More Than Catch Phrase by Gia Batty, Learning Specialist
Unfortunately, whenever I say it, my own children (and husband) seem to automatically tune out. Lately, I’ve been telling them about studies that show we need to drink more water in the morning in order to hydrate our brains, and ones that prove music really should be turned off when we are reading. “Studies show…” is how I begin lots of advice to my own family, but it’s also a phrase I use while working with students, families and faculty at Nobles. The truth is that it’s really much more than a catch phrase for me, because staying on top of current research is a major component of my job as the learning specialist at Nobles. What the studies show informs my work at school and my parenting at home and, in this era of groundbreaking brain research, studies show us a lot!
I’m always looking for new ways to share this information with the Nobles community and, this summer, while I was listening the Radiolab podcast series, the idea for our monthly podcast was born. Sara Masucci, my longtime friend, office mate and fellow learning specialist here at Nobles, offered to team up with me to do it. It didn’t take long to come up with the title and tag line; we call it, “The Studies Show…because studies show.”
Each month, we choose a topic related to the work we’re doing at Nobles or some new research that we think the community will be interested in. Our first podcast focused on the benefits of drinking water—not just to hydrate your body, but also for our brains to function properly. Drinking water before taking a test has actually been shown to improve test scores. We did another podcast about the weekend and how to make the most of your time between Friday afternoon and Sunday night. We talked about the, “Sunday night shuffle,” which is the idea of trying to get all your work done before 7 p.m. on Sunday night. It’s a big shift for some kids, but it makes all the difference. Our November podcast looked at debunking one of our steadfast study strategies—that kids should study in the same place each night. The current studies show that changing your location while you study improves your ability to remember. We tell kids to start at their desk and then review material in a variety of locations—from the back porch to the bathroom! Our brains like to remember information in context, so when it’s time to recall what you studied, your brain may remember the sunlight on the window in your living room or the smell of the orange in the kitchen. Our December podcast attempted to help students prepare for assessments by highlighting our top five study tips. One of our best tips for students is to make sure their studying mirrors the test. That is, if it’s a straight vocabulary test, then just study those definitions, but if it’s more than that, they really need to tailor their studying to the format of the test.
We’ll continue with monthly installments of “The Studies Show” in 2013 with plans for a podcast featuring some of our students, one about writing (or what studies show is more like “thinking on paper”) and many more, so stay tuned!
Since studies show that we learn a lot from listening and even more from listening and reading, here’s a link to our podcasts! Visit http://www.nobles.edu/news/Podcasts.cfm to hear them all!