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Instructional Strl3itegies' , , '9 Frequently Asked Quesrions

81 93

Learniagand M,emory: The Brain inAction

Preface and Acknowledgments- , " , " ;, , .,', v I Losing YOMf Mind: The Function of Bmin Cells ' , , ..

2: Chicken Soup for the Brain:

The. Effects of Brain Chemicals' .. , ..... , . 15

.J Pieces and Parts: The Anatomy of the Brain . , 30

4l Strolling Down Memory Lanes: Memory

and Storage Systems- , , , ,45

5 \Vhel'e Is Wal[yl Locating Memories in the: Brain' 57

6 The Path Most Traveled: Semantic Memory

Instructional Strategies . . , . . , . , . . , . , , . . .. 64

7 The. Lenes Less Traveled. Insmrcttonal Strstegies for Episodic, Procedure], Au toma tic I! and

Emotional. Memo~1f ; . , ! •• ,! 72

.s Producing the Evidence: Assessment That Mirrors

Oloss::u:y . . , . . . , . . . ; . , • . , . . • . , 103

Bibliography; !, .•• , •• ,..... , • 106

Index' .. , .!, .. ,.

About the Author- ...

lOB 114


To Scou j Josn, and, Mamie

far their end.! love; patience, tMnd SUP:PlWt

Preface and Acknowladqments

In the late 1980s~ I realized dun my students weren't learning as ,e'illli~y or eagerly as th,(!;y had in previons years. For some reason, dM~Y were changing-and my techniques and attitudes were not My first approach to this dilemma was to get them to 'ichange back," to fie my ~eaJching model. 1 finally discovered that the only person I could change was myself. So I started searching for information. I took classes on discipline! parenting, self-esteem, and musk. i resear-ched learning styles! talked to child JlsY'chologisli:s~, and read anything m could about the brain.

In m 99,2 I signed lip for a five.,day graduare class with brain "guru" and author Eric Jensen. During that week I discovered my new passton=-the human brain. Eric ~sk€'.!dif I wanted to travel with him and be tmined in presenting workshops on braincompatible strategies for teaching. I was reluctant to leave mvhusband, Scott, and our children for pan ofthe summer.I was born and! raised in Peoria, Hlinois; attended Bradley University in Peoria, and married my ,highschool sweetheart. The thought Gf traveling with astrangerfrom California was (Tightening for this Midwestern woman. So ldedined.

After watchingme pout for several days, my very understandifilg and supportive husband said the words that would change my life.: "lf you don't go, nothing willever change." 1 called Eric find asked if I could still. join him, He said yes. After training withhnm that summer; ,I began my awn research and designed other classes on brain research and reach ing s rraregtes, m h.llv~b ee ntrs ining educarers in practlcal, brain-eompatible ~eaching strategies every StIrn· mer and available weekend since then ..

My research on {he brain continued. ~b@g:rn to see what EI powerful factor the research had become in Iny classroom and in my personal life. Getting up in the morning and going to school became a joy for me once again, I reaUzeiCI the importance of this information and began teaching my students how thetr brains worked, SOl they could become bettes leame:rs.l found that [[ly srudems looked forwardto growing new dendrites and stl1engthelling their synapses!

MARIUEE SPRENGER Peoria! Illinois September ill 999


Le:liJ.rning and mem.ory eventually became my focus, As I spoke at stareand na£ion~l conferences, classroom teachers inspirejdme. Their excitement at learning this new infonnadon was infectious. The application of the research to my dassroom experience offered tangible evidence that these straregiescouldmake a difference.

I decided to put it an on peper, Although nothing appears to remain constant in this field, I wanted [@,~chers to know two things: (]) ~hebnlin ·hasevel'y~hillg ro do wi~h learnlng, and (2) th. more we know about brain science, the easier it will be to make the hundred$ of decisionseach ,day that aff@ct our students.

I[ rook almost a year ~o put this book ~ogetheF. SCOt~ became my personal. editor until ASCD turned me over to joyce Mcleod, whose writing and editing expertise guided me through this publishingexperience. I had self-published two previcus hooks, but in this situation. [ required g,"l~dance and support Joyce of~e'red both.

I am grateful to thoseexpertswho showed me the way into this exciting field of brain research. Robert Sylwestel' has answered Inany afmy questionsthrough the: years. Pat Wolfe has encouraged my work and been a wonderful role model. Science writer Janet Hopson. gmdously answered my e-mail queries, and Eric Chudler, ill neurcsciemist, has insp'lred both Illy rn.iddle school students and Illy gr:acl~tate students as we s~udy the brain. His wonderfMIWeb site, NeUl'osciencc for Kids; (hnp:llw@b@r.l!l.w[!; ler/neurok.h(lnl) i and his, tireless patience in. answering our ql;lestions added a great dealto our learning, m am also grateful for my fil,encls who listened mall mv ~'brail1l tliilkti dlJl"ing {he: years; especially Glenn Pcsmer,

'The knowledge I gained allowed me to Chai'lige my approach to teaching in such a powerful way that 1 would like to share it with other teachers; administrators, and anyone else who is curioes about how ehe brain wo!'ks and !tvho is interested in making a difference in the lives of students.


lnsinq YOiurMiind:

'The Function of Brain Cells

It is [bridge night, and some if~jel'ldsal'ld lare talkingl abouta mutua~ frliend's new baby. As we r,em~nisce, the births oi my own oMdmn come to mind. I remember the middle-of-the-:nlght (j'ash to th'e hospi· tatt~e pain, the excitemelliE,. and 'the @:xhalistiOIli. There ere some things you just never forget

One of my bridge fr~~nds interrupts my thoug.htsand asks. "How much did your lbalbies we~gih r'

I reaoh back into mry memory of Josh's b~rtl1 and that exciting day. ~ open my mOllitth to, speak end say, ",Jiosh w'eighed 7 pounds." UITIm, 7 pounds ... " My brain just isn't 'func1iio:n~ng correctly. I know the answer 1:0 tlhis Illke I kti]ow my own name. II own tnl;s· ir'lfCirmatt.~on, A mother should never forget this. slbuft What d~d he weigih '( The emberrassment is Qverwhefmirlg, $10 I quickly SffY, "Oh, yes, Josh weighed 7lbs, 5 oa" his a lie. What in the worl!d is wrongl wllth me?

On the lw!lay home I reme:ll'IberedJosh~s birth wtigh[.l was so relleve,d.

I trh.ought I wasl'eaHy losing my mind. Was! losing i.t:?Noj not inttlesense that [ 'would no' longer beable WftlI1ClLOI1..WhycolJldl1l't I remember [osh'sbbth weight! That question bas many diffeJiie!ntansw1ers.. Leis examine the brain re find om how it works. Then 8!ns\l\~e:rh1Jg questions about oer memories win beeasier

Brain Callis

Thebrain ]s a fascinating orga~, Like the rest of the body! it is composed of c.eUs; but brain cells are diHerent fmm other cells. Our discassion [0,' cuses on twotjpes of brain cells: newuns and glial cell's .. Although the bratnhes many other types of cells, these are (he, onesmost involved in learning.


Whalt'si ha,ppe n ing to my brain Whelt'l I can't recall ,aln important fact?

At birth the braiin we~ghs about one pound. By age 19 to 2.0. it weighs aibollt thres pounds.

The brain cells involved m learn ing anll neu rons and glial ceill~_

At birth we hsve sbour 100 billion nElurons,

Th€, brain sen as messages 'through Its neurons.

leam:ing occurs when two neuron,s

com municat'e.

As rilliJ,Urons make mer'@ Gonrnec1liorrs. or "ls am;" tlhe braiirl Qle:ts heavier;


The brain cell that get;51rnu~h arrention is the neuron. Neuron simply means "nerve cell." UmH reeentlj, it was believed thatthe bn'dn could not generate new neurons. Recent research shows that it) OLlie ~I,eaj the hippoC-9IWpUSJ, thereis evidence of new cells (Kinoshita, 1999J. Before birth [he brain produces 9:bout 250~OOO neurons per minute. AI:: birth, we have about 100 M~Uon lleuron.s,a:nd"hlwugh we maintain that nember, the neurons may ~QSe their connecring powers (Diamond '& Hopson, lli998), II neurons are not used at appropriate times durtngbrain development, th.eir a:bHity to make connections dies, Neurosdentists call rhls processtneuralprunng." SOl ¥es~ we are all losing our mind!s~

However, yon don't need. to panic about those lost eouneetions. The ones rhar YOIJ] have left can take care of anything )IOIJ need to kno-W' or ]t~m for the rest OfY01llf life, Some research implies that we use from U [0 20 percent of our brain. However, ,,,eacrually use :£111 of our brain.but not all of its processing power (Chudlel:j 1998). Themlracle of the brain is ma~ It: 1S built for continual Iearn.ll"lg.

\lVhatis [earning, and does it occur in the brain!' Neuroscientists det1ne leai:nifil~ as tWO neurons communicathlg: with ~adl othe:r. They say that neurons have ,~j learned" when one neuron sends a message toanother neuron (Hmnaford, ]995) .. Let's examinethe process.

A neuron has threebasic parts: the cell.body, the dendrites1 and the axon (see f~.gurre 1 .1). YOMrhand f]nd forearm are i~ handy'~ represenmtions of a neuron, The cell body c.f]n be compared to ehe palm .of your hand. Informationentel'S the cell body through appendages called dendrites., represented by yOUl: fingers .. Just as you wiggle Y(l!l,.lt fingers, YOllr dendrites me constantly moving as rhey seek information. If the neuron needs to send a message to another neuron, the message ~s sent out through the 8!X!Ofl. Your wrist and fort!aJrm ri!p[es~n[ the :tJixon. When a neuron sends inf'Of~ marion downits axon. to cormnunicate with another neuron, ~I never acrU$lI.ytouch~ ~h,e other neuron. The messegehas to go from the axon of [he s~ndin~ neuron W the dendrite of the r~o~j\ling neuron bv "swimming" dll:OlL]gh a space called the S)1Mp$e. As the neurons make connec[iOIlS, the brainis growirngdendJ:jtes. and strengrhenlng the synapses. [See figure 1.2.,),

If wehave 100 billion neuronsin ourhead, they must be ve!"y small, Imagine this: 30jOOO 11le1!.lJIOll$ can I1t all the head. of a pin. Tharslmpresslve, but rheres more. Each neuron may be linked wit~l another J,OOO to lliO,ODO neurons, The brain has ahout one quadrillion neural connecnons (Wolfe, 1996).. That's a lot of communication go~ng on inside our heads! The process of neuronstalking toeach other iselectro-chemkab the

F~gl[re 1..1., A N eueon

action within Jihe neuron is electrica], bUE the messagebecomes ehemleal as ir havelsbetween lleU!lt'om. The chemicals ~re cal~ed neurotn:msmitf~'s. Chapmer 2 provides more information about neurotransmitters,

Think nbmH a smallcbUcl's Hrut experi:en.ce when hismotherpoaus 'Out a red bird and tells the child, "Thats a red bird. It's called a cardinaL" The child artemprs m repeat tile word, I~Cawdnal Bood." The cb.ildjs brain has made '81. cenncction, Afe'w neurons are now talking IrO each other abcur birds, If the childwatched as the bird flew out of the tree, he may have the connecting neurons ofbitd-cardinal.fIy. The lleXi~ rime he sees acardmal, his brain will make those ccnnecnons aga in. This rime the neurons may connect fa5l:er, because whenneurons learn or practlee ttlformanon, they become more efflctent at conrecting.

Neurons :are SI~D!1ed ln columns ~n the upper portion of the braiucalled the mmcmtex (Sy lwester, 1993:). The chlld might make otherconnecoons re~~led W the cardmsl. If he sees geesel:1ying south.he rn~ght add th:8Jt to the bird-cardjnalAly connection. Frx;m there, he m.ight add a huttelfiy or an airplane,

This chain of neuronsis called a neural nelM!m'k. The more often the brain accesses the network, the stronger the connections become, Those synapsesj en spaces, become stronger as well, As these' neurons are

Chi Idrel'l make conn(i)ctiorls easily.

The more h1equentllv a neurs I network is accessed, the stronger it b ecornes.

figure 1 .. 2. How Neurons Communicate

I -

fi1 meSS81!gegoes intolttlie cell bod'Y

of a nauren through 'rhl€! dlendrites.

It "swims:" across the SVlnajJse '~O the de n d Iri~e of another neuron.

N'emal networks begJin as rough paths and! e\llentually become more ~iike sliperhighwB¥;3,

The bra in rn 8 kes neural conrecnorsat an enormous fate during the early years,

tepeated~y "fired/' that is,llalk to each other, the dendrites and axons become accustomed ro the: connections, and the cormecdons are easier to make. Compare this to a path in me woods. 'The first rime )!Oti create a path, it is rough, and overgrmWl:1!. The next nme 'You use it~ it is easter to travel because you have previously wa~ked over the-weeds and moved the obstacles.Each time thereafter, it gets smoother and smootber. 11'1 a simi]flr fashiol"iIl the neural networks get more snd more effident~ and messages travel more swif~ly.

Researchers am ClIIT€ an important th~orv called ,[omg .. term po.~emla~ion (lTIP). LTP suggests that every time a ueuron fires ill' formation BcrOSS a synapse, the rn.emory of that information is encoded exponent iaU y. That means the .~ nfonna trion. is learned mu ltipl e times each time it is practiced, The signal has changed ehepctenrial ofthe receiving neuron, and i( now has '[he porentlal EO learn faswr (FiupElIrick~ 1996).

- "

During the first ye:llf of life, the brain. makesnecronal connecticns am:

an enormous rate. Some sclendsrs SHY (hat after the first [WO vears, [he brain never ~g3il1 teams esmuch or as qilJikkly. What is happening during this time] Thebrsin is first wi.l'ing the lnbm up to his body. h is making theconnections far movement, sight, and sound (Begley, 1997). The baby is also. making connections with his primarycaretaker. Using hls

ownsounds and movements, the infant ccmrcuntcares \'ifirh those who are In.eehfl.gll'is, needs. He begins to recognize voices as !!,1,IIell asthe el!:.pl1e~son in [hose voices. The baby mpid]ylearns which sounds will get him the desired attention,

Because the brain isso immatureat birth, it 'takes another 18 to 20 )lieal'S Iro, complete tile wiring, We are a social. oulttlre~ and each individual must "wire up" to ~ specific culture and 80cJety (Sylwes~er, 1997>1), Spedfk blain areas develop air th.eir own. rates.

IBlli·,al Cells

The second lype ofbrail'llceUj the glia] celt i-s just beginn'ing co get the attentien it deserves. Gllal cells aee nurrurlng cells for the neurons, G~al means ~jglue;" andneutoseientists had good reasons for this name. Glial cells firstassist in themig:ratrlon of neurons durjng~ fetal brain devdop .. ment. Their fibers act likeropes fot Ilhen.euruils to hold onto as they tutlJke th.eir way throughrhe brain (Kumig, 1998). The gl~.3JI (ells feed and do rhe bouLs~ke.epin.g fol' the. neurons, almost attaching themselves to the neurons. to keep them nourished, The more oft,en the brain uses neueons, t'h.e more glia] cells it needs, nndeool when ]lMeEl['ch.ers dissected Albert Blostein.'s brain, tbey found an extraerdinarvccllecnon of glial cells in a spedfi:c area ofhis brain. They concluded rhat th~s area in Einstein's brain showed more possible use than the same area in any other brain. ever studjed fDiamond~ 1996),

Uolikeneurons in most areas of~he braln, gliatceas can reproduce, so we can have as many as our bndn needs Comronnicatton remains fils!: and 'easy becausethese glial cells work and nurture the neurons


Another sMlbstance m:h:gjt neuroscientists are studying is m;r,e'un. This farty sabsrance coots the axons of neurons (see; figure 1,3), The coat.ln.g acts, likeinsulation and allows messages to travel qUickly w~th01JJlt an.yloss of trensmtsston. Currently two theories describe the production and fe" lease of lnyelin,

One theorYi slJpponedby neurophysiologist Carla Hannaford ( 1'995) ~ .$a~,,s,thaJ~nl)'elin isadded 1:0 the axon with use. In mher words, as theneuron is called upon to flre, iJI. cmlting of mydil1 is put down. lfrhe neuron is pan ofa network of neurons fired oftrenl the axon will be heavily myel inated, SOjlike the path in [he woods dlat IS constantlv wa~kedup{ln, the neuronalpath becomes S,llloot'hera:nd (':Elster.

Other researchers, like [ane He3!ly U994), theorize that the mvd~na,. non of neurons is a. de v'eloprD.lental process thae begins at birth. According' to this [h.eory!,th.e brain releases my~hl1 in SC8Jges,begil1oing with the

As: social cresteres, we must ';wire IUp" to our soc:iety;

Glia.11 cells are brain c.eHs 'that nurture tile neurons,

An abruncla nice .of glliai ceUs ln a psrtlcular area of the brain indicates that a rea has beerl used often,

My€,lil1i;lcts as: insulation on the ,axo~, mak~ng messages mow more ,quickly.


Figure 1.3. A Neuron with Myelin

There a rs two ttH3!orl€!s on how the process of myel~nat~orJ place,

lower brain areas, The final area of the brain [0 be mye'linamd ]s ~n the prefrontal cortex behind ehe :fo:rehe8:d. Tbls Iswhere decision lIlJ8Jkingi planning, and many hlgher-order thinking skills take place. This area. is also associated with s11o:r't~term m(~mJi)liy.

XWhtu are the implicaUons of these two theories? Could hotb be cor .. reed in. my study of the brain; I have read about both ideas and observed. how the researchers have'sw~,mgboth wtryson thispendulum. Let's, look at 801ne fact'S,

The develDpmetit of tne ,brain from birth fhro~ the end of adolescence par .. allels the ,ch~!d d!evdopm.ent st4ges idmlifi'ed by Jean .Pfaget, The researchers whobel i"v.;o ir the develoom ~n[1Il1 release of mvelln state that ~~" 'O,F~).O'-e.-"

"' • • ... ,,_!1. ._, ..... "_.'-'~J., .. __ , " .... _ .. ,,_::I • __ y L . <>'._","", '.LC .• lh_ "~-'-o "

of myelin release coincidewith Piaget's developmental stages fsee6gure lli.+). Ptager idemiftes four developmearal stages:

• Senserimotor stage (binh~2 years}~At [his stage the child interant; physically with the enviromeene. bu~~c1s a set of ideas about real]ty and how i[ works.

" Pre-operational stage (ages 2-7).-At ~MsS!;Elge the. child is not yet able ro think ahstracdy. She needs concrete situations,

IMlyel~1'iI1 (;o;aIHn,o around the ,axon

eI, Concrere eperaoens ~iliges 7~1 ])~AE t!1issmge: the~,cb,iId hasaccu ..

Inula~ede:IlOij.g~l experiences to begin W conceptualize and. to do somesbstract problem solving, though the child sl1:ill learns best by doing, "formal operations (ages 11-15}-At this sta_g,ethe child's thought processes are beginning to be like those of fin 8JdlJIt.

Figure 1.41 suggests substantial support forthts theory. Jane Healy {1994} stal:es that the ~8Jrgest release of myelin may occur in the ado!~escent 'Y,ears. Once this dose ~s released, children h.8JV0 an easier lI::ime makjng decisions, planning fur the £uture, and working out problems.

Although Piaget suggests that this stage occurs between the ages of 1 I and 'liS, currentresearch suggests that 'this smge vades w~th the individual. After spending some tinl€ teachin!J at the high schoollevel, 1 have observed that maJny' students appe:@f to reach this final smge during their sophomore year) thoijgh some don't quite make: it until senior year or aE,. re - -'ai' t 0,-1 cr. 50-€:-ce -- t of the H ·11 r nn-~ I hU''i.r-, reach (hiS ,5tH se at ~n

.rw., !It. n:"1 . pr n .. , . "CJJ . t'·.'P!.L, .. 1, II r _ . ,. .. -.1;1 •.•.

Oensen, 1998).

ShQrt-!'er!l1 memory does not reach catX~Cil)l t!,'f!~i[ appr{}x!ma~eb £he Q_ge of ~5. The capaCity cfshon-term memor-y it'D. a funy developed brainisseven chunks of infcrmaticn. At age 3i space exists for only onechunk. Wlth the discovery by researcbers like LeDoux 099:6,) 1:hut'sb;ortA-erm meIllory :is held in the fromallobesj [he last areal ll1yelilUlliedj it makes sense that the frontal lobe's incomplere development due to the lack of mvdin. would inflluence shost-rerm lnemmy.

MallY .-students today h~tIe dif~icu!t"y lV,it'l higfl€r .. order thinking ,shills. AI· though .C:hHclre,n o:fevery age have some abiUty to syntheSize! abstract, and evaluate, somechildren have more difficulty than others, Realizing that ~hi$ cHffklI~~Y mSiy be. due. 150 the lack ofmyeUn.or itsdelayed release could

IFligure 14 iindicart:es some support for the 'theory of deve~l)pm~rJttal ~eleasE3: of my€!I;il'ii,

!Formal thinking cperatlons and the last release or myelin maY' not occur untill late edoleseence.

Higher""rder thinking

8 k:iHs allld my€! lin release may" be related.

IDelayed lrH:lease 'of mY"E!~in COl.,lI!d aij't:lct abilities to' learn.

'Developmental stages va,rv .among childrerll"

leaming is affected by environment.

The brain has enough ellectr~ca,1 energy 1:0 light a2~-watt bu~b ..

Neuronsan~ surrounded by a cell membrane that: allows, sOme~OIt1S to pass throughl.

[essen boihchildren's frusHation and chat of [he adults trying to help them.

Smooth transferal in/ormation from neuron to neuron is greatly depenaau on mj'e!in. My t\-~ro4·y~all'~oicll!Leighbors are ajoy to watch. Their develop; ment and interests are very dif6erent. Joey loves to do acrobatics. He can do cartwheelsbetterrhau I everdreamed ofdoing them, H~ canahnosr do flips~ and he loves an.y type of physical adventure. On the other hand, Mark is not very agile .. He has difficllll:y doing' som~rsaUlk$ .. Instead of concentraring on the physicaiI WOdL1.IMark is frying to read. H(·; is constantly bugging his mother to tell him what written words say, Mark knows the alphabet and can spell some words.

Borh boys arenormal preschoolers. They are simply developing differ,· ~ndy,. Carla Hannafurd (995) believes dl~t children benefit whenne~:· ronalconnecnors are made through body movement. These connections will help them develop the neuronal systems {or reading when they are ready. These boys obviously have dif(;enmlL interests, whi·ch may have been inspired by their environments. Joey~s sisters are acrobats, and perhaps he received recognition for lnimick.iraJg their behavior .. Because Mark ]sth.e older sibling ~11Lhisf~mlly; he maybe exhtbitJngbebavlmtthat he beheves will win his parcilt'$!' approvaLWhmeve'f the reasons, the firing of neurons is causing the learning.

The developmental djff~renc·es armong cllildren are gteo,t, Whether these differences arecaused byheredi[y or by theenvironment is a d~ban~ that eontjmres Whether myelin is released in stages or through liilseofthe neurons, children still exhibit differences. isa factor in brain gww~h£lnd lemming. I believe that both theories may he correer. IE makes sense that as the brainconrinually uses :its networks of neurons, tf8!r1IS1lllSS]011 of information. ls swifrer, It also makes sense to at ~sth e ir brai n s develop, chjJdfen~ndetgo v:a~ t chao ges.

N B·un:U'l Signa Is

Cartoonists often drew a.lighthu[b above the head. toportray a character with an idea, This portrayal actually contains.some element ottruth, The brain has enoughelectrical power toltght a 25-watt bulb, As mentioned previously; theprocess of reurons com ml!Jlnk:ar~ng ~s e],~ctro, chemical. The electrical part takes place wt~hj.n. ,the nearon,

All matter has an electncal proprtlly: The: elecmcal charges; called Ionsl are either posltive or negative. The ~ion:shl the brajl'll are sodium, po, tassium (each. with one positive diarge)tcalcium (with two positive charges); and chloride (with one negative charge], Some :negatively charged protein moleeules are, also preseni!;:; Neerons are surroundedbs £a.

oelltnembmnethat nllflY allow someions to PBSS through and [hat block others. The openings in the cell membrane are called chttnne/:s. While somechannels remain open, others open only in response to chemical sr:lmMhl.tion.

R esti illig lP'ote! r1ti,gll

When a ueuron isnot sending a signal .thearea inside the neuron has more negatively charged ions! and the area outside has more positively charged ions. 11llS is called ~ts cres:ring pou:n~iaJ: (see flgl:me 1.5). At this levelpotassium ions pass [hrough channels easily, but chloride and sodium ioes have very few channels to flaw through, and protein icnshave none. AU of [he ions want to move across tile membrane, but because only the posHi.vely charged potassium. does so readi]y!fhe outside ofthe neuron is positive and the. inside is neg;nlve. This balance: keeps theneu .. ron at rest, Dmil"l.g this tlme the electrical charge inside the neuron can. be measured at about negat'ive 70 miUivoks andtheeurslde arposidve 7'0 millivolts (Dowling, 1998).

Theeh:Jctrical dharg e inside a. resting neuron is ~7Q millivolts., The electrical. charge outside i:9+70.

F~gure [.5., A Resdng Nell1fon



~ .. _ -I-

lion Channel


, Ion Chalnrn.e:11 -I-


'lion Ch a nl~ie~ .

The :Fes~l1Jgpo®entral of fI neuron ~ndiiciates thaUhe insi[lle is negartili!elv cna~~ed and ~:he oLIil:sid!eis: poslitIv!I:!!ly !~'ha,rgedl.


Figure 1.11). An Acdve~ Neuron

A.ction Po~ential

\:Vhen acbemtcal stimulus 'Ca1!,lSeS the cpening ofsodiom ,cb~nne]s~ positively ch:8Jrged sodiuID ions rush into the negatively chargedneurou, and the neuronbecomes more positive (see figure 1,6 ),' This state, called oc!~ion pDwmtial, depolarises the neuron. The millivolts within it increase, and ata voltage ofabout negative 55 mlllivolts the neuron fires. This {jJ .. ing is alway.s of a fixed s~re. hI. GILDer words, it is an all -DH'Iothing situation" This change in vokage causes an. electrical ene~l'gy output than: sends [he charge down rheaxcnacross the synapse, and to [he del'ldrileS ofthe receiv~ng neuron. Th1.llS1 a message is sent, When [he potassuim channels open again, porassiurn rushesout (If me cell andthe neuron goes bgJCI~ to reertngporential,



Ion Chal1lnel

The actiolTl p@1t€lntJial of a neulronl is caused bV positilJe sooiium ions, entering the neuron ,8111d CCli'~.lSin~1 rUo Ibecome mom po'sitirv,elV charg:ed.

R,ats, Cal!s:,Childr,!;u11; ,and Adullts::

How Do Their Dsndritss 'Birow?

The brain's f1hility[() grow and change is oealledplasti:dty. Neurenalacttv .. itYj or thelack of it, causes these changes .. The change process promiPts qlleSl:ions such as these: How do we know ~t isbappenil'lg? Where is the

los~n,g 'follr Mine!: 'The Fum:t~on ofBmin eens 1 ill

proof? Can it h~ppen to anyone.! Am I roo old for bram gftlwth? [11 other

" j _'

words, can you teach an old dog new ttricks? TI'1le answers to these qlles·

t~om lie in yeats of researchbv some Impressive. nemosdentists. Lers examine the evidence,

Marian Diam.ond (988) of the University of California atf,erkdev has been. studying the brain deve~Optllent ofrats tor more than 4·0 years,. with impressive results. She and her coUeaJgtleS and students conduct experimeors in which they place rats ill enriched environments, They use control groups In check for accuracy, In one' of her rests) she placed a singl.e rat in a regular I11tt cage~lllo fun toys for this one, The rat was given food end water asa norm a.11" t!.. nl['WO-' ·l·J'I:-,,,,. Ala cg--~t case 1.0 sed onerat .•• . <'!". W""b"~ .".'... . _".,. ~aliJ _, _ _.ll Ulll.... _ f~~ "'b~ U lUh. n .. un

with toys, This raralso wastended to ina normal fashion" Then there was the ('9!ncygro1.1p=H rots in 8! large cage containing rat toys, such as wheels to run 0.11; trails to follow, and blocks to climb. The last cage housed 12 rats wid! no toys .. Diamond calledthe cages with toys enriched environments and those without toysirnpover,isll:Cd. The control gro1i.!p for this :Study consisted of three: rat's ill a small cage with no toys,.

The :re:sults of this smdy are exciting. Rars ill the enriched environmentsI [hose: whh toys) had more dendritic eonnecttons than. the rats in. the impoverished envborunents, the del1dritic branches were rhicker as w,ell (see :A.gure 1.7). The st1t~dy also showed rh8J~ the control group w[th three rats learned Inure rhan either the [m l~ft 8iIOlle ill the impOiVe1':~shed ,eitivironment or the r,~!lt ~efr alone, in the enriched envhcnment Diam(md concluded thaJldl€ rnt$learned more by living rogether and even more by I.iving together in anenriched environment,

Studies like [his led to even more studies using rats, Therat brain is very similar in structure to the haman brain, but because 1.1: has fewer "wrinkles," tt is ,e~sler to measure.

Willi.:un Greenough of the University of Illinols discovered that rats In euriehed environments had 25 percent mnre cenneerions between neurons and pertcrmedruuch better in tests (Rotular, 199,6). He believes tharsymlpses can be forme:d insecoudsl (More dendnres create more svnapses.] Researchers have found proof ofchanges in the brains of rats after only four days .. In foul' clarY'S dendritic: glrowth as a result of,emlchment can occur.and in four more days dendritic death can. occur as :3 result of lack of !).tjm~]atiofi (Hooper & Teresi, ll986),

As aneducaeor.I have a favorite rat stoty.In a .~985 studj, Dianlond pl8!oedhaby rats andm~tui'~ rats in the same enriched cage. She wantedro know ifbodl the: yorung rats and the okIer mrs would grow more denclriites. The surprise carne when the oldet!1lits refusedto ~et. the YOI,Ui"g rats play with the mys. The n12n_~IDe rats took over the cage and didl10L allow the baby rats to play. Theresulrwas that only the: matnrernts grew dendrites.

Enri'ohed environments encoLJrag'8) dendritic grOYVth.

Stlld ie$: of rats !!iuggest that learning is a social experienc'e.

