Last week, there was a bit of excitement generated on the ACCESS listserv about a new book on the brain. ACCESS member and former SKiP Committee Chair, Sandra Hackley, sent out the following information to her ACCESS colleagues and called it a must-read:
“Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, & School” by John Medina, Pear Press: 2008.
You can find some fun resources related to the book here. I especially enjoyed the video message from the author explaining how he structured the book. Funny guy; maybe a little goofy, but I appreciated that his rules are based on what is known about the brain through peer-reviewed research. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and, based on the Amazon reviews, it is a highly accessible book based on up-to-date research. If you have read it, send in a review to share!
I love reading about the brain! I haven’t read Brain Rules yet, but I did have the pleasure this summer of reading “Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain” by John J. Ratey, Little, Brown and Company: 2008. You can listen to a cool podcast about it here or take a look at the author’s website here.This book really inspired me. I’ve been thinking about how crazy it is that teachers sometimes punish children by depriving them of outside play or sports (this seems to happen in elementary school more often than early childhood, I would think). In some of the programs Ratey has worked with, the teachers give the kids a “time-in” rather than a “time out” and send kids to do a stationary bike or Dance, Dance Revolution for several minutes and after that, the kids are more able to attend to the classroom task at hand. The research he talks about in the book is really interesting particularly the relationship of exercise to ADHD, cognitive functioning, improved learning, and Altzeimer’s. The big idea is that exercise relates to increased brain plasticity – the brain’s ability to make connections so messages can be sent with efficiency. I have to say, the book really inspired me. I’ve even started running…those of you who know me, know that this is a big deal! I have never been a fitness freak or athletic in anyway, but somehow linking exercise to better brain power, so to speak, finally got me on board the exercise train. Check it out if you get a chance and let me know what you think.
Brain Conferences: Check out the Learning & Brain Society which hosts several conferences a year.