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Sleep is the suspension of consciousness when the body and brain rest. When we do not get enough Sleep, our cognitive skills are weakened and we can more easily lose focus. Offering extra cognitive supports can help students focus.
Sleep deficit is associated with cognitive impairments that become increasingly more evident with more demanding cognitive tasks. Unfortunately, it is becoming progressively more common for students to receive less Sleep than they need. In particular, increased exposure to screens, especially before bedtime, is linked to later bedtimes and less Sleep. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following amounts of sleep:
Adolescents produce the Sleep hormone of melatonin later in the evening than children or adults making it more difficult for them to fall asleep at earlier hours and to get the recommended amount of Sleep.
Teachers support language development by using and providing vocabulary and syntax that is appropriately leveled (e.g., using simple sentences when introducing complex concepts).
Content that is provided in clear, short chunks can support students' Working Memory.
Providing math tasks with high cognitive demand conveys high expectations for all students by challenging them to engage in higher-order thinking.
As students solve problems in a group, they learn new strategies and practice communicating their mathematical thinking.
Students activate more cognitive processes by exploring and representing their understandings in visual form.
Continual use of foundational skills with different problems reinforces a conceptual understanding of math skills.
Daily review strengthens previous learning and can lead to fluent recall.
Thinking of and about patterns encourages learners to look for and understand the rules and relationships that are critical components of mathematical reasoning.
Teaching students to recognize the structures of algebraic representations helps them transfer solution methods from familiar to unfamiliar problems.
Discussing strategies for solving mathematics problems after initially letting students attempt to problem solve on their own helps them understand how to organize their Algebraic Thinking and intentionally tackle problems.
Analyzing incorrect worked examples is especially beneficial for helping students develop a conceptual understanding of mathematical processes.
Writing freely about one's emotions about a specific activity, such as taking a test, can help students cope with negative Emotion, such as math anxiety.
The flipped classroom has two parts: cooperative group activities in class and digitally-based individual instruction out of class.
As students walk through stations working in small groups, the social and physical nature of the learning supports deeper understanding.
Adding motions to complement learning activates more cognitive processes for recall and understanding.
Setting overall goals, as well as smaller goals as steps to reaching them, encourages consistent, achievable progress and helps students feel confident in their skills and abilities.
In guided inquiry, teachers help students use their own language for constructing knowledge by active listening and questioning.
Spending time with new content helps move concepts and ideas into Long-term Memory.
Practicing until achieving several error-free attempts is critical for retention.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Math centers with math games, manipulatives, and activities support learner interests and promote the development of more complex math skills and social interactions.
Math games allow students to practice many math skills in a fun, applied context.
Rhyming, alliteration, and other sound devices reinforce math skills development by activating the mental processes that promote memory.
When students have meaningful discussions about math and use math vocabulary, they develop the thinking, questioning, and explanation skills needed to master mathematical concepts.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Short breaks that include mindfulness quiet the brain to allow for improved thinking and emotional regulation.
Mnemonic devices help students remember mathematical concepts and steps of math and classroom processes.
Multiple tables and chairs on wheels allow for setting up the classroom to support the desired learning outcomes of each activity.
By talking through their thinking at each step of a process, teachers can model what learning looks like.
Brain breaks that include movement allow learners to refresh their thinking and focus on learning new information.
Instruction in multiple formats allows students to activate different cognitive skills to understand and remember the steps they are to take in their math work.
Multiple display spaces help develop oral language skills as well as Social Awareness & Relationship Skills by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens recall.
Providing physical and virtual representations of numbers and math concepts helps activate mental processes.
Visual representations help students understand what a number represents as well as recognize relationships between numbers.
Multiple writing surfaces promote collaboration by allowing groups to share information easily as they work.
Connecting information to music and dance moves enhances Short-term and Long-term Memory by drawing on auditory processes and the cognitive benefits of physical activity.
Having students teach their knowledge, skills, and understanding to their classmates strengthens learning.
Maintaining consistent classroom routines and schedules ensures that students are able to trust and predict what will happen next.
Students deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning when they explain to and receive feedback from others.
Response devices boost engagement by encouraging all students to answer every question.
When students engage in a dialogue with themselves, they are able to orient, organize, and focus their thinking.
When students monitor their comprehension, behavior, or use of strategies, they build their Metacognition.
When students give themselves positive self-statements after reaching a goal, they acknowledge their progress and reward their small successes.
Incorporating multiple senses with strategies like chewing gum, using a fidget, and sitting on a ball chair supports focus and Attention.
Sentence frames or stems can serve as language support to enrich students' participation in academic discussions.
Using earplugs or headphones can increase focus and comfort.
When students create their own number and word problems, they connect math concepts to their background knowledge and lived experiences.
Transforming written text into audio activates different parts of the brain to support learning.
When students explain their thinking process aloud with guidance in response to questions or prompts, they recognize the strategies they use and solidify their understanding.
Students deepen their math understanding as they use and hear others use specific math language in informal ways.
Tossing a ball, beanbag, dice, or other small object activates physical focus in support of mental focus.
Having students verbally repeat information such as instructions ensures they have heard and supports remembering.
Providing visuals to introduce, support, or review instruction activates more cognitive processes to support learning.
Visual supports, like text magnification, colored overlays, and guided reading strip, help students focus and properly track as they read.
Wait time, or think time, of three or more seconds after posing a question increases how many students volunteer and the length and accuracy of their responses.
A word wall helps build the Math Communication and vocabulary skills that are necessary for problem solving.
Analyzing and discussing solved problems helps students develop a deeper understanding of abstract mathematical processes.
Writing that encourages students to articulate their understanding of math concepts or explain math ideas helps deepen students' mathematical understanding.
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