Even lnan enriched enviiro~ment 'the irndividua~ must be active in order to stlimulate the growth of de ndritss.


Figure 1.7. The E€fecr 'Of EnvironmemtoD Neurons,

Enriched neumn

Aneruiched 'Ell1lvimnmeM: produced ~hic~~8:r and mere m:JrifHmmS den~rites ~n I1IEllJmnS lof faits.

Why do I H~e, rhls story?Whe;tt'I I w.alk past classrooms with high-tech equipment such as cemputers, lltke to watch what is happening, Often ,I, see the teacher {the old rat} sluing 8JJt the computet showing the srudents how to do something. The students me sttting and watching. Who's grow'~n.g dendrites b'~re=the old rat or th,ebt]iliesl

We can. conclude from Diomond's studV that it isn't enough for snl~ dents to be in an enrichedenvironmenr, Theyneed to h~~pcJ1e:an~ that

- .

environment and be active in. it.

Another HU study nmlly imrigLied me .. DUling' a visit to japan. to observe J apanese researchers! work with rats, Diamond learned that the Japanese ruts were living to be 900 days old, whtchequals about 90 years for lunnans, D iamonds nus had been Hving only about 700 days~ which is an expecredhfe sp:ilJn for a laboratory rat. [ntdg)!le:d" Diamond looked for di{fer~nces between the two gr-oups of rEliEs. The food! temperamre, and cages seemed to be similar for both groups. However, she didnotke one diff'erence,[n japan thelab asslstaats held [he rats while the cages were beingcleaned, ]n Diamonds stij_jdies~ theratswere simply put ~11to another cage" She' concludedtbat [his t01U.ching and holding may h:jlv,e' increased the rats' life span. nn add ition I because the nits were not put into it ~~st:range>jc:age while their OWft\iV:9S being cleaned, they may have fdt less

Touch may add tothe Ili"fesparn of rats.

Stress can IprS'\f8nt brain growth and shorten life span,

stress. After Diamond returned EO the United States, she instructed her I:ab asststanrs 1:0 holdth.e rat'S. Therats began li\dng beyond iI1he~[' 100 days and bad more deodrtrtc connections than rats that were not held ~Wolfe~ i11996}. Vle can conclude thatgende care cal'1JJaddt:olife span and conrribure tobtain growth.

Researchers have also conducted several studies with kittens. One sttld~r involved taking identical twin kittens: ata crrtical time in their visual development and placing them ill a large, circular container painted with black :and white vertical stripes. These lines were the kittens' only visual stimulatioa, A balance beam. wi[h a basket on each end revolved in the center of the container. Each twin was placed in a. basket One of'rhe baskets had holes for the kit:ten's legs, 'wh].le the other did not, Thekuren whose legs could go thmugh the basket and touch the ground began \liJ;@!Ik·· iug around the container, His [W[1)) brother had a free ride. What the re .. searchers discov~red is nuly amazing. The kitten who did trhe wotrk and interacted w~th his en vi ronmen t deve lOfj ed gf1e-at vision for vertical I ines, Thekitten who did not work conld not see venkall.i.nes Bit all. (H'e:Elly~ ffi990).We C;oU11 conclude thatexperiences cause brain grow[hjbut one must Elc[iv'l~ly participatein the experiences £m growth to take place,

Now that: we've talked about rats and cats; I.efs look at children and adults, A~[~r studylngtheresults of such researchers as Greenough, Craig Ramev of the University of Alabama designed 11 study wldl·chi]dren. from an. inner-city, jmpoverishede:n.virollm'em (Kotulak, 1996), He mo~ I gr01JJTp ofchiMren.21s youn.g as 6 weeks old and exposed themto all ennched environment with p~li.lymal)esl good nurrincn, and opponuni[jes for learning and playing. Ramey fallowed this group and a controlgroup for 12 yeats. Usin.g intlelligence:te5ts andlbra~n,.imagjng techniques, he found a signifi.caHt di~fer·e'l1ice in the WaJY in which the children's brains had developed .. The enriched childlien had higher rrQs~, and. brain im.aging revealed t.h@i[ the iii brains were I!JJShlg'~.mergy much more efficiently, accerding fLO the scans. We csn conclnde that: the brain is sensirive to its earlvenv ircnment and (hall enrichment can make a di«e]'~nce.

What C9JO we do about gmwing dendr~tes?Rese:archers are addressing thiS question with Eli group of nuns in Mankatol Mlnnesota, who are parrrclpating ill a: stulcly to examine the effecTS of remainlng mentaUYITl1d physically active in their \~ork and dady lives, These 'women have lived well beYO[ld the average life span.1 andreseaechers attribute their longevIt'll to their active lifestyle .. They COfistam:ly stimulate and chall.engeiheir brains (G olden, .1. 994f ).

Studies have compared thelQs of people in mil's~ng homes With the lQis of those wait~lig to be ~dlnitted. People in thenursing homeshave stgnifi.cantly la-we;]' I:Qs than those aW9]ting admission, In. many cases, IQs

Active pi31ticipartlon in exp erie ness encourag'ss brain growth.

Ib@iURiHgl ~1~yifl!~Jl I~:ile~ tl ~t'fllt!€!!A, .~ ~~ f3!118ym~I@:§ ~III f,li~ntfi~l.llf@ '~o~n ~mr~@~ §!~ @flVllf@FJ'f;A8f1t· 'ff.3f ilf~ fve'~I@,

The brain ~5 s:E!l1sitiVE! to' itsea~ly environment

INo matter h ow old! yQU are, s1:imul:ating and challengilng your brain wm add to yom lifespan and fOiS.ter Ib'n'a~n gilrO\rIj,N"1.


learning is a social activity: We ~eanl bet1t:er whe n we work: together.

go down rneflsllrably after juSt six months ~n a nursing hom.e '[Hooper & Teresi, 1986). Errri.ched envirourneats ca~1 make ahuge dil1'eTen.oe for everyone.

What efm We lsarnfrom These StudiB:S?'

We can draw a number of conelusions from these studies. First, from the rat studies! a socia~envirallm..eFlt isa fon'll of enricluaenr. Rats dobener when they tnterecr with other mrs and solve problems together. Humans are sccialcteanues, and teaming is a social activity. Gentle mre was also a facml' for (he rats, w~ must take care when we work wtth others to help them in their C[,uest for teaming. Second, the studies with cats indicate [hm we need to interact with our envtronment. That meansthat both kittens must be able to walk around the container, We need to \Vork~ogethef and nil take part in [he learning. nlird, the studiesefchddren tellns that the brain i.sveq' sensitive to its early environment, andenrichment att,. fects its gruwth. Fourth! the st1udy imlOlving nuns mdicares ~hat brain stlmlLl~13!tion at an.y age is, important and helpful Ollrlives must include some dllll1englls. And the children, rherars, rhe cats, and the rums tellas that play' is imponanttor leam~l1g.

Social imetac1tio!il care, challenge, snd pla\i care important f'OF growlngthosedendrites .. \Vh.e(h~r itbe in. rheclassroom.jn.the home, at work, Of in the community, all '1').£ these faCIDars; i,Thfil!ence hOWlUluch we learn,


Chicken SOIUP for the Brain; The Eftects of Brain Chemicals

I am trying to,catoo liP on mrvioumal reading late one evenilngwheln the phone rings,and! i am t-orn away fromaeartiele on l€laming styles and the brain.

At first, 11 do not ir'9cogtnizE! the woman's voice. She says,. "Hey, there, Do you have your nose burlied in some book?"

I immediately try to aef,end myseff: "No, I'm relaxing witn ,9 magazine:"

"'I just beti~'ssome ediuciHional art~cl.e you're r,eadinQ and not Mar· tha Stewart:'

Hearing the vQice again. II r'8lal~t:e I am HI~king to an old oolhlige f~ier1d, Magglie. "Why aren't you at some' wi~d party?" I reply,'to givle hera taste of her own medclne, Maggie and II had different interssts in collle,g:e; shs was a party person, while I took my studies very ;seriouslly. Howlw®r, we enjoyed t®asiniQI each other about our interests and had found 8 bond in that.

NI stayed home from the parllies tonight because ~ reed 'to tall< 'to you fllbom my daughter;' she' says with some emotion,

I begin to search my mind for her daughter's name, and suddenly "!Michelle" pops up, "How lis M~chelle doing?"

NWe'r,e halving some problems, and l am hoping with your btrain re- 5ealrch klncrwledg:9 you call tell me whatrn do;:' Magg~e rep~i~s.

"I'm not a cloctor~ but you know I'll he~p in whatevervvay ~ can." She begli n s to bl u rt out a story th at is s hocki ng but Iik8 rna ny others reponed in 'the newspapers. "Micheille was at a party a few months agO'. You know; one O'f those colll€'gl8 parties with plenty O'f drinking. A. friend of hers drank way too much. Acwailly, I think he was merethsna friel1d, and Malr; he died! A~coholic poisonili'l'g. M~ch€li€ iust hasn't been the same sincet

Jus:tas chicken soup rna kes YOlH body feel better, chernica'ls produced in your brain make it reel better.

These chemicals affect memories, ~9art1ing, anel relationships.


Tile 'thouights we hav'e, the food we ,eat, and the: drugs we,take: a~1 Ihave an effect on 'the's€) chemicals,

At least 60 cn'emicals, Ihave been fdentified, and more willi likely be k~ ef1tiff~edl,

The chemicals, 'that run the bra~n arecaHed nsurot ra ns m hte rs,

Nemoi:ransmltters are chemic.fIh; 'uha t earny ii.!'n'format:icm from one nsuronte anothsr.

N'eu rX)'~ra ns mittsrs act Ilike keY:iL Each one has its own special type of Irece;Pltor and will notfit mto others.

"Oh my gosh! llhe poor thing. Hrrw is she dQ~ng?"

"Tlhat's· just it. She's a msss, She can't .study, She C~lIn't think, Th~ doctors want to put her On! some drug."

"Well, that so u n cis r,e.asonabl s, Whal~ do tn fiY want to p ut ~er all?" "l'rn really lembamllssedabout this. lit's one of these antidepres:sems, That's why l'mcalHng you. What 15 this stuff' go~ng 'ttl da.10 her? Happy pms aren't going to malke her betted ~ think she just needs 'to talk to a shrink and g@t lit ov~rwitlh. What do you thInk?"

] tske a deepbreeth and search mybrain for d'IJ~ right things IDa say [0 HIii' overwrought friend. Uke IROSE parents, she wants to help her daughter; and she doesn't wantthe world to think. tha11.anything Is wwng with her, I gatherm.y thoughts and begi.n; "Those drugs ate similar to the chicken seep you,]' momused to rna ke so you would f~el better whenveu were ill. Dregs, $;I.I(h as antidepressants, rhat affect the chemicals in yOl!J:f brain can help1!Our Ibmin deal wi[hpl:oblems; They a.rel1'tt~ha!ppypins.'ln fact, (rom what we know aboot them, they won't make Yo1)jfeeI better unless )f01l! really need rhem."

Your brain runs on chemicals, Scientists have identified ar least 60 diffel"elit brain chemicals and are certain that there are more (S)llwestel:! lli997a} Somersnes rhesecheoncals are referred to aspeptiae's or nlEUro .. Iwnnooes, belt most researchers (~n them lleHr(n'jm1Sm~!;r;ers; These neurotranssnittees are affeeted by mil' aetions and our thoughts. \Yle can also aif~Cl them by the foods we ear.Y¥.!e carmot underestimate their value nor their effect upon. li$.

How Neurotral"lsmitt:ers Work

Neutotransmitters are chemicals that carry inform::uion from one neuron to another. Rememberthat the transmission. 'within rbe neuron is d.ectri.~ cal, and the nanslnission betUJeen neurons is ehemleal .. The electrical impulse causes small vesicles in the axon of d1Je neuron W release the ueurotransmttters, which i~heH swim acrossthe synapse (the small space between neurons) and a[(ach themselves to thedendnres of the receiving neuron I{s:e,efig,l.lfe. 2..1).

This whole effect has; been compared [0 alack and key .. Likekevs, [he neurotransmitrers f~t into small receptor sites OIl tile dendrites. Each neurotransmitterhas Its oWTl.sped;i'l1 typeofreceptor and win notfit into oth .. ers. It is, importanr to note d\8Jt some neurotransmitters are cxciwIDr), that ]S, they cause the next neuron to fire; others are inMb!wry and stop the neuron from nrwng .. Neurons CEU1L receive both eK.cItEIIWI:Y and inh:ihitO'fy messages simu'lt8Jneously. Then ir becemesa q1l,il.est]onof paw,et, If the

2. Tile ,elec~rica~ impl!J:se causes 1~je ,a~on

of the slBl1lding l1leun:m to re,lease netllf'l[lt'll'ansmitters.

Figure 2. L The ~fectric:a~ and Cb.emicalAcdvity of Neurons

3. Tmnsmiss~on be'M€en ne,urons: is chemical, Ne~r~mansmiij;ers re,l,ease d th reu g'htthe, aXOJilI "swim" across:

the synapse to tha dendri~e 'o~ th e re·c@,i\1[ n~1 fie uron

exci ratorryneurotransm.itter bas morereceptors then the juhi b itarrynell" rotraJ'l:sFnitt(,;ll'j theneumnwill Hl"~ (Restak, 1995).

\Xihen a neuron. receives a message repe:atedly! [he effect is called 5tfcfigtlleiting the synalJse, Receptor sires increase ]11 number, gi.ving the chem],cal message more areas of attachment. Effici,eney increases, and rransmission becomes faster and easier. This is a desirable occurrence when it comes to learning important. informaUOl'lj, and practice leads the brain m e.£lsily process that infonnation. But it becomes un.d~sirab~e in s~tU8!t:]ons such as the use of ,d:wgs.When. a person usesaddtctive drugs, the brain also forms receptor sites for the drug molecules, The abundance of these receptor sites causes some: of the di.ffi.culry in with,dr:£rw~ I.I1lg from the dnl!;l:'. After atime, if rherecepror sites arenor used, ([ollorw,· withdrawal and drug rehahiHta' or replaces them,

As rhe brain makes and strengthens connections, outs~de factors can ' influence it. These facrors may include addictive substances, as well as some~hi.l'iJJga:s simple asthe food you eat.

It's tne day of th@ bigl test Shefryawak€HllS early to s.tudy. She ~eV'iews her notes 13:8 she~ paeesn her room. In the shower shs c:onlinuesto

When a neuron recerees a message rep eatedly, the connecnen is stlrength ene d,

The brain is easily influenced by outsce f.aC[Orf;l.

Are we what we €N1It?

NelJ rona ns mi tters affcf3·ct how we 'f'€lel ilnd Ihow wiese'!.

Eating protein can itilhibiit some of the' neufotransmi'l1'SJ8 that cause sleep! n'BSS,

We don't want all of our neurons to fire at onCIE!!

practice the lists I~)'f infDrmation she must w,ecailifor thls finall exam. As she dresses, she stares at her textbook and the tables she must memorize. Her mother cans her for Ibreslkfast.

Sherry ca rries he r notes with he r to t hie ta ble. Sh e rea Ili2€!S that s hi e is riot very hungry, so she glances o'V'E!rb9 offerings urnt:iI.she seesthe cinnamon rolls, her favorit~, ShE! snatchestwo rollsand dashes out the door, Sherry hopes she can study with: her friends before the exam.

A. slimillar scenario is takingl place at Seam's house" HE! n:a,s been S1:uci:yung for an hom before breakfast Like Sherry" Sean takeslhisrnotes to the bn~\akfast tabl e a rid conti nues to review. He, however; disci des; to eat some scrambled eggI8,tO:a8t:, and 1;1 gl'as8 off milt Finishing quickly:

Sean grabs his mater~alls and heads 'Ito school ~or further study,

About 30 mim.Jltes later; both s'~udent:s are bent OIl,Sf in1eir'test:s,. regur'gitati'nlg material they wer,e tolld to stud~, Sean is ·al,er1 and doingl welt Sherry is :S'tart~ngl to f·eell sleepy" She searches her brain for ~rrformation sheknows is there, butshe has troublefindilngl it Her head is lin her hands; she yawns: nepeatedly

Arel Wf~1 Wh SJ~ We lEal?

\'(that is rhe:dttlerenoe between these two students and rh.eir ability [0 take the Iii~S[? It may very well. be the foods rh~v have eaten, Many researchers now sugges~ that we are: wh:~n we eat. The food we eat may affecr the neutotransrnitrersbeing released in ourbn:dn! and j therefore, affect whether OI.U· neuronsare firing. Sherry are 'food high ill c3Jfibohyclral~es~ which are snspecred of causing [he release of the inhibitory neurotransmitter s~:ro'~Oftin. This il:1h~hi~oll' causes sleepiness, Therefore, she is nor as alert as she needs to b€ for the exam. Sesn, en the other hand! a[€ foods high in protein. Protein keeps the serotonin from beiJl!:g' released and helps with alertnessand foc~s (Wunm8Jn&. Suffes! ill 996).

Those cinnamcnrclls that Sh.erry ate probably also contain a great desl of fat. Fat digests more skrwly ~han other foods. Therefore! 9, great deOi'JJI of her blood supply h;ad to be in d!~gesti\fle[l1ac.l helpingwirh the digestlve process .. She neededthat blood to go to her brain to help her make rhe connecticns she needed. This also could have affected her performance.

Ready. Aim, Fi~e?

Wha[ would happen if all of our ne;UlOTIS· fired at once ?We 'W'Ol!J]id p.robah~y ~o crasyas our brain experienced ,every piece ofinfonnm~ollbe· ]ng received as weU as infortlladon alreetdy stored. The; combination of rhe neurctransautrers both causing and preventiog the firing action is what helps the messages travel. to the approprlate areas of [he brain. and

o 1000 000 0 OOI.O.IOIO.O.iOO.! 00100 1010.0 1'0100

0001.0.1010.00010.1 001.0.1010.0.,100.1

0 •• 1000.'.000 •• 0

whar helps us make sense .of [he wQr~d, Thlsoonnbina[lon helps us to both u:pay [lUention to" 8J.nG "block out" sthl1ijJ~L

A good anaJog'Y {'Of rhis phenomenon IS a theater marquee=the kind with lots ofliglubulbs and changing patterns I~hat form difier,ent:words. If too rrm.ny ofthe bulbs are lit, the messag:e is unclear, U none of the bulbs is lit, the message doesn't exist, However, if the correct combination of bulbs is on, the message is clear [see figure 2.2llnthlS same W8!y~, if the correct pattern of neurons is firing and the others EIre not, infonmnioll is readily 9Nfl]lable. to tbe braluj and it makes ssnse, The brain is ai,ways seaocMllg for meaning and patterns (W6lte,n996),

The tormarlon end actIon of neurorransmltrets if'l:volvesd~e following steps;

1. Em)'lnes aCi[h1g upon :sp®ciHc substances 'widlrrlJ. the cell produce a

chemical-the neurotransmittee-cinsidethe neuren,

2. These newly synl:h.estzed neurotransmittersare stored in. vesicles,

3. Activation of tbe neuron releases the neurottansmitters.

4. The released neurottansmitter molecules crossthe sytl'Jpse and bind with the receivlng neuron at their spedalreceptoe sites.

When the correct neuronsfire, a mes:ss'ge is sent

INeuro1r,ansmitters fliJW from the axon 1!erm~ na I of the s,endin:g neuron to the receptor sites on 'th e dendrite of the' reo@lvllng nJeuron,


Figure 2'.3. Stora;e :an.dMovement of Neurotransmitters

5. Thereceiving neuron is eirher acrtvaeed by the message, causing the net!.ifQrI to Hrej 01" iris ~nhihil:ed~)! i1L~ preventinglr from firil'!l:g.

6. The released nelifOtrll11Sminer molecules are desrroved by enzymes in. the S)!l"l!f1pse or are t:Thke:nback bV the sendh'lg: neuron, This is caUed'~:r~r uptake.' AI] mol,ec~les are available for reuptS!ke ..

Ftgme 2..]iIlust:rates pan ofthe process. As stated earlier, thereceptors p:rep8i:re for onlv a ~:peciAc ehernical, an . .clI they scceptno others,

M ~'

N e utoibt,1i nS'Ii'llttf r m.o ~e Gillie s arel rel'eased ..

Molecules cross the syn8ipse ilind ;8i1i1:8ichto r~cepmrs !Ol1ltthe re€Bllvmg nBIU~Qn.

Typl8S of NI'Bur@transmUters

Now let's ~ookat some specific neurotransmitters and how they ~~fectrhe brain, NeUI"Qtr9Jlt'tsrniners are mU:SIlly divided into three grOllps; mml1!Otlc,r ids ~mol"lotimille.s j. and pep'lt'idecs (se e fi.gure 1 A. )

The ~Y'0' amino add neurotransmatersthae we need tobeaware of ollie giut1l'maJI? and GABA (gam.mfHlminobtltyric acid). Glutamate ahw.ys car .. ries an exci.tEllory message and is, in fact, rhe most prevalent exc~[amry neurotransmstter in the brain .. GABA al.ways carries an tnhibitorv

message, It is :81ctuu'lly made from gIU[I'mJai~e wirh one extra enzyme. GABA existsin the areas ofrhe ~rain dealing with emotions and uhink· in..g. Glutamate and OABA appeat inmost lnformarlcn-processing rransmissionsas one activates certain neurons alld !the other quiets those tna[ are not needed for dle message.

Some neurotransmitters ,are exci'iatory, and others are lnhibitory"

11'11958 are j!j~1SQm8 ofil1i0 m~ny fi@LmJtranSrTillli.ers thaI VOIlI:)I,~!FI mus;t balance. Int~r<lc;1iotls of~f>e ohemic1!~ effect. or <lrealfl"ecled by.

Vi'J1i1 e'iJ@ry lnOllght" woro, Bl"lddeed_


Monoaroines are d~vided ~nto two classes: cat.echolamines and in&!:e .. amines,. The catecholamines include the neurotransmiteers ,epinephrine; norepinephrine, and Jopamrne, and the tndoleanones ~nd1l.!d.e semtonhl and melatonin .

. Epinephrine is anothername for adrenaline, it is released by the adrenat glam_!sj, which arelocaeed above [he kidneys, Epinephrinegets your body moving ill situationsthat call for inst:,;llM a:ctian-$~ICh asthose that: invol ve fear Dr clang:~[ (Calvin. & Ojemann, '1994). J ust as e~nei),!tr~ne gets v,our body's attention, norepineph,rin:e gets YOlillrlbl!'ain~s attention. This exdtl:lwry neurotrenstaftter makes yom brain alert.

Epi nephril"l>E!! gets the bod~ mo:vung inl situations that requlire instant action, such as those invol'v~nlgl fear or danger.

Dopamine ~s one of the chemical$ 'that hellps, infDrmation flow to higher level:s ~n the brain.

Seroton[n ts sometimes Ganed the "feel good" neurotransmi1ltler:

Seretonin aids in smooth'tmnsmissiorn o.f messaqes III ths brain and ihe bodY'.

Sometimes serotorin or othBF neurotransmitters are 1l3lkelti bad< by 'their sending Muron.

The raalnfuncdon of dDpamine is toconrrol physka~ movement. This inhibitory neurotrsnsmttter is ~lnpOlrtam for executing smoothmovementIt is associated widllParkinson's dtseese.charactereed by constant HiLUSC le movement. Thelack of dopamine C8J1LISes these syrrrpto1'l:l!$. In. some cases, a drug cfliled L-dop~. helps rhe dopanline-procl1Jcing neurons COIltinue romanutacrure the newrotr8J.nsmitter {Calvin & Ojemann, 199'41. Dopamine]s also related to theregulation orehe :low ofinformationituo higherlevels of the brain, Low l.eV'eisaf dopamine Inay affect working m.emory (see chapter4t and high levelrs have been. assoclated with 5~hizophnmia, TIle levels ofdopf]min~ appearto decline WI[h agej men tend to have greater losses than women, Dopamine has euphoric e:rfects that are magnified by the Intake of flkDho~. (Kowlakl,li996).

The indoleamin..e ;s'€1"oronin is sometlmes called the {~feel goocr' neurotransmitter. Researchers have devoted much time and mon.eyro studying this chemical-\\Iirh import'dJnl!: results, This neurotrsnssnitter has a sigruftcanr effect on OMr lives.

Researchers fl!::st disccvered serotonin in the digestive sy:sterill where they found that it assists d]gestion and regulates the movement of smooth, ~filIge muscles (SyIWe5:ber, 1995). Later scientists troc~d serotonin to the brain and began to question whether serotonin might also have something [0' do with smooth transmission ofmessagM within the brain. It does.

To illustrate how serotonin works, Ip ose the foUowing pro b lem to snjl!~ dents in my brain researehclasses: How can ~ I:hrow a beachball all the way across a room in one au,emp[? Because I don't: have much steength and the hall doesn'thave €:lIlou;gh toremaia 31af~ across the entire distance.J will need help, I decide that another partlcipant (:2!11 help me by picking up the ball and carrying it over tomy.friel1d at the other end of the room. This solution wod::s well, I throwthe ball, Participant Acarrles :it over ro participant It accompl~sbedf I can send as IU:emybrulls over 1:0 B 8!S lwant, because A is there to help me. However, whar if.~ decide l don'twant.A to leaveme, andl hold ontoher handrI begintohll\fie trouble g,eui.~g the ball acrossthe room aga~n. Yet, Ireally don't want A to li~~ve:. No matter how hard I ny, I can't g~[ thatball aCf-OSS theroom.

\Vell~ lers callthe ball a.message. n am Neuron. ill sending the message.

Neuron 2 is the person receiving [he message, My helper is the neurotransmitter serotonin. Its job is to h.elp deliver messages th:m!!Ughollt the brain. Usua[]y~itcan be found in the spaces betweenncatens, Sometimes, however, afte:r serotonin delivers to i~he eeceiving neuron, I't is sucked. back up by the neuron (:reuptallt:e).. Therefore! it ~s no longet available in the ~yllapse to send messages. Recall from the description of the acttonof neurotransmittersthat, after activation, they are elther

destroyed Of t-aken back 'by the sendIng neuron, Til is reupeake can cause problems with fmure transralssions.

Serotonin is produced tn.tbe ]oc\:ver brain regions just above rhe spinal cord. However, the neurons dmt produce serotonin have viery long axons that extend throughout the brain. Serotonin may very \\reU be a P@!·rt of ,every message sent. If serotonin ]:5 left to circuiate, it can stimulate neurons for a longer period. This m.ay allow ~or better transmission and strongermessages O ... emonxk, 199'7),

My study of [he research all serotonin has led me to appteciate its power, Alack of serotonin appears t:oke>ep ffianyirildividuals "trapped" in rhe emotional areas of th.eir brains. ThisC3U8€'S low self-esteem and depression.

Scientists have d!evelopedm:any arlltidepreSS~fI'I: drags [0 helpconrrol serotonin levels, My friend Maggte was concerned about the label. 'land .. depressant" and how such a dmg would a:lteot: her daugiue:r. The idea that these are ~~happy pills" is mlsrakea The antidepressant drugs that are 181,' beled SSRI:s, are specific serotonin reuptske lFlhibitors. This means that they inhibit the reuptake of serotonin Bit certa in receptor sites. The}i do not produce more serotonin. They simplyanow more: sen:nolli~l [0 How freely rhwugho~ltcertain areas ofthe brain, They act like corks and block the reeptake ·dltlnThels. Typically [his allowsintotmatton [0 flow more freely end makes the il1divIdlLi2l1 feelbe:tter: SSRills work in subtle ways and take seveeal weeks to be flllly enl:;c[ive,

The tndoleamme meIawnin is a neuroteansmtrter I:h2lt has received much attentlen inthe 199'03. Advenlsemenrsclalm thatregular doses of melatonin C3!1'I make one look y·otlt1lger, feel better; and sleep welt Resefllfcbers are proving most of this informacion false. However, melamnin ,is related to sl.eep.]t is achemical released from ithe pineal gl;m:l!d, whidl is locate.a in. the forebrain. UPQI1I its release; drowsiness occurs. Our biologi .. • cal dock activatesmelatorsiu, Marry travelers have used melatonin supplements to overcome jet lag fWolfe~ ]996).

Acetylcholine is in a class by iTself. Although iI is not [[uly a monoarnine, it ]8 often associated with that cart:egory of neurotransmltters, Produced in a subcortical area sbove the brain SiJ1~m and found throughout tile brain, a(~etylcholifl.e operates vol.1,i1tl'tary and involtulmry muscle movemenrs (Svlwester~ ~99j), Onetnreresnngftndlng ls that it appears in. the brain in vast arnountswhile we are sleeping. I t is the chem]cal that causesmany of our dreams, and it Is direcdyrelated to memory, Recent research suggests that one purpose of sleep IrS to allow the brainto practice what it bas learned dl,ning the: day: The presence ofacetykholil1.e durillg this ~iIIH~ indicates ehe importance of tile ch .. emicsl in learning into long-term memory. Acervlchcllne is formed in

Semtonin may we~11 be a part of ev:e:ry message sent

fA. la,eK of ssroton i n may result in low

s€lf~es:tee m 8 nd depression ..

MelatOU1~n is a chemical related to the wake/sleep cycll.e.

AcetykiholinE! is lna class Ib¥ itself.

Aoetyllcholine is sn importam

neurctransm iltl:e r related to m emory. It is the d1emicall re5po~sib;le 'for many dre·ams.


Endorphlin is the bod'·(s Inatura~ pa[n kililer.

An abundance of

9111do rphi 111 may crsatea f,eeling of euphoria.

Cortisol lsa chemical rei eased when we: a re under' stress; at high II€lv~Js it can be

cia ii!;l'EI!r,ous,

Stress responses cannot diff,erentuate betV!leEIrl emotional (lind pihyslc:all danger.

the brain wkb tl1ehdp cfcenain fats in om diets (Hobson, 19941. !Fat,· free diets, the:~e:fore., could be detrnnental to learmngexpenences. A shortage of acetykJloHl1e has been llnkedto a. poorsbtllry [Q concenrrare, forgetfulness, and disturbing sleep patterns,


Many chemicals come' under this ,categmy. One, hOlW'eveJr~ stands out: endorpM·t In 19"7 J twosciencists discovered tbe opiate receptors in the brain .. The findIng led to the disoovery that the brain makes ~t:s own. nataral morphine. The name of this substance, c.aned endogenom l'l1.orphimei was later shortened !JjO endetfphin (Pen, 1997). Endorphins are the bcdyls natural anesthetics, and they are painldUe:rs.Women in child· birth. produce 10 times the normal. amounts of endorphins (Wolfe! 199'6). You may have heanl the term "runner's high.~j This t~nn~merged bocu!!.lJse: runningand otheracriviriescsuse rrherelea:s€: of agreat deal otendorphin, and an abandance of it C9JlJJ.seS a feeHng ofeuphoria.

