The Chiffon Trenches

4th June 2020

Cheery Friday Greetings to our Learning How to Learners!

Books of the Week

  • The Chiffon Trenches, by André Leon Talley. Barb’s own sense of fashion tends toward frumpy. So she was fascinated to read André’s descriptions of life at the highest levels of fashionhe was friends or colleagues with practically every major figure in high fashion over the past fifty years, including Karl Lagerfeld, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta, Halston, Yves Saint Laurent, and Oscar de la Renta. As a black, gay fashion maven inspired by both his Southern roots and his faith, André opened new doors of diversity in an industry struggling with a history of racism, prejudice, and bias. A very elegant and readable book, as “bespoke” as André’s extraordinary sense of fashion.
  • Julie Bogart’s magnificently helpful book is so highly relevant to what’s going on now for kids that we want to bring it back to your attention: The Brave Learner: Finding Everyday Magic in Homeschool, Learning, and Life.  Barb’s cover blurb says it all: “A masterpiece. This is the deepest, most meaningful book on parenting I have ever read. If you want to raise your child to be a happy learner, whether via homeschooling or conventional schooling, read this book.” If you are a parent or parent-to-be, get this book!  In these times of COVID and stay-at-home parenting, this book is invaluable. If you’re looking for guidance for your child or teenager’s writing, also check out Julie’s website, Brave Writer.
  • COVID Conversations: Helping Children Understand What’s Happening, by Gail Brown. This simple book provides an explanation that young children can understand about some of the sudden changes in life’s rhythms with the COVID pandemic. Often, just talking with children can helpthis simple dialog between a grandmother and granddaughter is a great conversation starter that also provides activity suggestions. (Here also is a more formal sheet of guidance on talking to youngsters about COVID.)

A Fantastic Announcement from Coursera—free certificates for college and university students 

Starting on June 1st, college and university students around the world can learn and earn certificates on Coursera for free. Current undergraduate, graduate, or recently graduated students with a verified school email can sign up to get free access to over 3,800 courses, 150 Guided Projects, 400 Specializations, and 11 Professional Certificates. They can enroll in programs for free until July 31 — no credit card required. Once enrolled, they will have until Sept. 30, 2020, to complete the programs. [Hat tip Mindshift Lead Mentor Scott Mathews.]

Professor Surian Figueroa Shows How to Actively Read a Book (Great for Adults and Kids Both!)

Spend a few minutes watching this marvelously informative video as Professor Figueroa of Southwestern College shows you how to actively read and recall a fun book (Barb and Terry’s Learning How to Learn!)

Barb on “Grizz Tech Talks”

Follow Barb as she chats with Oakland University computer science student Allison Broski in this fun podcast on Barb’s home stomping grounds at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

Do You Have Recommendations for Evidence-based Play and Learning Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers?

A LHTLer writes: “I’ve been scouring the internet looking for books (or any media!) that talk about evidence based play activities for toddlers and preschool kids—I know puzzles are in this category but what else is there? So many activities for kids of that age is busy-work and I think that’s a real shame. Thank you for any guidance you may have!”

If you have any suggestions, please post in the discussion forum here.  (If you have trouble accessing the forum, try updating to the current session of LHTL, or just go to the main discussion forum.)

A Terrific Video Abstract of the Semantic Space of the Brain

Take a look at the video abstract part way down the webpage of this classic paper on how human brains analyzes meaning. If you’re not mathematically inclined, don’t worry—just focus on the imagery and key ideas of the paper will still make sense to you.

Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment

This fascinating article by R. Douglas Fields in Quanta Magazine details how a potential new treatment combining two formerly unrelated areas of research—rhythmic sensory stimulation and the brain’s immune cells—may provide breakthrough treatments to Alzheimers and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Let Us Break the Marketer’s Monopoly on Metaphors

This short essay by our friend Anupam is a delightful reflection on the often-overlooked value of metaphor, especially in teaching.  

Neuroscience & the Classroom: Making Connections

This video course from Annenberg Learner is for K-12 educators to acquaint them with current neuroscience research that they can apply in their own classrooms. We particularly enjoyed the video “Good Idea?” featuring Prof. Abigail Baird of Vassar College, that discusses the differences between teenage and adult brains. [Hat tip: Rassul-Ishame Kalfane]

Father of Modern Neuroscience, Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Was Also a Pioneer in Vaccination

This article in El País describes Cajal’s early development of inactivated vaccines—a development that remained virtually unknown because, as Cajal himself would later write: “Spanish is an unknown language of the wise.” Fortunately, times have changed! [Hat tip Jose Fernando Gallego Nicholls.]

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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