A Glimpse at “Philo, Liv, Loulou, and the Peace SuperHoly” by Mireille Mishriky

Mireille Mishriky offers another gift to Orthodox children in the form of her new book Philo, Liv, Loulou, and the Peace SuperHoly. As in the other Philo books, S. Violette Palumbo’s engaging illustrations add to the story, bringing the children and their circumstances to life. Once again Mishriky’s words and Palumbo’s illustrations collaborate successfully in the book.

In this book, Philo and his cousins Liv and Loulou enjoy a fun time with their grandparents, followed by an adventurous campout in the attic of the girls’ home. Readers of previous books in the “Philo” series will not be surprised when Philo is reminded to activate the SuperHolies, who are available to help him live his Orthodox Christian life to the best of his ability. First-time “Philo” readers will learn that the SuperHolies are virtues, always ready to help Christians do the right thing; and that they are activated by making the sign of the Cross.

In Philo, Liv, Loulou, and the Peace SuperHoly, the three children realize that they need the Peace SuperHoly’s help to face a stressful event. The Peace SuperHoly immediately whispers suggestions into their hearts. As the children act on those peace-giving suggestions, they are able to successfully work together on a big project, unhindered by the unnerving event.

Parents and children alike who read this story will find those practical suggestions for experiencing peace to be helpful in a variety of anxiety-laden situations. This small but mighty book also emphasizes working together, valuing family, and trusting God in all situations. All of this comes neatly wrapped inside a story that even young children will understand.

You can purchase this book here: https://www.amazon.com/Philo-Loulou-Peace-SuperHoly-SuperHolies/dp/1989379184

Kristina Wenger thanks Mireille Mishriky for the complementary ebook copy of this book, given so that this review could be written. Kristina is an educator, podcaster, and co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts.

To read Kristina’s reviews of the earlier books in the Philo and the SuperHolies series and to learn about classroom resources that pair well with the stories (including a Vacation Church School program), visit these posts from Orthodox Christian Sunday Church School Teachers:

A Glimpse at “A Long Walk With Mary: A Personal Search for the Mother of God” by Brandi Willis Schreiber

A Long Walk With Mary: A Personal Search for the Mother of God, by Randy Willis Schreiber, is the perfect canteen for readers whose relationship with the Mother of God is even a little dry. Schreiber offers long draughts of refreshment in each chapter, as she pairs the story of her own personal search with her findings along the way. Her intimate thoughts, queries, and learnings delightfully intertwine throughout the text, seeping slowly into the reader’s soul.

The reader is invited to accompany Schreiber on her journey over the course of a year, as she seeks to learn more about Mary, the Mother of God; while simultaneously yearning for a child of her own. and wondering how to be a good mother. Equal parts memoir, faith journey, and truths (gleaned from both Scripture and tradition), this book is easy to read, whether in small sips or in great gulps. Schreiber’s beautiful writing style soothes the reader. Her story encourages their heart, and her findings deepen their own understanding of Mary, the Mother of God. 

The book consists of 15 chapters and an epilogue, followed by suggestions for additional reading and exploratory questions. (This reader recommends perusing each chapter’s questions along the way rather than all at once, at the end of the book.) Book study groups will find ample opportunities for discussion as they read and engage with this book, together. 

Schreiber writes in such a way that the reader feels that they are sitting shotgun on a road trip with her, enjoying the sunshine and the scenery along the path, all the while carrying on an easy conversation about the Mother of God. Orthodox Christians (especially women) of all ages will be encouraged by Schreiber’s story and her learnings. Readers will step away from each chapter of the book feeling a little closer to the Mother of God. 

A Long Walk With Mary: A Personal Search for the Mother of God is a good way for a reader to begin to quench their curiosity about the Theotokos, and to rehydrate their love for her and her Son.

Find the book (available in paperback, ebook, or audiobook – read in the author’s beautifully calming voice) here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/a-long-walk-with-mary-a-personal-search-for-the-mother-of-god/ 

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

Additional readings on this blog about the Holy Theotokos:

“On the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos (Sept. 8 or 21)“, The very first feast of the new Church year is the Feast of the Nativity of the Theotokos, and it is a very good place to start! After all, the birth of the Theotokos is where many of the other feasts begin.