In ill971 researcherseordaered a smdy to determine how the level of endorphin a:ffens8i person'senjosment of music. Because man.y people descri be their POIS]tL veexpedences with m us it as ceustng pleasura ble sensations, scientists gave the. participants in the s(udy endorphin blockers. \'Vhen therelease ·o:f~he endorphins ms blocked and the!.isrened to rhelrfavorire music, all odd rhingbl'lppenecl. Thev dtd not enjO)i the musicas rauch as usual, When ehe blocker bad worn off! they once agaIn derivedpleasure from listening tothe music (Hooper & lli986), Eudorphins have.tberetore, been labeled 8S part .of the reward! system of the brain (jeurdain, ~991}.

The final brain chemical eo consider is called coftisol. Like the monoamine epin.ephrine, thispeptide is released by the adrenal glands, located above the kid.neys. Once released, it travels to the brain to do much ofits work ..

Many scientists consider cortisol to be a hormone. Although it has some positive effects atlow levels, it canhe very toxic to the brain and bodY:I1:: bigh levels. Cortisol is a stress-related substance, The hypothal2J~ mus calls for its release when the brai:n feels threatened. Cortisol, along wtrh adrenallne, aids in the Hflight or fi.ghr~ response (leDoux! 199'6),

Our stress responses canner different~~te between emononel and. physical danger. Thel1e.fore,conisol I1lElY be released during slight emotiona] apheavals. Chrome stress causes it to be released a11: high levels dl£ltr can damage certatn brain structures, interrupt transmission or messages from neuron m neuron, and cause immune, circulatorv, and digestive problems,

It is unpostanr to understand tll1e pow,er6td influence that serotonin, dOP8k mine,endorpi!.in! and norepmephrlne have on behavior" High levels of norepinephrine CEll1. cause aggtesslon. The other threeneerottansmitters ,C'''OI kee tf! "~'s b.:;:·I""7·IO·,- ~om' ", .. ,h,," II ""d· ... - c·' "0'['1'«'1

.. <:1 ..• K ... "I" ~!l.l ... 1(:1.\ . 1:;) ._.,,"'_. ""~ "'~u_ .. r .. ,_., . _ .0 .•

Can levels of serotonin, dopamine, and e:t'ildorphil"Ji be gjff~cted by means of a pathwayrhat does not include ~nv8Jding the brain? The answer is yes. The brain HlI.ay release seroeonin, dopamine, and endorphin asthe result ofexercise, an affirm]n.g" touch or smile, or a meaningful relationship [Glenn, 1990). In addition, the s~ngle most dy.tllamic inl:1.uelice on the brains chemi:.s;try rnay be posinve feedlbadr. Positivefeedback, which comes in many different fDrms.! is essential for il:h.~ dev~lopinent of a good self,oo[i)celP'~ and healthy self -esteem (Sylwester, 19'97c). Serota nin, dopamine, ande:ndorphin make the body fe'cl good; aid the imnlU[)~systeI.11~ and help in ti'9t"IDstlll.iuing messages e:llsily and quickly. To a certain extent w-e can control our ownlevels of these natural dn~gs, and we can affect others' levels.

Can we do th~s in a classroom" Yes. ille can be aseasy as aU.owing S[U~ dents I~D stand up 3Jnd srrerch, playing Snnon Says,. Dr doing the hokey.pJkey. Each otthese is 8J form of: exercise and will ralseresolradon and heartrates !en.Nlgh for the bodyto begmreleasjng these chemicals. ShakIng students' halides provides those affirming touches. A pat on. the back, some high.fllives, Oil' an. innocent touc~l on clle shoulder-are other w:ays or releasing morec hemicals, Pmviding- students theopportunlrv to- be a part ofa signifi.c:allt relationship am be 81. hit harder, becanse rime limits the development of a one .. on-onereiartonshlp wlrh every student. Teaming, however, can help smdentsfeel they are a parrof somethingl cared for, and appreciated. The brain will1l:hen re~ease the ~'fe:el good'; chemicals such as endorphin and dopamine (jel1sel1j, 1998).. Music is anorherposslble ti:igge:lf for the release of positive chemicals. 'Researchers are str1ucr-Vjn.g rhepeeitive effects or music inthe dtlJllSmOllll. and at home, Hyou listen to music Y01lJl like, your brain wUI release these neurctrananitters. $ingln.g ImllY do [hie same thing. No Ollie should be forced [0 sing! but iflhe singing IS in. a large group and everyone is eomfortable, t'11.e result may be a room fun of h~mhhy and happy brains!

The! JOIV olf R,etir,eme'nt?

J'im nadfinall'y decided to take that step. He had be-eli 'jjj€;aching 'fm85 YBarSI arid he had to admit that he was t~red" Coaching had taken so much time from his f.amily that he couldn't renru!)m[u~ra reaUy or€aitt \til:' catiorL Jim's summers had (lllw.ays been spent eoadhlng at b8S k:etba 1111

Behavior is ~nflUienced by serotonin, dopamilne, e ndorpih ~n,a nd

no repi n e:phrin€.

PositiVE! feedbacic may be the single most powerful inf!u'ence Girl the' bra~n'schemistry.

Tbere a re ways to influence 'the rs, ·of ihese chemical,s.,

Teaming andl mov-ement may stimu~ate the brain to re'lea se 1:he positive dlemicalls.

Musicafild singing may encourage the brain's release of th€l8'@ chemica lis.

AnyonE! may le'xperi€r1'c€ a neurotransmhter imbslarce at varyingl times in lif,e,

~eeHr"ig good abollt ourselves is vitaltos Inatur~~ chemicall balaM€! ..

Job s·atis:facti:on may help in the naltural production of positiive che micals.,

,oepr€!ssion has been describedas an imbalance in the brsirrs chemistry.

camps. The-family needed the money; ibree sets of oDllege expenses a noa II oHhol;le rea rs IhEld rea ill y put aJ~trajlUl on the fa mli Iy'sfli n enees. Th e Iddswere graduated. rna,fried. and on their own now. So this rea!llv \NaS th'e perfect time for reUrement. After all, he ~rld Mary were still youngl enough 1,0 enjoy Hue. As muehas Jim lov'8d tteachlng and ooaching, physicailly it was real'ly dlifficuU to keep up with these kids-fmd those YOUlngl coaches. Vels, itms time.

A.fter he retir,ed,a nlot~50~~unnythi'n,g started happening around Jim's house. Jim just waSI'l'~ lhimse~lf. He stayed in bed lor a ,good part of the day: Marywou!d 'go out and play bridge with her friends, 90 ,to e:xerdse class .• and wor~ iinth€! 'garden. Jiim didn't seem to hav'€! an in' tsrest in anything. Sometimes he wandered the house alii night, and he rSlr,ely went out, Mary even cauight Jum cry~inga f,ew t~me:s when she was ,awa~ened by hls nightly walks around th,s, house"

IFInallly, Mary g~Clt J um togo to the ooctor Tn ey were qU[lte suprisedl when Jim's physrdan told him he was suffering, from depr9ssion. The doctor prescrfbedat'i antidepr:e,ssant" plenty of frresh a,i~andexe~cise, and ordered Jim to find a hobby and Ell tilew,apist

It took about fOllr weeks be/fore Jim felt be't'Iler, Mary nagged him u nti~ h€ stOirt€d wa I kin 9 with her eve ry day. The n Ih e we n t to the YMCA :and beigan volunte'f1!ring IM~$ time with the klds iii 'the gym, SOOI1 he began to, feel good again. Reiinr,sment was okay. He didn't need 10 be at sehocl and working tofe!ell good about him$el~,

\Vhat happened to Jim anyone. Irs a very commo» occurrence these days, J im's, when he quit WQlk~ ]ng. His brain just wasn't producing an abundance of those feel-good neurotHtflSmittenl,.espednlly serotonin, arryrnore. jim had. received man.y of

- . .

those chemicals throughhis satis£acdon with his work, He had received

positive feedback. from his studenss, htscelleagues, and his superiors. Jim had thrown himself lntn his work for J5 years and did nothave much of an outside life, Wben he rettred, Fhe chenucals qlLdt flowing, As a result, he became dinkal~y depressed and was lef~ with some very negative emottons, Missing were [he reurotransmzrers neceSS8!ryfof the ~ogkal.part of his brain. to make decisions arnd plans,

]11 Jim is case, rhe antidepressant took effect in fOMr weeks and allowed him to have enougli dlemicahiavailaMe to start doing ~hillgs that then helped hlmavoid depsesslon, He started receivtngposstive feedback as a result of the walks with. his wi~e andhis work at the gym, Over time, additiona] contacts \~iU. help himlead a happy life: once again,

This scenario is common amongrenred and (·.Iderly people, The same thing can happen to children. ln the. case of my frien.d's daughter, a

traumatic ~ncide:nJ cf!1jsed the chemical problem .. Michelle was fedlng gl1ib~, and responsible (u·[ ffiend's, de~dl. His deathalso caused her to feel alone and afraid. Nothin_ginher H6-e seemed posittve anymore. The doctersprescnbed medication to' help her recover.

These examples are offered not to promote rbeuse of antidepressants or other d('i~~g;s to solve: problems, but to shaw YQ1J;] how the brain and its chem]cals can be e;.llsil.y affected. The: good news is that sclencenow sees these dmgsas short-terrn dUi.ei:ap~; Both Mkbelleandjim wil.l.nced to talk to a counselor ortherapist to wQI:'k through their problems, The anrlde .. preSStlllIS simply help raise, [heir chemical.leve~s so that rhey can deal with the problems.

Now that we have looked at some extreme cases, L~['S look at what could happen ill a classroom under mitde:f! yel snnilar, circumstances,

Jbhnrr1Y transfers to yom school from another neighborhood .. In the' o.ld neighborhood, his ftri'end:s considered Johnny to be very cool, and his teachers liIk>ed him. He diidn'tca.lLIs€I m~chtmuble,. he' wa!sa lefuie,r, and his Qlrades were Clullte good. Compalre·d w~th many of his formercI18lS&mates, Johnny was an asset in tile· classroom ..

Yoursc:nool has a different sort of clientele" YO'lJ teach in a ra1Jher 81f- 11uent area Mos,t of your students are ariven to get good gradies, ana they erljoy performingl. Johnny doesn't shine inl your school. Because nisfamilly is in a differ~ntt €lc,onomic sil~uatiQnfmm the ma~Qrnty;. Johnny fee'lsinferior to his: new classmate's.

J'ohnily bel9fns 10 act out in c!ass. He dlsu,acfs other sruaei1'ts alnd ma'l(es flLln oftha "eggheads:' His grllldEN? beg~n to fBII! until he is receiving Ds" He seems 110 "forget" his material:s arid bls lloiTI€W(j'rk" Whliim you calli home to talk: to his: pBlr,ents, they ars surpnsed and blame the :Situ8ltion on the: ne'w schooL.

What is, goIng on in Johnny's m~nd~ Firstl, you. can bet Eb,mt Johnny's serotonin levels have dropped. He is no longer moeiving positive feedback. He is no lornger the leader of the pack. He Is no longer a mp student. J onnny is also under stress. He feels rhreareeed byrne newenvironment and by his fellow students. Hj.s corrisol levels arer~:singa:s he perceives Mmself in a ilfight or flighe' situation,

Because of the increased amount of cortlsol, Johnny ffi.1'IY not be straight. If the cortisol is interrupting transmissionbetweermeurons, he probablvfe:e1s even more, threateoed.The lower serotonin level ITIf£lY be affecting his norepinephrine level.causing him to be more aggressive. By acting out, he is looking tor recogniti.on. from his peers .. lfhe can't

Chi Idrelrl ,adults, and the eldlerlyare ;aH sl]sceptible to chemk::al imba~ances ..

Classronm cincumr stances may affect. the brain's chemistry in either a po:si1iive ora negative way.

An awareness of tJ e brain's, enemistlry m,ay help te:achers affect the classroom environment

When seroto n in ~,evel,s drop and oonisd levels rise, the re'8ult is the

.. f~9~lt or f~ig h t" response,

Even Ull h€·alltlhy selfi-<9st:e'em oblO':lined from lJartic~pat:ing ~n behaviors sudh as gang activity can raise $erotCinin le\lel~s.

The! classroom may bs the on~y place a student 'eels safe.,

~d ulcal~ors, and psrents can tabe many' actions to provide a sane environment

Take C,8lre of yours em Only then will you be able to @ff,9Ct your sn.denta

get that recognitlon In apos;itive way, he feels he has [0 get: it: ~ny .. wvhe: can. Remember, i:fhe $tar~sge'rHfig even n.egative attention, hlsbm~111'i:l.ay start producing more ofthe serotonin tber It is probably craving. He has bad. manyreceptor sires for serotonin. in the. past, 80 his brain still seeks it.

This is defini~el.y an at-risk child. He IS at risk au dropping out of school a~ SQI11e point ifhe feels ~msucce5sfuL He 111ay be at risk foralcohol ahuse or o [her drug hBbltsthat will make his brain believe that it isreceiv .. ing the neurotmnsraicters it seeks. He may be at risk for joining atga:n:g,In. a gang he may feel important and may be :S!leader. That might help his brain produce those neutotransm uters, [00,

On the other hand, our tdaSfill'oomsm::l)' be the onl')1 place. where some children feel, s8Jfe afildhappy, Tb,ey ffiiFY be the only place where a smclem:

"" .' -

isn't under stress .. There are pm.bably lots of great chemicals heing pro-

duced in our classrooms.

Malking Chicken SIOUP in VOIJIr C~assn:H)m

How can yQl1 develop classroom en l.rimnments· that positive]'! affect brain ch~nlistryl' Begin by~edl1c.~ng sO',ess aslnl\~ch as PD!l5ibJ'e. This is '(%lS~er s~id. than. done. As aclassroom teacher who sometimes fights for her own seretol1inl.1 know [hat W~ are In under srress at times, Tile fol!,Dwing suggestions may help:

" Play cahning music, such as selections from the Bsroqueera • let students knowthat ifs ,oby to make mistakes ..

" Allow teamwork and scctal learning to help reduce tensicn.

• Celebrate l~tuuingl and let kids know that you understand they have feel.i.ngs ..

• Use moV,t',meill like stretching ortole-playing to add fun W ]e2JJming.

" Provide an outlet (or expression, such as journal, wridn~+

" Give students some options and a feeling of some control. over their ~ives,

" T3h care of yourself! Your behavior one clay is the best indicator of how your students win fe:e.'1 the next (Sylw,es:ter, 1997 b) .If y()U take (are of yo~rs~~fl YOll wiHbe less stressed snd Illorelikely to provide a relaxed S!.f:,mosphere for YOWlr students.

These suggestions can cause some dr9m9ltic~ positive (h3!nges ~n the Chif1;:SIlOOl'J"D:,

I have to remi nd mY'se if that my studen ts j brains are still growi ng. J:u I think about how Hl11Ch time they spend wI.t1" mel I realiae wha t a large part of thar g:rowth[ affect I also remind myself that the brain is a.lw9f\-IS

looking fo:rnew infonnation. Iii: seeks stimulation. It is acu.l8!lly l.mnatural not to learrd Perhaps R. can provide the envirorunenr that will help those brains to produce the appropriare chemicalsfor efiecdve learning. Maybe this is just anorherk~n:dof ·chick~l] soup that .~ can help make!

The brai~n desires a saf,e, envhonment ~n which to seek new iinformation

a n d expe riene SiS"

We! are each \lluln9!f,able to the tricks our breins can play.

'Our fears and our gllili: may cause r,esponses that we are not proud of.

The' control that We pride ourselves on may be ofl~y .(If) inlUsion~


Pieces and Parts:

The Anatomy of thle Brain

lit has been 81n extremely dliffi'cult week at school and al~ home, The class p~ayhad itsfirnal performance last ni,glht. II havel' been holdirngi about seven rehearsals a we'ek, and II am beat! lthink I deserve a day om This lis lAO! something I :naVB ever acme, but, by golly, ot~@r people do it. Why not m,e7

I' ask my llus1band te call my princlpall and say that I am sick, (Okay.

II'm a big d1idken, II adrnlt it~J ~Ie grudgingly does me the favor because he knows 1lO'\!V tougih the last mOlitn has Ibeen on me.

My husband le.av:es 'for work,andlll roU over and hy to fa 1,1 asleep. ,Af1Jer115 minutes lamwide aWake----1ifiGi hUI'iQlry!' ~ dash 'to the, kitchen and open thiS refrigerator door. Much 10 my dismay, there ~s r110 milk.~ You know those crazy" p~opl'e on the commercials who discover there is: no milk? II become one' of them. I !lave visions of making dlOcolalte ohip cookies and 'eati nlgl the m wa rm and gooey strai g!ht from the oven. I can't do that without mfik!

I 'c:a~1 my sistetFin"iaw to borrow some. Not home. II sit and ponder 'this, entire situatiot1l. Can ~ possibly sneak into a grooery store and purchase, milk wi~holJlt being seem? Do I take the chance,? How about if I trfM~1 to a small town nearby? Yes! That's whalt I will do!

I thi'lClVll on my sweats and my€'s,. ~Wlho ceres that ~'t's ,!:'! cloudy d!ay?~ I dlrive20 mi~e5l"lOrth of town to a supermarket,. II walk into tbe store like a cr~mif'lall,. head down and collar up. I glrab a basket. for protectien and head fmtihe clair)! ais~e., I diDn't knowwhsreths milk is lin thiis stone. sol scan s6"verall afs!les unW' ,I find it

As I turn ihe corner to head fDr the checkout lane, I spat her, Atthe end of the nsxtalsle lsa blond woman wahl gisisses" The assistant prin·, cipal's wife! II do what any mature., respoesible person would do, II turn around and run Ilike an idiot! I go bsckto the dairy aisle and standi there


shaking. My hands are clammy, my heart is bealting ~ikJi~ craI2.y, and ~ don't thi n k I cain ta ke aJnother bre:a~h . Alii .~ es n think is that II am gol rlgi to lose my Job! After alii of my yea rs of d!edicatioll\ I am goingl to loss my job because of chocelate chfp oookies!

Wait a minutel Dfd she see me? Can II sneak ollt. of hereatilll get home betore someone at the sdhoolfinds out and calls. rrHS'[ That':s ~tl ~. be!l'ld over my cart aml steertDVWlrd the door .. As I near til e door, II push the cart backw:ards, ruin out to my calr; jump behind the' wheel., start the car,~nd Ihead out 01 the parkii'ig lot Checking the rearv~ew mirror, I see the woman ex~tingl the store. I s,lump cl.Gwn but ke€lpaFl eye on her. I suddenly realliza that this Wioman liS muon olderthan the assistant pdnr· cipal's wife and about 30 pounds Iheav~er~! Iitt hsn't her at aiL

D~) I diaps tum back and get some milk? I think about my ra:cing heart and my sweaty pallms- No, I glUes;s li'll skiptthe cooki,es !today_

Why did I act like an idio1I in that smre! \llhy was l'fiy heart p01!Indhlg and why were my palms sweadng? Daniel Goleman (~.995)wol,illd call my experience an "emotional hijacking," an experience that we all have at one time Of another. The emotional parts of my brain were not :aJUawing ITI.e to think: \vith reason and ~ogic. So ~ confused [he: wmn8Jn in. r.[,:f! sli:ore with my assistant principal's wite,

Tounderl:ltand sim~tioClssucb as this, we foeus now ali. the b~gge]' pic:" lure" It is time to ~ook_ arhow [hose moo billion neuronsand all ofthe glial ,o~lls that ~(jQOm.p(lfiY them fit tog~th@r in specific areas of the brain" AIth.ollgh the foUa:w log sections label and discuss rhe funcrions of brain parts, keep iii. m]ndl that toc.arry fRI,[ ]utricat.e processes, the brain must work as a whole.

Ifetal Dlevle!~o!lPlment

At: certain times in fetal brain develcpmem, neurons mjg-;r~te co dtffer!em areas of the brain. Some are earmarked asvisual neurcos, others as auditorYI and still others become rhe vsrious brain structures examined here. As the 'fen.l5grow8 and develops, diffe:reru:pal"ts, ohhebminbegin Eli marursnon process. Some mature completely before bjrth, and others continue their gruwth well into ~ife. The. brain accounts for only aboue 2' to 3 percent of body weidht;. however~ it uses 20 to 25 percent of the body's en,e;rgyl Looking at ill: another waYj, thatmeans that ElpiPrm::inmte~yevery fourth heartbeat iSl..illsed for the: brain. Thismarvelous organ is encased in the. skull and protecred by cerebrospiual fluid, Somemcdels of (he btain us better understand it's function.

Our inability to think elea rly ~ f1 some' sitU8ltt~ons may be a result of brain

snuetu res that oontrol us.

Emotl:onal area s of the brain can sudd8!nly and easiily overpOMl!8r logical thi n kingpattems.

At c~rtain tlimes ~n ieta~ deve~opmer1tr neurons milQHlte to specific areas of the brain.

The brain accountstor only aio :3 P€PC€f1iil of bod¥ weig'nt, but ~t uses 20 to 215 percent of the bod¥'s ,energy!



IH ig heHltd e ~~hi "king

Mac:l,eatl',5 mode II divides the brain imo th re e, s pecific~m3ja:s.,

The triune brain model, developed by neuroscientist Paul Mad~%lnj W3i8 the first one that I was intfoduoed to in the~980s; (see figure 3.1). Developed in the early 1950s" it has been used for educational purposes for the past 25 yel1ll:s. Although recent research has revealed that this model is too vague. i~ is still worthuonsid,edng. It generally helps students under .. stand how rheit brains f~nc:[ion on a very simpIe level.

Madean based thetrume brain modell1l'on rheidea thl),t the human brain hasevolved over the y~ars. During thisevo~1!.ll[~Ol,ary process, newer brains have been added onto rhe original brain~ so mat: now we aCIl1t]<'In~i have three brains with which toprecess information (Hooper &. Teresi, lli986).

;:-r~~~.._,_ limbic ~rain


Ths Brain Stem

M~clean's model begins wi[b [he oldest brain.called the bralnsl~em or 'relnmllWl bmin. The name reptilian comes from the idea. thatthis bram W2iS the first to develop and Wf]S similar to the brain of a reptile. h. is, not a thinking brain~ but ~t deals with survival .. AU information passes through

the brain stem before going to areas of [he bminthatde'JI with (he htgher levels ofthiln.tlng. Maclean beUevet) that any time rem me in a fight-orf1tght situation, \iOUr brain stern is in control of your body,.

Is dti:sa:n. oVlersim:p~ifkatiOll? Absolutely. Children.jrowever, have ~ much easier time undersEandjlTl~ three levels of the brain as opposed to the mllhip~'e structures anc11El~rers that truly exist. You can ten them. that their brain stem is the boss of the brain, It controls heart rate and respiration and tales over in times of undue stress or threat, This pan of the brain does. whatever it tskes to ensure survival. Say~ for ,@xample.j you arecressi1i!g~he street and suddenly glee a ~:8irge truck barreling toward you, Rather than ,"~C"--- lne the s~-- shs oe 0··- hOfseMw~f,'f·[t .. rr· ... ·c. k·, C-"I"r--~ ~.,,, .. t, -YI'I,:v" ,.nJ _ ... X",IDL_ .. _. lrel,. P"" r _ -."Ic·~"'- "'_. ~1," u .. W .1.1 !'t~~e._ e

els of rhlnklng, thebrain stem takes over and GU1SeS you to run to :safery.

The! limbie Brain

The second level of Madean.IS triune brain is the limb£c brain, or the mammalian bm:ill, so caliedbecsusetbe limbtcsystemrelates to mammals other than humans. This part of the brain. deals with. emotion, The limibic brain. has become one ,o.f the most tmportant areas of the bra in in current research, However, in. [his model it is anothet stepping-stone toward h[gher·ord.efthinking.

The limbic bra ill houses S[fUCI::IJr~ that control e~'[iFlgj. drinkingt $~eepil:"l.gj' hormones, and the emotions. Because of these duties this area of the brain seeks homeosrasls, or J:mJilInc~. Until this, area has such balance, ~t will not allow infO'flT!l;lltiol"l. to flow to th.e highest level for I.ogic and r~s.soJ:ling,

The N't:wcorit:ex

The fhir{l andhighest level of the brainin Macleans model istheneocortex. This word literally me8!11S "new bark!! It irs the top level in this brain hiemrchy and Is in charge of all hlgher;.or(ler[hinklng. Herereading, plarlltling, analiyzing; synrhesil~ngj and decision making occur, Students need. ro know that ][ is this level. that IS critical in aperson's education. This iswhere thebraln SIOI"eS ::lInd retrieves educanonel IISl:ulT.U

A[Jljn~ this model is far too simplistic '{Of edacators' purposes Iii. understandtng the brain.Hcwever, aS8J stepping-stone fuji" reaching students abom~heir brain~;! it works wel]. Many publicettons for children discuss this themj1! and teachers indicate thElit their studems.1ave an understand .. jug of their brains thl'O'Ugh this metaphor ..

The tr~un~ bua~n tlfN)del is easy for chilldr,el'l to u nesrstand

The bra;in stern, or reptilian brein, deals wuth survival.

The I'imbic brain seeks to balance emotions.

"Hgher-order'thirnkiI'1Q ta kes plao9 in thie neocortex,


I IheAnatomy of the BHJI ill

l€t's look at the structure of the brain, Rather than look at: a]I of the parts, we wm look at only those that ar~ pertinent co OlJ!t d~scussiQn .of how tbe brain J,e:l:lrfiS,

The brainis d~v ided tnrothree sections: dfl:ebindbra]n, (he mkib~a~nj end the; :fot~brnin (see ftg~re 12', 'TIle hindbrain includes the cerebellum endthe lower part of [he breiastem. The; mkMblllin covers the upper hrain Stell1. The rest ,o.f the bnliin is considered part ofthefo])~brain. Our d~s,cJtllSsion of the forebraln covers thehmhic areal l:h.e thalaanrs, the hvpothaklo tnUJS, rhehlppocampus, the amygdalalthece:rt';b1rlll'Jl~ and me neocortex.

F~gU're 3.2; Sections of the Brain



Thiel Hindbrain

Thehmdbrain controls the body's involuntary systems (see flgur~ 3.3). All sensonmomr infonrnatiiofl€l1ters the hindbrain via tb~ brain SN~llL Withii:l this strecture resides another s~n~ctme called thereei:cuknr activating SjstcHl (RAS). Tb.e RAS regulates the amount ai1dnO\,~ of sensceimotor intonnarion.It relavs rhe ~nfDml[ltiol:Ji to' 'the tlmhlm,us, a forebrain snucture. 'TIle brain stem also eontaias the lJOIlS, which regulates

The hindbrainl controls the ~nvo!ui'liary systems o'f the bod)(.

dreaming and 'wakin~, The ,ltwdulLI. oblomg~ta ]S a 'hit1ldbm~1l soucture [hat controls heart rate and respiretion,

At rhe very back of the gk~TL the cembelLultl, is ertscbed to the brain st-em and part of ~he hiIidlhrain:as well, The cerebellum has 10l'!lg been asseciated only with movement and balance. These impottant funct]ons cannotbe overlooked. However, 1i",e,se,E1rdle:rs are studYing the cerebellum to determine what other functions it pedhtms., They have, rece:ntlyleamro that the cerebelhen stores a, great lIDlanYllelJiTUm a:n:d that this powerfUJI piece of equipment has: neural connections to many other brain structures {Leiner &. Leiner, 1997).. The cerebellum helps in memory ~J:'madon. 'For decades researchers have known tharthe cerebellum houses procedural memory-wllat [8 sometimes called "muscle memorj," Ecssen.tially this is our{~how ro" lea·,[,,{fiI. How to ridea bike how ~odrive 8! to' fin

___ 0 __ • _ 0 _.rrLIl!o _, o. ~ 0.. • _ Lt· ."". __ . _" .o!__ . JU_- !;'

rope, how to swim.and so funh, are stared as memories lnthe cerebellum. Scienrisrshave also discovered that [he cerebellum is the si[eofmemo.rles of many learned situations rna [ have become automatic but not necessarj"l~ associated with muscles.For insnmce, the cerebellnm stores the a~pha,bet after 'we learn it MuldpH.catioIl t:Elbles~ the skill of de00d~lilg words! and the stimulus-response effects., such as knrrwil1g opposites (~ say~~hot" and you 811wmatlcal]y say "cold"), are probably also stored here.

At the very back off the sltu'H 18 the cerebeillum, will ieh a ids ill

move m entend bSII;arH,)El.

The cersbsfurn stores pr:ocedural memories as welill as many automatic memories-

F~gure ] . .1., The Hin.dhraiu

Medullal nbl.ongata


The 'foreb~ajn contains parts e,ssellija~ rc II€laming,

From the reilcll.!'la~ actHvillting s.ystem, iinfform®t:ion goes to ·the thalamus, which sorts it and sends lit to the spedficareas of the brain.

lhel Midbrain

Compared with ,he other areas ohile brsin, the midbrain is rela~ively sll]]:pIe. This VeJiY small area of the upper brain stem controls eyelTlovemeat and the consttictkm of the pupils.

, The! Forebrain

As we ascend, we encotmter the forebrain {see figure: 3.4). This area covers rhe resr of thebrain andcontains parts essentialto leanling and memory. Here: dle infmmarion screened by the reticular ac~~V'atitig system continues its jOMmey~hl"cHjg;h the m]nd..What happens to this informaJ.r rlon depends on the emouonal, pbysjc~l, and jnt~llectual state of the learner,

The section of the for,ehrain containing tnterconnected memory and emotional structures is still called the limbicarea This area houses the

~ \1Valnut-s~zed thalamus. Most sensory ~nfnrm,ation goes through the RAS to thethalamus, which sorts it and sends it to the appropriate places.In .. formation processing is its: major fllnction~,an.d it keeps the btalnupdared on. 'whm is going on in [he outsid.e world (Sy!wesl:e:r~ 1995).,




-~F\c-- ThaialillliUS

p ~n ea ~ mllallThd

Hilp pocampus

A bOW"" the bratn stem .. and ber earhthe ,-['11' slam us ",c tlte h'l.l/)(ilmn'''"'~~l'~''

, , _. '" . ~ _ 0-..[, .. "',"". ,J.l_ fl.",,,., \-_,," ,- _t~'L'JI, . u~ [ .... ,. . '.Jl' __ . _",IDn~....,.

