WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
Brain-Based Learning: Resource Roundup
Browse a list of resources, articles, videos, and links for exploring the connection between education and neuroscience.
Originally Published: October 25, 2011 | Updated: February 24, 2015
Understanding How Brains Learn
Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
By teaching students to "drive their own brain" through metacognition, we provide a concrete way to guide them think about how they can best learn.
Your Face Scares Me: Understanding the Hyperrational Adolescent Brain, by Todd Finley (2014)
Finley explores the power and purpose of the teenage brain, discovering surprises such as low dopamine levels, abundant hyperrationality, and how adults can enable teen impulse by subtly redirecting it. For more about the workings of the adolescent brain, also read Heather Wolpert-Gawron's posts, "
The Mind of a Middle Schooler: How Brains Learn" and " Brains, Brains, Brains! How the Mind of a Middle Schooler Works."
How to Enhance Learning by Teaching Kids About Neuroplasticity, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Wilson and Conyers, brain-based teaching program developers and authors, share the exciting possibilities for improving student learning by teaching young people about how their brains learn.
Understanding the Causes of Dyslexia for Effective Intervention, by Martha Burns (2014)
The perception and treatment of dyslexia is shifting from a symptom-based reaction to a neurological-based understanding of what is primarily an auditory disorder. For more on this topic, you may also want to read, Patrick Wilson's "
Four Things All Educators Should Understand About the Dyslexic Brain."
Building Brain Literacy in Elementary Students, By Judy Willis (2013)
Learn about the benefits of teaching elementary students how their brains work.
A Neurologist Makes the Case for Teaching Teachers About the Brain, by Judy Willis (2012)
Willis explains how understanding neurology can give us the tools to build optimism, incentive, and motivation in the classroom.
Back to Top Applying Neuroscience in the Classroom
Putting Working Memory to Work in Learning, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Strengthen your students' conscious processing of information with techniques like repetition, gamification, visualization, emphasizing relevance, and peer teaching.
Brain Movies: When Readers Can Picture It, They Understand It, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Wilson and Conyers, brain-based teaching program developers and authors, encourage us to boost students' reading retention by training them to visualize meaning as well as paying attention to the words themselves.
Move Your Body, Grow Your Brain, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Exercise has physiological and developmental benefits for children's brains; explore ideas for putting a new spin on active learning.
Brain-Compatible Study Strategies, by Lori Desautels (2013)
Explore an array of brain-compatible study strategies for fifth graders, methods that can be adapted for use at any age.
Walking the Walk: An Educator’s Perspective From All Views, by Lori Desautels (2013)
Desautels decides to walk the walk of her pre-service and graduate students at Marian University's School of Education as she returns to public school and co-teaches a brain-compatible curriculum to fifth graders.
Edutopia's Classroom Guide: Six Tips for Brain-Based Learning (Now available in Spanish!)
In this free classroom resource guide, you’ll get practical tips across the K-12 spectrum, as well as a reading list and a variety of resources to help you learn more about this fascinating field. To help your students explore their own brain power, we’ve also included a bonus project that will get students thinking critically about how they learn.
Back to Top Social and Emotional Learning and the Brain
Cultivating Practical Optimism: A Key to Getting the Best From Your Brain, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Increase the likelihood of successful results in your students by cultivating an attitude about life that relies on taking realistic, positive action.
The Neuroscience Behind Stress and Learning, by Judy Willis (2014)
Neuroimaging and EEG studies provide a scientific basis for the sometimes controversial belief that children become better learners when they actually enjoy learning.
Energy and Calm: Brain Breaks and Focused-Attention Practices, by Lori Desautels (2015)
Here are some activities to stimulate your students' minds when they need a change, and to focus and calm them when they're just too stimulated.
Addressing Our Needs: Maslow Comes to Life for Educators and Students, by Lori Desautels (2014)
Desautels translates Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs into a blueprint for classroom practice that can set the stage with comfort, care, and self-reflection to optimize brain-compatible learning.
Playground Neuroscience: Connect and Redirect, by Barbora Bridle (2013)
Teacher and PD specialist Bridle offers a quick lesson in playground neuroscience to help teachers guide their students through social-emotional issues.
The Heart-Brain Connection: The Neuroscience of Social, Emotional, and Academic Learning (2008)
Neuroscientist Davidson presents his research on how social and emotional learning affects the brain.