“On the Feast of the Annunciation (March 25)”, The Feast of the Annunciation is a very important feast of the Faith. Did you ever stop and think about why that is true? Why is the Annunciation one of the twelve great feasts of the Church? Let us take a moment to think about what happened at the Annunciation, so that we can be better prepared to teach our students about this great feast.

“On the Mother of God: Quotes from the Church Fathers”, We have gathered quotes from the Church fathers about the Theotokos. Many of those quoted here lived in an age closer to her earthly life than the current era. We plan to share these quotes for you to ponder throughout the (new calendar) Dormition fast. As you read each quote, may you be inspired to be as genuine, humble, and obedient as she has been.

“On the Feast of the Dormition of the Theotokos (August 15 or 28)”, Links to resources that will help your students learn more about the Feast of the Dormition.

I Spy! Activity Page for “Beautiful Pascha: an Orthodox Coloring Book for Children”, Illustrated by Megan E. Gilbert

Ancient Faith Publishing recently released a beautiful coloring and activity book called Beautiful Pascha: an Orthodox Coloring Book for Children. The pages are full of delightful illustrations, drawn by Megan E. Gilbert, related to the themes of Great Lent, Holy Week, and Pascha. Some pages are intended for coloring, while others are activity pages. Every page helps to point the reader/colorer towards the joy of the resurrection of Christ.

There are many details tucked into the book’s 64 pages. In order to maximize those details, and to add a fun challenge, there is now an I Spy! activity page of 33 things to search for as you read/complete the book. Some listed items are only found at one place in the book, while others are scattered on multiple pages. How many of each can you find? Happy hunting, blessed Lent, and a joyful resurrection to you and your family!

I Spy! activity page for Beautiful Pascha: an Orthodox Coloring Book for Children

Find the book Beautiful Pascha: an Orthodox Coloring Book for Children (including free pages that you can download and use while you wait for it to arrive) here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/beautiful-pascha-an-orthodox-coloring-book-for-children/

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

A Glimpse at “Northern Lights of Christ: Lessons on Faith from Above the Birch Line” by Nic Hartmann

Winter approaches in the northern hemisphere. This season often feels dark, chilling, and lonely, but it does not have to be so. There is much to be learned from the Nordic lands, where winter is darker, chillier, and lonelier than most of us will ever experience: whose inhabitants have learned to not only endure, but embrace the season by virtue of the values at the core of their being (and their society).

Folklorist and author Dr. Nic Hartmann knits together his love for Nordic cultures with the Orthodox Christian faith in his book Northern Lights of Christ. The book introduces the reader to a handful of values esteemed and practiced by people in Nordic countries. Dr. Hartmann entwines these values with stories from the lives of Orthodox saints, stitching in glimpses of how each value is reflected in Orthodox practice, and breathing in the warmth of stories from his own life.

Northern Lights of Christ takes a look at five Nordic values: Hygge, Koselig, Lagom, Sisu, and Ísbíltúr. The book explains each in its particular cultural context while also demonstrating how beautifully it relates to the Orthodox Faith. Readers will quickly warm up to each value, as they recognize the ways in which it can (and should!) be a beneficial part of our Faith journey. 

The first chapter focuses on the Danish concept of hygge, a mindset of pursuing coziness/contentment through embracing light and simplicity, while engaging all of our senses. The second chapter introduces the Norwegian value of koselig, a deep contentment experienced by slowness, creating, and simplicity. The third chapter discusses the Swedish practice of lagom, a pursuit of balance in life, achieved by simplicity and moderation. The fourth chapter considers the Finnish characteristic of sisu, the stamina and resilience that is required of us in adversity. The fifth chapter focuses on the Icelandic practice of ísbíltúr, literally “a drive to get ice cream” that is more about the drive and the companionship on the journey than it is about a destination or even about the ice cream.

This book can be read by an individual, who will certainly learn and grow through reading it. But reading (and processing) Northern Lights of Christ together with a group will add a great dimension to the learning. After all, each of the Nordic values addressed in the book is best practiced in community, as is our Faith. The questions at the end of each chapter will make it easy to discuss the book with others.

Warm your heart and grow in the Faith alongside good friends as you gather around a handful of candles with hot drinks and the Northern Lights of Christ.