This structure :rel,ays the infonnad~)n f10n:1I wkhin the bod)! 150, the brain. It"S job is homeostasis. For example, if your temperature ~s higher than 98.6 degrees Fa'i1l'1el'lJi\eit, YOllr hypodl:alsiltl1Us seeks lvays to cool yom body; Ot~herroles of the hvpothalarnus include regulating sex-ua!l function and appetite control. Some recently advertis.ed diet drugs [lff~ct the hypothalamus. The h.ypothalamus stays inclose communlcatlon with thepitui ... (:a.'Ij' gkmd. This connection enables q~~ick regolation of the body because the pituitary runs the endocrine system.. This regularion ifldtide~ adjust>' lug the bmiy's chemisny in a mseter of milliseconds.

The pitwaI~and lies dose to these structures, lt regulates the. release of neurotransmitters that regulate s~eep. In hours .of darkness IE stimuleres rherelease ofmelaronin, which bnngs on. sleep, II: is m:hisregulatory syst'em choat may cause problems as travel across ume zones changes a person's :;~eep sd"b!edule. Some people take over-the-counter melatnnin rablees, and m8!ny report [~atafrer two Of three nights of the medic~tlon,thev are back on their regular sleep sdl)edule.

Conrinulng on our tour, we fi,nd two structures that are crucial to letlming and Inernmy-d1~ MpI)ocaml):usarrud the am'l,f,rdaia. The hippocampMsi shaped like: 'JI seahorse, functions :£15 a filing cabinet for factual memeries, s'[ofingboth trivial and importm:1I informari.on. As with most brain parts, there aretwo hippocampi-sene tneach of ihe bram'stwo hemispheres, This structuse does not house ~U of your memories. It simply catalogs them and sends them. for pennanenrplacement in other ]ol'lgterm memory storage units (see Svlw~~.[er, ]99781). Wi[nmu: a hipPoC;8!ln,.

- ' "".

pus Y0i,icannot form new ]ong~tenn facrLia~ memerles. The hippccampus

IS comparable to a receptionist in a busy office, When you call the off tee and ask: to speak to SOlneOI1~, the receptionist pushe:sbutton.s. tha~ eonnect yOI,Jl. Utile receptionist is unavailable, YOM can dial the number and listen endlessly to the ringing. The person you want to speak to has no due that jfouare caning. Of course, these clays!. there \~ould be no J:ieJc,e,p~ tiouist. Instead a recording would i:1:ns\ver and ask yOll to push the; r~gh[ buttons: W connect yourself! In either case! the hippocampus is; that per~ son or machine rel8Jying your calls,

The amygdala resides next to the hippocampus. This almond-shaped structure is connected 00 many areas of the braIn because ir is in charge of emotional Ulernory. JWlt as the hippocampas is the relay statiou forfact-s~ the amygdala is the relay station for emotional inforrnatton. The 3'myg,' dala screens incoming linfamulLiOlii and determines ifit is em.m.iol1.E1ll.y unportant fur ]ong"rerm. storsge. This very sensitive brain part is relevant in ,every information transmission. TIlle amygdala):; response to a situation can. (j~trasti.c~Ily affect the reaction to that situallion. To teach my students

Wh~r,eas the ~h,allaml,Js sorts infmma'donfrom 'th e ou~si de world,. the, hyjpothalamus sorts information from inside the' body.

The pinea~ gland releeses t~e

ne u rotrsrs miittersto regllliate sleep.

The hippocampus cBltallog5and filec5 'the' 'facrual i riforma'tionthat the bralin learns.

The amygdala catalogs and files emo~iolt1ill infolfmation.


if you :~Ue: wa~ching a movi,e, yom l1iippoc'ampUis re'memlJers what you see and youra:mygda!a mmemlbers how you teel about it

Tile' top layer of the brain is tine cerebrum. It is divided into ,two Ihemispheres"

Iheihi ill laY'€!f of mahnia~ ooV€ring the cerebrum is called 1lh,s cembra! cortex or neocortex

Ihe C!9rebrail cortex decides if factuall

~ rilformation is to bel stoeed. Ilff SQ, it: sends it to the hippocampus"

The G1ambrall cortex (j,etermine:s if emotiionall Ii nlorrnaticn is lmportent. If S'O. it willi send it to the amygdala,

the diff~rence betweeatbe functlons of the hippocampus and [he amyg"" dsla, I lise a l'llet&lphDr. I tell them that the h.i.ppOC~ITI.!pUS tellsthem \:!,rho the other boys and gfrls are, and the tells them whether they ~ike them or 110t. That seems to cement their 1I11dersta:nding of the differences,

The final srruccure 'to consider is the cerebrm1'll, This top Jayer ofthe brain is divided, as most of the brain structsres are, into Fight and left. hemispheres, Tille two hemisphereacomraunicate through a thick band of fibers I called the corpus caUosH~m, tb0it connects them. The cerebrum is covered by a th~lllayer ofmaterlal calledthe cerebral cortex, or [b,e neocortex. Neo means "new ,! snd many considerrlus to be the newest layer of the brain in terms of evolutionary developtnel1t.

The neocortex is about one-eighth of an incnrhkk, and if it were' lipread out I.t would be the si.ze of a large piece ofceustruerion paper. Be· cause lth8S to fold jl]elfwirnin our small skulls~ ]t~ppears wrinkled, Acreany~ almost two-thirds of it lies within the folds. It is this cortex dun: i.s referred to as our I'way matter," even though it is act~limJly pinkish. brown, The rest of the eerebnun.benearh the cortex is "white matter" ami consists of mmns~ many of whi.c:h have been rrryeHn.ated!. cam~it1lg the white color.

rlhe~ ~nformatiol~ Tra,il

Now tharwe've examinedthese major pans of (he braill!lefs [DIllOW some ]nfonmtion thw1i.!gh the brain. We eake informatlo» into om brains through our five ,Se'I1Ses. That information is firsr filtered throegh the re .. ticular activating system in the brain stem. Thel:iit goe'S to the thalamus, the brain strucmrethet sorts the, Information. By sorting, I mean that if the in:6onnal~ion is visual), the th:iJJlamus sends ~t: to the visual part of the cortex; 1ft[ is al!,(litory~jtsends it to the auditory cortex I find soon. When ]nfon:uation reaches the cerebral cortex, this hi.gher area decides whether ]t should be acted upon or sroredtn long-term memory [fit is to be stored fur the long reml,.l:he Information. isrela yed from the cortex to the hippecampus, whiCh catalogs. and files it. If the inforrnationbasemotianfilooD·· tent, it is sent Ii:O rhe amygdala for a similar procedure,

This is how 01[J]F memories g;r1QW:,. TI1]8 is how we explore our woeld, make sense of it! and g:row those dendrites Sornenmea, however! it does not happen exactly this way:

The S~rles;s Rles;~onse

You are at home w~th VOUl~ best lll'iend" She has cerwlncsd '/outto rent a video of the latest murder mystery" Usuailly you do not watch mysteries because when you were young, you hSld a V1ery ne9a1~\Ie experienc.e

wit'li'! 81n Allfred Hitchc,ock thrlHler.. You have not taken a shower since seeing! Psyaho.

The pop com that she broughtyoutBSt,€S great,. soy:ou settle tnf'or a oarefrs'9J aft€Hncxm of mUl"ldhing and watch~t1ig. The plot ls qUitE good, and you soan become mereebsorbedln the action 01'1 the screen and less [r1Iterested in e'ating.

Ws the! movie realches lts climax howeve~. you no~[ce that. your heart is racingl, The' kiN~€r isa:pproaching his final v~ctim, and the polic® are now~ere near the scene O'f WNe soon-to-be crime. At first, vou are froeen in yom ssat, Then as your hands become c'I'Blmmy, YOUI don't even notice that the popcorn has slipped. from your 'grip and spililed on thefloor; Your stomach is, dhurning, 80 you wou'ldn't care Giny\Nay. Just as vou are Blbout to either cover your eyes or rliin ~nto the bath~oom., 'the sirens b~are, and the po~iGe show upiln timB.,.lhs star is s.avedl, 13lridyour heart and bre,athing SiGN down.

What just hsppenedto Y01..l! Lees trace the steps YOUI: brain wel'li[ thrm~gh in this situation, The i.rrfarmationbom the movie entered yOllJlf brain through ~~our brain SD(';IU. Your RAS decided how important lr was and sent it to your thalamus for sorring. Your tha~am.tls would ordinarily send the infonnaron rovouJ: neocortex [0 dedde if it shouldbe sent to the hippocampus for long-term memory. However, elii.s informatiOfl.i especiallybecaese of your previous experiences wIth movies; waspastlculady emotional. Therefore, theamygd2!la, jumped into the scene. It decided [0 actbefore rnt thalamus hada chance to send lt arrywhere .. The amygdal.8J declared an emergency! It contacted the hypodlabm!u$ and told it to sefid our sigi1~]ls to prepare yOlif body for flight, YOUi' ,h.ypothiJ!flJ,' mus contacted the pituitary gland, which sent out chemical signals to the adrenal glands located obove your kicln~ys,. Your l'lJdrena.l glands released adrenalme and other peptldes, such as ccrttsol. YOMr body started sending blood a\"'lay (-rOIn your d.~gesti,v,e tract endtc YOlJj[ ~egs and armsto pllepare them for fight or flight. Your heart raced to gelL that blood f101;\!il1g. TIllS stress response can save your life (SeJpolsky, 199A,). Here, it kept you on the edge of you.[ seat.

Many people would find rhis an exhilarating experience. ]0 factI (_ney pay alot of money aIL the: theater fmrhe experience, Foryol.l! it probably was not much fun because of the fear replicated. from your esperience with earlier movies.

This response is what mflde me act Cr8J.zy in that grocery store. The stress chemicals that arereleased can af[eCl YOllr other ~hought processes.

A strsssfu! situatio n may ca use the he'ali to race, bioodillowto chang18, end respiration rate ~D rise.

A. stress response earn be trigg'~mF.ld before the c€rebral cortex has had 'the, opportunity to examine tlhe situation,

The amygdala ~ nitiaJtes 'th estress respons e, causing the rele.a:s'9- of 'the stress ohemical's that block thinking,

Ibest ress response can S·aJ~ your life, or it can ceuse

€I m ba rrassrrsnt


somesness d1emicais, Iremalin ln 'the body for !Iong oerlcdsot time.

Although some stress can be !positive', too much can damage the hippoc'ampus.

We may not rea1ize hOiN esslily we bigge~ the stress response in our 8'~udents,

We must be awan~ o'f om own resconses to stress in om classrcoms.

Stress ;)nd [J,oWlnshiiAtingl

Stress ehemiesls can block the neurotransmitters tha.i1!: are u,.~ng to make ]ogiiC.aI cennections in yourbmin" Th~s common occurrence is somerimes caned '!downsh~fting.," It is the bmincbanging from a hig;her l,eve~ of [houghl to a lower level (Hart, 1. 983). \Vh.ell I entered the store, Iwas US]fig my neocortexto decide whereto> go and what to buy, The fear of'\\Vho wOILII.d reccgn,h:e me caused my brninw shift down.froln my neocort-ex to my limbic. area, where my emotions andlny survival lnstmcts took over.

People who are 'QOntinuflil~y under saess may have some damage [0 their brains.\'Vl"lJen [he stress cbemkals are released, they cause problems for the h]ppOCampl~s, Conisol ifipartk~JUlar can be destrucr.i,ve, It may remain ]11 the body 1001ger than adler srresschemicals S!i])ch ;215. adrenaline. The coasisrenrpeesence ofoott'isolbas a toxic effect on the hippoc~m,pus-s-the mer oflong-term factual meraories Uel"l!sen~ [998).

Some stress can be posirive because itbelps us find sol.~tions to somewhat mcoasequentiai problems.Forinstance, the rapid Ili%'1!nbeat and cl~mmy hands that one' may h{lve: on a first dare are relatively This is also the case: fOF job intetviews, oral presentations, andtrips to the dentist. If high levels of steess ate a dailyocc~lHeficel tbe .situation. is &iff-er~m,Fof instance, a child who. is abused physically 01' sexuslly IlliHy cons,t3ntlyhe: ill a stateoffeas.This muM cause somell'lernmy probiemsifthe hippocampus has been ph~,s,ically damaged, Such a condieon ]l"l;ay also cause dam.age to neurons (Khalsa, 1997).

Your students wall;;: into your room, bUisiily 1:alki;ngl to ,each otiher a bout the carniival this E)\If)ning .. The glirls are dlscussing w:h,at: they aregoingl to we'er; ths boys are br8i~J9~ng about how much money they hav'9 to speod on the games, Getting them to settle down is difficult You lose your patience. In ~ booming voice yoUSt'll"lOlmCe" "Take out a sheet of paper: We're going to have a pop quiz,"

Your students :arle suddell'lyattenltive. They shjft gear:!: and have alii butt forgott:el1about 'tlhe carnival.. 'Quickly, you prepare a 10~Cluestiion quiz off the top of yom head. You have cover,sd the matJ€lrialfm the last. week; your stucents shourd kno:w it welt

When 'the quiz is cj\J!9r, you collsct the papers and rapidly score them., The results are disappoirfting. Yom siudents.' scoresare below avera g el Now yo~ are ,angrier. You yell at your students and tell thern thet because they sr,e not payir19 811:t!ention 'they must r~view'the matsrial ag:ain. Y()uassign 20 questions from the end of the ohapter arid t13111 them it wm :serve ass refresher'forttle week They mustf~n~sh in class because tile! camivElI is tillis !e\fening, and you don't walnt ithem to have homework.

What h~ppened here! EVleryone began opemdE:l_g from a stress re sponse, \Vbedlerthev had been using the neocortex Glr had been inthe emcncaal area, [he-v shIfted to negative emouenscf remand IDfilybe 81Th,' ger. You did~hjs because YOllbecmue angry. You were not iusi.n.ghigherorder thinking skillswhen you threw that pop quie at them. You may have been f!>!:pede:ncing a h:u::k of control and W€Ii~ trying to get ~t back. Your Students immed~atelvwe:nt fmmfeeling excited and happy about the upcoralng carnival to feeling fearful about an 1.m~nown quiz. They could no IOl"l;g:er access rhe:ir higher-mder thinkingareas. Thepoor test results caused you to react again from an area of stress, so' YOlW, assigned! theextra work. Any ~lesses whtl[ that: did to your students? Their fear of not Atdsh,· Ing and their anger with you coeldhave kept many ofthem frorll access-

. -~ ticul b . rh d d ffi rh " . Th

".-~. : ~ ~-:, .. ':' "-;-" - - -'y-,,~ " '~u-~ .. -::.,-:- ,'- ~,", '~"II i: ,":: ' ---,-: " '--'1--, ,-:,,-~ ..

mg me parneu ar rnam areas t .ey ne€ eOr t .e asslgnmen[, ,_ ey

remained in the ~imbic area with their emotions rather than reaching the neocortex and their thinking and memory skilb"

Ahhough muchabout '[he: bruin is unknown, somethings are relat~vely easy tounderstand. We limow that the neocortex is where we think, pl[l111_ J1eIlleIUIDer, OI'g~Ilille~ and 1D:rl1lula]}e sensible answers to prohlem.f,. We know [hat the lihnhk area! of the brain is 'where we deal1.vith our feellng'S. Those feei'ings w~~ a!1OOYs iwkeprimi~l over an~th~t:t:g else, In the book Emmiona! Intelligence, Daruel Goleman 0995, discusses the impact that emotional intelligence has on the success of children throughoutthetr lives. He indud~il;abilities such ascom-rollil':1g ones own emotions, understanding others' emotions, and delay of gratificaticm as important components of tb,is [ype {yf lntelligenee. Because our emenens ]JUlY very well be the force behind whatwe pay attention to, it is crucial that educators understand anddesl with emononsftrst (Sylwt:stet, 1997aJ

txamiiniitl!gl the' He misphsres

As mentioned earlier, the ceeehrsm Is dlvlded into n\IO hemispheres .. Each hemisphere is ~spomible !or movementon (he opposite sid~ cfthe body, That is, the right hemisphere controls the le~t side of the body! and the left hemisphere comrels [he right side.Remember that communicatton. between the two hemispheres takes placetbsough the band of nerve fibers called thecorpus call.osuffi. The hemisphe[~s may look identlcal, but tth1eY21fe cliissimibr in. both size andfunction,

Perhaps you have heard stories about "rlght-bralned" people and "left-brained' people. These are s~n'iply People are not '~!right brained;" or "left hrained' unless, Of~):)lluse! they have had ahemisphereremoved .. 111is type ofsmgery is done, but onlYL1l1der [be rarest of circermstances, We; use our who,],e bruins ro function.

POIP qUfZ2!€!S may ,easil~ tdggera stress respo~se in s:ludents ..

Emot~Dns willla'lw,ays 'take priority over any~hingl €lISle.

To get smdents' aW8nt~OI\ We must ·first deal with! their emoiion;s,

The right hemisphere of th €I' bra~ n controls '~he left side of the, body~ and the le'ft hemisphere controls the right Slide.

Ibere a re no "Ieft~briljlned" 'or "Iriglh"t·brai ned" people. Eadh of us uses cur whole brain"


Although the hemispheres hav,e different f,unctlon5, we use both sides of OIU r brain in most s~tuations.

~adh hemisphere is divicfed into four lobe's that have specific

fu nations,

Thoug nts are chang ad ~t1I~O spdklen words in an area called Wernicke'S area . .Broc8~8re8 is respon s~ble 'for p utdngl spolken words in order,

The' prefrotit>l3lllobe is where higher-ords'r tlhinking takes place.

Much of whar researchers have: discovered about the hemispheres ]8 a result of slirgeries in which r1::H~; cmpus; callosum 'W:ElS severed.Fromthese spllr-bram surgeries, ne~rosdentjsrs discovered the sepl!i!fate responsibilt .. ties of each hemisphere (Restak, 1995). The leJr hemisphere is able to analyze; ir deals with parts, The right hemisphere deals with wholes. The ]etlt hemisphere attends to spoken Uan.guag:e, and th.e right hemisphere attends to bodvl.angltlflge. Analyzing mJust'c would! occur in the ]eftbemi .. sphere :ande:n.jloyin:g it in the right. The left hemisphere is sequential and. time oriented, and the right is more spatial and lacks the time componen t.

You meet a person for (he first time. A~re:f a short conversation. you part company, As yo U! ,~raJl8!way YOll think albou t wh:8!t yo m' new acq uainranee said. You decide that this could be YOllr new best friend. Your le~'[ hemisphere analyzecll:he words spoken .• ~ollr righl: hemisphere analyzed the tonslirwtempo, volume, body langusge, and perhaps the anitude dis .. played,TI1€ two sides agreed that this was someone with possibilities as a. futu],e fdencl.

The' lobes ohbe IBraJin

Eil!ch of I:hebm~n~s hennspheres is fUl'ther divided uito fmw lobes: oedpiUl!, tempoml~ pa'rleml) and fomual (see fi.gllre 3.5).

The twoeccipital lobes [one fDreach hemispheI1e} are at the b~tk of the brain. The-y process visual information. When visual stireuli are re .. laved from [he thalamus, the ii1form~tion is sent [0 these lobes. H~~~ it is processed, andrecognition of seen obje:ct8 occurs,

The two temporal. lobes fire located at either side of the head around the ears. These lobes are responsible for hearing. They also playa role in speech, ~e(u:ni.n~:! and memory .. The uppe'f back edge of this lobe is called Wernicke~s area,.l--lere thoughts are chal'lged into spoken words.

The: two parietallobes are located on thetop of the head !:Owiud [he bad:. 'Each parietal lobe receives sensations frmnrhe opposite side of the bod¥.The front of the panetal lcbe isc.aJl,ed the se1t~ory strip. This j~ where the brain receives :feedback In the :!Urn1 of pain, pressete.temperature, and touch.

Thetwo fr011!lUllohes take ~p a grea'E deal ofbraln space. Each aids in critical thinking! problem solving, planning, and decision making .. An area in the frontal lobe called BrDca~s area ~s responsible for putting spoken words in order. At [he rear ofrhe hontal lobe is [he @)t.or strip. Here volullta:ry movemenris controlled, Th.e left motor strip controls the right side of ~he bodYl and the dght motor strip controlsthe leJt side. The from portion. of the fr·ontallobe is called [he. prefronta~lobe, This is the area to which many researchers refer when riley descnbelugher-erder thinking.

S!ensOliy S1I:rip

Motor strlp

P'arifelal Ilobe

iF~nntal Ilobe

lnba neveloplTilernt and Learningl

If, SiS discussed in chapt-er ill! the frontallobes are: ~he last areas eo reo~iv,e: a myelincove::dng~ it is ~mpOlnmt to understandthe el1eclS[his hss on. development; Our job as educators lS diff1cult because \'lJe must reach to alli leve~s ()f bram development, We mest provide opportunities :for higher-level thinking for those who are [ead~h and ~1J1e mtlst provkleccncrete experiences for those students who are mote inclined to learn in this wrrty.

We must c.onsider not only developmene of the lobes, but also. development of the emotions, Snelenrs who enter OUf classrooms Hving in [he limbic mea and operating from ehe stress response have different needs from those who don't.

k" we face our classrooms every da1b this bask understandi:ng ofthe bf$!in can help us focus; on what is jm.pon:a.tit.Evei'yed~'C8!wr needs to know [he facts beln,ggad'H~red on brain developmenr and function. Through. this information we can WOI:k toward a better understanding of learning and memory.

The 30 children shuiffile into yo'Ur room at d~ffer€nt P6C€5, Some are walking brisklytDtheir seats, 1:akin,g out tlheir materia~s:, Ilookingaround

Occiipital~ Ilob(!1

The deve~Clpmentof eacha.rea of the brain must be consider€! d as We decide what to tesch and how to 1eao11 it

Through an understandi ng of deve'~opment and 'fu.nction of; the brain, W~ can work toward an u nders'tandi ng of leam~rlg and memory.


Eaoh yem we 'fae,€ another set of challenges as we teach si!)ude nts who are at dinarent stages; of brain d,Ei,velopment

tbe room for any inwormationabout what the, day will bringl,. and say~ngl hello to 'the~r·ffriendg. S~ve:ral! are ilnteralcUng with feMow classmates of rbe OPPos!lte sex; they am fllirt[llg and ~aughlng-jnai mterested ~n your Cligenda, brut no:ne:thelas5 happy to be here. Two or thln~e dash to the~r seats j;us.t: as 1:he tardy bell rings. They aregr8ils:ful 'iO have escarpedthie possibiliity of csmerlts or de:tenticms" They flip open their noteboeks and look aroul'ldfor diir,ecttilon.

A boy in the' back of the room is slouchillg in his chair, and his eyes are closed. You smi'IEi!and nodi, kno-wlng that he was up late last night again. You wililibe lucky if he can fOC:UI8 et aiL Two rows down you see .Amy. Her boyfriend brol~e up with he~ yesterday, Those blue e'yes re~ main pu'ffy from all ibM€! tsers, You offer a smile, but Sh'9 looks, down in pain. Gary's aloohO!I~c csrents airs! 01"1 III binge again, M,e is stayin,gi with this, neighbors" Theinlew baby kept him upall night In the centsrofthe room sits And'{ The reques~ you made for 'testingl for speda~ servio8s is still b€lingi circulateo, He tries so hard and! seems 10 gElt nowhers

nisis it The begirnlf"ling of ano'iher day You face nota classroom of 30 studsnts, but 30 diff€ferlt individuals in a classroom. No two have come 'to you with the s,am:e' backgrounds, 'the sam,e,experi(!ll"lces, orths same desires, No two have COFn€ with the same dendritic growth, myelination,. (If lobe developm'~~mt. They have alii come witt.h the same need to leern and remember.


Strollinq D'ownM,elmlory lanes:

Mle,mory and Storaqe Systems

My two children wi IIII be arrivinglfro,m their r,especUve universit1E!S tonight 'fortheThalnk:sg~\iing holidlay. ~ have had an UnlJsu8111V long day at sehoo~, and i still naV€HJ 5,(l'c:look meeting ~oatl:end, I srn rushIng tothe grooery store to stock my kit'Ohen wi,lh the~oocls mv ch~ldrel'1llike.

My 'time! fs Hmittl®:d, and I am scurrying 'thrm.Jgh the grocery store tossingl items into my bas~®1t II GlM VElry familiar with the~ay{)!Jt of the store because I shop here oneil, Asl reach the last alisle fril the store, II rea'lHtne tl1a:t I !'navEl missisd several items along m.y routs, II ask mysellf; "Where is the pancake miixr' IDaughter Mamie loves pancakes.} I be,gin my search as I glance at my aM eencludathat I have only minutM to complete' my slhop;pingl illnd get to my mee:tiWigon time, Okay, t:~e mix must be! in 'tne,alsiewi1,Mtl"Ne baking ~~em:s. Nolluck. Well, then., it must be with the Ibr,e.¢lkf·a~t,cereall,. No, not t'here, I\k~w i sm not on'ly perple~ed,. but slso fee, some stress because OT my 't~me constra~nts. Wherta is the darn panclJike mix?

Of course, I could ask someone, llook around, There, lis no help 'to 'be found. Okay, II guess 11'11 just go. down aU these aisles. II look at: my watch again, Ilf I am not out of here in 10 mirilUites:, rill be lats!far the meeting. My cart. and ~ accelerate" My heart. is ra.cin98sl think ,about Mamie's dilsappointms!nt if I do not: frnd the nnb(,.8I"1d 'l:he disapproving looks 'from my committee members llf ~ walk ~n late, "Why in the \!VOr.~d did I a,gree to' this me~tin.g 'on tlh~s of .allll1ights7!" As I zoom down the aisle's, the food passes byi!) 81 blur. Am II realhlableto see wha1i: is here?

Th,€: 4::30 time on my watch causes an al>arm togo off in my head.

That's it! ~ have! no more time .. Sorry, Mamie. Ma~be bacon and egg1s will nav€l to do! II dash to th€ cneckolJtlCiFle and unlload I1111 cart as my heart stiifl bests wildlly.

Memories cain be af1fecteciby t h,e ti m,e constralnts that we p lace on ourselves.

TrY~l1g to do 'too many 'thingsE!t once may CBlUS;€: the brain to refuse to cO:Dpenlte.

Localtit'lQl m,emories may be impossibl'@ if' we aren't lookingl ln tihe riglTt place,


Just as stores have speeisl areas f,or their products, tne brain has spadall places for spedfie memories.

The brain has at I'east five differe nt memory II~n€ls.

The 0 nl 'II ,!;!vldenGe we Ihave oi learning ls memory.

Cunret'1lt researoli sugg\8ststhat mere are more types of memory than just procedural and dl6idara~l;ve.

XV[y}, did Ihave so much trouble shopping that day? E was In some unf~11I1Hiar territory. I knew where the items were that Iusually buy) but Ihad rofincl several unusual items, The fact tharI was under time constraints and that I had thousands of nems to search through clilIlJlsed IRe stress and confusion. [ th.ought nhad finally covered theentire store, and ~ was upset thatI never did look in. the right place,

Just as the supermarket has dtfferem aislesfor different food items, our brain has at least five raemosvparhwajs=semannc, episodic! prccederal, automatic, and enllDl! it can use tm permanent storage of information. Two other processes=short-term memory and working memcrv--ere pan of Our mem.ory sys(:em, We know where the m~mory

. "

processes begin~bll!: sclenrists are s!:]!1 slLudying exactly how they work.

Rec:al.l that the m:dyevidence we have of learning is me'!l'loty. 'It has been.

id I L 1- ~II n .:.1_ ' • drl t]_" d·"

sal tnat poop e ose tneir memories ana mat some or us nave goo

memories and others have "poor" memories. To better understand these popularoouons, lefstake a closer look at what memory ]s :alI about.

Le,arning and MI,emo,ry

For "ears students in psych.ology classes w>ere caught that there were two kinds of lin emory-procedural, for how-to prOCeS8e:5 like riding abib; and deelaratwe, far things that can be recalled andreported. Then declarative memory was further defined as containing two categories=semaraic, or word m.emory; and episodic, memory oriented to location, Researchers also referred to SOUle temporary ptocesseseslled either working memory or short-term memory .. Some people called one: or bOth of ehese processes conscious IThefllory, These terms were sometimes used iI1H.·;L1Chan:g~abllb and not: veryeff'e:c[i.vely when ~t came to understanding the brain .. liule was known of how or where memory was stored in the human beain.

Today's advanced rechnclogies give us a much better idea of wh~r: is going OIl. in Ol!]Jf heads, Through the use of posi(fon~~m~ssioll wmogmphy (PET) scans and functional magnetic resonance im,8Jging (AvlRI)lscien,r rlsrs can see' [he bra~n while a person performs d]fferellt tasks; tbey can see iI'afonnation. being stored and being retrieved, Th.ey can see which area .of the brain 15 in use: for &i.«~nmt functions.

Neuroscientists hav,e discovered that there are more storage 0:r!(c;::1S mall were orig~naUy thought. Although there is sti~1 more to discover, edacarcrs and others elm use [he lnformetlon generated so far to help in the teaming andmemory process,

Research has shown that the five; memory lanes begin in. speciflc brain areas. These areas can be compared to [hose supermarket a~s~eSi to filing cabinets, orperheps even to computer floppy disks .. The memory lmes

, 111111-' '. .J eflles i -- wl-'b m' ";, "~ " , .'i ored .. c-Th-,- ,] ·d .;~ ,-, elv O_Jam rCIl:._.J!1:l H] . "llL. _. __ emO!:y LS"Lre .. _. e meJ1Q __ eS (uemse,es

are not in these areas I bl.1lt the. areas are where each mem.ory is labeled. This labelingprocess makes the differ1!3nce in how quickly we store and rerrieve in(ounation.

