Category Archives: Brain Research

Zen Mice and the Art of Deep Breathing

It’s nice when science confirms common sense. At some point in your life as a parent, I am sure you have encouraged an agitated, anxious, or angry child to “take a deep breath.” (I detailed one such moment in the post “Take a Deep Breath and Try Again”). Deep breathing helps us calm down. We know that intuitively and experientially.

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Why Zzz’s Are as Vital as ABC’s

“But I don’t want to go to bed!” That’s my three-year-old’s nightly mantra. It turns out that toddlers and middle school students have a lot in common: the desire for independence, incredible physical and cognitive growth spurts .  . . and bodies and brains that need a lot of sleep, even when they don’t want it. Often, middle schoolers think

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Meet the Teacher Night 2016: Embracing a Growth Mindset

Middle school is a marvelous, messy, magical time. Students enter fifth grade as children and they leave eighth grade as confident young adults. And during this period of profound growth, they spend a lot of time exploring who they are and who they want to become. Part of our job as middle school educators is to help them see possibilities

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The Opportunity Mindset: Spinning Anxiety Into Gold

The day before my daughter started PreK this year, she announced that she was “so excited and so nervous.” These two emotions may seem contradictory, but in fact our bodies register excitement and anxiety the same way: with an increased heart rate and a surge of cortisol. It’s our minds that perceive these emotions differently. Anxiety fills our minds with

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Understanding the Middle School Brain

I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can still recite my lines from a seventh grade production of Joan of Arc. This is a common phenomenon says neuroscientist Laurence Steinberg, author of “Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence.” “The adolescent brain is exquisitely sensitive to experience,” said Steinberg at a recent conference.

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Reimagining Recess

This week’s “Notes from the Middle” is co-written by Jeff Snyder, Assistant Head of Middle School. Don’t be alarmed if you hear crashing sounds echoing through the TVS Middle School Plaza. It is not the sound of construction that we grew accustomed to last year. Instead, it is the crumbling of the giant Jenga tumbling towers that students now enjoy

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Meet the Teacher Night Remarks: The Power of “Yet”

Earlier this summer Annie, my four-year-old, decided to tackle a climbing wall at a local playground. Despite her eagerness, I could see the trepidation in her eyes as she struggled to find a foothold. At some point, she uttered that cry of frustration that every parent has heard a thousand times, “I can’t do it!” Parenthood involves a lot trial

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