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

You can purchase a copy of Northern Lights of Christ from Park End Books https://parkendbooks.com/shop/northern-lights-of-christ/ . It can also be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.

A Glimpse at “Beyond the White Fence” by Edith M. Humphrey

Whether or not you are part of a tight-knit extended family, Beyond the White Fence offers a taste of such kinship. Can you imagine what happens when you gather a close group of cousins at Gramgon’s (their grandma’s) house? It follows that they will have experiences together in the valley beyond the white fence in her backyard…

Katie, Rachael, Madeline, Naomi, and James each (sometimes together, and other times on their own) experience extraordinary adventures in the valley. Every time they see a pair of fawns in the meadow beyond Gramgon’s white fence, an escapade follows. The cousins know that they are not supposed to go down there without a grownup, but they also can’t resist getting a closer look at those fawns! Every time that they follow the young deer, they find themselves transported to other places and eras. With each new experience, the children meet amazing people facing difficult circumstances while trusting God to carry them through their trials.

Beyond the White Fence is a tale of familial love in the context of extraordinary events. It offers believable glimpses into the lives of a handful of saints. Their stories are seamlessly infused with the children’s exploits throughout the book.

Edith M. Humphrey has woven a beautiful story that children (especially those aged 8-12) will enjoy because of its myriad of adventures. They will come away from the book having found new friends (a handful of saints) that they may not have met before. Emanuel Alypius Burke’s illustrations, sprinkled throughout the book, embroider the text with their charm and depth.

This reader was delighted to learn that the author is a grandmother to many, the first few of whom are named (and their saints are featured) in this book, and can’t help hoping she will write additional books, introducing all of her grandchildren‘s saints!

Spoiler alerts: don’t worry, parents, after every adventure in the book, the children safely return to Gramgon’s house before they have even been missed, regardless of how much time has passed during the adventure. Oh, and don’t be surprised if, after reading this book, your children will want a peacock feather of their own, just in case…

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

You can buy your own copy of Beyond the White Fence here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/beyond-the-white-fence/

Other Orthodox Christian books that we have reviewed which could be of interest to this age group:

101Orthodox Saints https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/a-glimpse-at-the-book-101-orthodox-saints-by-sarah-wright-and-alexandra-schmalzbach-illustrated-by-nicholas-malara/

The Cross and the Stag https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/gleanings-from-a-book-the-cross-and-the-stag-by-gabriel-wilson/

Spyridon’s Shoes https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/gleanings-from-a-book-spyridons-shoes-by-christine-rogers/

The Broken Wheel https://www.facebook.com/orthodoxchristianparenting/posts/10158579524755743

In the Orthodox Church, we are each admonished to learn about the saints. We quote the Holy Fathers and are encouraged to study the lives of all the saints who have gone on before us. But do we ever take a moment to consider why are we encouraged to do this? What value is there in learning about the life of someone who lived so long (years or even millennia) before us? This blog post will take a look at a few of the reasons why we should learn about the saints; through the words of Holy Fathers and saints. https://orthodoxchristianparenting.wordpress.com/2018/07/18/on-learning-about-the-saints/

A Glimpse at “The Cellarer’s Celery” by Fr. Jeremy Davis and Illustrated by Luke Garrow

What happens when things don’t go the way that you planned? Especially if the turn of events is out of your control, how do you handle the mishap? The Cellarer’s Celery approaches this struggle in a deliciously refreshing way.

Things go all wrong for the Sower (the monastery gardener) and he is disappointed. But the Cellarer (who tends the cellar where the monastery’s foods are stored), who will now have to be without his favorite snack, has a heart full of love for God and for others. Instead of expressing his disappointment, the Cellarer helps the Sower learn how to respond. He models what is most important, even though things are not going his way.

This endearing picture book features Luke Garrow’s playfully expressive illustrations. Fr. Jeremy’s spirited verse tells the story of a monk who loves celery, but loves God and His people even more. The Cellarer helps the Gardener to embrace the lesson that God offers both of them in the context of a failed celery crop.

