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Summer Assignment: Foster Creativity

June 2, 2019

If you read one education book this summer, consider Alan Lightman’s In Praise of Wasting Time. If it strikes too close to home, you’re not alone. Lightman articulates what many of us are feeling. That our very wired, very stressful lives are driven by a pervasive feeling of #FOMO (fear of missing out). We feel we need to be purposeful (or at least seen to be) every minute of every day. And it’s exhausting. The Joy of Doing Nothing Lightman begins with a vivid reflection on his childhood, as he describes, his “careless, wasteless hours at the pond.”  He makes us wistful for the joy of doing nothing.  While Lightman mourns that loss, at least he has memories. His concern is that today’s kiddos won’t… Read More

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Mindprint in Space: Results from the NASA Twins Study

May 3, 2019

What is the NASA Twins Study?  Identical twin astronauts, Mark and Scott Kelly, agreed to be studied for two years. NASA tracked changes to their genes, cognitive skills and physical and mental health to understand the impact of long duration space flight on the human body and brain. Mark stayed on Earth throughout. Scott spent a full year at the International Space Station. NASA monitored their functions before, during, and after Scott’s flight. What’s Mindprint Got to Do with It? Mindprint’s research partners at Penn Medicine’s Brain Behavior Lab provided the cognitive assessment for the NASA Twins Study. Yes, it’s the same assessment Mindprint makes available to students around the world to understand their cognitive development. NASA describes the assessment as “a much-needed practical, yet comprehensive cognitive… Read More

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Metacognition & Problem Solving

April 8, 2019

Successful learners use metacognition to facilitate their problem solving. This is one of the key findings of the National Academy of Sciences’ synthesis of decades of research on the science of learning explained in How People Learn: Mind, Brain, Experience and School Below we explain metacognition and provide the vocabulary to teach it. In part two of this series we will focus on strategy selection. If you’d like to try our full metacognition approach, please contact us here. Start with Cognition Cognition is how you learn. Depending on the topic, the context, personal experiences and genetics, each of us relies on different proportions of cognitive skills to understand and remember what we read, see or hear. We begin learning the moment we are born and we never stop…. Read More

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Attention Test: If You’re Not Paying Attention You’re Not Learning

March 30, 2019

Attention is the skill that enables students to follow through even when the work gets challenging or boring. What is Attention? Attention is your ability to sustain focus, even for tasks or classes that you might not find interesting. Attention difficulties can affect students in all subjects and activities, but it is likely to have the biggest impact in classes that students don’t have intrinsic motivation. Why is Attention so important ? Quite simply, if you’re not paying attention to what the teacher is saying, you’re not learning. If your mind wanders when you read, you are likely missing out on critical information. If you lose focus while doing an assignment or a test, you are likely to make scattered errors. Attention affects everything you do. Is my student… Read More

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Visual Memory: The Hidden Gem

March 30, 2019

Visual memory is a key skill for STEM. Mathematicians, scientists and artists all rely heavily on visual memory to be efficient in their work. What is Visual Memory? Visual memory is the ability to remember what you see, including images, patterns, colors or what’s in “the mind’s eye”. Why is Visual Memory important? While you can definitely succeed in school without strong visual memory, your visual memory helps a lot. For elementary students, visual memory is key to memorizing math facts and sight words. As students progress in school, visual memory becomes increasingly important in subjects like geometry, algebra, and science, where you need to remember patterns, shapes and diagrams of multi-step processes. While it’s true that technology is a good enabler so that… Read More

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