Teach for Attention!

10th June 2021

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Book of the Week

Teach for Attention! A Tool Belt of Strategies for Engaging Students with Attention Challenges, by Ezra Werb. This brief, easy-to-read book provides “from the trenches” teaching strategies for students with ADHD, low self-confidence, distraction, and other attention challenges. There are dozens of true classroom stories that show the strategies in action. Ezra is an educational therapist working with students with attentional deficits, learning challenges, and spectrum disorders, so his insights can definitely help build your teaching repertoire if you are working with cognitively diverse students.

Learning How to Learn Effectively

You’ll enjoy Barb’s conversation about learning with real estate expert Tyler Chesser.  Their discussion focused on how to think independently and learning how to learn. Highlights include:

  • Why you should ditch your allegiances
  • The two main perspectives for paradigm-shifting ideas
  • Why stress can be a good thing
  • The benefits of broad learning in real estate investing
  • Why specialization is not necessarily the right path
  • Tips for people with a small working memory capacity

All real estate investors are read up on investing. How can you separate yourself from the pack through innovative thinking? Discover how in this insightful episode!

Parent Q & A: Do Music and Homework Mix?

This practical article by Deborah Farmer Kris gives a great deal of insight into a question many parents have about whether music and homework mix.  As Deborah suggests, experiment:  “If you like to mix music and schoolwork, spend some time figuring out what types of songs work best. Here’s a simple experiment you can try individually or with friends: 

“Take a sheet of math problems. While you work, play different types of music for exactly three minutes each: music with and without words, music at different volumes, instrumental jazz and classical, and so-called “brain wave” music. Finally, complete another three minutes in silence.

“At the end of each segment, note how many problems you finished and how you felt. Were you more relaxed? More agitated? More energized? Was music a distraction you had to tune out? Did it affect your speed or accuracy?

“Once you find music that boosts your focus, create a study playlist. Or multiple lists for different subjects and tasks. Or give yourself permission to work in silence. 

Deborah’s article is worth reading in full!

Helping a Parent to Help their Child

We received the following email, and we are hoping that perhaps learners might have insights to help Toni: 

“Dr. Oakley, I have read over the years your work and am grateful for it. I’m finding it difficult to find someone who knows how to use your work with children. My daughter is 9 and I can see we need to help her learn how to use her brain. The school system is failing her; and, while she’s excelling in different ways, I can see a tough road ahead. Who actually works with children to help teach them these tactics? Toni”

If you have ideas to help, please post your insights on the discussion forum. (If the discussion forum link doesn’t work for you, just go directly to the general discussion forum.)

What Will Remain Post-Pandemic?

This perceptive article, co-authored by Barb’s friend, MIT linguist Shigeru Miyagawa and by MIT Learning specialist Meghan  Perdue, provides insight on what will come after COVID when it comes to education. Key graf: “If an award is to be given for the most raves from instructors across disciplines, it is the chat feature in video conferencing platforms. One instructor said that when he first started to use Zoom, he saw a stream of postings on the chat, not only addressed to him but also to each other. He was puzzled by what appeared to be a distraction, but then saw that the students were engaging with the lesson and encouraging others to ask and answer questions. In a large lecture class, students liked the fact that their questions were promptly answered by a TA, which helped to keep their attention on the lesson. Many other faculty reported that the chat allowed students who weren’t comfortable speaking up in class an opportunity to participate in the discussion. Many are thinking of how they can recreate the chat experience when they return to in-person teaching.”

A Great Game to Teach Kids Computer Logic

The Turing Tumble is a new game where players ages 8 to adult build mechanical computers powered by marbles so as to solve logic puzzles. Not only is it addictively fun—it also teaches about how computers work.  Kids can have a blast learning to code in a language without words. As the company notes: “Turing Tumble blurs the line between coding and building machinery. There’s no syntax to learn, no abstraction, and no electronics at all.”  This is awesome learning—highly recommended! [Hat tip Eric Siegel, instructor of our previous MOOC of the Month: Machine Learning for Everyone.]

Helping Students be Excellent Online Learners

Here’s an excellent short video by the always perceptive Kristin Palmer, Director of Online Learning at the University of Virginia with tips for being an effective online learner, including setting up your workspace, managing your time, minimizing distractions, and techniques for learning.  Techniques include recall, chunking, testing yourself, eating your frogs first and focused versus diffuse thinking.  

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

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