My grandmother had Alzheimers.
My mother is try to do preventative things to avoid getting it as well.
I have a group of students in front of me every day that I want to maximize their learning potential.
This book I believe holds many keys to improving memory and learning.
I read Make It Stick a couple of years ago. I knew it was a quick read but I could not remember all of the various tenets of the book. I wrestled with the idea of rereading the book as I DID remember from the book that rereading is not the best way to study. However, I went ahead and reread the book and am so glad I did. Reading this book reinforced some of the ideas I had for teaching my class this year as well as my desire to read Powerful Teaching in the near future.
I had already thought that including student blogs in my class would allow them additional opportunities to excercize their voice. This book helped me realize the added learning benefit from reflecting on learning. I sincerely hope that the time invested in this activity during my class, one that I devote to 50 minutes of MATH every day, will pay learning dividends. I am trying to prepare myself for the pushback that it doesn’t have the immediate rewards of massed practice (read “cramming”) but am hopeful that through employing this, along with other strategies of the book I will be able to move my students forward. The book points out that fluency does not equal understanding. I see this on a regular basis in math when I have students who can fluently give multiplication facts but struggle with understanding that multiplication is really just iterated addition.
I will start with having students write a Friday blog about what they did in class and what they learned. I just started an EduBlog myself to blog alongside my class. I might have them post daily “quiz questions” and encourage students to comment back with their answers to encourage the other tenets expressed in the book.
Getting feedback from quizzing can be daunting as we tend to overestimate what we know and remember. However, I have seen the benefits personally of this technique. I am reminded of when I was taking a course called History and Thought of Western Man and we had to learn many artworks by sight for an exam. I performed the best on the exams where I prepared my own flashcards and practiced at regular intervals. Cramming seems to work but there is not much transfer to long term memory. I’m hoping to add in better forms of this through more strategic bellringer activities, having students write questions based on daily lessons (ooooh maybe I will have students write their questions on a notecard as an exit ticket, offer extra credit if I use their question in the future, keep the notecards in a box for readily available use).
The idea of interleaving either different topics (similar to how we interleaf subjects during the day) or kinds of questions. This idea plays credence to the plan we had this year for our students to no longer have two hours in a row of math and instead split it up during the day. Given the data from the tests our students took last year, we need to change something to attain better results. This change alone could be helpful to change those results.
I honestly had to look up this strategy, however, if by looking it up and correcting my understanding I learn the tenet better, then I am happy I did it. Additionally, by writing about it now I am using an additional tenet, elaboration. Spaced practice is like hitting the sweet spot on a bat, long enough to make it work to remember thus helping solidify the learning but not too long as to completely forgot. It makes me wonder if the summer slide is actually a little bit of a good thing? Who knows.
Last year I was really intent on incorporating sketchnotes into my life and especially my teaching practice. I do not think that I succeeded in my goal to pass this idea on to my students, however, given that sketchnotes are an enjoyable part of elaboration, maybe I need to push it harder this year. Elaboration has the learner take what they already know and build on it. It is important, then, to understand what students are building on otherwise you do not have the solid foundation necessary to hold the new understanding.
This is a tough one for anyone. No one really prefers challenging situations. However, those challenging situations provide the best opportunities for growth. I need to do a better job of reframing challenging activities as growth opportunities.
Definitely a buzzword but worthy of understanding in class. How many times have I heard “I’m not a math person” or worse is when the PARENT of the student I am working with says that. We are ALL math people! Growth mindset is easier said than done but a worthy goal especially in a math classroom.
I am totally stoked to read Powerful Teaching but that is on hold until I finish The Happiness Advantage that I started reading yesterday. I am super excited as this book is also very research based and comes from a growth mindset. I’m already thinking, “ok, I’m on board…. happy people find more success, have fewer sick days, etc etc… so what do I need to DO?”. I hope that the blog associated with that book has actionable steps like this one did.