Recal] that learning occurs when neurons commanicate with each other. Becausewe have up to one hundredbillicn neurons, there tRust be a wayw reach the: neurons contairangtheleaming we are trying to, rerrieve. W11ell we go to the grocer)f store to buy :mi~kl it makes no sen-S€ to seard, for it in the bakery aisle. We· could spendtheentire day in that aisle and never find the milk, So it is with memory', If we choose the correct aisle {ur a pantcalac memory~ ir won't rske long to find it. IDn fact, we will probably find some related memories as we]!. I was tNiing what I thought ~rgsrebted informatlonto find the pancake mix. I looked! In rhe aisles labeled Ba1bng an.d Ceresl inhopes of finding my product, I obviously had chosen the wrong labels,bu[ I was usingrelated informatIOn. a strategy that might work another time. Undel:stElnding: ~nemmy and using SU@J[e· gies or menral models that allow us to access informetton are all part of learn Lng.

lSlmpo HU-Y Sto ra ge':

Short-Term Meml:H"y t'lnd WOlrking MfHJOry

I am in the· front officest 8011001 looking up the phone number of a chi:ld's parent on the emen;Jency cere, I mad the nurroer to mys!el\f and tum to pick up the phone, The secreiil:ary hssjustsnswsred 8 calli and is talkingl..1 ,check the clock and seethat mv planning penrod will be overin ~seven minutes, so I walk. to the teamers' lounge to make my callI. I~ II t:ak:e me card wi'th me. I will not haJiletime to return it' before class. ~ have' no peneil, 801 cannot write the number down. I rely on my memory and glance at the rwmberforthe final time: 452·3761.1 wa~k quickly (no runnirnglaUQwed) down the h,a~l, repeating the nurnber ovsr andover in my mi:lld. My Ups move as ~ say tbe number I walk into '111<8' IloUl1Q'e and see anoitiner teacher using the phone. ~ glanoe flit tlhe clock. It is 1 :28. Now, was thet number 452·3761, or 452-37267' I should never have' looked at that cloak!

Thesclence teaoher 'hangs up the phone and says, "Sorry, l had to call Johnny's mother:. Can you DE!liieve hegota '02. on hisdhapte'rli€!str

I react'! torr t.he phone. 4)52-37 .. _ 37 _ .. VilaS that 61 or 62? I slam down the' phone and drag mys'~llf to my roam. ~gllle'ssi I will make the eali latst

The bra;i:n has more storage areas tha n oruglll"lally b€!Heved"

If we know w.hich areas hold specific memories, ·the:y will b,e much easierto Hnd.

We hsve separate storage areas f'Or

pe rmsnent memoriiles and temporary memories.

We havea~i e.xperienced tlhe 'f~ustrati,Q:t'i!1 of Quickly 'forgettingl names and numbers.


Short-term memolry has a time 8pa~ of only '~5 to 30 seconds,

The brain has limited space ~m short-term iterns,

Begiinning at a'g@ 3a child has one rnemorv space" One is added 9\11sry other year until the developmental age of 15.

Whereas short-term memory lasts for seconds, working memory can last for hours.,gl with

~ !'ifformat:io n r,epeated ~'I{ may not pl:ac'9 it in llong~ierm memory,

That phone number never quite made IE to m,y long-term memory. I had. that number in. a temporary :storage area in my brain caned short- term memory. hems in shore-term rnemory last only a matter of seconds, usually between 15 and 30. That does not mean that if is not an efleftive memorytouse, mn fact, we use it all the time. Many tnemeries must go through. what joseph LeDoux. (].996) calls shorHcoo,bliffers-tempomry storage areas located in each of the audHorYl visual, an.d kinesthetic at .. eas--b{'fore they can go to working memory and then. to long-term memory: Some researchers, suchas Alan Baddeley (] 990) j have studied the components ofsbort-term memory, According to Baddeley~ we have only a (e\~r seconds to hold on to auditory signals, lite the telephonenumber, As I repeated the number over andover, ~ reinforced those signals, Bad, deley believes mat we canhold pictures In our short .. termmemorv for about five seconds, If we usal [0 ourselves what is in the picture, we rein-

." L~

force ehe visual mel1l'l.OlrY with the allditory component,

Short-term memmy has its Hmitarioru;. Several researchers ht'l\i"~ discovered that we h~ve limited "memory space" foll' shorr-teem m.emory_ This is actually a develcpmental phenomenon, The older you are, the more SPQces you have for short-term memory According to the wOirl: of G@orge Mil~er and followed bv that of Baddeley, adulrs (those who have reached a mental <lIge of 15) can hoM. up to seven. items in short-term memory (leDoux! 199r6), Be:ginntng at age). a chfld has one memory space, Every other ye3il this increases by one space until the capacity of seven is reached, Then two space-scan be either added or subtracred, depending OIl interest level and prior knowledge,

Another Kind of remperory memory is called working memory .. It is locared in. rile. pretrontal cortex, and it can be used fm hours, mt gives us the a.bility to (om more long-term memories. An educattonsl consultanr, David Sousa U995)1 points om working memory as having alonger time span than.shorr-term m.emory.

,Jenniifer is a 7th grader, She is a 'fBJir~y good student Tomorrow she must take Eli socia'l studies test. She paysal.tent~on in class, has taken good notes, and is just. beginning to study., J'ennifer reads over her no~as several times, She looks for intorrnation in her social studies book and F€!'\IreWS it. She spends 81'1 nom SllLJd~ngfor her test Her mother qUi.2:Z!8S hertwo erthrse timas and decides that Jenn is refldy for the test

The next mOnlling Jennlirerttakes out her notes. She does not fe.ell as confident as she did the night be.foreand be.gins r'evi~wing .again, This trlformation is rIIotvery important to her, but her grade is very irnportsmto her and to her parents" Aft.e,r 116 minutes ot stlldying, Jenn

,gets ready for school.

Soeial studisl!; ls he r s,eoond~pe ri od c~a 58. She snsa ks her notes out dur~ng her tirst·period math cless and COl'Iitiinues to r,eview She be{llins to 'get some 'facts mi')o:)adi up in her mind and is temp'ted to 'wri~e·a t~w things: on the palm OT her hsnd but. decides: notto, The bel! ending first period rings. Snle takes a deep br,@ath, gathers hermateriais, and heeds fm social 8tLldies.

/Jill. she enters the classroom.,al~ af the studerrts are buzzing with facts {hat all the tsst. Jenli1~fElr sits dovl/n, closes hereyss, and mes 'to org19nize her thoughts. Mrs. Re1ed. the T!eacner, begins to pass out the test Ths! questiollS are a combination of multiple choice,. matching. and short ,essay.

Jennifer passed her test. In fact, she did quile well, What Jennifer did w;as cram fmher test. This method of stlllclVing puts infmman:ion 1I1to her working memory. The informarion was repeamd of [en ~nollgh ~n the LX or so hours before ~he ,e(X;;l!m thattt remained there. Theconflision J, .. fer fe ltwas aresult ·ofn.ot [rul,ranchoring the intorraaricn to prior knowledge or allowing the material itse Ifw form "hooks" irrher brain, Although she did ewell 011 the test, her brain soon dispcsed (lithe informa,· t~on because it was not put into long-term memory,

This methodof cramming is hewmany of LIS got through school. II: is effective for the moment, but i:tt does not provide meaningful information thar remains in the brain asneeral networks to wbi cb c:onnectlons can be added. A fe"v bits of the informaeion may have become Ineanlngful for [enn, but most ofiE dM not Think back ro your classes and your tests. How much of the material yOM studied could you access now?

Pl3~rmanelnt Stcua,ge: L@ugl-Term !Memory

Long~Jjerm memory consists of lntormatton stored for 3in. inde:flnite pedod. Some researchers believe rhar the brain wil~ dispose of memories that are not accessed. Orhersbelieve that we never loseourlang-rena memories, but we: do lose oura~biliw eo find some .of diem. If yol.! can'r remember yom friend;s address, thaJ1!:: doesn't mean she doesn't live there anymore.

I stated earlier when describing $hort·~erm men1l0ry b~ie:rs 1rhEit information can be visual, f1l1.ildjtory, 01' kinesthetic. let's look more closely at rhese.Iri discussing the brainlobes, we learned that visual intormation is stored ~n the occipirallobe at the badk: fl the brain; audj.rory informarion is processed and stored in the temporal lobe am the sides ·of rhe brain arcundthe ears; and kinesihetic information. ~s stored at the top of the

R.e-petiti onl may ho.1 d items in work~t1lg memory long enough to pass 8 test.

We h8\J1ea~~ had the experience of cramm~ng for an exam.

If informaltion is not rneeningful or al~owed 'to fa rm patte ms ill the brain, it wiill 109 lost,

The bra in is a ~mys seeking meaning.


lnformation sent to tile! dlifferent lobes of the brain is he~dI i~th€ assocletlon cortex: for fhat area.

When memories ,are retrieved, they are brought back to the association cortex

The five memory iane!s ens semantic, episodic. proced!uml, automatic, and 'emotional

The memory lanes containeither impfic~t or explicit memories

Most cIIassroom presentatians rellY heavily on sem~mbc memory.

brain in the motoecortex ~mEikompietely learned and then.permaneorly stored in the cerebellum, rhe area below the occipltal lobe, Each of these areas has what isca~led an a$SDda~arl conex I which holds the information telllpor.a:rHy until it is either disposed of (forgotte.n), sent ~o working memory, or sent back to lon:g-temmemory ..

New information goes into the brain by wayof~he senses, Those arus who prefer vlsua] information m.ay 'have more neural networks in out vis .. ual cortex than others who favor auditory iufonnation, How weprefer [0 receive in~6nnatjon ~s imponanr; and, in the me!m.ory process, how we re .. rrieveit ~s even more important,

.lnformation is reuieved ffom the brain area ]u which it is scored, and it is brougbt to !~he correspondingasscciatlon cortex, Thebrain then may drop [he or send it to working memory where it is sorted and perhaps connected 'W'i~h other information.

For learning to he permanent, ]tnBs W fol.~ow cetta in. paths .. ~ C~n these paths "lanes," As mentioned earlier, there are five of ~helll: semantic, eplsodic.procedurel, automanc, and ernononal. They are like those supermarket aisles, HI use [he right O[K~j ru find lUY pancake mix, of the five memorY']f1nes has 3! ga®e"W'3Y 'to access the memory. These gate .. ways sre Im::ate.d ill several areas of the b rain that have been. desert bed in previouschapters .. Thega~e[..vays lead. to informaUofl that has been stored in long-term llH:!ll10l·Y. Scientists have discovered thar even birds have multiple memory lanes, They store: ehe fI"N~!moj'y of htdlogplaces for food in one area oftheir brain and me memory fOT songs in another (Pinker, lli99"').ls i.t any wonder then that humanshave fit least fivelnemory lanes!

Th(C'; memory 1a1l~S ~]re categorized as conmin:ingel[her~xplicil or implicit memOI1. Expl.idtm.emoryis voluntary. lts files are stored in the hippocampus, and IE with tnemories OfWOIlis,t9Jc[sj and places. Both semantic and eplsodk memories are explicit, Impllcit memory is involunt'Sry. In other words, i[ is aoompuls]ve response (0 a stimulus or ~1 situation. The implicit memory system includes the procedural, automatic j and emotional memory lanes,

S!em'8Iflrtic Me!lmory

Semantic holds h'l!fonnaillion learned fr(lm words, Most classroom situations rely heavily on semantic memory. We ger semantic infm,' matioufrom textbooks and lectures.

New infoft:lI1I.;l![icm enters the bFa]n[hrougil[he brain stem, goes to [he thalamus, and is then sent to the hippocampus.which is the me cabinet for factual memories, JUSt as the aisles at the supermarket hocve signs that tell us where ~tems are located, the hippocampus has the signs ormes for our memories. If incoming sensory inform.a!::ion is factual, it will nigger

the 'hippocampus to search its flies for ma1:ch[ng infmmation.

The hippncarnpus will brhlg information into those short-term bnff,. ers=temporary storage areas in each lobe--eo be examined. If that ioformarion connects to the new il1'fol'lluation, it wHI be sent 1:0 working memorl' in the prefrontal cortex. Working memory wi!] continue to sort and siill: the old and the new materiel, Through. prior knowledge 0Ii: interest, ihe new information may be added to the a'!d andfonu more ]ong,' term memor}'; 'TI'lIlS process may have to be tepeated several timesbefore long-term memory is formed]"

Thebrainwill process, some of this info:n'l'!l~;'1.'~iDn during sleep. Studies have shown that while rats are ~n (he sleep stsge called REM {rapid eye movement) sleep, the! r bruins repro dace the same parte rns used (OJ: learnIng \:~hil.e awake (lensec, 1998). This may expl.ain why lasr-minure for tests maybe so ineffective for long-term learning,

This mem.ory ~8!ne is a difficult lane ro use for learning because it takes severalrepefitinns of the. learning to cement it intothe patrhway,. It has to be stimulated by associatiens, comparisons, and sim ilari ties. In short, se,· mantic memory can failm in. Inany wa:¥s,

You are! W8!trcnillg ielievisior1l.. 00 your favorite soap OIJ€ra,the star ~s reading a book as she waits for her lover to retum from his trip. 8@Eling her book reminds you 'Ihatyou hav1ea Ilibrary book that mav be' overdUl6, As soon as tnEl com m€!rci1a II cernes on, you get up tofindtne book, You reach the! doer to the studT\{ and suddenlly INoncler why yOll have (lome to this mom" You simply cannot remember why you left that <COIV spot on the couch and your' favoriite soap!

Your semantic meulOry has failed VOlj., ll:u~ soap opera scene rrlgge:['~d It. You had rhe association ~n your short-term memoryalong with the mel"'l1.ory of your libra:r~{ book. The ~n(mmati.on simp~y did not r-ernaln 111 your memory long enough for you to fin.d the book and check the due date,

Semantic memory ,obviously has its drawbacksi but it also has some good potnts. Ihe hippocempus has a wealth of files just wnj[jng to be opened. It also has an unlimited capacity to storen.ew tntormanon, The proper assoctauoos can open up 9_!1Y of [hooe files and hel.}) yOl!_~ remeve thefact1!ia] InfonnaJ~iQil1!thal )lOll have stored.

IEpisodic Memory

Acoessing- the episodie m.emory lane is e-a;gier,Episodic memory deals with locations .. his sometimes called contextual OJ: spatial uu:m.ary. The important link for this merrorylane is that you are alw2JYs somewhere

Semarntk iinforma.tilofl must be repeatedlly processed for long-term storage to tak€ place.

Semantic memory must be, stimulated by assoda:tiolli S., ecrnparisens, and! similslrities, ~t can ea:sily falilus.

The hippocampus. has 81 wealth offihes contaiflling i nformatiolF1 ~nd an urRlimited storage capacity for more in'fo~ma1ioo,


Episodic memory is a~s(" called cont'9xtual, or spat:ial memor¥~

We remember some liniurmation because it is rr:e,1ate dto a locatiot'll_

Students who lealUii

Ii nform:atkm ~n OI1!3 room and are tested in another room score

II ower than $~ude n ts who are taught and tested ~n thesams mom.

One'intere:sting eorrponent of ,episodic memory is the linvjsib~le ~r1Iformat:iQn that iit contains,

PWG~dural memory is often cailled muscle memory.

when you learn something, so you caneasHyassodateiC'he learning with the location. The gElitewayto tbe episodic lTI!emory lane is ill the Th1ippocampus, Remembee that tile hippccsmpus stores allfacmal infonnation, and location is Carmal. It ls almost as though this brain areahas I~WO file drawers=-one (-O!F semanttcmemores and the other for episodic memones,

For instance, many of us who are old remember when PresI .. dent John. E Kennedy was shot may ask 'each other the question, !'Wher,e were you when you fbul1d out about the assassinadoru" YOllnger people may relate better to the Cha'lemger disaster orr to Princess Diana!s death.

Thepomr ls rhatwe all remember some intormation because It is re ]atec1l to alocation, TI:\e car tl1at yOt! drive when yon are first learning how to drive wlll be easter for YOlla. to drive than other cars. Even. thougb! mOSt cars have similar designs, youwm remember your instruction and associate it with this particular car. Taking your drlving test ill another car will make the experience more difficult,

Researchers have eonducted many studies to prove how import1l!t'!it episodic memery irs. Students who learn iniormation in one, room and take a test in another,rfO'I1rI.E.pisodic m.emory has an nnportant component cf1l11edui:nv~sible inlormaticn." Students have more {rouble]'tg math. problems in EngH~h.d~s:s than they do intheir math classroom. Why? Thewalls, desksj overheads, chalkboarda, and even the mathreacher arecevered with jnvisibl~ information. The C01!lum[ of [he roombeccmes part of rheconrext of the m~mory.

If you were to wallbac.k to the television room and your soap opera yOll!l might: IODl:. around hoping something in (he room \vo1Llld trigger Y0l!]JI rnemory, This is an effort to use the episodic memory lane to find inrOrm3J.r [ion. In many instances, this works. However, episod~c memorycan be contaminated easily. Because you have had 80 many experiences and built so ITIIflIny memories in \f01!]i te]<evision room, iI Is easy to be confused,

IPre eadural Me'mCiI-~ • . [I __ .___ _ ry

This llJlelTlOry lane has ofren been called "muscle memory," rrnfo:nwaJ~ non found when strolling da:wn EMs lane deals with processes that the body does, and remembers, Your a'hility a bike, skip rope! roUer skate! ski! and dF]Ve a car reside here,

The part of ~he brain ehat stores this inIDn'l1lmioll is the cerebellum, for ye'ars scientists believed that this brain structure was used solely for balance and posture. Reoe:nt research is suggesting that the cerebellum is doing mud" more than ever imagined (Le;iner &leinerl 1997). We now know that its work includes procedural memorj, A procedure is stored in the cerebellum at the timeit becomes routine.

Not on~'i~ was your episodic memory storing infonrmtl.on l~hen yml firstlean'l.ed to drive, but. your procedural. m.emory W8i$ also aCilLivaJted. Procedural memory stored the sequence used in driving. The procedure of stoppi.F'I:gat a rod light, hittin.g ~I'OIU' brakes when yOlJ! seebrake lights in front or you, and t~ming the wheel to round comers: and 3!vold collisions all reside here.

The storage ofprocedural memmy has given humans the abil.i.ty to do two things at once. The fact ehat we can drive carsand talk 0[[ the telephone at the same time is an example of this. BeJ( ause these rUilcti ons re,· quire tWQ distinct areas of the brain, they do not figllt for brain space or ,enet:gy. They can be done siml~~taneously:, (Extra C8J,e mUSE be taken if VOla, do both of these 8imp~y because ithebm~n. can shift attention easily;)

Trying the procedaral memorv lane is an excellent choice fOf your next attempt at remeTID1heringwhy YOlllefl the televisinnroom. Retuming to that comforrable Pos,~[jon onthe couch mi.ght bring back the memory .. It sometimes helps tOjUlSiIL ge~ into the 881me position and do whatever you 'Were doing." Many people have easier times remembering sotrlething(hey learned smndin:g tip if they just stand up to trigger [he memory.

,A,utom.aIHc. Memorv

Automatic memory) identified just recently, is ofren referred to as c-on .. df,uonea 't-tsForue metl'i.01J (Jel1iie[l~ 199'8), Cereain stimuli fO.lIWmaticZlny trigger the memory or infO~:3Jtion. Ircouldbea song that is playing, Af· ter y(m hear the fhst f~w words Or the op~l'il(irng notes, yOlJj, begin to sing the song, Automatic mem.ory lanesarelocated in. the cerebellum,

What might you alreadvbave stored in sutomatic memory? The alphabet! the multlplicanontahles, and probaMy your ability to decode words .. That means that your ability to n:ad.~but not [oc:ompf'ehend-is in yo~r cerebellum Lots ofsongs maybe~ storedthere as well, Any learnIng that has become aurcmaoc for you may be: stored hi your automatic memory. Sets of words such E1SS'OOP' and go, black aNd' whit~! up and. dm,Vl1, and tn, acnd OUJ are storedhere.Iljoo practiced learrling information using Am:;h c211:d,,;, that material is stored in your automatic memory,

Your auromsttc memotymay cause other memory lanes [0 open. 'For instance, you heara ,$Ol'iJ.:g tha ~ you haven It heard i l"IBilong .~ i IHe. ~OIJ b egln to sing t~he song" As you are sLnging! you remember the last time you sang that song. You remember that ym.! were onyOlJI way to visit a ftri,e:nd in the hospital. Your episodic memcry has been triggered. You picture yourself the sreering wheel of your blue Oldsmobile as you approached the hospkal, Vou have: aetivated you!: procedural memory. As you th~nk about the hospital, you temembet [he name of the friend yDuw~re there to visit, Yom semantic lane' opened up with this. fBc:tlJaJlinfOrn1atiofl.,

PrOCI€!,dural memory stores memories (if '~he prDcessesthat the! bodo/ does"

Seq uences 'that a re consistently repeated, lilkie tying a shoe, are s1:o red Ii fi proesdura ~ memory.

AlutOffiBitic memory is sometimes called! com:iltiCH'ned response memory.,

A!utomatic memory contairi!s decoding slkill's and mllitipl'k;:ation skii"s but: not comprehension skills.

Triggering 'ons memDry lane rrlB'Y ac~i:vate other memory IEmS's"


Emotional memory is the most powerfull k~nd of memory.

if your emotiOll'ial memory ta kes over, you may lose all ~ogic.

Emotional memories may cause the release of: stress bormenes that will "cha ngl8" your m~nd"

The' me,mory lane's are klCated In speclf c a ress of the brain.

Sllddenly~ you are crying as you rememberhow sad you tidt that day abour friel1d~s s:ufferh"l:g. You have just entered your emotionallne1TI()ry.

IEm,Or1ionai Memory

TrH~' emotional ]li!emoi'ylane' is opened thrOl,Jg~h the amygdala,ll)ca~ed in the forebrainne:Kt tothe hippocampus. \Wl:N~[~aJs(heh[plPocamp1!.l$ files factl1.l)al. il:lfonfilatiQf!I~ the amygdala stores emotional informarion. This filirag cabinet holdsfiles conm.inin:gall sons of experiences thst made: you happy OJ: sad or aoy other feeling you can. name .

Emmional memaf)' rakes precedence over ,any other '(rnA of merl'lm'Y. The brain. always g'ive.spriority 1:0 emotions, When intormatmn enters the brain. and reaches the thalamus, the amygdala will grab that in:f-On11Eltioll if it isemetional and go stroi.ght to' work on it. If the inform.a~jon calls flU strong emotion, especially fear.! the@imygdala takes over to prepa[\e, the bod.y .. Daniel Goleman (995) calls this response a "neural hijacking." Ar this other memory lanes have a chance,

The amygdala may employ the' stress response and cause an sorts of havoc. The release of stress hormones like conisollnay cause ruliterrupted rransmission of informationin the brain and. make it impossible [0 think de~rly. Allcfrhe memory lanes could beblocked by these unwanJted and sometimes dangerous chemIcals.

Emotional memory rn~y be triggeli~dby another me mory ]~fie; and then it may rake over the "logical" mind. For instance, yOlli need to do some resear-ch for a projlecL You think about the need to ffitlh time to visit the local ]ihrm:y to search the periodical files. Suuide'I1~Y, as yot! pic .. ture me library tbrolllgh your semantic lane! yOtl'~5ee~' in youlmind the librsrian, who is someone you. cannot tolerate, Yom anger and disgust'tlmli:!e ever" your thinking. ¥ol1lTilay then decide: to go to a di;{{e;rent library.~ forget 'rne research, or sitlllply try to :8!vDidhe:r on. your nip. YOlif behavior win depend on the strengih of your feelings.

As you gaze, at the,te:levis:io n, ')I\ou r favorited\ara:cte r be com es UP3St at 'the Ia.t.e ~etum of her IOVier, She picks uip her book and 'throws it You think to yourself, "Of courss, you are ang1ry. You should throw more than that book! ISoak?! 8ook?! Thalt's what I went into the study 'to g~t!"

In [his case I' your emotional memory activated your semanttcmemors again, and you. have finall y discovered tile answer you have been seeking, The'memory lan'es are located in specific areas ofthe brain (see figure 4.n). An understandil1g of rhe brain and.of theselanes may help in understanding how people think and feel. Sbort-term bllJriers and worklng

memorl are tempnmry storage areas. Semantic, ,episodk~prooed1.Hal~

j ,- - _,

automatie, andemotional memorylanesere usedto access, and store fl'lJ··

formanon for long-term memory.

:Shon·term memory bul,ers

IPlrel'~lilllta'l ool1m( Woddn91'memrnorv

I ip,poClampus ,Episo'8IjC memolfY Semantic memo'l)i

Am,gda'l.a Emotiolll~all memowy

MixillQ M!'BS,sages

Research suggests that of alltheterebrain structures, the hippocampus is the last to develop. Of[l':ndmes~it tsnot working well until age 3 (Le .. Deux, 1996). This is pmb8Jbly why so Inany adiI!11~ have no memories of events [hat occerred before rbls a,ge. Because the hippocampus is not de" veloped, the brain does l"IJot store :f@:c'IluaJ information. However! the amygd ala is developed, and it is possible to store emotional memorles, Remember that the hippOCBll'lll.PUS tells you. who someone is! and the amyg· dala tells yom hmv you feel about that person.

Have you ever felt hlue and not known why? Many neurosciemists have studied this phenomenon. Some believe thsr the si~latinn. occurs because an emononal memory has been triggerect and the. facm:al memory e~ther does not exist or has not yet been triggered,

Ce:re!beHum Pro!:e!l,ura~ memoirv AutQmat~c l1emory

The hippocampus, is the last forebrain stmcture to diecve1lop,


We may halVe e'mptiona~ memories with no factua I memories to explain them.

~pi,sodic memory may lr1otalways; be reli.Ellbie as time passes,

if you arEl having troubls acce$$,in'9 hi/format.ion, you may not be using the correct I'ane!

How can this be? If the emodonal memory was stored beforeihe hip'" pocampus developed, there maybe no factualmemorsassoclared with i'~ ,(LeDoux, i11996)., ~f [be emoncnsl m.emorv occurred with the srress respollSe ill high gear! cortisoland othercbemlcals tnay have blocked the rransmssion of rhe factual memory. Sometimes this bloc.kage ]$ tempo,. ralYI and sometimes it is permanent,

I. once worked wmt~h someone who claimed to remember manyevents from her very early chiklhood, IV[ y colleagues and ] spent many hours over the y,eatslisrenjng to he'!' stories from [he ages of 1,2, and lWh9t I did

- t -'b- 'h- _ I] herwas tl h .u 1-1-·' !! 'S-h

not nave 11: ie .. eart te te r . was tt["l:at s . e was te. mg stones, . - .. e was

using her episodic m.emory lane and tellingus storles thathed been told [0 her dosens of times by her parents and. ethers, A~t.e[ hearing this infQ:n'l1lflr non time and again, she stored it as her own personal. memOr\f. Episodic memorv can be dangerousbecaese it IS notalways lI"e;]i:able III terms oEde·· tails from thepast,

We have leamedthat each cla;y ihe prunes some neuronal conneerions because of lack of use. Tharmary bethe bad news, bll'!: the good news is!'eally good! YOl,Q don't have a b~d mer!ll'lry. W08t youha'\i"'e are diH;erem melnory lanes inwhlch eo store different types of memories .. If you :@ire havmg trouble accesSling Infntnnatloil, yOi(Jj may simply be searcbjng the wrong lane. There is hope for @U of lIS. And as :resea:rchoOllitinue:s., memory-enhancing clIllgS arebemg developed. Will there cornea time whenw!~ wi~1 all be taking om daily "cranium capsule"] h mnail1J.1v is R

"b"['- I' PQSS11. ]1,{.


Where lis WaUy? lccatinq Memlories in the Brain

I was, a rathelu immatur'e 'freshman in high sohool when I filrst heard hilS name-Wally; II thou,gh't it was a wathler sH~y name; it made me! ilhink of "Leave It to Beaver:' But 'e'\l~rJ thouglh II dJidrl't iiioellis name, he had a ,great smiha, He would smile or pretend to grab my books as II walked dQwnths science haillat Peor~a High.

Wall~' had entsrsd my heart Well, actua~lly, WaUy had entered my brain,

M a kinglMle mEni'es

w~ can learn something from ev,e;ry~xp~rienoe. The mote lanes used for storage of anevenr, the more powerfultbe ]e,a,mlng will be.

Now, l~essee .. \Vhere had \Yally entered mv brain? FiJ5tj he entered mysem:antic lane through my hippocampos. This 11) wbere thatname was first stored. And; yes.~ he was already in. my emotionel lane through my amygdal.8J .. AUki:llds ofneurotransmitters were released when. he smiled at me. I have my fltsr episodic memories 0fl1~m from that science hall, al .. though many of them 3De very dtm, Tbars because some of those ~~Wanyl' neuronsl1ave been pruned 9.\lv:ay and replaced by other memories .. Procedllrallyhe is there, roo. Walking down thathall\lii'lth. an armload of books would bnngbsck an Instant picture othim.DoI have an automatic memmy efhim, too? Yon bet-every time I hear the {CLeave It to Beaver" rhem ·e N"ng.. Some wo P"'11,,1!..a" m h"d'W"~h1 on the 't··'a·--II

I,._j~_.c ',,,,-,_, __ J".: 'i1.1_1;l ~ol!r ~[L', __ ,"'. __ (I.e! on 0", DL.lI'!.i,

If OUl' relationship had ended wilLb. those smal] encounters, most of rhosememones would have faded and been replaced by other conneedons. However) (he storjcontinues,

Toward the end of my sophcrrore v'ear, my longtime boyfrU'enct Steve, 811iO' lbroke up. I was heartbroken 'fQrabout24 hours,. Then Wally asked


Powerful memories from YElar:; past can be 'tdggered bV a preS€fl1i: exp erl€ nee.

Over time, some' neurons are pruned away and memories ari8 forgotten.

The brain draws 'from many memory 18 n es to creeteerd recreate memories.

