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Interactive Learning Experiences, Grades 6-12

'This book will excite teachers who want to motivate today's secondary students. Information about the brain, presented along with the authorAes personal teaching experiences, tips, and creative game ideas, makes for a very worthwhile read!'uCindy Bean, Seventh-Grade Math TeacherArcola Intermediate Middle School, Schwenksville, PAEnergize adolescents with memorable and engaging learning experiences!Research shows that the adolescent brain is wired to seek novelty and ignore familiar stimuli. This innovative resource demonstrates how teachers can transform everyday classroom lectures into memorable experiences and reinforce course content by introducing new, different, and surprising elements into daily lessons.Based on brain-compatible teaching principles, the updated edition of Making Learning Come Alive shows how to use stimulating interactive learning experiences to connect teenagers with content. Teachers will find activities and ideas for introducing each learning experience and will discover how to design and assess their own. Updated throughout, this new edition offers:Nine new sample learning experiences, including four in math and science A revised assessment chapter that covers standards-based education and NCLB Reflection questions in each chapterThe learning activities can be used as is or modified to connect with hundreds of themes and concepts across middle school and high school curricula.
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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgmentsAbout the Author1. Why Create an Experience? What Is an Experience? Brain-Compatible Learning Seeing Into the Brain How the Brain Learns Brain Research and Education: What Teachers Need to Know Why Is It So Hard to Impress a Teenager? Emotion: At the Center of the Brain Complex Learning Activities The Power of Reflection Reflection Questions for Teachers2. How to Create an Experience Preparing a Classroom Environment Conducive to Experiences Here's the Problem Spread the Love: Rapport-Building Exercises The Physical Environment Strategies for Creating Experiences What Does Infinity Smell Like? Move Your Body Using Music to Build Anticipation, Excitement, and Readiness Tying Music to Your Curriculum Fantasy Contexts Putting It All Together: Creating Your Own Experiences Student Involvement Other Ideas for Experiences Intrinsic vs. Extrinsic Motivation Ideas for English and Social Studies Teachers Ideas for Math and Science Teachers Ideas for World Language Teachers Ideas for Health, Wellness, and Physical Education Teachers Reflection Questions for Teachers3. How Do You Assess an Experience? Traditional vs. Authentic Assessment Reflection as Formative Assessment Aligning Your Experiences to Standards Why Standards-Based? Reflection as Summative Assessment Other Considerations See What They Already Know Before You Begin Reflection Questions for Teachers4. Sample Experiences Guess Who Had This for Dinner The Eliminator Morning Move-Around The Wave Two Truths and a Lie The Name Game Thumper Old-Fashioned Sing Down Musical Moment The Reveal Debate Shift-Around Save the Princess Counter-Terrorism The Arrest Shelter The Scream The Fire Power Island Survival The Salesman Witch Hunt The Farm Game Crime Scene Rollercoaster Designer5. Making Experiences Work for YouResource A. Reproducible Handouts Song Reflection Report Save the Princess Counter-Terrorism The Scream Power Island Survival The Salesman The Farm Game Crime Scene Lab ReportResource B. Additional Resources Brain-Based Learning Fun Kit Web Resources About Brain-Compatible Learning Web Resources About Simulation GamesReferencesIndex

About the Author

David Smokler currently teaches English in Needham, Massachusetts. Jobs for English teachers were nonexistent, so unable to get a traditional teaching gig, Smokler accepted a job teaching juvenile offenders on a horse-drawn, cross-country, covered wagon train. He planned lessons and taught literature and writing to more than fifty incarcerated students while traveling twenty to twenty-five miles a day on horse- and mule-drawn wagons from Pennsylvania to southwestern Texas. On the wagon train, Smokler began to develop some of the experiences in this book. After another year of teaching juvenile offenders in prison, Smokler moved to Cape Cod, where he taught for four years while completing his Master of Arts in Teaching English at Bridgewater State College, where he conducted original research on simulation games. Smokler graduated from Connecticut College in 1996 with a degree in English and with teaching credentials


"Gives teachers a variety of simulations and creative ideas they can try in their classrooms to help enhance and energize their teaching." -- Chris Baker, Eighth-Grade Social Studies Teacher and Department Chair "The book begins with the teenager's brain. In layman's terms, it lets teachers know why teenagers are difficult to engage and how to create a classroom atmosphere that will hold their attention and allow them to learn." -- Melody Aldrich, English Teacher "Smokler passionately argues the need for games in the curriculum as a means to create authentic and meaningful learning experiences. Hands down, this is the best book I've read about the use of games in the classroom!" -- Sherry Annee, Biology Teacher "Makes teachers think about the purpose and connection that a game will have to the curriculum as well as to students' lives. This book helps clarify the purpose of including meaningful experiential games in the classroom." -- Joan Baltezore, Biology Teacher "This book will excite teachers who want to help motivate today's secondary students. Information about the brain, presented along with the author's personal teaching experiences, tips, and creative game ideas, makes for a very worthwhile read!" -- Cindy Bean, Seventh-Grade Math Teacher

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