C is for Contrasts Cement

C is for Contrasts Cement Connections

Have you ever noticed that when you’re quizzed by someone, formally or even within a conversation, that when you’re asked to recall something specific, it’s far easier if you’re prompted with options to choose from?  It may be easier because of the phenomenon of contrasting cases.     “Contrasting cases” is a term that defines…

The ABCs of Learning

Introducing The ABCs of Learning: Montessori Edition

  Rock your New Year Resolutions to improve your Montessori practice by going back to the ABCs! The ABCs of Learning, that is!   The newest evidence regarding research based learning strategies demonstrate what many in the Montessori community already know: the Montessori Method is a highly effective way to teach children.  What is overwhelming,…

A is for Analogy

A is for Analogy-Assisted “Aha”

Aha!   Now this makes sense!   Research into the use of analogy, metaphor, and allegorical stories and their effect on the brain reveal the same agency at work during learning: when learners activate their prior knowledge through the mechanism of analogies, they extract knowledge like a past experience, enabling them to solve current or…

B is for Belonging Bonds

B is for Belonging Bonds Learning

  New evidence indicates a sense of belonging is an essential part of optimal learning environments.  Children need to feel that they are part of their classroom and the school community.  If they are distracted by feelings of inadequacy or alienation, it interferes with their learning.  Quoting the authors of the book The ABCs of…

zzzzzs

Z is for Zzzzzs Zip Up Memories

It’s interesting to me that we rarely talk about sleep as is related to learning other than to notice when a student is cranky and indicates they didn’t get enough, or a parent asks how to get their child down at night, or a student falls asleep while working.  What I hadn’t known until recently…

Yes I can

Y is for “Yes I Can” Yields Success

Believing that you can accomplish something is a critical part of doing it.  If you don’t believe you can do something, then you are very unlikely to actually do it.  As Henry Ford put it, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re RIGHT!”   Yes I Can IS a Growth Mindset  …

x is for excitement

X is for eXcitement eXcels Learners

Excitement as is related to learning is defined as a heightened state of physiological arousal exemplified by an increased heart rate and blood pressure, and higher emotional and attention.     What many educators are not as aware of is how excitement can be harnessed to accelerate learning, and how Montessori educators have built-in mechanisms…

W is for Worked Examples Work Wonders

When a teacher demonstrates how to do a procedural task, like a math problem, going through the sequence of steps to the solution, this is known as a worked example.     Worked Examples Work   Our daughter learned to play the guitar primarily from watching Youtube videos!  This is a perfect example of how…

V is for Visualization

V is for Visualization Validates Ideas

Visualization relies on humans unique ability to harness their imagination and create a representation of an abstract idea.  There are many permutations of visualization, yet I’m going to focus in on the strategies known to enhance learning.   Visualization is a Spatial Representation   External visualizations help learners process information.  Think about how quickly learners…

U is for Undoing

U is for Undoing Uncovers Misconceptions

Sometimes the process of learning involves unlearning mistaken understandings and correcting misconceptions.     Undoing Errors May be Less Necessary in Montessori   Montessori environments are unique learning places in which to make mistakes. Our youngest learners rely on hands-on didactic materials in which they gain impressions of concepts including identifying mistakes when the error…