June 2021

Reading and writing

Houston educator Lupe Mendez named Texas Poet Laureate

Lupe Mendez traces her love of poetry back to Edgar Allan Poe and a thunderstorm.

His 7th grade English teacher staged a haunting scene on a rainy day in Galveston, placing candles in the classroom and playing Poe’s collected works through a boom box with the actor’s narration from beloved horror films Vincent Price.

This moment sparked a passion that led Mendez, now a 44-year-old teacher at the Houston Independent School District, to become an internationally published writer and an important figure in the Houston literary community. With a bilingual body of work focused on the experience of people of color, Mendez was announced in May as the 2022 Texas Poet Laureate.

“I feel like I am able to pay it off,” said Mendez, from Galveston. “Because the reality of my lineage is that I come from farming families. My grandfather is a bracero. My great-grandfather fought in the Mexican Revolution. And two or three generations later, I’m a poet.

Mendez will be Houston’s fourth Poet Laureate since the title was created in 1932. The one-year position – among several Texas state artist designations – is unpaid and does not include specific duties. The selected artists typically have a statewide, national, or international reputation and “reflect the diversity and high-quality artistic offerings of Texas,” according to the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Mendez was nominated last year and became one of 10 finalists for the position. A state artists committee, made up of members appointed by the governor, lieutenant governor, and speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, made the final decision.

His work has been featured in The Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast Journal, the Texas Review, Poetry Magazine, and the Academy of American Poetry’s Poem-A-Day. Her latest collection, “Why I am Like Tequila,” won the 2019 John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry.

Much of his writing – including Aguacero, a poem about the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey – reflects both his own Tejano roots and the collective struggle of people fighting for equality.

“You could be a brown Mexican… or you could be a black Haitian and still understand family separation, forcible deportation, incarceration – all the things that affect one, affect all,” he said. “And the varying degrees at which this effect occurs, these are the shifting elements. So I’m looking to try to speak directly to the people, but definitely using my experience and understanding of the world. “

Mendez hopes his new honor will bolster his initiative to provide emerging Latin American writers with a platform to share their work through the Tintero Projects, a series of readings and workshops for bilingual writers in the Houston area. Galveston.

The project follows the tradition of Nuestra Palabra, started in 1998 by Houston writer and activist Tony Diaz with a similar goal of promoting Latin literature and literacy.

Diaz, the first Chicano to earn a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program, was in the audience at St. Thomas University when Mendez delivered a poetry reading as a undergraduate student pursuing a bilingual education degree.

Diaz discovered Mendez’s talent. They formed a friendship that exposed Mendez to open mic parties and other literary events. Through Nuestra Palabra, Mendez gathered advice from successful national and international writers and learned about the business side of the arts. He quickly began to organize events such as artist showcases, book festivals and radio performances.

“He had a lot of talent to start with,” Diaz said. “But he also had a commitment to the community, and I think that’s the key to his work. He always gives back and he always builds others.

Diaz said Mendez’s poet laureate designation would raise awareness among Latin American voices.

“I think especially in the post-George Floyd era, there is more attention to the representation, but it is also becoming clear how the Latin voice has been erased,” he said.

Mendez received his honor less than a year after his mother died of COVID-19, which disproportionately impacted people of color across the United States.

“It would be amazing if my mom was there to see this happen,” he said. “But even then, I would still have to explain to my parents what a Poet Laureate is.”

He recalled a poem he wrote before his death, about teaching cumbia to his 2 year old daughter in La Suavecita.

His mother used the same song to teach him dance when he was a child.

“All the writings I do always honor my antepasados (ancestors), ”he said.

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The Rititz writer combines his love of history, writing and the time travel novel “Manhattan”.

Fascinated by the concept of time travel, writer Rititz Sherry V. Ostrov takes readers from 17th century Scotland to the new world of Manhattan.

Her latest book is her third, the second in a series that interweaves the multigenerational stories of two young women 300 years apart but linked by certain mysteries.

The new book is called “Mannahatta” and is based on Manhattan’s Native American word for “many hills”.

