Day 149 (of 183) learning with @terrysmall

Day 149 (of 183) learning with @terrysmall

Always great to have some time to think and talk about brain wellness – so it was great to have @sd22vernon dpac bring in @terrysmall to have one of these conversations! Also nice to know that Terry worked with a good friend once upon a time (relationshios and networks matter!)

The brain is powerful when you can pay attention……!
Study strategies need the brain to ‘suddenly pay attention’ – cognitively. Does the brain pay attention as well as you think it does?
When having a good day learning – 30 day later recall is 2% – even if engaged in what you’re reading…..
Can you/should you be able to recall & find info wherever in the brain you put it. 

With an interlude from Pinky and the Brain about ….the brain….

90% of what we know about the brain has been learned in the last two years…..gonna repeat that in bold because likely this statement will still be accurate : 

90% of what we know about the brain has been learned in the last two years

Awake is good. Always remember that. 
When you say something out loud, retention goes up 400%
It is normal to have troubles paying attention. The brain has 70,000+ thoughts a day – how do you prioritize it… do you differentiate what is important? 

Sidebar: anxiety brain struggles with sorting as my sons visual of a moment of thinking reminds us:

It’s easy to miss something you’re not looking for:
–> Awareness test

Do you do better?

Brain works comfortably…..and making changes is more uncomfortable – even if it makes it more successful
SmartSecret #1 I am a genius
brains number one job is to be safe and uncomfortable. When you say things that make it uncomfortable (like “you are a genius” or “I am a genius”) it laughs. Or distracts. Who is a genius? (Einstein) brain: I’m not that good. I’ll watch tv instead
It’s about non-habitual thinking. 

Article: is your child’s brain dying? (About drinking water – not tea, orange juice etc)1 cup/25lbs)

Great brain energy food: plain unsalted walnuts (but watch for allergies!) with raisins

SmartSecret #2 Green and growing not ripe and rotting

Who makes more brain connections? The one who knows the answer or the one who struggles? The process is always worthwhile. Einsteins brain smaller but denser (more connections) than average. 

SmartSecret #3 stand up!
Even just standing increases memory/retention/effectiveness by 10%

SmartSecrett #4 never give up!
Only a failure when you quit
In 2016 – consider Leicester City.

SmartSecret #5 get a study strategy
Strategy is a big deal. You have to know what you want. 

SmartSecret #6 Set Goals

Start remembering the future (prefrontal cortex) – knowing just walking into the street could lead to a splat. 
Create a future report card all over the place (5 copies) as constant reminders. Sidebar: RCs? So 1994….😜
But…..similar to Nike – advertise to yourself. It does work. 
In a month since Terry first did this with his son – his marks went up about 11% across the board. Only difference was changing the picture in the brain. 

Dumb homework assignment: notecard with “name is a genius” on the bathroom mirror to see it everyday. 

SmartSecret #7 write it down
50% improved recall even without ever looking at it again. Imagine if you did something with it…..

AVK (neural pathways)



Cross-lateral movements (left to right) SO important – forces the brain to connect 

(Breathe in with one nostril then the other)
Everytime you do homework, study, etc – how do you…..

SmartSecret #8 multi-tracking
How many Fs in:
finished files are the result

of years of scientific study

combined with the experience

of many years of experts

Read it. Out loud. And touch every F (will get each one)

Strategy always beats no-strategy

Protect your sleep. 7-9 hours a night. Elementary 9-10

Less sleep is a great way to get Alzheimer’s (along with no exercise, all time on cel, phone, diet)
Breakfast suggestion and so much more at

SmartSecret #9 Cornell Notes
Right side student notes. Left side blank. 
don’t think like a student…

SmartSecret #10 think like a teacher
Why is teacher excited about _______
Read: iamnowhere
(Should be I am NOW here)

SmartSecret #11 Q and A
Questions and Answers – brain likes being driven by questions 

SmartSecret #12 the brain thinks in colour
think of an apple (how many think of a black & white apple?) colours help retention by about 13%

SmartSecret #13 buy a 4 colour pen
Colour code the Qs and notes

SmartSecret #14 Brain Breaks
Need a 30 second to one minute movement break about for age + 2 minutes until 20 mins
Great one – grab opposite ear lobes and 10 squats. 

SmartSecret #15 cover card
Cover up part of the Corel notes as a “check”. Want to know what you know before a “test”
Ooooh – put your goal card ON the cover card (advertising!!)

Brain likes competition and keeping score….

SmartSecret #16 study actively
Sports – watch is okay but gotta play it as well

What about tv/music/etc while homework. Research says: distractors Impact long term memory 
(Sidebar) mindfulness matters…..some +ve connections to music – volume a different story… me with tinitis means it’s never quiet for me but music sounds better than a high pitch. Also sometimes need to distract the brain to reset it so that it can get to the ‘ready state’
SmartSecret #17 turn it off

SmartSecret #18 turn it on
Baroque music great brain benefit
Music impacts: parties, shopping, weddings, sports, etc


Beta (stressed – short waves)

Alpha (long relaxed alert)

Theta (twilight zone – usually when you drool)

Delta (sleeping)
Alpha the better brain waves and baroque music helps set brain into this tempo – optimal learning CDs 
55-70 bpm

Also helps us lose weight!

No music = 4 bites per minute

Jazz/Rock = 5

Baroque = 3

#1 study tip on the planet

M&M cards – memory and mastery

Question in black, answer in blue so you can read them standing/walking….
Too often we re-study what we already know. Need to focus on what we don’t know. Also need to identify recognition questions (m/c tests) recall means you need to synthesize and put info out into words. 

Move from a 50/50 chance of getting Alzheimer’s – Finnish study suggests one food: 
Well…..just another reason to attend one of his very engaging sessions!!


About technolandy

Educator in BCs Sunny Shuswap Pushing 'technologization' in education: blending technology and curriculum seamlessly. Advocate for better understanding of Anxiety in Education (and use of self-regulation) Utilizing ePortfolios & Descriptive Feedback
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One Response to Day 149 (of 183) learning with @terrysmall

  1. Pingback: Day 72 (of 185) the 12 days of principaling  | technolandy: site of Ian Landy

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