Si'ghts, sou nds, and mwements add to ttlhe richness of memories"

A simpll\~, action, such as walkilng up afHght of steirs, may become part of a memorablle evs'nlt

locations are oft.en

Ii mbeddled in ou r memories because we associaltet~em with emotional eve nts,

me tor a dalte .. For :thl€ n€Joctfour months my brain grew '"Wally" dsndraesand strengthened "Wal!y" s.yrraps9s.1 canon!yimagine what my neurons loeked hka!! But fill gooo ~hings must corns 10 sn end. Or sol was ~old later;

It was 1.1 typIcal Fkidlay nigM-"guys' t1I~ght out" So, of course, it else had 'to be "girls' night out" This paniclliar Friday n~ghi~' hada plan. I had no intenlttion of spending my eveningl wilth the g,irls it I didn't Ihave to. I was on a mission to sp@od.anofJll,er'BV"€!ning wilth Wally. After,all~,. it was close to the 'end of the school year. Wally \!VOuld be! grSlduatiil'll[li soon and goi[ng away to coilleg,e,. Ev,ery minute was valuab!e,

I, arranged. 110 have my sister's car, I had 'to mabel a,ll sorts of promises that I wouldlrft keep to be ab~le to dr~ve, the old red Chevy that night. It W8'S somewhat difincult to explain to my fnends that ~ wasn't goingl out with them. I somehow ,got. the polm across that WaUy coulen't his car, and I WaS hoping! to s'nd the evening' with him.

IFriday nlghts in Peoria usu8Jliy meant: a trip to Mayfair Haili. This dance spotwas ol'lleof the ma~tt'i teen hran'gOUlts, My 1P11~m was to arMive at lMayfair.afterWaJllyand hrisfrlenrds had been ther,slongenollgh to be ready to move on. My hope was that he w'Ould be 1.ired of his friends: and read~ for some nevv company.

!Iarnlvedr at Mayfair s~ortllya1fter Wally: He was ln 'the hall where musk was blaring', There was hardl¥ room to move, let alone dance'_ ;1 rnsde my way through dozens of teens down the dark stai[rC8JS9 to the dance floor: WaHV' wasl1aughinlg and talking to tbe guys. A few senlor girls we~e hanging[ around thsm.and I was sornewhat hesltsnt to approach. However; II didn'twantalll my planning to have, been for nothing, so I roe-ached out and tourn,ed his arm, 1--11,13 spun around, and I INa lchedl his smi~e fade.

"What are YOLI doiing here!?'" he yeHed above the music .

• , I ~houghtyou'd want to dance:' II stu'ttered with a pounding heart. "No. Let's go:' nle said rather grumy ,and led me, ~hwugn the halll

and up the darkstars.

I begafn to hope thi8Jt my phm had warned" In the p,arking 1101. kids and cars were everywhere, and I searched face:t proud to be! seen with "my" Wally. As we appmachedlthe oar, Wa~ly sllowed hiis psce. He was staring at the pavement andshak~ng his head.

"Is s!onnet:hingthe matter?" ~ ssked in a shaky voice"Yealh. I don't warntto golAlithl you;'came his hurtful [r:eply.

"Okay, go back clown wirth your friends; 11"11 catch up with mine:' I ,t riedto sound cheerfull-als 'thoug h this was no, gmat disappo~fitment, "No! You don't get It." h€ began. '" don't Wclrlit to glO out with you anymore, I'll be gOln'9 away to sch,ool, and I don"t want any' atttachrnents, 0 kay?"

My brain quit functioning at any level that remembers words or taess, I bSiQIi;lIU'l h.mctioninlgi automa,t!(:allly, I know I left the palrikiU'l'g lotn my sister's red C!hevy. A~orne,.1 immediate,ly began to benl~e mysellf for pushing myseif on him on a Frida.y .nught. Sur,ely hewould not have broken up with me, if I, n:adwali~@aw see him on Saturday" ~ snapped the radlo OWl and tried 'to figLm~' out whereto 'find the girhs,. "f I returned home this earl,y, mv p~lrents would be alsrmedland bugl me, My fi!ig~rs started pushingl the bunons fo~ a sooUltng: melody., The' first song ~ heard was "Big G~rls Don't Cry:' II switched S'tatrOrls. In circumstances I~ke this, the appropriate soit'igalwaY1l 'fiinds me. Ilat'ilded on 'the station playil1QI "WrH3re Did Our Love Go?" by thle Su,premes. The rest of the evening is a bl,uJ,

R:etri evi n'QI M 8:mor,j es

My brain made many COlil1eC1[]Q'IlS thae night. All of my lnento:r~r hines were activated! and I can access that expedence thwugh all of them [see figrln:! 5.n. This was ve'ry powerfllllle3Jmi:ng.

It beg-an as an emotional experience, and I can easily access it thro1ijgh. (he emotionalrcemory ~aJne. To open that stomge file and retrieve the correct files of memories! the correct nigger must be squeezed. The tiiig~er lllli:lJY be someone talkillg uOOU[ hi~h school, or it l'rI3IY be b,e:lllI'lng others discuss their "lost ~~)ves.~' ]11: could also be a conversation about p®.inful experiences Or the silly things one does as a 1.1:en.&lgel:.

The factthat ill can write about the episode proves that it is also 1nm'll semanric mernory. Remember that semantic memory is words, DiseUSe-sing the topic with others draws-truro those factJiJ]2J] stored through my hippocamplllS. A variety of wordslsu ch as Majifair HaU,WaU)i, or B~ge~ ,!ow Street (~!aUyts street] luay !:rigger these files.

\lIhen~ver I beareuher of the songs. (hut was playing on the cfuradio that night! the 11lemory is triggered throughm.y automatic memorv, This conditioned response was leemed qukkly but m:ay never leave me, his stored. il:hrough m . .ycer,e:belh.llll a~ol:!l.g with. my deccding sk~lls for' reading, myknowle.dge of ridingaJ bike, and my multiplication tables. For years [he songs were painful to listen to, bli;~~ now they bring back both ~hegood. and rhebad memories of W;3!lIy and high school.

GOing down the streetpast Mayf~ir Hallmay cause my episodic mem,ory lane to activate. This mem.ory ]8 also stored through my hippocampus. Mayfair Hall is no longer open, but the bui~ding is still there to I:emind me of my past.

Getting into an red Chevy" walking down a dark sUilirway, or 'even entering a btllSy par\idng lot may open. up myprocoeduml memory lane to

1M usie can be a very powerful triglgerfor memories.

The most povverfUJI learnlrlg talke's place in multiple memory I'anes.

Memories of importanit events and peop~€l reside in more than orne part of the brain.

Retumin:g 1[0 certain loeat ions:activaJtes €pisodic m!llmory ..


Recalling! anemol:iona'l event may openall the memory lanes,

Active IElmotional1 engagleme'nlt is 1lI k!3y to II€laming.

W~Uy. Thl,s OCCllUS less and less as time goes by because other procedures tim! are more commonplacearemore ea5I1y9Jchva~ed through my cerebellum. My brain has slO\v[y pruned a~v some of those !!Wall)r" neurons as they are not used.

The point that my story lllusrrates is that str"ong l.eaming too:k place with that experience. That learning entered all .of the storage fBdlities in my brain, What cansedall of those Janes to open! Remember thBil): emorional memory will take priority over all other memories. This was definitelr an emotiensl ezperieuce, When the emotional memorv lane Is triggered; we can expect other memory lanesto open, Active emotional engagement fli]Jpears to be: a key to learning. If there is no emononal engagemenr in a particular t3sk;wHllear.ning still OCellI" f The answer.thankfully, i,s yes. However, an outside force musr stimulate the other lanes if! order to open the files stored the[,e.This is themost dimwit eask,

Plolwerfull Le!f;Ulliil1'QI

let's look at another example, As rr was driving to make a presentation, I ltstened to an audiotape ofthebook The Giver by lots Lowry .. l thought I


B 1ge1llw $tll!iet 0 Malyiair HOIII V LO'l!iElSO

Hr~h g'cho!il 0 First 1L~\i'ill~ 1(J

M!lyl'aJrlrl,all (1 Biig,el!ilW' Sireet: 0 Bed Clhe\l1{ o

Wa[kirl~ lilo\N',1iI O'lilirkStelPs '0 IEiiltllirirlli Parkin[l Lots V

• IE! L~ Gt~:s D(m't Cry" '0 ·Where OidilOu rLli,ue[jIl'l" V

might want ro use the book with nry 7th grade classes, Where ]sTne Giver in Ill)' brillinl

As I lisrened to the science fiction novel, three lanes immedtatelvbe came activated .. Episodic melliorywa.s acrivatedbeceuse e\re:ry time I learn, I am in a location. TnerefOJle:,if someone were to ask me questions about the novel, lwould have better recall in my car. The semanticlane \W:9:s activated as I listened and concentrated on the words.Because I did not read the words and I happen to bea visuallearner, oral questions and answers might be, much easier for me. The emotionallane was activated as I fell in love with the characters in thenovel.I knew ri.ghr a.1.Wly that I wanted to share this story students. Because I have been sharmg this novel ever since Ch2l1 food trip, some memories are sm:reclllHougih my cerebellum and the auromatie memmy lane, Repetition. enables IRe, to respend automatica Uy to certa [11 situations andfacts in. the storYi wbich I originally wouldhave been unableto do.

Memory IF:aUure: Wheu,e .Are' Those Darn IKe,¥s?

Let's consider an example familiar to all of us, Have you everlost yom keys? VOl,] dtdn'tactually losethem, of course, You pur them somewhere, and then you couldn'tfind them, If yOlJ had a eitual of walking intothe house; and p1lllning yOLWf coat and keys in a particular pl[lce![h~y should alw:a.ys be inthe same spot Somehow). though, they disappeared. Perhaps you were holding exna items and placed the keys with those, Mrrybethe phOI1Je was ring]n:g when you walked in, and YOll dashed to answer Ii(. SOl'l:1ed'king lmpertant may have been occupying yOUJI!' th.oug:hts, and yQ~ neglected to follow your tl$UaJ routine. Automatic memory fali·ed Y01,1 because yO!L~, didn!t Follow the rcutine, (Accua.IIYl itdidn't fail you; you failed it.) What do. you try next?

Episodic memory scmertmes works, Youcango back ro the places where you last remember havIng your ~eys. The infonnat:iottl llllay aid y01.!l:f memory. Maybe. not

Yon can. th.etl try rheprocedural lane. Acm:ally plck up your coat and anything Y0lm believe you had. with you .. You might even go out to the car ITI"Id lieerally retrnce yom steps. Of you area vis!J.l:a~ learner, you could probably save steps by picturtogrhe entire scenano.)

Hall du:e:eof these memory lanesfa ilvou, '~!OU still nglve other opt ions.

How ahoat searchIng your semant~c memory? That'stight, use those higher~-otde:r thinking skills: and ask ytm]'se1f some quest.ions,UWllatcould have happened to. my kevs?ii NO\\.I you are using both your working rnem .. my and yoursemBllltic memory to smdy the problem. HMBl.)lbe they Fe]1 Ul1Jder the table. Do I have 9J hole in my coat pocket!"

Episodic: memory is easilcy a,ctijvated

belGaus€ gvery time you leamsom,ething you are ina parhctllaf location.

WhEm~' did Ii put this car keys? At times, our memories seem to iP'ay 'tr~cts on LIS.

Mo,s:t learning occurs in mlll~iple lanes.

Sy8t€matiG~I~y examining ea'ch memory lime: may hel1p you find your key'S,


When emotions take over, it may be even more difficult to rememlbsr:

~t: is >easy to 'for>get the twiviall th[ngs in our liVi@s when SI rn Uiltitudle of ether thlngs requires OiU rattentiion,

Our memories. g:rea'tly it1lfh,H~nce our ~ives.

When mernerles are stored ~n more tha n ore msrnorv lane, they beoom e more lil'ilflu~mtiai"

EmotionaJ memory dcesn't usually playa roleinflnding YOllf keys even. though. you may become veryeu1otiorml about: the situation. Unless yOl!.J1 have very strong reel ings about your keYSl yOl! won't store their whereabouts thtough your 8iIDygdala. Hcwever, you may store ~his experience of misplacing them ..

]f }'Otl have engag~d the stress respcnse, it will become increasingly more di:fficu~t mfhid your keys. You may be better off asking for help or calling for a ride. W~£n yo~ have relaxed and voursrress level goes down, Yonlr brain wi~l. funenan better,

So, sit down and take a deepbreath .. This aUows oXl'gen. to get to your bruin to he~p 'You enter one of those memory lanes, You've probahly already tried the easy ones, so now yOll need working memory to engage some long-term memories ¢o hdp you sort thing'S out.

W(!; have been told for yearn dun everything weexperience is recorded somewhere in our brains. That just isn't so (Rose, 1993). Therefore, the '~ke:( inftormati.al1lT1l21Y have filtered right out I> and you will f~nd yom keys by searching as though [heyalie someoneelse's keys. This lsa tactic n have cftenused ,sw:cessfu]ly, "lfl weFe a set of k~ys.~ where would I be]" This actually helps me calm dOWI1i and I begin asking myseU the questions I would as~ someone else' if theirh!y:swere: missing.

As I get older, ill fill my brain wil:hillfon'llalion that is important to l11Ll';!.

That's not to say that my keys aren't importanr, bUl lJind myself p~yi.n.g attenrion to ether d:klngs in my life. A result of learning' ~lbout thie memory lanes ~s kn.o'winghow and when 150 pause and examine what I am. seek- 1n.g and what might be the best "ray to reach my goal.

Om memories affeCt our decisions. We name our pets and our babies 3JC"' coming to the eonnections we have wi[h diose names, Thehomes we buy are gr>eadY:1lffected b)l the: memorieswe have of our previous homes and thehomes of ochers with whom we have had contact Our memories may also inRuence the careers we choose, That special eeacher who made us feel good. about ourselves msvcause us to choose a career in educarlon in order to help others. The fact thaI: eurfather was never home because he starred his own business, and we felt slighted by big absence, could ~nfl~,. ence our decision to stay out of the business world. Memories :a[!epowerruI. They help us make decisions, affect OUf actions and rescnons, and determine OIlF course in life.

When the brain stores memoties in more dl:0i]) one, memory lane, they become even more powerful Because lear.ning ]1; luemorYI and the only evidence we have of learning Is memorYl. then the: morememors lanes we

use to .stnreinronurJ!rirnl! the more powerfulthe learning becomes.

As III finished this chapter late one even~ng. the phone rang- liamswered the phone and r€!ceiy,ed arl apo~og,y. "I'm sorry for call.irlg so late, but 1:his is drivll1g me cra:zy" For the pas:t two days I kieep seeing a gray house in my mind, lit has whlite trim, and it's verysmall.lnslide there are stacks of newspapers, aneth€! hcuee is a mess, Wher,®' am 17"

It is my sister, ILinda, calling from her home in the Chicagoare{JJ, Her semantic memones immediatlsllY' trijgger my ,episodic, ernoticnal and proc,edural ~anes."You·re at that house {episodic) wei ,ali thought was: haunted! That strange olel woman lemoti'onall) livedtiher,e!, It was down the street end around 'thE! corner, We would always wililk jpmce,· durall)'tnwoug1hthe avergrowlrl grass and weeds in her I:o~ to get 'to the WhBelefs' house. Flemember how you found that ,animal bone in her lot and we were sure it was human?"

Linda sfghs. ShE! tI~anks 1m€! for lrelli€vil'l@ her agony over not being abl,e to COl"Inect the iniformation irn her' head. We ~aughaboutthle fact that the woman was probably not crazy,. northe hous€ haun~8d. W€ say goooaFligllMt Shecllimbs: il1to bed to slesp pea:cefuHy. I dash to my computer to add this story b8flllr€ I tmQ€t it!!

Our memories make ULS who 1IV1~ are. Without our memories.ourverv jdentjhe~ fife in jeopardy. O~lrb[:;t~n (Sin ,ea,sily store all learning- experiences, Teaching to luuhiplie m~lnm:y lanes makes ['I::l:I"~ connections to those: experiencesstronger and easier to access"

It is easy ,to get "'stuck" in one lane, Accessiing the· other memory lanes requires another trigger.

R.epeattil'lg thi ngs or Wlritingl 'them down may assist your memory.

Our memories c:olt'lfj!rm o u rexisterce.

Students, common Iy try to hold ilt1f'Ormatiiori in shon·N~Jm memory for tests.

When semantic

Ii nlormaticn is not processed in several ways, the brain hasa Ihard time!dng neUiral connectilons in the semantic memory lane!,

Semantic memmy operates word by wordi. and it uses wowlking memory.


The [Path IMost Traveled; Semantic, Memlory lnstructional Stir ate g i Ie s

The students hurry into the classroom. They tak.s their seats quickly and appear impatilen't for me to begin. As I take attendance"I notice so me snicem s grabbingthei r notebooks a n d studyilnglthe ~r voca bu la ry lists, Their eyes dart from the lists to the clock and then back to me"

Frnallly,a brave student says! "Mrs. Spren!,'l'er, please hllnrybefore:1 forget I " I smile at him as I beg~n passing out 'thevaca'bula.ry tests. The studeruE5 put theilr notebooks away,. snatch thetests from my hands, and begin writing ss fast 98th,sy can.

Are my students sl10wlng me their love of]eaming? No. They are simply givingme '~veryirlJdica.tioIllduu they have nor ]~arnec~ their voc,l1Ib~· ].Elry words. They have simply been ti:}'ing to repeat: the ~.nfmmatton. over and over in their minds fo!' several minlLltes before the test. They are des .. peratel y tryiog to retaln the words in their shorr-term and working memoties long enough to pass the tesl[.

This 1.5 a problem of epidemic proportion when. smdents confront se,. mantl.C inform.a.[jon.When the~r brains do not process th]s [ype of lnf'OI~ mation in diffe:rent ways to make theneuralcoonections in the semantic ]:an.e; many students try despemtely to use rile temporary storage processes to get by. Inmost eases, t:hey are unsuccessful.

Using whaJtyou know about thefive memory lanes makes it easier to plan lessons rharaccess the lanes YOIl desire, The most powerful learnlng comes from using aJU fi.\t~ lanes in your teaching and learning stmations, Lees look a I: strateg lees that are useflll f'01' access lng the semantic mernory lsne, Because the: semantic lane calls on. \~orking memOF')i, it requires


I-l .n .··-~r,i.n"~l·':i·ed· -,. - ..•. isist ntlv i -d"· atio '1 .... ",., .. J~,. me most enon a.,J.I! ,.SUS . .more consistennvm ecucenona settmgs man

the. other lanes,

Semantic Snateg'iBs

R{!lTIember (hat semaetic m~Ll10ry operates word by word, mnd i[I:lS~S working memory, Therefore, each leaming 'experience should be org:8Jo" izcecl to pr@sem"at shon chunk of ~nformation. The brain must 1?J10C€SS the information insome way after the presentation of each short chunk, This processing m~y take lUaJITY forms, Lees examinesomeof (he devices YOM can. use in ym!f teaching to help students build semantic memories,

13raphic OrgISJnizEI'Ir;s

Graphic organlsers canhelp students retain, sernanticinfosmarion.

Mmd mspping, or webbing, illustrares a maiuidea and supponing details, I call these: devices "power pictures" becaosethey paint :$!J.I(:ih powerfu'l images ~11 ~~o1i.lrmil1d. This technique rskescorcepts and accesses the best memory lame to help yOll remember find store that iflfmm:ation.

To make a m]ndmap~vrite an idea or concept in. the middle ora sheet o:f paper. Draw a cloud around it. Then draw aline 'from the cloud. Using the same c()~or as the color of the line! WJ::it~ a 'MvOFd OJ: phrase to describe Of support the centralidea or concept Use: the fewest possible words to describe: the concept 'Then draw a picrute or symbol1l!o represent your description. Dl1aw other lines coming cutfrom the cloud ina similar f3ishion. for oeher idensol: subtopics. Each line! word I and symlbol. should bethe same COlOf,bLlt each. sett-· representingthe separate Ideas or subrcpics-shouM be a different color. The use of a symbol or: picture bt~ngs emotion intothe learning and helps access another memory lane=emot~onal, ttlemory-to enhance learning

I use mind Inapping when I teach the seven. elements of the short i\\tory (see ftgun~ 6, I). Using rbe overhead. pmj'~c.tor., the class 3.11dl, create the powe!" picture. My students draw the power picture, or mind map, in. their literature, notebooks. We!llTve fun creating [he pictures and symbols, They laugh at IHy poor artwork. However, my pOOir artwork gives many kids the confidence rhey need to do their own drawlngs.

Creating mind nt'dlJlPs hasbeen a: successful semlegyfoli my studenes.

Th.ey rememherthe seven. clements fnl1.Jcb more readil.y than they did when 1 used other methods. So nile students :mayremellTl.ber the colors; some may remember the words; and some marv remember theposition of the l'l'lIforn.utiol1 on the page,

The followingl sttrateg~es can help students remembew semantic irnformation:

graphic organiz@1rS peer teaching question ing strattegi€:s slim m.ariz~l'ig ml'e·:p!aying



time lines

practice test's

pa ra phrn s~ng mnemonic devices

Gr.aph~c organizers are en rH~) o,f tn,e most powerful wffYS to build! semantic memories.

"Power pcnires' ere e.xc8'llent graphic:

o rgal'! eers,



Figure 6. L A Power Picture


-i··.·I .. ~

I· ...


Giving answers and Ihavingstuderrts cr,eate the questlons can bean lifil~@resti!1gl elpproa ch to' triggerirlg semanth:; im'@mory.


E~,tltltnrlliSal Shod Stmry

t--- 2,,---

3"~~~ 4.--- 5,~_-

IP!ee~ le!8Ching.

lPee'fteaciling ]s a g;reaJt \V8!y to build interpersonal skills andto rervlew mat~rrn~ll, Many studenrslove theidea of [e~chil:l,g,. Pail: !J]P [he students and haw them t8!ke turns teaching itthe inform.ation just cove:re.d. Thls proce:S8 ,giN,es them the opportunity to eva:l,u~teand s:ymhes~~ [hJem"Jlte~ rlal, Evaluating and synthesizing are impcrtanthigher-order 'thinkin.g skills,

[Lu8!sti on illilg Stralt,e'g iie's;g sessions ,emphasize important pieces of semantic ll'!lfOT.r mation, One way to approach this is to ask open .. ended quesnonsrhat give all levels of leamets the opportunity for a ilri;ghe' answer, Another appro8lcn is to provide '[he answers and have: the studentscome up with the questions" Afavorire suat-e~y oflnim.:: ill thebteraeere classroom. is to have the: students COllie up wid'l questions theY\li.rOlillM like to.askthe char .. acters, TI1e questions themselves reveal their undle:rsron.di:liJJg of the ~:iterfJJ" ture, $10. there ~SF'l.O need for aUSW<E!r.s.


Either yol.!! or trhe st:ude'olrS cansummarise. YOY can ask for one .. sentence summaries. G~'Ve recogaition to students who create concise sentences that atenot run-ens 0]' fr:agmenirS" This of~en encourages other students j and asdu,;y listen teo [he summaries, tile into rmadon is repeated. This repetidon helps cement the: infoeriO.adon in the semantic lane.

Ro~le-Pi9Jyin g!

Time constraints make it impractical to do role'plaYlng after each chnnk of information is presented, andthis strategy can gel old. Asg~gn·ing each team.a chunk to role-play may so~ve the problem. In the case, of a hlstOry lesson, students may role-plaj-battlesor milil:ary decisions.Porht .. erature, students ,enjoy aning om. scenes ,from stories or novels.


Many students enjoy panidpat~ng in and I.iscen~ngm debates. This may norwork for all material" hut ,it is a. solid strategy 'for cementing se .. mantic information., If studentsheveto provideprooffor their tBJgumen(~, they are more likely to carefUlly analyze the I:nJmmation studied. Debatjng the reasons for the CivilWfUl, cheracter motivatlon, or alrernanve problem-solving methods are excellent ways £~)ir studentsto examine and t'i[udy semantic infoltn~tion,


Tiaditlonal outlining is an. alternative to graphic organizers. Swdents whose tl'ii.f1kingis linear and sequet1tjal wj.n~t1l,joy itl and students whose thin.bng patterns are nor as linear should! become familiar with this strat,e:gV. Put:ting students in groups of two Or three may make leam.ingtbis procedure more fijll1.

lime line's

Time lineswork well in some simarions, For the semantic informarion in history,. making timelines wm ptl~ events ]11 a logical se!.1]:1llel!lCe to make leemingessier. In IWtmtuf@unitsjsuch as Gre,~k mythologYl' time linesassist students 11'1 understanding the development of the filmiHes, This can. be. done as a class or in small grm]ps, Student j nteracri 011. canbe essential to understanding the informa~io:n ..

Pra ctica Tests

Practice tests canhelp smdentspur inform;a:tion ill (he appropriate format fora tradtttenal test. Semantic il'l'fom1larion that is placed in other

Summarizing is 031

P recess in91 teeh niq us! that Galls: on

hiigh e r-e rderth in king s~ill's"

Role-playing and debaite can access different memory I(mesas emcents process semantic lnfmmElition.

Some Iii ne~f s'®qU€ r'ltia I 'thilnkefS may bsnetlt from trad~tional

o uti [rJ it1g.

Practlce tests provide opportun lnesfor siudents to transmr information to test format


Ml'ilemor!tc deVICl9S can be 'fun for s1udemi:s,ai"ld k)r teachers,

A. body pegl syst~ m may be a helpful mnemonic devloefor some students,

A rhyming! peg system may been eesier mnemonic davioe 'for eomestuce n ts,

Students 8ire slupri~ed to see how sucoessfull tlh~ ca n be when they use some of these' memory aids,

-c , (-C 1 .. - __ -,-- ',"- '1!._- -: i' sd f __ .c --, [ld··- cJi- cd: ':"'-. 'n,'- is om or,,' -- '.-~

memJry . anes must UJe practxe or S[;L, in~,_re [CS[S .L Op~L _Hlnl,[¥

rl.lay be necessary to retrieve the informaholl from other lanes and place it ]n the. semantic lane. This C81n be a real boost to rneirfinal assessment 0]1 the material.


P:napnrasiL'1Ig ~s a strm~gy that will challenge some smdents nnd help many. T8king the aut hoes words and putting them ineo "kid talk" mary help many understand th.~m{n~[~al Students can do this indi\']dually 0[' ln.pairs 01: small groups. Begin. by using this strategy oral.I.y) and then have smden.rspmctioe pantphl11sing in, Compadng their perceptions with those of teammates or partners win add to their understanding of the materiel,

Mn€!lmoni.c lD,ev~ces

Mnermonic cle-vk:~shel.p bujldmemories. Using ihemputsinform;iJ!rion into automatic and semantic memories. Peg sysl:!ems! acronjms.rap, and music are just a few mnemonic; de/vices that can increase memory find retention .. They can also be 61!]Jn.

Using the bodvas a. pe;g syst.em works fOJ: man.y people; (see, figure ,6.2); A peg svs~em otten makes ['r easiet to rnemotize a list, for example, if I have to learn H) prepositions! I can. use body parts: to help me: remember them. Stnuing at the top afmy body~ I mJl aswl1j! and as ~ move down (111)1 bodyluSie'; the preposioons in order:

When the il'y climbed aboard myfo~ehead, I noticed that he was iiI,bout two incnles from my nose, The'm was some peanut butter above my chin that II was sure Ins was interested in. I was surprised after he 'flew pest my shQIJ~(jer. around my elbow" and landed be'-yolrlid my wrist '0:111 my hand. Then he buzzed ,o,ver my hip 11l1ltlill my knee hi~t him and he rest:ed under my foot

A rhyming peg sysr:emwOl'ks well for me, and it is easy for my srudenrs to remember (see fi~lre 6 . .3). I always mncduce it to my studenrs by first perforrnlng a ~'magir'~ feat They are fascinated by this ability and even. morepleased when I explain bow it ~s done.

] stEtnd with my back to the cha.lkboard, and ill have one student go to the board and writea llst of items suggested at random by [he other stu ... dents, For instance.we might list schoolsupplies. The student compiling the list calls on. studenrs one; at a time. The students call out !both the item and the number onrhe list where it shoLlld be placed. A student Inight say, "Number four is if ruler." This continues I.lndl the list of iliO iscomplete.

Figmre 6.2. A Body Peg System for Memorizing Preposlrions

Nu:mlJer '11 fOlF8'hiead ,aboa~d
N!L~mlJer 2 !noge' :abom
N'Llmber 3 chin :above
Nlu~nlber 4 g~iJuldelr :after
NllJm~er 5 ie~bow srsund
... ~' ..
Nlumit!e:f B wrist lbey'ond
N'!Jml)er 7 hand (In
NIIJmller 8 hip over
N'umlber 9 lkn'm€ untill
Ntlmller mo, foo~ undEu The studentsmust give mea moment between items, so I cant take the t~me mo<latnach 1, them to my peg. Because m:y peg for eumberfour ~s a door, Imiglu imagine a door made DU[ of rulers. The moreoetrsgeous 1 can make my visual image, the easier :i[ win be for me to remetnll:l!:~'r. Therefore, I ti''Iignt imagine ope.nin.g the door and having thousands of rulers fuHing on top of me.

When they areftnished compi~il1g the Hrst~l. give them the list forward or backward. Sometimes they call out random numbers and ask me fOf the item.l usually get applause tor t'h,is "maacle," Then I sbare my peg system

_J ' ~

with them and give them a list to memorse ill 10 minutes orless, Their

responses are almost 100 percent accurate.Prom there we diseuss how to use d1!is srrnitegy to study vocabulary by using clefmittons In their visual images. An example would be theword padl),derm. Its deflninon is "a rhick-skjnnedanlmal." Efit is thefirst worden the list {remembering that the peg for one is sun), [he students may vislaaliz€ an elephant inthe hot sun swearing so much that his thick skin isfalltrn;g' om ]n tbis way [he word and the d.efjrdtion are attached roche peg. The stude11l'~ enjlOY creating the "pictures" as dley use this mnemonic device,

Ac:r0[1}!IUJ5BlI!"f: another mnemonic device, Acronyms ate initials of the items you need. to know put in. a formatthat is easy to remember ..

Viv~d visua~ ~magesa re helpful when using a pe9 system.


Acronyms and acrostics can help stodents lasm cert(llin facts.

Give' stadents 'the opponun ityto crtea1:e and ShaH:l·th'eir own memory :strali)S.gies,

Figure 6;3. A RhYMing Peg: SysteM

Numbslf ~n8 sun
NlJlmOe'f 2 my !Shoe
Number 3 a,tree
Numol:!'r 4 0\11 dOOIIT'
N~mbe'r 5 ~I hlrve
NlIImbe,T 6 al stick
NlIImbe,r 7 he!avf.J!11
Number a a gate
Number 9 (II line
Nlllm08!r mo ,111 hen R.o.y. O. B.LV. is oneI recall from IillY childhood. ~.t stood fm the colors of the rainbow; red, orange, ¥,el1ow~ green, blue, in.digo, and ".dolet. Another acronvm helped me remember Ehe names .of the Great lakes:

H.O,M.E's. srand! f6.rHuronl Onrarto, Michigan, Etie, and SuperIor.

