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Bryan Harris's Posts

Mediate Stress & Improve Classroom Culture with Simple Acts of Helpfulness

Mediate Stress & Improve Classroom Culture with Simple Acts of Helpfulness

Stress, stress, stress! It seems that we can't complete a school day without the ugly effects of stress weighing us down. As educators we face seemingly endless sources of stress – grading, challenging student behaviors, parent demands, evaluations, testing, new initiatives…the list goes on and on. But what if one simple act, one effective action could help mediate the effects of stress...

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Student memory

Why Do Students Forget?

We create dynamic lessons, state the objective in student-friendly terms, have students socially interact to share information, but they still seem to forget much of what we teach. Every teacher has experienced the frustration of having to re-teach content because students forgot important information. Likewise, students often experience similar frustration at not being able to remember. So, why d...

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Forgotten memory

The Forgetting Curve

Hermann Ebbinghaus may not be a name commonly thrown around in educational circles but every teacher is aware of the phenomenon he first described in the 1850s. Through a series of studies, this German psychologist found that people usually forget 90 percent of what they learn in class. This Forgetting Curve, as he called it, is the decline in the strength of a memory over time. Obviously, this ha...

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story telling

The Power of Stories to Engage Students

Have you ever noticed that the student who has difficulty focusing and paying attention to most tasks in the classroom will sit and listen intently to a story? Stories, it seems, are special. Cognitive Psychologist Daniel Willingham explains that stories are “psychologically privileged” and that there is indeed something special about them. He says, “Stories are easy to comprehend and easy to reme...

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brain based magic

What Can A Magician Teach Us About Attention?

Winifred Gallagher, author of Rapt, a book which discusses the role of attention in the brain, describes two different kinds of attention. The first, bottom-up attention, describes the fact that our brain tends to focus attention on those stimuli from the environment that seem to “catch” our attention. The term “bottom-up” refers to the fact that the sensory parts of your brain are focusing on tho...

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