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Tag Archives: Learning and the Brain
By Liz McCulloch, Director of Lion Term and French Faculty
Leadership from All Directions – The Collaborative Effort of Lion Term
Editors’ Note: This piece originally appeared in the gcLi’s Leadership blog on 2 April. You can further seek the Gardner Carney Leadership Institute on Facebook by clicking here.
Last Spring, our entire community experienced the first ever St. Mark’s Lion Term, a two-week experiential education program that ends the school year. During Lion Term, each grade has its own unique focus and all 10th grade students work with local organizations to promote community engagement. We adopted a modified version of the African Leadership Academy’s BUILD model, a form of design-thinking adapted for social entrepreneurship. The ideas were iterated and tested first, and students came away with the confidence that working together, they can play a role in their communities.
One of my favorite stories from last year’s Lion Term involves a group of 10th grade students who worked at Daniel’s Table, an organization committed to ending hunger in Framingham, MA and beyond. After volunteering to serve meals and talking to the founders and clients at Daniel’s Table, our group recognized that it would be helpful to list the ingredients in multiple languages for those who do not speak English or who are not familiar with the local produce. The group decided to make laminated cards with ingredients in English, Spanish, and Portuguese on one side and recipe ideas on the back. In working to understand the needs that the organization was meeting, our students were able to offer a solution that helped the organization to improve its service. (more…)
By John Camp, English Faculty & Director of Student Enrichment
Hosting the NACLO National Linguistics Competition
Alternate title: “When a Freshman Stops By Your Office and Two Weeks Later You’re a Site Host and Proctoring a Three Hour Linguistics Competition for Seven Students!”
While toiling over thesis statements and parallel structure in the writing of my IV Form students, I heard a knock on my office door and saw a smiling student. III Former Clara Hua introduced herself to me and asked if I knew anything about the NACLO linguistics competition. I said no, and then Clara explained it all to me. She wondered if I, through my Enrichment position, could potentially make St. Mark’s a site host so that she could compete. Since I am fascinated by cool ideas and I love when students want to compete in academic challenges, I told Clara that I would look into it. Soon, I sojourned down a rabbit hole of links and queries through the world of linguistics. Through NACLO (the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad via http://nacloweb.org/), I learned how to establish St. Mark’s as a NACLO high school site and myself as a site coordinator. I emailed Clara to tell her, and while she set off to advertise the competition among students, I realized that I needed to know what the heck, in fact, a computational linguistics competition actually is! (more…)
By Helen Huang, Reese Hornstein, and Aditya Mynampaty, IV Form
School Schedules’ Impact on Teenage Brains & Adolescent Sleep
Editors’ Note: In the IV Form Writing Workshop course, students responded to various prompts after listening to a podcast on adolescent sleeping patterns and the brain.
With the early start times and little free time, the current St. Mark’s schedule ineffectively addresses how teenagers get their sleep. Sleep is essential to functioning efficiently throughout the day. Why do teens, whose brains are developing and growing, subject themselves to sleepless nights on a regular basis? Schools like St. Mark’s have tried to account for the little sleep teens get by starting classes at 8:00 or 8:30 am, but kids still arrive to class tired and mentally unprepared from insufficient sleep. The St. Mark’s schedule ineffectively addresses how teenagers manage their sleep pattern. Teenagers do not start waking up until around 9:00 or 10:00 am, and until then, their bodies and minds are not fully alert and ready to absorb information (Rogers 5). Therefore, changing the start time of classes by an hour may not be enough to help adolescents get an adequate amount of sleep. (more…)
By Jeanna Cook and Dr. Heather Harwood, Classics Faculty
Self- Paced Learning in Latin III and III Honors
The Classics Department is trying something new this year: self-paced learning. We kicked off this departmental goal almost accidentally as we planned for separate courses in separate places this past summer. Dr. Heather Harwood was working on revamping the Latin III Honors course to better support students who continue with the language in Advanced Latin Readings thereafter. Jeanna Cook was looking for a way to restructure the Latin III course to better serve incoming students who place into Latin III. In our first department meeting of the year, we realized that we were attempting to solve different problems, but that we had designed curricula that pulled from the same methodology. Self-paced learning, assisted by the module structure in our LMS, Canvas, offered a common means by which we hoped that we could achieve our individual course goals. (more…)
By Hannah Hassara, Katherine Gao, Kennedy Petties, Ryan Yang, Mary Flathers, Nathan Laudani, Cecily Bradley, David Ragone, Caitlin Lochhead, Teresa Meyer, and Steven Sinchi, V Form
How the Adolescent Brain Works: In Annotated Diagrams
Editor’s Note: In the culminating assignment of the Biology 30 unit on Learning and the Brain, the students created Annotated Diagrams of their brains and how their brains learn new information. An Annotated Diagram is a formal sketchnote that aims to demonstrate understanding of the information by demonstrating how the information was processed. The following question was posed: “How might the fact that you are an adolescent help you craft learning strategies that work for you and are effective?”
Scroll down for large images of the Annotated Diagrams. (more…)
By Amy Wang, V Form
Constructing a Flowchart in Biology
Editor’s Note: The following description of the assignment provided by Ms. Kimberly Berndt, STEM Faculty–
It can be challenging to understand the complex physiological mechanisms and pathways we explore in Biology. One effective strategy to synthesize, organize, and review information is through visual thinking. We employ visual thinking in a number of ways. In this assignment, students were charged with constructing a flowchart to illustrate their current understanding of how carbohydrates are metabolized.
An effective flowchart takes a complex process and simplifies it in a manner that makes the information more accessible. Flowcharts can be found in many Biology textbooks for this reason. However, the process of constructing a flowchart can be an even more effective tool for learning. Constructing a flowchart requires multiple intellectual tasks. (more…)
By Izzy Kim, VI Form
Penny the Penguin: Parents’ Best Helper!
This summer, I attended a tech + business program at MIT called LaunchX, formerly
known as MIT Launch. I was admitted as a “hacker,” with my specialities in app development and virtual reality. The ultimate goal of the camp was to create a start-up and pitch the business idea in four weeks. I worked with three other students and together we co-founded Ami. Ami has an ambitious vision of “keeping kids happy and healthy,” and we are taking a first shot at our vision with our pilot product Penny the Penguin. On the outside, Penny might seem like any other penguin plush. Yet, Penny is a kid’s best buddy and the parent’s best helper: Penny can speak parent-crafted messages through a phone-connected bluetooth speaker. Through these messages, children will adopt healthy habits, and parents will find parenting less of a difficulty and more of a joy. Busy parents who accidentally forget to remind kids to “brush their teeth” or “wash their hands” can simply set up a reminder on our accompanying app to have a message played specific times. We tested our products on families living in the greater Boston (more…)
By Dr. Colleen Worrell, Director of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning
Productivity, Neuroscience, and Deliberate Practice: Deep Work and School (Part 2)
With the school year off to a frenetic start, I am returning to the topic of deep work, which I wrote about in LEO last September. My article, “Make Deep Work Your Super Power,” was supposed to be the first in a series of posts that would connect Georgetown Professor Cal Newport’s book Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World to school and learning. “Deep work” is the ability to focus deeply on a challenging task for a specific period of time, blocking out all distractions in order to get stuff done efficiently and well. The fact that I’m writing part 2 of the “series” one year later proves that I have yet to master this skill. Indeed, my failure to build deep work into my own practice is, in part, what motivates this post. (more…)