Brain-based Learning

Post-Pandemic Challenges: The Use of Mantras on Executive Functioning Skills

Even in the best of times, teaching middle school is full of ups and downs, challenges and successes; but when you throw a pandemic in the mix, it completely changes the experience for both teachers and students. As a middle school music teacher completing a graduate program at Erikson Institute, I wanted to learn more

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Research to Practice: Implementing Genius Projects in the Middle Grades

A genius project—also called genius hour (Davis, 2022; Mulvahill, 2018), enigma mission (George Lucas Educational Foundation, 2019), or passion project (Bowersox, 2020; Wormeli, 2018)—is a form of personalized learning in which students engage in sustained, self-directed inquiry for part of the school day. Genius projects are a natural fit for the middle grades because they

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The Struggle is Real

The Struggle is Real

Creating Opportunities for Productive Struggle in Math, ELA, Social Studies, and Science While productive struggle has been the focus of much research for the past two decades (e.g., Ewing et al., 2019; Hiebert and Grouws, 2007; Townsend et al., 2018), much of that research centered on mathematics content. Here we posit that productive struggle can,

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Social-Emotional Development of Young Adolescents: Fact and Fiction

Beginning with G. Stanley Hall in the early 1900s, the age and developmental period of young adolescence began to be explored and set apart from other developmental stages of life.  From Hall to current time, researchers are still trying to understand this complicated developmental period of life that changes both the physical body and the

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Leveraging the Science Behind the Middle School Brain in your Teaching Strategies

Young adolescence is recognized as the developmental period our students undergo between the ages of 10-15. This is the age where students develop the ability to expand their concrete knowledge to a more abstract way of thinking.  The connections in the brain are occurring often, and the skills learned become hard-wired.  Because there is so

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Cheryl Mizerny

Cheryl Mizerny is a veteran educator with more than 25 years of experience–most at the middle school level. She began her career in special education, became a teacher consultant and adjunct professor of educational psychology, and currently teaches sixth grade English in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Cheryl writes about student motivation and engagement at The Accidental

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