I achieve this transformation by having the teachers become students, they realize the power in making learning relative, engaging, and meaningful. Providing opportunities for teachers to share their questions and ideas throughout the entire training. Change must come from within, in regards to our educational system, change must come from the top down. After all, students are products of their environment. Check out the article by Schwartz.  http://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2015/04/09/how-memory-focus-and-good-teaching-can-work-together-to-help-kids-learn/.


Jun 15 2015

Great Books for the Maker Dad

Instead of buying your Father or Husband the tie, bottle of cologne, polo shirt, etc. consider purchasing one or more of STEM Family Science by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowskithe following books listed in this article that promote parental environment in conducting STEM and science experiments with children. The Maker Movement has been in full-swing for quite some time now, and schools have been actively incorporating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) practices and content within their early childhood through high school level classrooms for years. The following books promote providing learning environments and experiences within formal and informal learning environments that promote active engagement of the child in exploring STEM and science practices and content. The majority of the investigations in all the books listed require simple materials, and are low-cost. Most of all they will cultivate and strengthen the child’s creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills as they explore STEM and science content with their parents, siblings, and peers. Consider transforming a section of your home, classroom, or library into a “Maker Space” by having materials, supplies, and tools that encourage exploration. The following books are great selections to get your family, school, and organization into the Maker Movement. Let’s add some tinkering to this Father’s Day.