This little book packs a powerful punch, featuring refreshing splashes of humor braced with sturdy truth. The exuberant verse and jolly illustrations are vibrantly green and full of life, just like the celery for which it is named. Children and their grownups will enjoy sharing the story and its lessons together, perhaps over a bowl of celery…

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

You can buy The Cellarer’s Celery at https://store.ancientfaith.com/the-cellarers-celery/

Have you ever visited a monastery? Monasteries are such holy places for us to visit, where we can pray and rest. When we spend time in one, it is good for our souls and we come away refreshed and grateful for the experience. Invite your students and their families on a field trip, to visit one and see for yourself how the nuns (or monks) like everybody! Ask your priest to recommend one for your class to visit. (Look here for additional ones:http://www.orthodox-christianity.org/orthodoxy/countries/usa/usmonasteries/)

A Glimpse at the book “101 Orthodox Saints” by Sarah Wright and Alexandra Schmalzbach, Illustrated by Nicholas Malara


Ancient Faith Publishing has just released a gift to the English-speaking Orthodox Christian world. Wrapped in a sturdy hardcover and crammed with art, stories, and facts, this gift is the beautiful book 101 Orthodox Saints, written by Sarah Wright and Alexandra Schmalzbach, and illustrated by Nicholas Malara. This book is a breath of fresh air, bright with color, alive with stories and facts, and filled to the brim with intrigue.

From its introductory pages, the photos and illustrations draw the reader in, and they become curious to learn more. What are saints? How does someone become one? What does it mean to venerate a saint? Who is called to be a saint? How can this book be used? All of these questions (and more) are answered in an engaging manner in the few pages at the beginning of the book.

The bulk of the book is a page-by-page alphabetical sharing of information about 101 carefully-selected saints from all regions of the world and from all generations, who cross both continents and time to breathe the life of Christ into the reader’s soul. An abridged version of each saint’s story is told on their page. The page also includes important details about the saint’s life (including a map of where they are from, several fun facts, and the dates of their birth and repose, as well as their feast day), their icon, and related photos. Artist Nicholas Malara’s rendition of each saint beautifully reflects their love for God and gives the reader a realistic glimpse into a moment of their life. 

The authors have sorted the particular vocations of each saint, marking their page with simple sketches explained in a legend at the beginning of the book. (For example, St. Columba of Iona was a priest, a missionary, and a monastic so there are three sketches right under his icon that identify him as such.) This marking system allows readers to quickly flip through, find, and read about all of the saints that were royalty (or fools for Christ, hymnographers, wonderworkers, etc.). The book includes a beautiful timeline that places Malara’s illustrations in the order of when in time each saint lived. The authors have also included a glossary that is both thorough and accessible, along with an extensive index. 

Young children will be mesmerized by the beautiful new friends they will see in this book. Some older children will flip through and read all of the fun facts, making connections between the saints in the book and the places and history they are learning about at school. Some will read the book from cover to cover. Even adult readers will “meet” new (for them) saints and be challenged to live in the same godly manner. 

This book offers 101 refreshing glimpses into what a life truly lived for Christ can look like. Each of the 101 saints’ lives are unique, and they differ in many ways. But all of them share one thing in common: their complete dedication to and love for Christ.

It is a good thing that this book is so sturdily bound. Whether it belongs to a child, a family, a Church school class, a Church library, or a classroom, it will be poured over again and again. And, each time the reader inhales a bit more about the saints whose stories are told in its pages, they will grow closer to God and to His holy Church. What a gift.

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

Purchase your own copy of the book here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/101-orthodox-saints/

For additional teaching resources and programs about the Saints, including ideas on hosting a Saints Festival, visit these previous posts from the Orthodox Christian Sunday Church School Teachers blog:

A Glimpse at the Book “Nine Deer & Me” by Melinda Johnson

If an angel appeared before you, and told you to begin a journey to your true home, what would you do? This very thing happened to Saint Abigail, many years ago. “Nine Deer & Me” tells her story. 

Author and mother Melinda Johnson has given young Orthodox children yet another beautiful picture book to enhance their library. “Nine Deer and Me“ is a counting board book. But it is no ordinary counting book: this book encourages children to practice their counting in the context of a beautiful recounting of Saint Abigail‘s journey. 

Illustrator Amandine Wanert brings Saint Abigail to life in her simple, but eye-catching, drawings. Each scene includes items that readers can count each time they read.  Wanert’s playful use of lines and light enhance the charm of the animals and characters found in the book.