Similarto 0;1.1:'1 ~'1cl'onyl'l1l! is an acrog~ic-a memory device ~fl which you make up a sentence using" the fil's[ [etter ofeac.h wu!)d Of idea yOlla want [0 remember. How ebout [he musical sUaff. EGBDfi' "Ewry good boy does flfl:rt is (he sentencel recall,

Some.of thebe-sir mnemonic. devices are those that some of my students C1JjI]'t~ntlyuse. ] have tilsbd them. to w[it:~ down and shere their ~e~rning techniques. This is a real 'ey~"'opener for SOn1![,; students, Most of them know nothlng about mnemonic strategies, yet some successful learnets have devised;jl,f gttflt~gie~ that" whenihartd,can benefu ~V'e:[yone, Some students have been "chunkirtg" information into small bits :forrm@Juy y·e;@J[s .. Tkle:y then devise strategies rhatwork wirh their individuall.eflm. il'lg sr-yles. For insrnt1lce:~ one studentplaces his notes I di'!(fided ina small chunks, at [he end ofhi~ pool lab le. Taking one chunk at a time, he walks around rhe table and repeats rhe infon:nadon tlnE]I. he knows it. Other students rrledthls, and some found it h.elpful ..

iChangill1lQI Lanes

Most semantic teaching strategies attemptto construct word. and text in. ... format~on in a way thar places it in ether memory lanes as weU as (ble semantic lane. Although many of us have bee~ using these semantic techniques all along, we have been unaware ofthelane shift taking place. The next. chapter provides a closes view of the lanes tess traveled, so we

can. use them to help our students learn. .

Semantic te,a,c:h~li'Ig S1Irategii es allow word information to be processed and used ln s'€mantic ana @1her memory lanes.

A f8:e~~ng of secm~ty is ne1cessary f'o r the bra! n to access in formation and form ne:w rnernones,

~t is ,easy to

eonta mi nal.e lei8m~ ng and confuse memory,


The Lanes: Less Traveled:

In stru cti 0 na [I Strate 9 i Ie s to r EpisodiG, Procedural, Automatic, and Emotional Mlemory

Th~oughout the school yealr my students work together on te:i;mns.1 mk:~ this bmin~compatjble strrategy because it helps ln classroom management and bookkeeping and adds to students' f;eeHngs of security.

As I change units of study, I lIsu!slly change' teams, 1l1~S provides varietvfor bath the students snd me, It als rcls ,ag.ainst~he inevita .. ble hie ra rchy that deve !ops on ai II teaJffiS {Sylwester.199 7b}, Ilf iii stu deni~ feells uncomfortable about a position [n the Ihierardl\j, ~ try to keepthElt positiol'li3s short .. term and as paimless as possible.

After 8, parJticLJlarjytough nonfiction unit in literature, i decide the lkids need a dhang:e, and ~ form new teams, Th,ey efl~oy the teams so muoh that II decide 'to use these! same 'teams in tneir langlua'ge ants classes. The students do not oblect when they come to this clsss, and I ~S$iigril 'teams '~otheir- rlew seatil'1gianrangemlents:, We are s:;t)udying indcrect objects. lam tryingl to prepare them for al unit test, so I begin the class w,ith a re\dew. The sentences on the board are ready 'for 'the stu· dents to classify in om usual way. Many of my students: look at the sen .. t€lI1G65 on tnl€: board as though theyw€m written in another language, lh,ey do not know how to classi~y 1::he gentenC'9-s. lam o ultragedH How could 'they have nmgotten? Have they left i'heir bralns at home? We have been working on this idea im three days! What is wrong wi~th th,e'se students?

The answer, cf'course, isuothingIr is mv mtstake. Ihave snipped my smdents ofrheif' eplsodlc melDory of the sentence patterns, jus~ by ch&linglng[helrplaoementin the classroom, 1 was preventing them from accessilll~ certain rnemcties,

I now had achoice, I couldelrher move them back to their odgin.a.l seats or reteech them in their new ones. ] chose, to reteach the subject matter because I wanted to find out bow much timethe reteachmg would take .. It took three da.ys before the students wereback at their f)[igina~ skill levels.

Deliberate strategies can access the episodic, procedural, automatic, and ernotionai memory lanes, Using these strB!.t:egies when p'~at1lning a unit can makethe ][lformation more e1'lljoyibleandie0ls1er to ]earn. lGeeping in mind that all lanes should be accessed! lees go [hrough each one sepjJlJHl.teJy.

IEpisodiic Memory Stlf.at1egie's

Episodic Inenlory is; location driven, Studies have shmvn that if people receive infonnation in a specflc location they wiU more: easily re· membei" it in that sams location. To use episodic memory effect.ively lU:iy take a httle thought, energy, and some creativity.

Bun~rinoo~tds lilJllV be the easiest place to begin, FO[II!B:th. unit covered, create 3! bulletinboard that i;SMniq~ue enough to' stand out from all of the {)(l~~JS yo~b,l'lIve used.Include picturesj, posters, and symbo]s, [examples of hO\~r.;1I problem or solution should look may i.mpressyour Stilidents, Even if you rake the bulletin board down before atest, that information. may still appear in your students' tl'lirn.cls. Several weeks of Ioo.king at me board should leave animpression Although the informa~ trOll becomes "irwisible," the learning is stored in. the episodic memory;

Changing the arrangement oft~.e desks in your room, ind!.lding yom own! will help you and your Sl:!ude:nrn betrer use ehe episodic nn.e-moOry lane, Student's who sit in the same spot week after weekcould begin m confuse lnformatlon. lr ... addition to changing the seating chart, change the arrilnge~nent of the sruderas. Perhaps yOl.! can change the number of students on a team or put students in pairs. Change the desks or from rows to a circle or some other geometric shape. This will help make the material unique to the new look of your dElissroom.,

Accesserizel Wear hats, scarves, belts, shoes! masks, or fl,l!] costumes ro enhance the ~emning experience .. If you are studying dK~ CivilWar~ find an old Yankee or Confederate CgjP to wear throughoot the unit,

lMaving studems around strips them of ·th e,jlr ep ~sodic me,m ory.

EpisodiG memory is location driven ..

B ulli9't~ n boards may be' the '~asiest way to be,gl[f1 to crests episodic rnemonee.

Gila ngi n g the anrangement of the classroom betore each unlit will help mak~ the inforrmation u niq Lie;


IFlieldtripc:5~dd to ~eaming and 'to ,ep~sodic im'smory.

tE!aGh~ngl from iii specific area o:~the room wiil!~ help students use ~h8ir episod le memories,

Setting! up procedl!1~es tn th€)! elsssrcom can he,lp create strongl memories.

Repetition of procl9d1ures is 11€,c€'Ssary 'IO,crea;te a gtrong Ilotllg·term memory rpathw.ay"-

Better ver, haveeach smdenr n:1ll~ke 2! hat to wear, 'This wil~ make the ill('ornm.atian memorable and real ..

Move out of your mom. Perhaps yOy can use the Hbnuv or go curside to lea:rn some l'I1a~erial.Take field nips. Anything you cain doto make the ]e8ming unique may make Ebe leaming permanent. This may beposstble for Ol' very short 1J1il.i~S,

Use ene coloref p3!per {'OF all [be handouts related to a unit. This will lielp yo~u studeurstemember iniormaticn that W:8is.oil that color of paper, They will. not need to recall 9.n:y1ihil1g on the reams of white paper th.ey usually receive. lilll[l1Y Et:.:glish classes n prepare deflniticn sheets using ditt, ferent colors for each unit. I simply remi.ndrnystl[denrsro think about the:

u 1'1- n h .'h' 1,1. i II' h- ·1 k- ]- '1']-

ye. ow s ieers or ~ . e [).lue sects as .li as .. t retn to reca ..

Teach from a specific area of the room. For each area of study change the location. frcm wluch y(m teach. Recalling your location will help students recall. the: mformatton more re~dily. They wlU associate y"'O~f locationwith the informatioll you shared.

Episodic rnemory techniques can do mote than help students remember: 'They call aLsOEldd ID theen]oyment oneaJmin:g, "nile brain likes novelty: lt is ~ntriglJ.~ed by it, and. it pays attention to it (Jensen lID 996~ .. You will not be overnt~ml!.llating your stndents wieh these changes, lnsread, y(lI!_l!'1l be f,lffedng them a better opportuniey to remember.

IPlrQ1c'edllim IlM,emolrll S:tr;aite,~ies

Thete ar~ t\!VO ways tohelp S[Udefl1:S aQQ~:S their prccedural memors lane, One is to have students perform the material often enoughthet it becomes a prccedute, The oth~r is to set upprocedures in your classroom that will create strong memortes.Lers look at each. '!~ay.

When aprocedure 15 repearedfrequentlj, me brain stores it in the cerebellum for easy access .In the past, science W2S one of '~he only subjeC'~ areas chat was condocive to. [his way of infumuukm, Iaboraton procedures \\'~re CJOiIUmOfi. and these metrhodscreated strong le arning experiences, Somerimes, howeveceven in the science lab, work is not repeated enough to become a procecl.ure. Today, nal"lds-olltechn.ique:s can be used in many s1lI! areas to provtdeprecedural memories, Math students use n~an~plllaHves ILO deve~op their eenceptual understandlng and ro solveproblems, The problems change, "but the procedure for doing them does not, Wirth_ enough repetition, the studentsremember the procedure. English students use msgnerlsed ]{Ibelsand fullO\iW a process to lSI" bel each pan of speech in a sentence on a magnetized board. Repetition allows them to staret~]Spro(es5. This technique is not really an.y differ,· ent from fir·e or earthquake drills. The purpose ofsuc.h drills ]8 to cement a s:afetypl'oceclul:,e in ebildtenjs brains-s-a procedure [hat rn.ay save lives ..

You~r your ssudents=ean also invent procedures, so thar the stu" dents will, through repetition, place subject matter into procedural rnemtOry (Hanneford, 199,). Try anything that provides movement for e:x8Jnlp~,ell"o~~.playiligi debate, dance.marcheamonologues, and games. Making shadow boxes can enhance procedural memory. Sock-puppet ShOW8 can reinforce many concepts in any content area, T11e!H~ procedures not ody reinfOf1ce,.se:malltic knowl,edge, but they also. representmemorks ti1,at can be: stored ~bro1Llgh trho5eprooedma~ lUelJlory "muscles," If you have trouble applying your content to any of these.use your imagination .. Have students stand up as you myel spedHc materis], Ask themto walk as you review lr, jllmp when tbey think rheyunderstand a p~rriculBJr point, and clap when they know ]t all. All of that movement and fu1Lln will make 8! big impression on [heir brains,

Au~omalti.c MemorY' Stmtegieis

The 8!u.tOffiadcm.emory 1.9Jne stores mll,[h:ip~icat:iQn tables, the a]pha ... bet, the abilityto decode 'words! and dozens of other memories triggered by simple associations. Snateglesfor access irng this memory lane are s~m. pie and fun.

The strategy I high~y recommend is music, Pl!J]~i:tin.g ~nfOfmation to music is simple fo.r students of all ag~s, They U3uf,lllyfilld songs easy co remember, and they C:JLn rh.en practice the mformation daily. For ye3:fS I have had studeats learn [he 4I8p]leposidons,. Z3 b~lping verbs, and 18 linking verbs by writing their own songs. They use o!d~tried.,::md.rrlie melodies, but they make up the lyrics.,. It can be as simple as takiWig' ~tM~ry I-I~d a Little Lamb" and! replaclng ~Il of the words with the list of words the student'.'): needto remember, Raps and poems can. work as well, It be .. comes a reflex tofill in thenewljlearned words when rhe musk hegins Uensen~ ],998). I have had students return after high school and tell me they still know [heir SQngs,

Other aummetic straregies tnclude the use of flash cards, repenrton through daily oral work (In. lil:Elth,geogm:phy; language, vocabulary, andso on), and oral. conditioning (forexamplel ~ s9y~lljnco~nl'" you say ~~Get:tys.· bu rg: Addres~I'!). 'Each of these stra tegi es has irs ownbenefits .. S rudentswi It t~re of the same strategy, so provide vari,ety. QuiZ shows may be a great ",ray to gel responses to the automaric level; m.any students love this technique.

IEmotiolMI' MiemorV Strategies

Without a doubt, emedonal memory strategies are the mcstpowerful.

Ma:ny of these strategies also activate other memory s'to~ag:e areas that make them even moeepowerful, Both positive and negative emotions

Swdents can invent

p rocedures to support. irrrstrUC1ii ana ~ mate ria I_

AnVih~ngl t:h at involves. movement lNilll enharu::.s procedural memory.

Music is one' afthe most powerful means; for enhancing automatic m€Jmory..

Emolt~©ng illctivat.e m.al1Y sttDrageareas.


Music can else bea powerful stimulus for emotional memory.

Debate .ana role-p layi ng ars effective ways to evoke emonons.

Your own ent:f1usialsm for the 8ub~ect m!:ltiter may becontag~m.!s,

The mor€! ClIW'a re you ~m9 of ~nform ationabo:ut braill"co mpali!lb~e ~:l'trateg~e,s, the more Ilikely you are to UISI8' lt,

cause (he 'brain to release eerraln neurotrsnsnltters rhat aid In memory retennon (leDoux) 1996). That is not to say Y0ll! shmdd encourage negaJr ttve emorons in your classroom, but simply to point out that strong feel .. flbout content CRn add toemotional in~mory,

Musk: can be por:\~el1ul. ill emotional memory. Using drsrnetic musk as oockglcound while YO~11il2ad or discassmaterial can m~lke the infonnation m.eaningfud, P!:ayingthe theme from. "Mission Impossible" or "Dragnet" before Y0l!.! di8C~SS the Banle afGettviburg will get yowr students' anentiort and ellcit 'feeHngs abouc them:@J~er~at

CeIebrations are emotional. These can be clone with or wiihoui[ m~,. sic, PIal! sperM celebrations as students learn the maneri:al Have the stndents present the material to the class dlfOUgi1 rok·p'l.aying or a dramatic petlOilfianoe, Giv~ them u[i. emotion tha[ they rou~( tty to convey and ask the class to try eo r€cogT!lize it. Find materialthat conrradlcts what is :S3Jid in the text and that calls for debate. This technique can be v,eryeffective as students choose sides. Play devirs ~dVOCBli[e and speak ~g, the points you cover. St11cie:nlrS love the opportJ1.mity to prove their tea.cher is wrong. Either way, it becomes an emotional experience.

Ma~e: your room the scene of the crime, [f you are studying the Civil W~f~ create theemottcas felt h'n!tbe era Divide your FOOm in half with ~ Mason-Dixon line, Separate the students and tell them what possessions they can lee-po Allow theemotions ~'O build as some lose their belongings and others receive them,

Mos'[ important of all is that YOll!] show your enthusiasm for your slJbjeer, Moo.~1 your~ove of the content, and your students mar find iI eontaglous, If you share fedings about what you are ~eachillgj your students may find that they can 'feel the same wacy about ir.

ACC8·ssing MlJlltiipl'8 IMielmOll'V lanes

The more memory lanes you can reach and teach to, the more successful yOll[ students wiU be in [heir ~'earn~ng', As (his e:hapcer indicalJ~s~ some strategies can access more than one memorvlane .. This only makes yOlL~:r Job !easier, Like :anythiilg elsedealing withbrain-compatlble leamlng; the more aware you are of this tntortnatlon, the easier ir will. be to. use it on a conscious level

Storyrellifig is a dynam.ic way of ~gingmultiple lanes, The brain. pro" cessespans wholes sjmllltaJ}em~sly.rllul:]ng semantic informarlon into a storyronnacgives the students the whole idea and the details I~Cail:'le &, Caine, 1994). Besides the semantic infc:;!t111atiQll, emotional memory can be tapped thl'OUgh the conflict or plot of the smry. Episodic memory may be reached through. the location in you tell the story

and how you dress.

As youplan a Ul'!J.U of LI"'I,stl'lL1CrioI1" ev:alll.m.tehow much of the material IS aimed at the semanttclane. Are there '>\lays )lOU can teach rhar lnforme don 1thf'Ough the other lanes? If the semantic strategies described in rhep:revjo~]S c'h9Jpter and choose those that will \wrlic well with the content YOll are tea:d:ring.

Next decide how you can create anenvironment that will eng~ge the episodic memory. What kind of bulletin boards and posters can yot] use ~ Do you need to make something? Better yetj can yourstudel1ts make the IleI1lS to decorate for this "episode"! Are there tr.hi:ngs that you can wear rhat will. enhance learning] Will your studenrs be able w bring, C8!.try~ Of wear mllyrhjng that willmake [his experience more memorable!'

Analyze the material to determine which procedures are built in Of which ones you can create. Will [he studentslearn better standing, sitt~ng, or moving in. some \\ray~ Are there manipulattees for this unit? Can you or your srudiems, create a dance or dtri!J!i:lil to @ccomp.any tl1elearn~ng? Oli.eproced!ure that combines episodic mem.OFy with procedural involves mHki~ a bullerin board and decorarions, and then having' the students put ehem up. This ""HI add tnformaeion toboth lanes ..

Thtnkabourhow you can make some l~%untng eutcmaric. Are flash cardsa pols,sihi.[]ty?What info,rmatlQn.can be put to music] Repetition is a: plus; trv to fin.d a way to use it.

Can you. make this material emotional? Are there popularsongs that mightbe associated with th]s material? Ask the students what they know about dlis I.'U~'~ ]1.'lfonnation, Th~5 m:ay add to theirfeellngs abouc it. How will you celebrate the beginning of the unit? How wIU you celebrate the !e:llcHW.hat kind of role-plsvlng or debat-es can you. I:lS!':: roo elicit strong feelings?

A !lovel thai! I sornenroes ~B'ad wi·th my class is The Rifle by Gary Paulsen. This incmdrbie bock covers ths '"life" of a rifh3i trernits eres- 1:ionlo the present, The technkal parts are di'flkult to 'foUow; vet those section5 alre sUliFounded by a moving story 'of Hife and death, When II use this powerfull book, ~ engage my students in the entire production of the unit.

I begin by fJ1skil'l9 'them how they feel sbout guns and 'gun control.

The answers va~y .among stullients" some of whom (l1f9! begirlningl1:o hunt with lheirfathers. The! emotional responses that i r€c€~v"€! are steps in the right dirscton, We discuss driv€-IDY slho~t~l1gs,. hijac~ing:5, slkyjackilngs, and the 'Iatestt mass murders at schools. The students are ready~o do battle oVBrth€! issue, II ask the s:ttudentstto bring in any newspaper or ma,gazine clippingstihat deal with guns.. I a'iso ask 'for

Look at 'the semantic infOlrmation .inthe curriculum anell try to find ways to present lit thmugih the €pisodici

a uternetic, prooedu ra!, and emotional m€mDrY larles.

8e!gin with the episodic lane and contillll.h3: with 'th@ prooedumllane,

Cel,ebmte both the! belglfnningand the €l1di of a u n 1t to add 'to smotonel memory.

Aslk 'the students .nOV!.!" th€yfe~1 about the topic 1D be studed.

H'EW€' students decoralte, the: elassreorn to addlto their pmcedmal and episodic merneries,

Ofh~r students cho 1 cas ~ I'll the ir iearnin g.

ReBEIa nell preeed u res mav access m Uiliiple memory lanes.

Daily r'epeltilt~o~ of limportant rnfOlrmation is a key to humding llong-term memory.

pictlurres of guns.

1h,e stude~1s brfng lin 'the needed m:ateri~I's to decorate the room, .As they enter I beve the songl "I F'oughtthe law, and the Law Wom'" playing' on tihe boom box. The stl~dellts smile or dlucklle as they listen to the song, They share' their ~l"Iformalttion or piC1l.mas, Then they 1J'lace the items around the mom, By the end ofr theclass pEiriodi, the room is decorated, ,arnd the, students Imvea basic IknQ\!\Jledge of 9 U 1'1 cont rol M d legislation in the United States. They have also heard some honor stories about accidental deatihs and rampag,es by peopls with guns.

The nti)xt day 'th€l students choose a sllip o~ paper from one of two piles. Half the sllips ,say "Guns Iki~1 peopl,e."The otiher half say "People I<ill people .. " Th.e students who choose "Guns ki'll people" s~t on one side cUhe room. The others take the other side. I hand out the nove~s., and the ,reading begi,ns.,

So far the episodic, prooE!durai, ~nd emoUonall~rI€!5 have been activated. Playing the song each day as ihe students emer wirl! 'tr~g,ger memories Q~ this information.

As we r,ead, we eneeuoter the ~echnical information Bind terms In·, volved illl bllilding a rifle'. To make this more meaninglful for the stlJ" dents, I must di,soover a way fm them to under.':l't!lnd the process. We caanot buHda gun eerselves because wealpans or repliicas are not al~ k.yyved iff schooi. We cam dmw, ~ pmv~de pap,e:r, diG~ilon!'lries, and encyclopedias, Informative Web sites on the lnternet can be heipful here. too. ~ the novel d.escribes the building of the Irufhe:, we drarw our own pictt1ures. in stages.. We talk about. 'the procedures used, larugh about some of them, and act euta few,

As me readi ng CQn tl r1JUes, we discove r that the rifl e pa ssss throug h the hands of many people in the stOfY, We be'gintto create a story map on the board. ~ach se ction has 8 picture of the new LMl'ner, a.long with a eeserption of the person and an ,€xpllanation of how he received the ri'flle.

Some 06yS I ask stodents to come to the frent of the room. I@ive e,ach of them a sigrnto weer wltih the name of one of the rifle owners or anothercharscter iln the story. Th'8 students discuss the order in which 'the owners should stand, and then one or several stllden~:s lr,etelll thie storv They p ass a pic~urne of th,e! riUefrom owner to owne r. Otbe r dlays 'I hand 'the picture to a student and sff.(~ "You alfe the bu!ilder of the rifle, Who sr,€! you?" Th'i8n the studlerltt gives the' rltletoanothar st.udent end says, "II sold the riffle to you. Who aw~ you?"This continue's until we come, to the current O"wn€!L I gliv€! wnitten quizzes occasionally to test the I€aflliing,

l3y now I have activated ,emotio>t1H:lII. procedurall, episodic, and

semamk memories .. With repetition of thing's like the names of the owners of the guns, s~delFits have same irliormilition, it) automatic memory,

At this point,. I a sk th~ stu den,ts to create a song. a bout th e stOlry:

Thev can use the tune irD<m "I Fouglht the' Law" or compose one of thek O\!¥n. lassigntMs to 'each group, so tha~ we will have ofll~Y two s:cmg,s when we' f~nish. Ilhesong~s s,hoLJ,ld be very differ,ent, and they are.lhe students beg,in ~o sing ttlhe,ir songs 'eaoh davalfterclass begins. The songs are full of informa'llionfrom the story.

When W'e r,eachthe end of me stOlry. most studel'1tsarevery errotiona I about the events I'eadingl up to tlhe ending and the endin!g i'tsel,t Again, we have reached i!ltechnicalarea of thestorv, I need a way 'to he'lp them understall1d, We reensct ih~ :sc!~l'1le!, Students volunteer 'to be characters from the story. We Clreate s.ilgns with names on them One student becomes the riifle! itself,. and an'Dttl1er becomesthe bullet The rifle shoots, and tn@ buUet1enll~ws the path described inthe book" The mle-pl!ay is not perfect, but i:tappears to wOfk. Many students are fascinat@d by tile physics involveain the bullet's path.

As the unlt culminates, .~ ask the students if they tlr<e sdllcomffOlftabhe! ilil the~r chosen groups, MarlY stay where the-yare, Some switch ,ffddes,. They ask for debates. They spend the Mxt several days pwepa~· ing, We IhQldthe debates, and the st,ud'ents, disoOY'Elr ~he irl1por1ance of preparatilol'l and ,evidence.

The fimlll actlviity is a persu,s,sive ,es:say using the group tiidesas the argument The lH'~t ends .. Tn€! students return to their previous S€lB!i:S. The posters, p~C'ttmes. snd ar1::icll'esare returned Most students appear to have: enjoyed the eXlPerienc,e.

I had m useennsctouseffon to OlICoI":.eSS all oftltose luemmy ]anes. The unit became more jl:l[ere~[itlg as I, did SQ, The students were involved and happy. Eseh y,earl must add someunits and change others to access an or the m.emory lanes. It can be a challenge, burthe rewards are worth it

Many of YOll have been creating units for yeaJfS that aceessthe various memory lanes, lBr:8!in research encourages \.1$ to enrich our reaching saategies, Knowing rhlsinformation lIlay enlarge you[' bank of r:eachililg SlIrategies, Use the strategies ihat fit your sWk~'.

Whelii I started teaching in. [97 C.~ didn't have. a.stvle, Even il:hough I had fun teaching and my students were learnlng,l did not have 9. Clue abontwhat ~ should be doing. Through the years I havetaken classes! attended workshops! and read hundrem o:f books as I searched for a ,st-yle tha[\:vould f~t me. It took a long (irlJJ.e to find a sty le [hat :a~lowed me to feel satisfied [hat I \WiS doing the: job I wanted to do, There are d8yS when I

Crealt~f'lg. songs w~ibh unlit contentaccesses both a utemstlea ~ d emOiio:nallanes,

Use student volunteers to reenact on retead1 the, infonnatioif1l ..

Debates may cement semanti!c ~nfonmSition 'thmuglh the ernoticnal and prceedural lenes.

You may find that your 'Wo:nk beeom as more' if1ltlE:rest~nga:s you make the !effmt to access and create more memories 'for YOU r stud~ntt~5.


Brain resesrch relnfomes. most of our best teaching strategies,

want to tear my hair our: and throw jn the towel When ~ give mvself the chance to step back snd look at what] am doing, I usually see that I have slipped back mro my old pa[tem~YOlli1 know, the ones that Iused repeatedly and expeceed dii-e:rentresulrn from. Ifind thaI: when I returnto my brain-compatible methods, 'born my students and I feel successful


Producinq the Evidence:

Assessment That Mirrors In stru cf 0 n ,al Stir ate 9 i e S:

110'1181 tEaching Greek mythology" It is one of my favori'te units, I fell in love with the Igietli~e ln high school:, and I have col'~ededl palraphennaHa and added to the unit since ~9n, Thmugh tn,e years, because, of rrol training ~rll brain-ccrnpatble teaching and leaming, II have changed the unit and made it more: brain-friendly, Or so I tFlOl!Jght.

Just 81 few yeafs algo ~ made some big mistekes. The un~t was ,great I divided the kids into teams named far the gods and goddesses" They thought jet was co!jl, They had 'to read myths, do some fum acti,vi- 1:1198, and produce a fir!l81 product oi their choice. ihe students presented ~Ebu'lolllS puppet shows, made rnt€m~sting newspapers,aci€ld out scenles'fromtheir'favori~e mytths" cnsa1ed post@Js,Bl1ddfdradioilndtele· \4sion ~nter\iiews, They made advertisements for Gre!ek products like "!Medus.8I'S Favorite Make~lJP: It ma.ycak€hEl little,. but itYifO~'tcrumb'le!"

I hada gr,eat t~me teaching the material. The students hsds great time learning and proclucin~at lea:st, II thought they were le~lir!"iiing. At the end of the unit I did whall most of us do, I gave the students awrrttenassessment, containing only the mat~rial we had cov,~red"lltQok thetest be,fore I 'gave it to them to be SLute it w1!Isfair.

The results were ,embarr8sSlin~l The grades were horrendous. II was very 81ngry with my students. Why hadn't: they s~udied? D~d 'they think this was all fun Bind games? Was it possible that i had failed? Then i1 'ffnaUy oOCllFIFed to me. I' couldr."t blame the kids, their pa,rent.s, or even the full moon. I had taught them tihrough various memory lanes. and ~ had assessed them through only one, The one I chose was the on€! II had used and reiil1'lforce·d the least


We hsveell taught units, th at W€l thought wer,e wonderful endthen have been dilsappoinbed wlthtl1e results.

Retrieved mernorlesare th e only evidence we have of leamingJ,


Trad~tjonal test:ing liS often nec:essary and in some cases deslrablf! ..

P,ar€ilIts often

unde rsta nd t ra clltiof1lal aSSeSSITH::int betlertn8in a u the n tlcsssessrns nt,

We! IiIke to think that our g~udents halVe (ll loVi9" of le.aming.

How do we teach arid assess lns

brain-co mp8~lb~e

man n e<r a Ii d stin ge'! the Ir€SU Its we need 7

Portfolios ars bmin compatible and prov,ide G gmaiJ: deal of

~ nlorrnetien about sn.dent progress.

Some lnrerprerers ofbtra~1ii research win suggest thEII'l: you give lllp rraditiona] ksrlngbecause it can be entagonlstic to the brain Uensen, 1995). I do not dsagree with them; however; as a classroom teElcherwho has taught in ffi8n.y tradstlonal districts, I understand how necessary t-rndi,. ticm3J~esting am be. Perhspsbecaese of my college training or because of my need fOI" HoonCfete';infor:rnation~ m otteril find ]t necessary to give rtzuc!i,. tional assessmenrs to Illy students. I havethe assessments aV:8!Ji~aJb]e [0 show topasents, and I canexplain them e:!'lSil.y.. Ih:!'lve the information if there is a question about grades. Evenwith the new rubncs [ormme ~\~!!1LJn:hentk assessment," many parents don'tunderstand or relate to this appto§].ch. Therefore; I Of1t·ei1 e:l1Id my units with a traditional. assessment aimed spedfically atthe semanlLic memory lane.

Students have been named or have trained Ehemselves to s[l[dy for these traditional tests, These are the kids who are ah)J!ays asking, "[)o we have to know thisi" oruWm chisbe onthe test]" I sometimes wanr to scream when they ask such questions, but I know that they have every righ~ to ask [hem,

We would like 1:0 think that am students have a love of ~eaJmir:tg.

Many of them do. Howevermost educational sys~ems fire set up so [hat

. ,

the bottom Hn.e-grades-is rhe most Important component, R. believe

[hat our students do love leamtng. These dendrites moe alwa)'s looking for hrfonmtion. However! that inlormation [nay not be the kind thatcernes straignt out of a book.

The q uestion remains; How do tve teach. and assess our stude:rtts ina. rtatttrli, enjoyaMej majn .. oompattb[~ ~ay and stm get theresu!ts and the data; (11a!' we need eo give to O~tr aisrr.icI:S., our MrllinIS!'m:wrs .• aniClour parents?

