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Thursday, April 18, 2013

I've been thinking about stories...(A bi-weekly update)


My life changed a little over the weekend. One of the people responsible for this change is Kendall Haven. He is a scientist and a speaker. Really, though, he is a storyteller. What does a scientist-turned-storyteller do? He researches storytelling and brains, of course. Haven's research shows the necessity of stories, storytelling, and the story structure to brain development and learning.

I heard Haven speak this weekend. It was 10:00 on a Sunday morning and I was working. I loved every minute. Haven explained that our brains contain a "neural story net"; basically, we are born programmed to make sense of the story world. He reminded me that stories have been a human tradition since there have been humans. Widespread literacy is a pretty new phenomenon, but we don't have to be literate to tell a good story. My son tells fantastic stories about dragons and Ninja Turtles with guest appearances by Puss in Boots, but he can only write a letter T and recognize a handful of letters and numbers. Haven proposed that if more teaching occurred in the story format, kids' learning would be easier. His research, in fact, shows that this is the case.

You can read about Haven's research in his book Story Proof, which of course means I bought a new book (Kindle makes book-buying too easy). Now, I like reading educational research, but it gets rough when it gets too technical. Not a problem in Story Proof. The introduction ("Introduction: It was a dark and stormy night") begins: "I once heard it said that life is like chess and that stories are like books of famous chess games that serious players study so that they will be prepared if they ever find themselves in similar straits. I thought it a clever and well-turned phrase--stories form a roadmap for life--until I began the research for this book. Then the profound truth of it struck me full force...Lives are like stories because we think in story terms, and plan our lives in story terms."

Upcoming Professional Development Opportunities

FREE Course (Neuroscience)

More free courses (video series)

Conoco-Phillips-Rice Elementary Model Science Lab and see attached fliers

Region IV Summer Science Opportunities (some are FREE)
·         June 11–13           
Science Academies for Grades K–4
·         June 18                
Critical Concepts in Elementary Science: Force, Motion, and Energy    $80
·         June 19                 
Science as a Foreign Language: Supporting ELLs in Science   $35
·         June 19                
Critical Concepts in Elementary Science: Physical Properties of Matter   $80
·         June 20                
Critical Concepts in Elementary Science: Flow of Energy through Living Systems  $80
·         June 27                
Strategies for Science Language Learners: Academic Vocabulary  $90
·         July 9–11              
Science Academies for Grades K–4

Some Stuff I’ve Been Reading
Story Proof, by Kendall Haven

“Poetry Speaks to Children”—from NPR’s All Things Considered

Some Sites Worth Exploring
Teach Kindness
Mood Boards
Free resources for students that want to learn to code (VERY COOL!—watch the video)

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