5th August 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Month

Greenlights, by Matthew McConaughey.  It took us a bit to get used to McConaughey’s style. But once he hits his stride with stories, Greenlights soars as an unparalleled autobiography of a funny, tough, unfailingly curious extrovert with a sense that the world is conspiring to make him happy.  This is the kind of book you read so you’ve got funny stories to haul out when you’re sitting around jawing with friends. But the book goes much deeper than that, with insights ranging from the sacrifices and risks needed to get to where you want to go, to finding the love of one’s life, to the value of listening to your intuition.  Highly recommended—also good for audio (McConaughey himself is the narrator). 

Uncommon Sense Teaching Wins Award!

We’re delighted to announce that Uncommon Sense Teaching has made the top 10 of Learning Ladders’ “Best Books for Educators Summer 2021” awards. The awards panel featured teachers, school leaders, and EdTech entrepreneurs including Learning Ladders’ founder, Matt Koster-Marcon, who is also Chair of the EdTech Special Interest Group at BESA.  We’re proud to be included in the list, and would also like to congratulate the other shortlisted books for their incredible work. Visit the full list of recommended books, which cover topics such as wellbeing, educational leadership, and diversity and inclusion in schools.

A fine review of Uncommon Sense Teaching and of the Course Hero Education Summit 

Zainab Cheema, a US-based humanities professor, has written an excellent two-part (part 1 and part 2) review of Uncommon Sense Teaching that does a great job of summarizing key elements of the book.

And EVERY conference should be lucky enough to have a review such as what Zainab has written about Course Hero’s online Education Summit 2021.  Included in both Part 1 and Part 2 of the review are links to the relevant talks, along with a super-helpful discussion of what was covered.  (We found Dr. Luke Wood’s talk “The Effects of Racial Microaggressions” to be especially informative.)

Class Central’s upcoming Study Group venture

Starting August 23, Class Central is running a free Bootcamp, learning about Responsive Web Design via FreeCodeCamp. It’s more ambitious than the previous Study Groups – 12 weeks duration, with weekly 2-hour live sessions with Jessica Rose. You can find the details here

Keeping yourself on track with exercise

Sometimes it’s easy to talk yourself out of the importance of keeping up with an exercise program.  This article in Medium by LHTLer Kerem provides a good overview of the many benefits of exercise for both cognition and memory—and gives a good reminder for us all!

Барбара ОАКЛИ: Нейробиология в образовании подготовит Россию к прыжку в будущее

Here’s a nice interview with Barb in Russian published in Russia’s The Teacher’s Newspaper.  If you speak Russian (or use Google translate), enjoy!

Homing in on why spaced retrieval is so important and effective

This research indicates that spacing retrieval practice out by about an hour seems to be a good approach in helping mice to remember specific tasks.  Spacing out the retrieval practice in this way appears optimal in strengthening the neuronal connections involved in that specific memory.  

Remote learning not that bad? 7 in 10 parents say their kids are more focused in virtual classroom

Research is revealing that some 70% of parents feel their kids actually focus better while learning remotely.  “According to a recent survey of 2,000 American parents with school-age children and their children, one in three kids are excited by remote learning. Moreover, 72 percent of parents think virtual learning is a game-changer that will be around long after the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Homeschooling exploded among Black, Asian and Latino students

This Washington Post article details the rise in homeschooling, which is even higher outside white communities. Key grafs: “The percentage of schoolchildren in home-school has nearly tripled since mid-2019. By May of this year, the U.S. Census Bureau found more than one out of every 12 students were being home-schooled…

“Between 2019 and May 2021, home schooling rates jumped from about one percent to eight percent for Black students — a more than sixfold increase. Among Hispanic students, rates jumped from two percent to nine percent. The increase was less dramatic for White families, where home schooling doubled from four to eight percent over the same time period. Between 2016, the year of the most recently available data for Asian American families, and May, home-school rates went from one to five percent….

“In many cases, the migration from mainstream education shows the rising fears among parents of color that schools are failing their children, and the growing awareness of racial disparities in the treatment and outcomes for children of color. Despite aspiring to be “the great equalizer,” inequality is still deeply embedded in the nation’s public schools system, with yawning achievement gaps marking the performance between White and Asian students and Black and Latino ones. For parents already frustrated with their child’s education, the pandemic provided another reason to give home schooling a try.”

That’s all for this week. Have a happy week in Learning How to Learn!

Barb, Terry, and the entire Learning How to Learn team

View more Cheery Friday e-mails >