Readers will be encouraged by Saint Abigail’s diligence in following the angel’s directions. They will rejoice with Abigail to see how God provides for her along the way! And readers can count on being challenged to follow God‘s instructions in their own life.

Reviewed by Kristina Wenger, educator, podcaster, co-author of Tending the Garden of Our Hearts

Purchase your own copy of the book here: https://store.ancientfaith.com/nine-deer-and-me/

Stories describing the connection between saints and animals are fascinating to church school students. Find additional stories to share from earlier posts on the Orthodox Church School Teacher blog (links below).

For older elementary and middle school students: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2019/08/30/gleanings-from-a-book-the-cross-and-the-stag-by-gabriel-wilson/

Saints of recent decades: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/saints-of-recent-decades-st-sophia-of-kleisoura-may-6-or-19/

https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2016/09/30/saints-of-recent-decades-st-herman-of-alaska-december-13-or-25/

St. Seraphim of Sarov: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/learning-about-a-saint-st-seraphim-of-sarov-commemorated-on-january-2/

St. Gerasimos of the Jordan: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2016/02/26/learning-about-a-saint-st-gerasimos-of-the-jordan-commemorated-on-march-4/

Brain-Based Education and Quantum Learning: Ideas for Lesson Planning

This post is the seventh (and last) in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series has helped you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.

 

In this final portion of our series about the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will share a few practical ways to apply the method in your Sunday Church school lessons. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) We have already explored the five core components of the Quantum Learning System: Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit. In this post, we will offer ways to apply the components to your lessons.

Quantum Learning classroom teachers carefully design learning to be engaging, enticing, intriguing, and full of wonder and discovery. These teachers set their students up for success by strategically utilizing activities that are multi-sensory and multi-intelligent. That is to say, the learning appeals to students’ visual, auditory, and kinesthetic ways while tapping into multiple intelligences. (For example, such a teacher would capture the students’ interest using an icon of a concept, or creating an image in their minds; use hand motions to lock the information in their bodies; take a nursery rhyme and substitute words with important facts; or tell a story that involves the concepts in the lesson.) As the lesson continues, they “chunk” the information, that is, organize it into distinguishable pieces so that the brain can begin to make associations in order to link and store it successfully. They use frequent review throughout the lesson. And it truly is frequent: the method suggests that within 10 minutes of study, it is already time to review a concept, if possible, in a totally different way or through a different intelligence. This helps to move the information in the students’ minds from short- to long-term memory. (For example, these teachers may tell their students to “turn and talk to your neighbor about…” or “read over your notes and draw an illustration for each part” or ask, “how would you explain this to your mom?”) Quantum Teaching lessons will always include the big picture. That is to say, the lesson is designed in such a way that during the lesson, students will ask the question “What’s In It For Me?” and explore the answer. These teachers use the big picture in the same way that a trailer is used to promote a movie: it taps into the feelings of curiosity and wonder, while also highlighting the best parts. (The learning will fill in the plot.)

Each lesson created using the Quantum Learning teaching method incorporates the following brain-considering elements: “Eel Dr. C”. This catchy name is actually an acronym. EEL DR C is a quick way for teachers to remember the important elements: Enroll, Experience, Label, Demonstrate, Review, and Celebrate. Each element serves a special purpose:

  • Enroll is a friendly reminder to create student buy-in by addressing WIIFM (What’s In It For Me) and reaches into the student’s memory and experience, to make connections. (Enroll relates to the “Objective” in lesson planning.)
  • Experience reminds students of a common experience, or creates a new one, to which they can relate. (Experience is related to “Introduction” in lesson plans.)
  • Label is another way to look at the “input” portion of a lesson plan. This is where the key words, concept models, formulas, and/or strategies come into play in the lesson. (Label is related to “Content” in lesson plans.)
  • Demonstrate is the part of the lesson where the learner has a chance to show what they know.   (Demonstrate is related to “Reinforcement” in lesson plans.)
  • Review is the part of the lesson that offers the learner different ways to interact with the material, to help them “know that they know this”.
  • Celebrate is the part of dynamic lesson design that completes the lesson. It acknowledges that the student has participated, acquiring new skills and knowledge in the process.

