Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Physical activity can boost student performance

There are so many programmes that are available to teachers and educators that boast of being able to boost student achievement.  Most of these are unproven and soon disappear as their lack of worth becomes obvious. 

However, there is one strategy that time and again is proven to enhance student learning and engagement in schools, yet is often cut from classroom programmes to allow more time for the key areas of numeracy and literacy.  This proven method is exercise and physical fitness. 

This article is one more example of research that highlights the benefits of physical activity to boost academic performance.  It starts:

'Going to PE class and recess can be a win-win situation for students.

Physical activity improves kids' fitness and lowers their risk of obesity. And now a government review of research shows that kids who take breaks from their class work to be physically active during the school day are often better able to concentrate on their school work and may do better on standardized tests'.

To read the full article, click here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A web presence for your school

I read an article in the newspaper today about the need for businesses to have a website to maximize on the potential of the company.  I believe that the same applies to a school, for which a web presence can do the following:
  • Promote the success of students
  • Share examples of work done by students
  • Share news about the school
  • Post photos and video for the school, and wider, community to see
  • Provide links to any media publications about the school
  • Post newsletters on line
  • Share useful websites for students and parents
  • Share a calendar of upcoming events
  • Provide information on people associated with the school; e.g. staff, BOT, PTA, student leaders
  • Provide information on the direction of the school through posting the Charter and Strategic Plan on the site.
The problem many schools have is getting started, and once started, keeping their web presence up to date.  To make a start, I suggest the following four means to establish your web presence.  Each method is used by my own school, Lakeview School (clicking gon the link will take you to the Lakeview example of the application).

Google Sites

Two things that I really like about the four examples I have provided are the cost (they're free!), and the ease of use (I am no computer whiz, yet I have set all of the applications up myself). 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Brain Rule 6 - How to enhance your long term memory

These ideas from John Medina would certainly be worth trying out in a classroom as a means of having students retain what is taught to them, boosting their long term memory:

  1. Lessons are delivered in 25 minute bursts, with the content repeated three times a day with 90 minutes intervals between sessions covering the same content.
  2. Every three or four days would be review days in which the content covered in the previous 72-96 hours would be revisited and reviewed.
  3. Critical pieces of information are reviewed on a yearly or bi yearly basis.  The example that Medina gives is the reviewing of the multiplication tables, fractions and decimals.  As competencies increase in sophistication the review content is changed to reflect greater understanding.

These strategies will lead to long term memory being more reliable through incorporating new information gradually, then repeating it in timed intervals.

To find out more about Brain Rule 6 in John Medina's wonderful book 'Brain Rules', click here.

Monday, August 8, 2011

How to be a better listener.

For all of you leaders, teachers, parents, spouces and friends out there, use RASA to be a better listener:


For more on how to become a better listener, check out this TED talk.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cloud computing in schools - a very successful example

I came across this presentation in edtalks.  It is about the journey that Albany Senior High School has made with it's implementation of cloud computing technology.  There is a lot in this that any school could take and use.  The best thing about it is that it is all free!

Click here to watch the presentation from the school deputy principal, Mark Osborne. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Deepak Chopra creates a video games for neurological development

This article discusses an interesting concept on the use of video games for neurological development.  The article ends with Deepak Chopra stating:

"It's all do-able now," said Chopra. "We just have to bring it all together. If we can measure what's happening in your body, your heart, your emotions, your breath and your mind, then there's no reason why we can't create a new generation of video games that can help accelerate the personal, psychological, emotional and spiritual development of human beings."

To read the article in full, click here.