Thursday, June 30, 2016

What’s in a Word? The Meaning of Metacognition

by Guest Blogger Donna Wilson

For many years, Marcus and I have been using the word “metacognition” in our writings and presentations. It may seem like a mouthful, but when you break it down, it’s easy to understand.

The syllable “meta” means “referring to itself, self-referential,” whereas “cognition” describes the mental process of acquiring knowledge and understanding. So, simply put, “metacognition” is defined as “thinking about thinking.”

The aim of metacognition is to improve the way we learn. It’s a word that is at the foundation of the Thinking for Results approach that Marcus and I use in the graduate degree programs we have developed in brain-based teaching as well as in our presentations internationally. It's also a theme of our new book, Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas, published in conjunction with ASCD.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pioneering New Book Through ASCD: Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains

Donna and I are pleased to announce the publication of our pioneering new book, Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains: Metacognitive Strategies, Activities, and Lesson Ideas, published in conjunction with ASCD.

Coinciding with the release of the book, Donna and I will be conducting an ASCD webinar, Teaching Students to Drive Their Brains, taking place from 3 to 4 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, June 28. We invite you to register at the link.

As many of you know, metatcognitive strategies have been an important focus of our work in the area of educational research and professional development. We strongly believe, and research supports, that metacognition is key to higher student achievement. Unfortunately, studies of classroom practice indicate that few students are taught to use metacognition and the supporting cognitive strategies that make learning easier.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Print-Rich Environments at Home and School Enrich Learning

by Guest Blogger Donna Wilson

Words are all around us—on signs, storefronts, business vehicles, television sets, computer screens, calendars, product packaging, magazine covers, and book jackets. What learning opportunities for emerging young readers! However, it takes parents, caregivers and early childhood educators to point out letters and words in the child’s surroundings. Promoting print-rich environments in the home and in the classroom will enhance the ability to do that.

Fortunately, there are a lot of creative ways to get children to take notice of the alphabet and begin to understand how it is the basis for forming words. Magnetic letters, for instance, are a fun diversion for toddlers and preschoolers. If they are just learning to spell their names, they will love to pick out the letters and arrange them on a magnetic surface like a refrigerator or dry-erase board.

In our exploration of the subject, Marcus and I have found that children in print-rich environments spontaneously use almost twice as much print in their play as those not exposed to a print-rich environment. Environments filled with letters and words are effective in encouraging reading as well as the earliest stages of writing.