It continues the story of Hannah and Anna. One is a modern New York woman and the other is an old Scottish woman. The contemporary character of Hannah strives to reveal Anna’s past on a Scottish ship docked in Manhattan to colonial Manhattan.

“Mannahatta” is a sequel to Ostrov’s previous book “Caledonia” published in 2019. Like Caledonia, Mannahatta is written as two parallel stories.

“The old characters are those who live the event. Modern characters discover hidden stories, ”said Ostrov, who tells stories using imaginative reconstructions by many historical novelists. I am.

“’Manhattan’ is the second and final book in this short series,” she said.

First interested in Scottish history, Ostrov used his work to write the name “Caledonia” used by the Roman Empire for Scotland. She learned of Scotland’s desire to create a trading colony in the New World. The colony was located in what is now Panama in Central America.

“The objective was to open a commercial route by land between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. In 1698, 1,200 settlers embarked on five ships. In less than a year, 900 died, ”Ostrov said. Said. “The colony failed and the rest of the settlers returned to Scotland. “

It is such a historical context that inspires the imagination of this writer of historical novels. She combines historical facts with fictional characters who may have lived at the time.

A teacher who retired in 2002, Ostrov enjoys learning the old and the new. Unlike many writers who write what they know, Ostrov writes what she has learned and imagined. It is not difficult to immerse yourself in the soul of a woman who lives in another time and in another place.

Originally from Philadelphia, Ostrov has lived in Lancaster County for 49 years, six of them in Lititz. She received a BA from Temple University, followed by an MA in History from Millersville University. She has taught at Price and Burrows Elementary School and Reynolds Middle School in the Lancaster School District for 30 years. She has also taught American history at HACC on the Lancaster campus.

In many ways, his book teaches an educational and fascinating history. She was inspired by writers like Hawaii and The Kovenant author James Michener. Léon Uris, author of Mira 18 and of the Book of Exodus. And Diana Gabaldon, the creator of the popular Outlander series, has grown into an equally popular TV series.

“I really like this study. It’s a treasure hunt with a lot of rewards, ”Ostrov explains. “Like when I discovered an interesting anecdote which corresponds to the scene of the Caledonian sea. I was visiting a historic shipyard in Portsmouth, England. Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. I learned that he had died at sea. Based on his last instructions and the fear of being buried in the sea, his body was wrapped in barrels filled with alcohol and the ship returned to England. It did not work. These are the historical gems that I would like to share with my readers. “

Ostrov also attends her talks at venues such as the Township of Manheim Public Library, Burns & Noble, American Traditions where she lives, Homestead Village, York Jewish Community Center, Messiah Village Book Group, and Carlyle Library Book. Groups who like to share their discoveries with those who do, Lititz Women’s Club, Woodcrest Villa, Highland Presbyterian Church, Lancaster’s Iris Club, Brethren Village Book Club.

His previous book, Caledonia, won the Chanticleer International Award, the Chaucer Division for Historical Novel Pre-1750s, the IndieBrag Medallion Honors and the Indie Diamond Book Award, First Place and Adult Fiction.

His first book is perhaps the closest to his mind. The heroine is not a fictional character. It was her own mother who escaped to Eastern Europe in the 1920s. Her non-fiction “The Lucky One” was released in 2016 and is based on her mother’s memoir.

“My mother gave me a handwritten memoir shortly after I retired, but I sat for almost 30 years before I started writing. The delay was that my mother passed away, worked full time, and she was because she didn’t know how to present the story, ”Ostrov said. “Today, his handwritten memoirs are kept permanently at the Yivo Institute in New York. Yivo is a history museum for the Jews of Eastern Europe. A copy of this book is from the United States Parliamentary Library. And not only at the National Library of Israel, but also at the library. “

Now that Ostrov has published her third book, she is considering her next project.

“The blockade during the pandemic turned out to be the perfect impetus for writing. I finished Manhattan six months earlier. I didn’t mind spending long days nowhere, ”says Ostrov. ..