Here are printable lesson frames that may be helpful if you decide to utilize quantum learning lesson design in your Sunday Church school classroom. Thanks to AODCE Director Carole Buleza for finding this useful information, for sharing it, and for creating these lesson frames to make Quantum Learning-based lesson planning easier.

May the Quantum Learning strategy help each of us to better welcome, love, and learn alongside our students as we all work to become closer to Christ and His Church!

 

Here are some links related to Quantum Learning lesson planning.:

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“Regardless of content area, grade level, or audience, this frame [the lesson design framework EEL Dr. C] guarantees that students become interested in and intrigued with every lesson. It also ensures that they have an experience of the learning, get practice, make the context real for themselves and anchor their success.” (pp. 88) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Influencing Behavior through Action (IBA) captures your learners’ attention, and redirects it to the next task or to you. One IBA strategy we use, called “If you can hear my voice,” comes in handy when you want to get students’ attention whas they work in cooperative groups, teams or pairs. Say: “If you can hear my voice clap once.” then clap. Repeat the initial phrase, this time inserting “clap twice.” then clap twice. As more and more students turn their attention toward you, soften your voice and the sound of the clap. Conclude with “If you can hear my voice turn and look this way.” (pp. 152) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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Find seventeen practical ways to use brain based learning in your classroom and lessons here: https://thesecondprinciple.com/optimal-learning/brain-based-education/

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Here are practical suggestions to keep in mind as you plan your lessons, if you intend to boost student learning: http://www.jensenlearning.com/survey/Top-10-Boosters-Student-Achievement.pdf ***

Check out the seven stages of brain-based planning that will help you to plan your lessons in brain-friendly ways: http://www.brainbasedlearning.net/brain-based-lesson-planning-strategies/

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This site offers a variety of strategies that can be helpful as you boost learning in your classroom. It includes a few clever videos that explain some of the strategies and their implementation: https://blog.edmentum.com/5-brain-based-learning-strategies-boost-learning-retention-and-focus

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Brain-Based Education and Quantum Learning Core Concept 5: Delivery

This post is the sixth in a series of blogs focusing on the comprehensive model of education called “brain-based learning” and the Quantum Learning method that most effectively applies that model. It is our hope that this series will help you to learn more about both the model and the method. Utilizing this methodology in Sunday Church school lessons will enable teachers to heighten the learning ability of each student in their class.

In this part of our series on the brain-based learning program, Quantum Learning, we will explore the fifth of the five core concepts in this method of teaching. (If you missed our introduction to the program, you can find it here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2020/03/13/brain-based-education-and-quantum-learning-an-introduction/. Brain-based learning is a teaching methodology based on research that helps teachers to be more effective while also helping students to learn in the best way possible.) The five core components of the Quantum Learning System are Foundation, Atmosphere, Environment, Design, and Delivery. All five of these components work together, but even if you are only able to implement one of them in your Sunday Church school class, you and your students will greatly benefit.

This post will take a closer look at the core concept called “Delivery.” In essence, this concept is the way in which the lesson is facilitated. The Quantum Learning method considers a lesson to be delivered effectively if participation, comprehension, and competency have all been maximized.

How can a teacher ensure that effective delivery happens in their classroom? The method suggests that effective teachers will include these elements as they facilitate their classes:

  • Use questioning strategies that increase participation and accountability. Model and enhance discussion skills to that end, as well.
  • State directions clearly.
  • Maximize your students’ attention throughout your time together. This requires building fun and joy into the learning. Maximizing attention and making learning fun will engage the students in such a way that their brain will best learn.
  • Purposefully utilize your voice, your wording, and even your gestures.

Teaching strategies that enhance effective delivery include:

  • Encouraging metacognition: That is to say, allow students to think about their own thinking and learning, or how they think and learn best. Then help them to learn in that way.
  • Chunking information: Organize what is being presented into bites that students’ brains are able to process. The goal is to have them interact with the information in a way that they can link it to things they already know, so that it stays in their long-term memory.
  • Engaging both hemispheres of the brain: Incorporate activities that utilize both the right and the left hemispheres of the brain. This requires variations of thought processes, intentionally including both rational and linear thought, as well as intuitive and creative thoughts. (This is where the “make it fun and joyful” comes into play, to some degree!)
  • Vary experiences: Use a variety of ways to help students learn so that they sometimes need to reflect, other times they’re learning experientially, and still other times they’re applying concrete learning. This sort of variety in learning helps them to better embrace the learning, and brings deeper understanding. (The variety of experiences will naturally make the learning more fun, as well!)

