"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brain Rules by John Medina

Finally! After the events of the last few weeks, with my husband having surgery for cancer and the end of the school year, I can turn my attention to reading and blogging again. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School by John Medina has been my "project book" for the past few months and I finished it while sitting in the hospital's waiting room.

When I say "project book" I mean it in the most positive of definitions. I read Brain Rules to gain new information about ways that I can be a better educator and to appease my general curiosity about new brain research. I wasn't disappointed on either score.

The book is divided into twelve rules:
#1 Exercise boosts brain power.
#2 The human brain evolved, too.
#3 Every brain is wired differently.
#4 We don't pay attention to boring things. (Teacher: take note!)
#5 Repeat to remember (Short term memory)
#6 Remember to repeat (Long term memory)
#7 Sleep well, think well.
#8 Stressed brains don't learn the same way. (Kids can't learn from teachers they don't feel safe around.)
#9 Stimulate more of the senses. (Come on teachers--jazz up those lessons!)
#10 Vision trumps all other senses. (Show, don't just tell; pictures are very important to learning.)
#11 Male and female brains ARE different. (Is it time to reconsider mixed gender classrooms?)
#12 We are powerful and natural explorers. (Can we reorganize our lessons to allow for more exploration and discovery?)

Each chapter contained both fascinating and thought-provoking information.  Here are a few of my favorite tidbits:
  • We must sleep on new information if we have any hope of remembering it; 
  • Emotionally arousing events tend to be remembered better than neutral events;
  • No matter what teenagers appear to think or do, the brain cannot multitask
  • Design lessons in ten-minute segments for maximum attention and retention.
  • To improve chances of remembering something, reproduce the environment in which the information went into the brain.
  • Smells have an unusual power to bring back memories (perhaps this is a huge untapped resource for educators.)
  • We learn and remember best through pictures, not through written or spoken words.
I can't remember who told me to read this book but I will recommend it to all the teachers at my school.  In fact, I really think that this book should be required reading for all new teachers or teachers-in-training.

I love it when teachers practice what they preach.  John Medina actually puts his brain rules into practice on his website.  I recommend, if you are interested in this information at all, that you visit his website and spend some time reading, viewing, and listening to more information about Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Babies! Go to the link here!  Happy learning!

2 comments:

  1. I love reading about the brain. It's fascinating stuff. I'm going to get a copy of this book. Thanks for the review!

    Grace at Feeding My Book Addiction

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  2. Awesome! I've not heard of this one, but you are write, we who work with young people need to read stuff like this. I'll read it and pass it around the faculty. Thanks!

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