I can’t wait to marry my high school lover and spend time with my daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. She also wants to travel as soon as she can travel safely. This may take some time.

Sherry V. Ostrov’s book is available on as paperbacks and e-books. Books are free for Kindle Unlimited members. For more information, including excerpts, see below. ..

Laura Knowles is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to the Lititz Record Express page. She accepts story comments and advice at [email protected]

The Rititz writer combines his love of history, writing and the time travel novel “Manhattan”.

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Sufficient Thomas King topped Alberta Independent Bookstores Best-Selling Fiction List for Week Ended June 20

Here are the lists of the top 10 fiction and non-fiction titles sold by independent booksellers in Alberta during the week ended Sunday, June 20, 2021.

The lists are compiled by the Alberta Book Publishers Association, and include sales to Audreys Books and Glass library in Edmonton.

Unsurprisingly, given the tragic revelations of the past few weeks and days, books by Indigenous authors are high on independent booksellers’ fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists this week. Most Canadians are people of goodwill and I think they have a hard time understanding this unfolding calamity. This week’s fiction bestseller is Pain, by Indigenous Canadian-American author Thomas King. The publisher of the book describes it as “a sly and satirical look at the fractures of modern existence.” The story features a former residential school, a reserve, and someone who can look to the future and who doesn’t like what he sees. In my experience, Thomas King’s fiction is always worth reading. Having said that, I admit that I haven’t picked up this one from my public library yet as the publisher’s rather ambiguous cover led my eye to pass over it on the new book shelf. I’m embarrassed to say that I assumed it was about another author named King whose work I don’t find so uplifting or entertaining.


1. Suffering – Thomas King (HarperCollins)
2. Five Little Indians – Michelle Good (Harper Vivace)
3. The Hero’s Walk – Anita Rau Badami (Vintage Canada)
4. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse – Charlie Mackesy (HarperCollins)
5. Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf Canada)
6. The Maidens – Alex Michaelides (Celadon Books)
7. On Earth, we are briefly beautiful – Ocean Vuong (Penguin)
8. Jonny Appleseed – Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press) *
9. The Midnight Library – Matt Haig (HarperCollins)
10. The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline (Cormorant Books)


1. The Menopause Manifesto – Dr Jen Gunter (Random House Canada)
2. The Skin We Are In – Desmond Cole (Doubleday Canada)
3. Tipiskawi Kisik – Wilfred Buck (Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Center)
4. Sweetgrass braiding – Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed editions)
5. Rising Strong – Brené Brown (Random House)
6. World Travel – Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever (Ecco)
7. The Bomber Mafia – Malcolm Gladwell (Little Brown & Company)
8. Care of – Ivan Coyote (McClelland & Stewart)
9. Values ​​- Mark Carney (McClelland & Stewart)
10. Embers – Richard Wagamese (Douglas & McIntyre)

* Albertan author + Albertan publisher

The independent bookstores contributing to this weekly list are:

Audreys Books, Edmonton
Coffee Books, Canmore
Attracted by books, Edmonton
Glass library, Edmonton
Monkey Books, Calgary
Owl Nest Books, Calgary
Pages about Kensington, Calgary
Shelf Life Books, Calgary
The next page, Calgary
Books of the Three Hills, Three Hills

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World champion UK diver Tom Daley adored even more as a DIY knitter

World champion British diver Tom Daley adored even more as a knitter, crocheter and wellness content creator ahead of the Fourth Olympics

On May 1, a British diver Tom daley, whose passage to the Olympics was already secured by her synchronized bronze medal at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, Korea in 2019, won the FINA Diving World Cup in Tokyo with Matty lee in the men’s 10-meter synchronized final. He followed up with a gold medal for himself in the men’s 10-meter individual final on May 4.