The Church school teacher who is living as a true Orthodox Christian should be naturally effective in their delivery. After all, they will be an inviting presence to their students, because they care deeply for them. They will use their voice and words in a careful manner that invites participation. They will give clear directions. If they are truly joyful about their Faith, such teachers will enthusiastically teach their students about the Faith, making the learning as fun as possible, because they want to bestow the gift of Faith on each student. Their own Faith should pour into the classroom as they invite their students to embrace spiritual skills such as quiet times and experiencing different types of prayer. Those things will help to increase participation in class, as well. The effective Orthodox teacher will truly deliver learning in their classroom.

If we should discover that not all of the above paragraph is true in our own classroom, here is our opportunity for improvement. Let us pray and ask God to help us to live and teach in a way that is more true to the Faith. We can also ask the saints (perhaps St. Seraphim of Sarov, known to call all of his visitors “my Joy”, because of his deep love for them) for their intercessions and help. May God help us to better love and teach our students, one small step at a time.

In the future, we will offer suggested ways to apply the Quantum Learning teaching method in your Church school lessons.

 

Here are some quotes related to this component:

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Tap into the great variety of intelligences in your classroom by keeping the multiple intelligences in mind in lessons, discussions, questions, etc. If you struggle to remember the different multiple intelligences, consider “our friends SLIM-n-BIL (a couple of cool teacher friends… who’ve mentally slimmed down a lot since they discovered the multiple intelligences)…” That is, Spacial-Visual thinking, Linguistic-Verbal thinking, Interpersonal thinking; Musical-Rhythmic thinking; Naturalist thinking; Bodily-Kinesthetic thinking; Intrapersonal thinking; and Logical-Mathematical thinking. More information about each can be found online, or immediately following this quote, on pages 97-98 of “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Powerful communication can be intentional and easy. With every interaction you have in the classroom, how you say things is just as important as what you say, maybe even more so. When you teach, give directions, set context or give feedback, remember these four principles:

  • Elicit the image
  • Direct the Focus
  • Be Inclusive
  • Be Specific”

(p. 118) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“Teachers often talk too much. They over-explain concepts, repeat directions and lengthen their answers in a way that dilutes the impact of what they say. Why do they do this? Often , because of lack of clarity: they’re unsure about what they want to say. Here’s one way to avoid this trap: Begin direction-giving statements with an action verb: take, draw, write, move, tlk, etc. Not only do you get right to the point, you also set student behavior in motion.” (p. 123) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“In… interviews with kids, we learned that their top reason for not listening to or liking their teachers is, ‘They don’t relate to me.’ A gap exists between our world and theirs. With this gap in place, students can’t relate to us or see a  WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) in our teaching. Without the WIIFM, they don’t buy in… When you understand students’ interests, desires, and thinking, and you let them know you understand, you enter their world, rather than teaching strictly from your point of view…  As you consciously enter their world, you build a necessary partnership with them in the learning process.” (p. 84) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“With student success as your goal… First, when you introduce the content (the most difficult point for a learner), make sure you ALWAYS present it in a way that is:

  • Multi-sensory – use visual, auditory and kinesthetic elements
  • Chunked down – break information into chunks of three to four ‘infobytes’ at a time
  • Contains frequent review – throughout learning use review to ensure the brains’ storage of information. Then , add a simple progression to the learning.”

(p. 87) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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“You represent one of the most significant and influential factors in your students’ success as learners… Your modeling, authenticity, congruence and availability empower and inspire students to unleash the potential they possess as learners. Remember: everything speaks; what you say and how you say it.” (p. 114) “Quantum Teaching: Orchestrating Student Success”  by Bobbi DePorter, Mark Reardon, and Sarah Singer-Nourie, published by Allyn and Bacon in 1999. It is available for sale here https://www.amazon.com/Quantum-Teaching-Orchestrating-Student-Success/dp/020528664X

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