Be An Airhead

underlying principles Nov 01, 2021


This month we’re diving deeper into the mysterious, marvelous brain! Our goal is to teach students the research behind neuroplasticity and generate their belief that “My brain can learn!”

Our tip for this month is to share with your students the Why behind your teaching practice. Oftentimes, this is all a reluctant learner needs to get hooked into all this “color-coded-singing-moving-around-the-room-stuff”. This is particularly true for older students. Here are 3 brain tips and how they relate to teaching with Project GLAD® strategies.

Pictures make a difference

Concepts are more likely to be remembered and recalled if taught through pictures in addition to their corresponding words. This is known as the Pictorial Superiority Effect. Pictures are superior to words when it comes to the response time for recognizing information. If the image moves, the information is retained even longer.

In Project GLAD®, all our teaching that involves new learning is done through an input chart, like the Pictorial Input Chart. We sketch out images of the concept in front of students, thus the picture is “moving” or being revealed in real time. The language associated with those images are also taught alongside, imprinting those neural connections of visuals and language.

Don’t forget the Rate of Forgetting

The Rate of Forgetting is the research of Hermann Ebbinghaus. His research showed that students can only hold about 10 minutes worth of instruction in their working memory before they start to forget. If teachers lecture in 10-minute chunks and then stop to review, the rate of remembering goes up from 80% to 100% of the original information.

In GLAD, that’s our 10/2. Every 10-minutes, we stop and let students turn and talk to each other to process what they’ve just learned.

24 hours later, the rate of forgetting has gone down again but not quite as far. Students can remember about 70% of the information a day later. That’s when we do another review to bring that rate of remembering back up to 100%. In GLAD, the 24-hour review is the word card review.

A week later the rate of forgetting is at about 80%, so we’ll do another review.

Our brains thrive on oxygen

The average human consumes 7-8 liters of air per minute, and the brain requires 20% of that oxygen. Blood carries oxygen to our brains. The neurons in our brains use oxygen to produce energy. The energy enables the neurons to function at full capacity. Without fresh oxygen flow, it's as if our neurons get as "tired" as the rest of our bodies. Or, more aptly, the rest of our bodies get as "tired" as our neurons!  Hence the glazed look, the embarrassing unconscious staring, the reading of the same paragraph three times without remembering a word you read.  

In Project GLAD®, we use movement in many of our strategies to increase oxygen flow in the body. Bringing students “up close” to the instruction during our input charts is one example.

 Keep the fresh oxygen flowing in your brain and the brains of your students because in a counter intuitive way, begin an “airhead” is good for your brain!

Thanks for reading and thanks for what you do every day for your students!

Sara and Jody 


P. S.

The Pictorial Input Chart and it’s language development partner strategies are highlighted this month in the Next Steps online coaching program, Path to Proficiency - Enjoy access to 28 GLAD(R) strategies until August 2022!  

Register Today 


Looking for a Project GLAD® training but short on subs?

We have after school sessions to fit your needs. Check out the upcoming schedule and register here.

Dec 2021: (Nov 29th, Dec 2nd, 6th, 9th, 13th, 16th )   3:30-5:30pm

Registration deadline TODAY. We will accept registrations through Monday 11/1. Hurry!

Jan 2022: (Jan 25th, 27th, 31st, Feb 2nd)   12:00-3:00pm

Registration deadline Dec 17th           

Feb 2022: (Feb 8th, 10th, 15th, 17th, 22nd, 24th)   3:30-5:30pm

            Registration deadline Jan 7th

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