Two weeks later, on May 16, he won gold with Lee at the European Aquatic Championships in Budapest, winning his first European title in synchronized 10-meter history. Individually he came right behind the Russian Alexandre bondar in the 10-meter final to win silver, ending the gold streak he had won during his final Olympic years in 2008, 2012 and 2016. However, his score of 109.15 for his 4.5 forwards in somersault was a career high. Then, on May 21, the young athlete, husband and father turned 27. Just when it seemed like Daley couldn’t be busier, more dedicated, or more successful, there was this…

The weekend right after his birthday he posted a photo of himself knitting pajamas on both his official Instagram account and @madewithlovebytomdaley, a distinct profile for his background in knitting and crochet. Yes, knitting and crochet.

Courtesy of British Swimming

His nifty account already has 74.4 thousand subscribers and climbs to the 2 million followers of his main profile. More and more people are hanging on to the extra character of Daley and becoming fans after a bit of buzz last fall and this spring in UK publications about his hobbies.

Daley grew up doing crafts, but his knitting and crochet activities began in early 2020, when COVID-19 caused a waiting game for Olympic athletes. Daley’s husband, D. Black Lance, first suggested the activity to Tom, saying he had seen people knitting on set during his work as an American screenwriter, director and producer of film and television.

Although his first samples were far from perfect, Daley dove into art and quickly became hooked on crochet, too. As he says on a podcast called The LoveCrafts Show, he found that knitting helps him pay attention without thinking too much and be productive without stressing out.

He began to take his plans with him while training and competing. To his surprise, many other divers (eg from Russia and Australia) and coaches (eg from China) shared his new passion. With their guidance and the help of instructional videos on YouTube, Daley’s skills improved quickly.

Even now at the peak of his diving training and competition, he produces a new piece every two or three days, often as private gifts for close friends. Things he made for the public include an ugly rainbow sweater, a cozy striped tea set, a plush unicorn, a lilac-colored cat sofa for his mother’s dear pet, and even a pair of swimsuits that probably wouldn’t outlive a single one. of his dives but looks great on (him).

In more humanitarian efforts, he made a blanket for a boy named Jake, who has a rare genetic mutation called pontocerebellar hypoplasia PCH causing brain shrinkage. He also composed his first downloadable crochet pattern for a Granny Belt Sweater priced at £ 2.50 / $ 3.55 for the benefit of Brain Tumor Charity. This arrangement is in memory of Daley’s father, who died in 2011 at the age of 40 by brain cancer.

Perhaps the moment that caught Daley’s most attention in UK pop culture this spring was when he posted a handmade imitation of a £ 1,750 Gucci dress. , sported by her “best” blonde, social influencer. Sophie lee. A month before Instagram’s revealing activity, he had set up a video – hair still wet from a session at the pool – showing the article on the ground. The entry of the vlog was on 25e on 49 episodes of his “Daley Diaries” series launched on September 9, 2020 to document his journey to the Tokyo Games.

Daley’s YouTube channel has 867,000 subscribers. Adding that to his 2.2 million Twitter followers, Daley is by far the most followed aquatic Olympian in the world.

For a diver, still somewhat in the shadow of the most watched competitive Olympic swimming event, medals and beauty alone might not have been enough to generate such sustained and growing popularity. Aside from his athleticism, aesthetics, charisma and utter adoration, Tom is a prolific and serious content creator who is generous in showing the everyday dimensions of his life with his own narrative voice.

Tom daley

Photo Courtesy: Osports

From his London home, dark hotel rooms, a walk-in closet fitted with a shelf full of skeins of yarn, aquatic centers and even a COVID testing session, the diver answered random questions from the public, count kept playing competitions, and disclosed his personal competition rituals, diving training tips, secrets of babysitting and other hobbies (plant care), bad habits (biting nails), her favorite foods (Indian) and even blemishes on her face.

He is also the author of several books of an official autobiography (2012), a fanciful story of consequences co-written with celebrities like Kate Moss and the musical group One Direction (2015), a collection of healthy recipes (2016), and a guide to cultivating healthy habits (2018). The next step is Coming for the air: what I learned from sport, fame and fatherhood, to be published in October.

Like his Twitter message attests in a meme in partnership with Adidas, “Where some see a diving platform, I see a platform to spread love and positivity.”

