Welcome to the May 2018 Learning Brain News.

Term 2 is well underway in Australia and New Zealand. And the debate about schooling in Australia continues with the latest “Gonski recommendations”, and federal education minister Simon Birmingham saying ‘the bell curve of student results is going the wrong way”.  

Similar debates have been happening for years in many other countries too.

This month you can read about a book (see Book of the Month) which describes how some USA teachers are not waiting for an end to the debates or for their education systems to react. They are making positive impactful changes themselves.

I know many Australian and New Zealand teachers are doing the same.  We honour them all!

Best wishes,

Devon NL signature jpeg..jpg

Devon Barnes
Learning Brain News

PS: If you are a primary school teacher, take a look at the Guided Reading Unpacked Seminars on this month in Sydney and Melbourne

Guided Reading Unpacked 

Professional Development for Teachers (2.0 hours) 

Meagan Ross MA, international ESL & reading specialist

Reading rocketsA dive into best practices for guided reading and web-based reading instruction for struggling readers and English language learners. Including:

  • Guided reading and the link with fluency & comprehension
  • Research-based scaffolds toolkit for large and small group literacy instruction
  • The advantages of reading aloud

Melbourne May 11, Sydney May 14,15,16 (4 locations), Northern NSW May 17

More information and to register.

Latest Research

How Reading Changes the Way we Think

Thoughtful female student lying at the parkReading and writing is something most of us take for granted. Grabbing a pen to jot something down or using our smartphone to read or answer a text message or email, is something to which we don’t give even a moment’s thought. Reading and writing, however, are amazingly complex skills.

This new study sheds light on how reading shapes our brain and can improve our memory. Read more.

Good News About Food Allergies

Factors leading to food allergy can be modified in the home environment, according to new research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in USA.

The factors contributing to food allergy include the genetics that alter skin absorbency, use of infant cleansing wipes which leave soap on the skin, skin exposure to allergens in dust, and skin exposure to food from those providing infant care, according to the study.

Hungry children in refugee camp, distribution of humanitarian foodThe researchers suggest parents should:

  • wash their hands before handling the baby
  • limit use of infant wipes
  • rinse soap off with water like we used to do years ago.

Read more.


What's New?

A purpose-built school for children with autism

A school purpose-built for children with autism has opened on Australia’s Gold Coast.

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 6.40.22 pmJosiah College has been custom-designed to suit the needs of children with autism who may struggle in a mainstream school environment.

Working closely with specialists in autism from the Bond University Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorder, the school's design takes into account everything from the positioning of land to the use of colours and even the movement of the school's fans. Watch the video.

The Learning Success Blog

Kid with chocolateToo Much Sugar Interferes with Learning

The “evils” of sugar have been getting a lot of publicity recently. Especially in relation to obesity and other health issues. Now a study of over 1000 pregnant women has suggested  too much sugar may reduce children's learning ability. That’s sugar consumed by the pregnant mothers as well as their young children.

And diet drinks or fruit juice don’t help. Read more.

Careers Guidance for Secondary Students

Do you have a son or daughter in Year 10 this year?

Portrait of a smiling teenage student in classroomThese days, most students will choose to remain at school and complete Year 12, regardless of whether they have university or TAFE aspirations, are interested in apprenticeships or traineeships, or have other after school hopes.

Think about the next 8 to 10 years.

The post school options available to young people today are wider and more diverse than ever. At the same time, competition for opportunities is also significant. Read more.

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 6.44.40 pmFree Download

11 Fun, Hands-On Activities for Teaching Division

Division can be a tricky topic to tackle with your students, especially the first go-round. Help make it easier for them with these fun activities for teaching and practicing division from We Are Teachers.

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 6.46.12 pm

Book of the Month

What School Could Be - Insights and Inspiration from Teachers Across America

The author, innovation expert Ted Dintersmith, spent a year travelling to 50 USA states in a single year meeting teachers ‘in ordinary settings doing extraordinary things”.

This book offers a vision of what school could be and how teachers and parents don’t have to wait for change to come from education authorities. They can implement small changes now that can make a big difference. Read more.


App of the Month

Screen Shot 2018-05-03 at 6.47.34 pmMemrise: Language Learning

Learning languages can be a challenge for both young and old but this app can help. Memrise provides a practical, innovative approach to a foreign a language.

You can explore new words and phrases and learn how to speak, read and write in French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Chinese, Korean and a host of other languages. With next-generation mobile learning, a rich variety of games, fun chatbots and over 30,000 native speaker videos. Read more.