2/3 Multi-age Classroom

Homeroom: #160
Phone: (907) 742-8700

SEPTEMBER 10th – AK Homestead eNews

Reading help and Brain Nutrition


Children develop abilities at their own developmental rate - that we know. When it comes to reading, there are things we should do that will help all students whether they are emergent readers or fluent reader.

1) Continue to model reading at home. Newspapers, magazines, books – when students see the importance their parents put on reading, they start to see it being something important as well.

2) Continue to develop site word vocabulary. The more students read, the more site words they develop. For example, my 1st grade daughter knows how to read the word “everybody” not because she sounds it out every time she sees it, but because she memorized it as a graphic, a shape, a symbol. She sees the “ev” two “y’s” and the tails of the “b” and “d” going up. She has memorized the entire shape “everybody”. We can help our children build site words by showing them how repeating look the same and therefore, read the same.


Come ask me for additional reading tips.


Brain talk for October


“The brain, which accounts for 2 percent of our body weight, sucks down roughly 20 percent of our daily calories.”       


That leads us to the question, what sort of calories are we encouraging our students to put in there bodies? Are we getting our calories from fruits, vegetables, and grains, or sodas, chips, and cookies?


Check out more at:


If you are looking for additional information on the brain, Eric Jensen is an author who has developed books for teachers on “Brain Based learning”. He is not a neurologist by trade but may as well be one by now. Jensen reads and reads and reads research reports and books by neurologists and then breaks down the research into ideas and concepts teachers can use in our classrooms. I have had the privilege of taking several classes with Jensen over the years. They have been inspiring and very thought provoking.


Two quotes from Eric Jensen’s book “Brain Based Learning”

“Good Nutrition promotes healthy functioning of neurons – the essential building blocks of mental performance.”


And he makes similar arguments to anthropologists:

“Semantic memory (facts and figures) may be a relatively new requirement in the history of humankind. When did we start needing to know addresses, presidents, city capitals, and math formulas?”


Brain talk


As a teacher, I have been very interested with brain research and how the brain develops. It is the organ in which I work directly - teaching, learning, memory, cognition, processing, abstract thought, it’s all about the brain. My classroom is a world of stimulating activities oriented towards brain development. The following quote is by Lawernce M. Mestyanek Ph.D. and is shared in the spirit of furthering our children’s intelligence both at school and at home.


Dr. Mestyanek writes:


“Scientists estimate that the brain is made up of 100 billion cells.  In the human, almost all brain cells are formed before birth.


Dendrites are extensions from the cell.  It is through these extensions that information is delivered to and from the cell.  The point at which dendrites from one cell contact the dendrites from another cell is where the miracle of information transfer (communication) occurs.


Brain cells can grow as many as 1 billion dendrite connections - a universe of touch points.  The greater the number of dendrites, the more information that can be processed.


Dendrites grow as a result of stimulation from and interaction with the environment.  With limited stimulation there is limited growth.  With no stimulation dendrites actually retreat and disappear.


Research verifies that this ebb and flow of dendrite growth occurs throughout life no matter what the age.  Research also reveals that the vast number of dendrite connections, forming what we call intelligence, occur within the first years of life.  During this "window of opportunity", if we enrich a child's environment with a vast variety of appropriate, yet challenging stimulation we offer a child the gift of intelligence.”