IPomtllioA.s ssssment

One nomrad.ilior!ll:l1~ brain-compatible form of assessment Is a student portfolio. A portfolio is acollecrion of 'work that shows growth. over time or 8amples ofsrudents' best \;vork. h. may include jounals, essays, letters, tests, worksheets, audiotapes, videotapes, posters, and any other work samples,

\Vorkjng portfolios. ]11BY givle both the student and thetescber a dearer Idea ofhol\.V the student is progressing .. Itmay be easier to perceive evidence of a stadents ab]1jtyro apply conceptsthrough portf:o]io work samples than through traditionalassessmenta,

Suzsnre ls not a very good math student. ~Ier scores reveal 'that Her most reoent score on a test asking for solutions to problems 'using adld ltlona nd subtraetion was 165 [percent

Sarah,on 'the e,ther hand, shines in math class. She has almost per~'€lct 100s in the' graae book. Sherajs,es her !hand in class constantly. She makes the tealcher; her mo:the~r and herse'lf very happy,

Which! child knows more about math? At first gllance, 'One woul1d assume that Saran deesbeesuse of her test seorss. Howev:er" furtner inspectionl revl:38ils some itT~8r8sti,ng informatlon. In her portfolio" Su:zanns keeps: a "collection hook" for her weekly paper route. ltls hfi:l~ responsibiility to collect rnonev from her customers each month. Suzsnnes book isw~111 organiZledandi precise. She has a sepsrste page ~pr each customer showing thsamoUint paid, the amount owed,an~ a balance for ,eMh morMh. DO@$ Suzanne kllow math?

Pordo]ios are one way ofbdnginl,g the real, world into i~he classroom.

Studentscan reveal i,\ great deal about themselves by what th.ey,chooseto keep in theirponfolios. Many enjoy bf] ~tems from home. This may COIW~y [he feeling tharthe portfolio really belong~ tothem, On occasion the students, inspect and renect on their portfolioittems.

IP'8!!Fformali1lcl1)! Assessmenru

Other nontraditional assessments are of[(~l1calledi Verjonl1:arlce assessr meni!S:. This rather broad term describes an.y assessment in \~'h.ich~he student m.ay demonstrate knowledge andunderstanding ~b!'ollgh various means, Givin.g students a choice oft assessments is a bi:ai:n,coin:patiblit'; approach that allows students to access the inforrnatioathroagh the memlOry lane ,of their choke.

Atuhentic assessmene is a per{ormanceas1;, which til student demonstrates mastel'Y of a task thatis considered "real life," Many OOUCfU" mrs use this lyp~ of ass~ment The drawback is the time required, Performsnce assessments ate an important component of assessment that honms the uniqueness of smdenrs' brains, Appropriare rubrics enable this kind of assessment to he objective.

lifai iii 'the IFa st Lanes:

Matching Assessments to the Menl(~ry lanes

Let!s look a'l: each Inel110ry lane. and good methods of assessment fO!: each. Remember, retrieved memories are the onlYJ)mof we have thatleaming has taken place, Students need to be able !EO show us what th.ey know, IDE they have learned infmm.~tion and stored it through multiple memory lanes, appropriare assessment strategies will help them retrieve those memcries,

iDi:scoveriing a child's trueinterests and abilities mill¥ be possible onrry mrough porno'i i08.

Perfun'f'i1ance assessments allow smdents to demonstrate their i:;nowiedgeand understandi n gthrough \!1;lrtous rneans.

Matching assessments to the memory I,anesi,s easy.

Eaoh memory Is n e has a compatible method of assessment.

Stud~es have shown tihat people who are taught inform ation in one loca~ion willac;cess lit more easilly in the same location.

Yo~r pre'senc€J ill rbe room during assessment will affeCi: yom g[ijdlents,'


How one n ln the real world are we g,iven the types of assessments that we give om s~udents?

Eplsudl.1c Ms'mo'iry ASS!BSSmenit

Cen yo'!,! essesssmdenrs du,oygh the episodtc memory lane? We do it all the time. Exceprfor most standardized testing, most of us do outassess-

rnentsin .:~,'" room ', ... ~-_L lch ~-1"" 't"QiILr the mate 'I" al Itcan be "'.' simple "'," _'!\;._',"'" !",~ 1.!l!1I.,. I,,,v_ ,_, _,',' ,\-VIn __ ,_ \, \"'_~J.Uo~h ~n _' _,p,_...,r,_,_ ,. '. _",',I, .... _>lL _ .... "'>l


Studies have: shown that people' who are tal)J]ght information in one placeaccess itrnoreeasily inthesame place. A study conducted underwater proves the point, SlIbjiectrs who wen given il1fQl'm;ation while drvtng remembered that irrfonnatlon more readily whenthev were in the water rather rhan on dl'Y land (Baddelev~ 1990).

]f you hfllve consciously created acontext for learning hy tls:ing some of the slLl,ggestions in the preeedlngchaprer, YOlllr students should be able to access the episocii,c memory lane fOf :atl1Y type of assessment in that Ic~C8Jr don, You can. test [his hyremoving your bulletin board materials Bind asking your students 8Jbom the information [h;:;JJt was there, Most wiU stare 8J~ the empty space left on, the board and visualize the data. If you WOlle a hat or costume while teaching, wear it on the day orf theassessment.

Rememberthat you are also covered 1i!Vim lnvislble intonn;aUoFl.. YOlIJ]( presence in rhe mom will make a differe:nce, I spenr yea!:!) being [{L':lgry with rnarh teachers. When. my students had to figure: grades on papers, they could never lUultiply whh fmcrioi1S or decimals, I assnmed those teachers weren't doing thelr] om. I no~r know that the students were lacking the episodic memm¥ connectices toraath, Thevcould do the work in their math moms or wtththeir math teachers present. Invis~hle inform0:tion is powerful. Ther~foreldo not have YOillr substil1!!]tDe teacher give an eX3Jm.

Yes! I. have o£ten hear-d the argument tll,at we are not do~n;g our children justice byl,enil'lg them rely 011 episodic memory. They should be able to 8JpP~Y the infofl1l8don in the real world \llherever they go. This argl!ili" ment h.81$ s~wng points. However" I ask myse]fj "How real-world is the world of education '!" How often In the real world Site we given the kinds of assessments rhat we give in $chool'~ :Education is 11ll.o1,lili:g closer and. closer ro real-world situal:ions and 8Mdlentic types of assessment. Mean\\rhile~ we lll1tlS~ d.o the best we cau with what we have.

Assessment is stressful fur all of us, How many ofus are relaxed and happy when our evaluation time comes? We may enjoy sharing and showfng what we can do, but when i[ comes rime for the verbal and wFitten evaluations, most of 1!lS get quite nervous. So do Oll!:' srudenes. I believe that any advantage I can give my students forreceiving and rerrieving infDHll1atiOll will ultimatelvhenefit [hem wherever they gD.

Proc8idlJlraJilMemmy Assessment

This tsthe ~Ihow to" lane, These memories are difficult ~6:ra!1Y of~s to cOlwey ~hrough words alone. If you do notbelieve me, try to do one ofthe foUowing, \1Vidl0ut using your handsj, el\p~~in to someone how to tie shces.Iicw to' apply ey,e malee-lip, or how wp~:@Jy the baby game ~~P@Jt·OliJ cake," Difficult to do? Of course. The reason is that these are procedures that you have learned t~rough movement, and the best way to retrieve those memories is i1t11.ro1l.lgh those same movements. Yet we con."ltandy ask our students to sh~fe informa.t[on with paper and pencil

The simple solution is tohave s~tlde;liJJts show you the procedure, You may say rhat this IS not so sImple because you have 25m 30 srudenrs in your elassroom, or you In8!Y teach six classes per clay ~O[ only 45 minutes. How can you assess ell of chose students doing a procedure dun rakes several minutes! Here :itf€: some solutions.

If the asse:ssmem is on science Iabwmk) lake the students into (he lab, Allow their episodic memorie-s to work, Give them the eqeipment used for the prOO~dLlII! if ill: Is availab1e. Eith~r with or without the actual chemicals OIl: other substances, 311.0W them to "walk" through the process, writing down. each stepas they work. Once they bHve done this, they can answer some application, analysis,. and synthesis questions on a rradi[[Onalllssessmen[.

Anothe:r method is to' Pl1;]1I: them in the small groups th.ey worked with and have me groups show you theprocedure.jfthey understand th~ procedure, you will see that they have dl.fBwh:y not doing the steps 8Jssign.ed. to the othermemeers of [heir group. Ask elilch student specific qlJ.U.e:.Stions during the demonstration. Use a rubric toevaluate each student's perfm·mance .. A:gain~ aft~l' theprccedure, y'Olllnnay want to give them ques,," dons of application I analvsis, andl.synthesls, Perhaps you \\li!l want to give them another problem to solve using the: same procedure but changing group members! roles. Keep a log of the class or use a. section of yom grade rook to record the progress of each student,

Once [he brain stores tnformatinn inprceedurel memorv, that inforIllation js easy [0 retrieve gtven [he appropriate: opporrunitrv. Allcrw for those oppornmitles ill your classroom whenever possible .

. A.utomaitic Memorv Assessmien1t

A\uorn2!tic ffliemOIV retrieval is .sim.il8it to precedurnlmemory retrieval. I think of the intonnation stored inthe cerebellam as long stl:~ng$ of neuron] hooked together by strong and healrh y dendrires and axons, They appear like dominoes. An I have todo is trigger the fllirst neuron, and they fire in a systematic way, JUSt as the fa] I of the first domino (riggers [he others to {alliin turn,

A procedural memowy is ditficu~t to >convey thmuglh words alone·.

.A~~ow stude nteto walk th rC)U giJl CJi procedure to tr~gger memory.

Anyi h ~ng Ilearned thmuglh movement is best assessed through that same movement.

Ask students speclfc questons while: they are do,ing +e procedure.

In~ormation stored in au~omatl:c memory must beaeeessee in ·the same manner lin wih i'ch it was ta light.


If youu sed music to activalte automatic memory, assess your s'l!udents usi ngthart music,

Giv€! students the olPportunity to Imak,e 'the oonnectllollS between information stored in automatic memory and Its use on a test.

Accessing! emotional memory during the assessmsnt precess may be dmicullt.

Some students can access emolional memories through performance.

For this type of memory retrieval, l sImply havethe studenrs give me the lnformadon oroBy or h;3Jv€; rhem write II:: down .. Far lnstanee, if it is ill a song, rhey either sing it with rhetr groeps (lnever make them sing alone), archey can sing it tothemselvesas they 'W~.dte iton pa[Def'.[f] Wa.11i~ to assesstheir appllcstion of the material, I ask them to wnre the automatic information. on their papers first, Then they Gill refer to it as they apply.

Th'9 siudsnts finllilly have their linking-verb s!ongs memorized. They sing them wimngly" and I am pleased with the resuts They hay'€! taken an oral quiz: by standiing in front of th€i room and singing with their groups. ,~watch their lips canafuillyand lsten for eaoh voke .. I have also give n ~he m :81 wlritl:en qlliz. They had to write down the words: 0 n paper.

We are beginning to c:lasslfy sentences with !ink~ng verbs, The oonnection ~5 not there~ I tind that many students who lreceived As on th,ek ql:.!~zzes are puzzled and hes!rtanlt when they ercccntera !inkiinQl verb in a sentencel Are their eutomatic memori:8sf.ailing them?

My students were' tint making the connections that I hoped th.eji wOlldcL I needed W incilideEIIl!lother S'[ep in this process. Once me info:rrnation was in autcmatic memonb the students needed to practice using this skill with an appli.Gl.tiOll process Firslthey needed to write down from memcevthe linking verbs .. Then they could proceed to the senrences, ch~cking forthose liEiling verbs .. 1 assumed th~ywouldl "auromatically" do this. Some of [hem could, but marry could not,

IEmo~iol1a! M!9:mfuy AS$8SSmHnt

Accessingstudents' fe~Hngs: d,lIdng the: teaching process is fareasier than dliJ~r]ng the assessment process. Emotional. memories are powerful enmJlgh [0 override logical (ninking., Stkkingr;o the facts may be dliffioult depending Oil how emotional the issues have become. IDn dealhrg wlth the rifle story described in chapter 7, studenrs sometimes allowed [heir and. opinions to overwhelmthem, and I:hey retrieved very lirde fac~ tual infurmation.

MosIL emotional memories are not so.overpowerlng. Whel'l! emotions are mvolved, some smdenrs can rerdeverhem through pertormance. A project such.asrele-playiog, apuppetshow, or@slcitwauld be appropriate, these emotional memCffV concept'S to a different context may be: beneficial as well, "For instance, i:f }I!DU have studied a survival. issue, rather than have the students reenact t'lle, survival situation you. studied, have [hem create anew srutuation and ~pply the survival principles to it. Other students wUI need to 2lpply and demonstrate their emcttonsl memory

thrm~gh wrirren wtD~k. Writi.n_g n.ewspaper mddes, editorials, essays, or short srmies, and creating posters are examples of this kmd of emotional m.emory performance. What ~f)rOllQ helped your studenrs store infomlBtion in emcdonalmemorv through celebration or music? Repearingtharcelebration andp'layin,g that muse during a test will help rhem remember:

Perhaps you reached their emotions ~hrolJ:gh your own enthusiasm. IDE thIS was one of your [echt" be enthusi0istlc on the day of the assess .. ment, Try t-o get them as excited about what they have learned as you are. Explain. to them that a test day is ada}' to share and celebrate they bavelearned, Some teachers play special celebration muslc 011 rhe d8i.ys of the it exams,

If you have accessed the emotions of y01i.!r students i:n. your teachlng, you hsvegtven them an incredible mol. Emotions win take pr~orlity over ,everyth~ng else in the brain. Assessing students through theiremotioral memories will also be an opponuni[v for Y0l;,il to assessemottoaal inteUi,· gene!"; (G oleman, 1995).. Do )!Ollf students understand their feel lugs about tbe topic? Ha.veineir feelings cbanged in any wa)!? Do they understand the feelings, of mh.elis? Have d:-u~'ji' displayedempalLhy? Assessing emotional intelligence is, sometimes tri.cky~ yet giving your studeors the opportunitv to consider these key Issues may be themost important learning of all. Keeping a journal would be ill wonderful way for themto self-assess.

S:e!maliltic Memory Ass:ess:melliit

You rna ¥ be thin k iug that rh is section is u i:1I nieCes-saTY because youb.ave been. g;'iv1ng tests foqears. BiJ.![ yall] need to beaware of this: if information js stored in [he s.emamk.laille~ [hen. giv ing trndidol:ll:1il tests llsusJly works; jf [he information bas not been stored there, ~rOMr students win underperform. Aren't there always a few stndenes in, yom mom whooonsistendy underpetform 011 the tests I yet )'Ot]0!1I'e certain th8Jt~hey were I"gening it" when you weret:eaching?

In chapter 4 I talked about looking in the bakery aisle for ehe milk, Perhaps your students are looking mthe semarnk lane Bind nor retrieving information because ies [1:01: there. This bl"~ng$ tiS to two questions. Do you feel the need [0 give tmditional semantic assessmenrsl If SO~ can you take memories from another laneand somehewgee them. into the semantic lane for this type of test!

For me the answer to' both q1l.lestiom IS yes. ] want to give trndit:ional psper-and-pendl tests. Why? I be~],eve in balance. I use bcthsuthentic and traditional assessment with most uniesbecauseI fee] students need. to learn to handle; both types .. Also, I want to meet the needsofthe students who fe.el safe and secure with traditional tests, They do wel~ on these, and I want them to feel successful ..

Oilsplay the same enthusiasm whell you assess as you dh:1 when you taught ·Ehe· mate Iii ill I.

Kjeeping ,(I .iomn(l~ carl be a wonderful W'Ciy for students to self-assess,

Can you ta~e' irnhJlrmation from another lane and !get it into 'the semantic lane?

Tra:diti onal tests have a p lace in the

b r'S inw(;o m P81ii ille classroom.


Se'mantic 'tests will provide true accountability only if informat:ion wasiaught to that lans,

Practice-tests are a practical WfJ,y to begin to mcrve information from any other memory lane 1111:0 the semantic llane.

Students, can re-create power pictures or other visual orga nizers as pan o·f the assessment.

Enco u rage students to put ·the tecl1niqu8sUlisy have leamed to good IUSe,

Gha~giingi lanes; Teach to the Testl

So here's the good news! Wecan]'e[rieve memories from other lanes and put them in the semantic lane. One method involves doing what y.ou haverepearedlv been told not to do: 'Teach to rhe test. Begtn by worklng oochvards. \X!hat do you expect your students to gain from [he material ym.l are covering? Be sure you cover those points. Then give practice tests. Yesl, this takes rime; but in the end. you and. your students wtllbe happier. In other wOi:ds" you ImISi[ give your students [he oppOnUil]ty to practice taking information from one of the other and using it semantically, with words. As you. give the practice tesratalk the students through it. Remind them of the procedures, the autcmanc memories they have, the emotional content, and have them look :~liOul'lcl the mom at 'the episodic ]n.fmmation.lf you play,ee) music during the learning acttvities, play the music at least during the practice tests. All ofthis willallow you r students to change lanes or access all of them. [HadI done this during the Greek mythology unit, it would have made a great: difference in. the results.)

]J you used any of [he semantic strategies from chapter 0, allow yOl!.tf students to use these en the assessment. For example, many teachers who use the power-picture 0]' mind-map eechnique ask their srudents rorecreate the: picture or map from mem.ory and putit on. the bsek ofrhe exam. Because-the main purpose of this technique is to build visual memoryi the students will. probably be able to do. mis .. Then allow rhemto use cll,13Jt in. formationm help them. answer the test qtte5ti.OIllS, Some teachers g:~Voe: ex," rra credit for the map. The important point is that you. taught YOlU]' students a strategy and now ym] are showing thern how to apply j,t

This approach will work with other semantic techniques. If your S[~dents used a pegsys~em, give them the opportunity to re-create itnn their test paper. They can also re-create timelines, write down tne.~r:llcrosticsor acronymsj or make an onrline. Encourage them to put the techniques they have learned to good lise. This will be a lesson in how to rransfer infofmlltion.

The students should have informati.on srorodby means of the other' semannc rechnlqees that you used, such as roie-plS!ying and peer teeching! in semantic lanes, !RetrIeving most of ch:atil1formtltion should beeasv

You can use any of the semsnrictechniques suggested for retrieving ]ufoITfl.ation frommulrtple lanes. That is the !beauty of many of these techniques. The peg system. tales semantic information and places i~ in [I.llItomaticmemory. The power-plcture technique takes semsrttic infor" mation and places it in. the prooed\llrEl~andtlsually the emotional lanes beCS1!Jlse the students often become emotionally attached to ilLhe-l], drawings,

If yOl! had the students work with others creadng allY of rhesemnemontc devices.emotions were probably Involv®d. AFlycednli.q~le involvin.g stu .. dents 1,\'ofking together may have led to emotional me~morv storage.

lJe,signing. Tests for IMemonj IReitrieval

¥ou canuse a traditIonal pap~N)nJ.i~pe:nrcil tesrto access differ~fit memQry lanes .. Tlus may take a little eX1T8i. time; however; you may !be 8!Meto cb8Jng~ yOUi' current tests v,~ty e~sUy,. The f6nowilitgexampl~ provide jdeaJs fOJ: targeting each memorylane .

• ' AMt~ticMel1W~)J, Use sentence completion, The asseciatums

that: vour students have made. arert~dil;y avaMa,ble wirh thiS technique.

ExampJe.~ The rifle was first gJven to === .' EmotlOnal ,Memory. Use i~feding' words.

EXCllnple; The ICIX':a~Clr Qfth.e riAe was sad. tolose if ~)OCEllilSe _~ __


\Vhy was the; C!ie~nm: of the rifle sad aJibol1lt ]olSing i1:1

I, Precetiut'l'J!t Memarry. Use transition words that willhelp the stu .. dent remember the procedure.

Example.: After the water is heated, you should _


B€r"veetilh~e8Jringrh€wau~r and adding sodium, which of the [allow·· sbouldbe done! (9) add calcium

(b} turn .of( the burner (c) cool the walI~[' down (d} turn .off the lights

" Epis{!dicMemory •. Refer to locationsl ma[€rials in your qtl~s,[ions. Exampk.: According to the irrrormati!on onthe periodic table, theab ..

breviation for iron is. _

" Scmanttc Me:;WJory. Allow the students to re-create mnemonic devices,

EXcmlP,k; On. the back of the p~!pel: write your peg system for the llst of the. presidenrs.


Remind [hem of the othe'f sttategies ..

E'xalnpJe: When we I:ole.;played[he Batt~e of Gel:tyslumg, the batde

~i\1:g8 won by _

Any je-dhnique iinvol~li[ng s1liudents working 1:ogieiher may tap ~nto emotional memory S1Qrage.

"Fli!el'~ngl" words 0111 1:r.aditionall·tes~s may 'tr~~rgler emotiona'l memories.

AI~ow srud!en'l:S 1:0 r9-crell~e mnemonic dev~c)e's.


Discuss the memory Ilanes with yom

atude nts, so thev understand how they Ilea:m.

Studeli"lts need to experienoe how the m@!mory lansscsn work for them.

Most stuc!en1s find that working together

f,acil iitiUeS Ilea min g.

Music and ~hl~ ability to mO\ii6 a rou nd he·11) ma ny smud€ ntseccess rnemories.

The SUate'Qlies lilnAlct~on

In ~I1I. ~fforl: (0 :sham mernofy strategies with my students, ill often cr~aw situations that dearly show them how the clifierent memory lanes work. This reinforces for both them and me the awareness that memories can be conscicsslv made more powerful The (oHowing actil1iry was described in the book Memory by Margulies and Sylwesler (1998):

lit is 8r(l~fH .. Awar~lless Week, I am spelldiinlg the entlre week sharing infOm1lation wi~h my students about ths brai:n and leamilt"l.g. Aft·er seve ra II days of discus.s~on and demonstretlonsen 'Un€! s~ruc1ur€and the function ofthe brain, we' airs rEiadyto mOIVe on to short-term and long"H~rm memory.

I Mv!@ p~annea an interesting experiment to try with mystUJ(i€nts.1 divide the class in hallf. I send ons group to th€! library to memoriz€I ,(I l>Clng list offaC'ts. They may use a~y method they choos1e, andthev may work. ah:me or as a glmup. The's€! 5tud~ntts willingllyleave. The remainingl group listens to a story", llh8'S'tory is-on tape and includes music. AU of the facts that the other g~oup is rnernorizinp are pre'sented witihlin the context of the story,

When the' story coneludes after about .20 minutes, ~ bring batn griQUps tog'eth,er. II questionthe grQUps orallly,. Group members may IMOrktogetller to confer on answers. lam eage'f to discover if the lis, te ners win do better becsuse they formed more emotiona~ memories, I k.nowtl'lIH information lintn~sforma!t is gerllerallry recalled eas~ly,. II also want to determine whether the memorizers willl.excel beCllius.ethey u sed good strategies.

We i;~'IVestigate the rsselts. Bath groups do well. Why? My stu· deflts·giv€! me the answer dmfng ourdscussion of th~ process, The I~s· tsners bellieve they mlsssd Olltby not h.Eiving a vlsual to follow, A few of rhem look notes, but no·t m.1':IilY. The memo~i:zef$ ;8.gree compleuely. They found that thmLl·gJh working together and seeing the· list. memorizirlg It was easy, n'!<l:Y had f:un wQrkiif1g 1!ogeth·er, so they also had an emotionalloomponent.

Let's examine the techniques used and the memories stored by esch group:

.. The b's,t{~ners had music withlyrics played. repeatedly to help the automatic memory! emotional centenrin the story rohelp the emotional ]an.e, and semantic informmiollllil smry form to help the episodic rnemory. Thehsteners also had the advantage of learnlng and being tested in

the same room .

• ' The memori;cershad a visual list ofsemantic infOrLlla~'ion) the opportunity to talk m eseh other and listen (semantic memorY)1 and the mb~Uty to move around while ~'!%l!rning [procedural lllJ..emory). En addltion, t.hey shared semanric srraregtes th~teach used, andihey had fun working {emotional memory),

Both groups earned similar scores on tests given imm'ediateiy after the leamingexpenence and a week later. However, 011 an. indlvidual performance [est given three weeks later, each.of the Usr:eners answered at least two more q~estions conrocdy than tiki. the memorizers.

Based on this clsssroom research, I concluded. [hail! a story {;orm9it m~y bebeneficial forlong-term melilDry.1 discussed with nny studenes the POgs] of vet another strategy-taking the semantic information from tneir textbcoks andmaking a swryou~ of it. A~l:h.oMghthey felt thislnigh1t be a tedioustask, many thou.ghw: wlil.ring the ~r.oly would be an enjoyable group proj eel.

Iest .Anxi1ety

Ke.ep in mind! that many of vourstudems s~lfer from test anxiety. This 1,5 a: physlcal pmble1l1 thar triggers the stress response. Many students, are not so saessed that lhcy ean'r ~1S!e their memory lanes. However, for some smdents! this can be a maier cHmculty;

M~ny student'S win have an e~sier rime retrieving inforn'!;ation thro~gh dif('e:rent lanes! and thisis informarion you should sharewith them. Try to 'encourage them by saying you win be appto3iching the unit 1111 :±liwaYlhatr will llUl!'ibe. it easierfot them to learn 8111:& remember, Knowing that you carecan give students a sense of socudt:y that may prevent a stress response.

Pretestirg, practice teSitin:g~, and even re:~esl!:l.l1g are sometimes approprhue: and necessary. Om goal is to help students understandhewthev learn 80 d'l:e)! can be better ]camers. Some snsdents bellevetheyhave poor memories .. Manv adults. believe the same Ehin.g. What m.ay actually be h[lpp~;[Ilil1g is that [he ID!.mmry is there, bm rhe person is simply nor accessing the appropri ate mem.ory lane. Forour students! proofo( their good. hecomes a grade, Grades are determined by assessments, We must offer students the opPQltllnity to discover the powerof their good. mamories and [heir wonderful brains

It is a p'articularly bad day. I f€@1 asthouah ~ have no eontrel in my,c~als:~, room. The quiz I givB is a disaster:, It ffeiels Ili~ei II am wor~dlng outside in

Puttfng liln fOirmatio:n into story wormat usuall~y' allows the' ilnformation 'to travel along diifferernt lanes.

Test anxtety is a common problem.

IFor marry' students, proof of their 9000 memories becomesa grade· .


On some ds¥s, noth~ng seems to werk,

Other days make all 'Of the work wOril.lhwhile"

this sun; II am hot and sticky: Why in the wor~d am I V!fOrking th~s hard under t:hese cOinditions? I'm an intell'igent person. I could pmbably get a job in analr-condi1:ionedoffice and not ha'V'e to tall< to another child for months!

I belt for the'front door of the b(jild~ng and head for home .. ~ grab the rneil as I w:a~k in my front door. All I want to do lis rip 'Off my clothes, i ump in the shower, a nd then watCh "Oprah:' The stack of bi;111 s does not help my dispositicr. bUlt beneath the requests for my hard-earned money is a lener from a former sn.dent, She! write's that she has re·, oeived a sehollarship to a Midwestern university where she is studY~riIg to become aJ teacher. She says itt is because I insplr,ed her. She rsmernbsrs the quotes I had hanging in my room.the preposition songis, ths 'teamwork, and the fun we had. She saystha'l her old dassmates ~now that she lis 90in9 to be ateacner "like Mrs. Sprenger:'

Well. that does it! The tears starttnfalll am not sure I cry because II am touched by these words or just because ~ deserve to cry today, The letter liS writt€m on notebook pap.e!r, Sind I t,ake esrsnot totesr ilt or soak it with tears, I walk to my box of laminating paper, [I car€fuilly !ami~ nate tlhiis I,ettter th.!'lt cot1'tailns the words that will get me to school tomorrow morning.


Frequently Asked Ouestions

lamgr,atefliltha~ through the years the informatIon II have shared seems to have made a diff~m;mce In the outlooks atndlthe Uvea of many educators and parents. It has been h'eartw,arm~ng to hear teach~rn say that because of the current researchend ralalted strategie'slhey no I'onger count tile days to retir'emenl'i. They fee~ energized and loaded wit'h ammunit~on -ror another school year.

Despi~e what we know about brain-oompatible instruction; many questions r'ernain ui'iai1'1swered simply because mh[s is a new sind emerging 'field O'f res;eardh. But there are some questons thsJi'tt edUiCIl,tors consistent'ly ask because we alii share :a !ove of childrenlarnd! a desire to do what is best ~or them. Ihiscnapter provides answers to some of those questions,

'Question: What~re HWi~ndOws of uppartu;nit)l~J in the· brain? 1 ha,ve wead cIDOU~ them, tlnd fm concerned ;f.~tUwe arE missing opporluni~ies.

The phrase windows of opportumi£y describes the peoeds llvullf]ble: for development of specialized areas of the brain. These windo!!'vs are alae called crl,[ical periods. For example I the windowof 0PPofcunity for vision

" - .

doesnor close until age 10. Research Is discovering rha~ the human bruin.

at bIrth is wired in. all tnterconnecred way (NevIlle, 1997). The Areas of the newborn brain are not aJsdifferelllLi3f:ed as rheyare in the adult brain .. Therefore, i.f neurons rhat are availahle fora disdfl.ct purpose are ror used for that pllrpo:se by a specific developmental time, [hey will be adopted elsewhere, This means that a child whose eyes arecovered during the early yemrsmay ~o:s~ those visual neurons to the auditory area.

These windows of opportunity present Ehemsdves in. other-areas. The window (url@ngllJ.~ge development seems to he Ope,11 from bilth. until about age ] O. Many researchers believe that t~js is the time to [each for .. ,eig:n l:afiLgillmges bec.8!use neurons are available for diffe:rent sounds. If a child does not hear the sounds by age IDj those neutons may not be


A~though marlY queslionsabout the brsn remain unanswered, w'esea'fch has provided anSWSr5 to others,

The areas of a newborn's brain fire' not as differentiated as the arsas of an adu'lfs; brain.

"W~ndows 'of OlJrPortunity" ~fl the

bra in <lr€l periods of timeavailabl,e for deve~opmef'lt of speciali.zecl brSlin areas.

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