Back to Top Brain-Based Student-Engagement Strategies
Strategies for Getting and Keeping the Brain’s Attention, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2015)
Holding students' attention is about activating the right neural network. Strategies include recognizing how focus feels, giving incentives, and adjusting the pace of your teaching.
Cognitively Priming Students for Learning, by Judy Willis (2014)
Hook students' attention by stimulating their hardwired need to know, and make it a satisfying experience so their brains recognize the value of energy spent learning.
Incentivizing Your Class: The Engagement-Based Classroom Management Model, by Lori Desautels (2015)
Invite your students to participate in a behavioral model that helps them level up with their engagement and attitude -- much like a video game.
Training the Brain to Listen: A Practical Strategy for Student Learning and Classroom Management, by Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers (2014)
Wilson and Conyers, brain-based teaching program developers and authors, explain how the brain processes auditory information and introduce the HEAR strategy as a way to help students develop their listening skills.
Strategies to Prevent the Neurotoxic Impact of School Stress, by Judy Willis (2013)
Willis presents evidence that boredom can actually be bad for our students' brain development and suggests strategies for counteracting the chronic stress of frequent boredom on the classroom.
A Joyful, Brain-Friendly Classroom, by Elaine Kennedy (2012)
Kennedy, Head of New Morning School, describes a K-8 curriculum that focuses on the students' learning through the joy of discovery.
Back to Top Brain-Friendly Assessment Practices
Assessment, Choice, and the Learning Brain, by Glenn Whitman (2014)
Is there a difference between performance goals and mastery goals? Yes -- and that difference can affect student outcome on assessments.
To Improve Test Scores: Hit Reset, by Hunter Maats and Katie O’Brien (2014)
Maats and Katie O'Brien explain how there are no bad test takers, but stress responses are real. Students can learn how to reset the visceral distraction of feelings that inhibit their test performance.
Survive and Thrive During Testing Season, by Lori Desautels (2014)
Desautels considers the brain research on why test prep can be so stressful, and offers six brain-compatible strategies to help students feel better about themselves and more connected to the material.
5 Assessment Forms That Promote Content Retention, by Judy Willis (2014)
Willis, suggesting that effective assessment is built on students' strengths and interests, offers five forms of assessment that will help students retain content rather than forgetting material they no longer need.
Helping Students Understand What a Test Is and Is Not, by Judy Willis (2014)
Learn how students' performance on tests can often be affected by their perceptions of and feelings about why they're being tested and what's being assessed.
Back to Top Neuroscience and the Common Core
Beyond the Comfort Zone: 6 Ways to Build Independent Thinking, by Judy Willis (2014)
Willis offers six suggestions, aligned to Common Core topics, for pushing students beyond their comfort zone, exercising their brains' executive functions, and developing healthy habits of independent thinking.
11 Tips on Teaching Common Core Critical Vocabulary, by Marilee Sprenger (2013)
Sprenger, a learning and memory specialist, writes about vocabulary critical to the Common Core and offers 11 strategies for helping students learn it.
Education, the Brain, and Common Core State Standards, by Ramona Persaud (2013)
Persaud uses the perspective of the Brain-Targeted Teaching model to examines likely benefits and practical applications of the Common Core State Standards.
Student Responses to Common Core Instruction and Assessment, by Judy Willis (2013)
Willis considers the brain-based reasons for why some students are reacting negatively to the Common Core and its emphasis on 21st-century skills.
Back to Top Research on How the Brain Works
The High Cost of Neuromyths in Education, by Judy Willis (2015)
Instead of believing in the right/left brain, learning styles, and that we use only ten percent of our brains, we should focus on neuroscience research.
Why Curiosity Enhances Learning, by Marianne Stenger (2014)
A neurological study has shown that curiosity makes our brains more receptive for learning, and that as we learn, we enjoy the sensation of learning.
Neuroscience and the Bilingual Brain, by Judy Willis (2012)
Willis shares neuroscientific research suggesting that children growing up bilingual develop better focus and judgment.
Separating Fact and Fiction in Brain-Based Learning, by Sara Bernard (2010)
New research on educational neuroscience tells us how kids learn -- and how you should teach.
Big Thinkers: Judy Willis on the Science of Learning (2009)
The noted neurologist turned educator talks about the science of boredom, how to get students' attention, and the most important lessons for 21st-century learning.
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