REaChing for the stars
Empowering English Language Learners
I'm currently reading Teaching with the Brain in Mind by Eric Jensen, a great book for teachers looking to brush up on brain biology and understand how the discoveries of brain research can be applied to how we help students learn in our classrooms. The book starts off covering some brain "facts," or aspects of how the brain functions and learns that seem to be well supported by valid research studies. These facts tell us not only what is happening in the brain when we learn, that new neuronal connections are being made and strengthened, but also what physical conditions are most beneficial to learning. With good nutrition, an active life style, and enough sleep we generally have the recipe for a receptive brain, one that is able to pay attention to important information and process it in a meaningful way, to learn. However, those with one ingredient significantly lacking, may struggle to get the other ingredients as well. For example, if you don't sleep enough at night and are very tired, you might crave unhealthy, greasy, salty food, which will hurt your mood and your concentration. So, they are all important. The one that most concerns me is sleep.
Why? Because consistently my students tell me they are sleepy, and because when they are having difficulty paying attention in class, they often tell me they were up late the night before. Unfortunately, I have no control over how much students sleep. Yet, I feel it important to spread the word about how important sleep is, and remind my students how damaging a lack of sleep can be. I can share some resources for my students and other teachers to read to help them understand how the brain works and what role sleep plays in brain functioning.
During sleep, your brain processes new information it learned during the day and helps store that information for later, to remember. Getting a "good night's sleep" is essential for memory. In the case of teenagers, scientists have found that while they may be less sleepy at the right time, like bed time, they actually need more sleep for optimal brain functioning and to solidify learning, around 9 and 1/4 hours a night. Teens who don't get enough sleep lack energy (to get exercise or pay attention in class,) and often get poor grades. The answer seems simple: sleep. But, sleep doesn't always come easily. Here are some tips for getting a good night's sleep from PBS's Frontline "Inside the Teenage Brain":
Please read more about how the brain works and why sleep matters. Teachers, share some of t
ESL Reading Lessons: "Sleep Well"
"How the Brain Learns Best" By Bruce Perry
National Geographic Kids "Your Amazing Brain"
National Sleep Foundation: "Sleep for Teenagers"
PBS Frontline "Inside the Teenage Brain"
Science News for Kids "The Teenage Brain"
Science Kids Video "Learn about the Human Brain"