Since revealing his homosexuality in 2013, he has been an outgoing activist in the LGBTQ community. Earlier this year, he said he would support any athlete who wishes to speak out at the Olympics despite the IOC’s recent strengthening of Rule 50, which bans politically, religious or racial-themed protests or “propaganda.” during the Games.

As die-hard in sharing his daily life as he throws himself off a 10-meter platform, Daley knits, crochets, cooks, raises children and earns his way to his fourth Olympics as more than a dominant athlete. , but also a role that we can identify as a model for the global community.

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Hong Kong Police Raid the Offices of Pro-Democracy Apple Daily; arrest 5

June 17 (UPI) – Hong Kong police raided the headquarters of pro-democracy Apple Daily on Thursday, arresting five directors on suspicion of violating a controversial national security law for publishing articles urging foreign countries to impose sanctions on China.

Police said in a statement that officers arrested four men and a woman, aged 47 to 63, on suspicion of “colluding with a foreign country or with outside elements to endanger national security.”

The arrests follow the Hong Kong government’s announcement that the National Security Police Department raided the offices of Tseung Kwan O of Apple Daily with a Section 43 (1) warrant of the National Security Law which covers the power to search and seize journalistic material.

Authorities said they also searched the homes of those arrested.

Apple Daily identified the detainees as CEO Cheung Kim-hung, COO Royston Chow, Editor-in-Chief Ryan Law, Associate Editor Chan Pui-man and Platform Director of Apple Daily Digital Cheung Chi-wai.

The newspaper said hundreds of police raided his offices around 7:30 a.m.

Police said the arrests and searches were carried out in connection with more than 30 articles printed by Apple Daily in English and Chinese calling on foreign countries to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and China.

“We have very strong evidence that the questionable items play a crucial role in the conspiracy, which provides the ammunition to foreign countries and institutions and organizations to impose sanctions on Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China,” the conspiracy said. Hong Kong National. Security Unit Senior Superintendent Steve Li Kwai-wah told reporters at a press conference.

Li said the articles were meant to urge foreign countries to impose sanctions on China, calling them “very straightforward.”

Police also froze $ 2.3 million in assets of the newspaper and its affiliates, he added.

In a separate press conference, Security Secretary John Lee Ka-chiu accused the newspaper of using journalistic tools to collude with foreign countries to convince them to take “hostile actions” against Hong Kong and Beijing, the South China Morning Post reported.

“We have to differentiate what the suspects did from normal journalistic work,” he said. “All journalists in the city must keep their distance [from this approach]. “

When repeatedly asked by reporters whether the articles in question were reports, editorials or commentaries, Lee declined to respond, saying they were not just investigating the content of the articles but “how the whole criminal conspiracy is carried out “.

“I cannot discuss the evidence further as there are still ongoing investigations and possible court cases,” he said. “For all journalists, they need only ask themselves whether they intend or intend to harm national security, and to act according to the law when working.”

The pro-democracy newspaper had already been raided in August following the imposition of the National Security Act, which criminalizes with severe penalties acts of secession, sedition, subversion, terrorism and collaboration with foreign powers to undermine China’s national security.

Police arrested several employees in the raid, including newspaper founder Jimmy Lai, who was sentenced to 14 months in prison for his role in the pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in 2019. He also faces to separate charges of violation of the National Security Act. using Apple Daily to seek sanctions against Beijing from foreign countries.

Thursday’s arrests are expected to draw condemnation from Western countries and press freedom organizations, although Li said they did not target the media.

Steven Butler, Asia program coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, said Thursday’s arrests destroyed “any remaining fiction that Hong Kong supports press freedom.”

“China, which controls Hong Kong, is able to eliminate the newspaper, which it sees as an annoying critic, but only at a high price to be paid by the people of Hong Kong, who have enjoyed decades of access.” free to information, “he said in a statement.

The United States has repeatedly sanctioned Chinese officials under the draconian national security law imposed on the former British colony in June last year, a law that critics say undermines the freedoms granted in Hong Kong upon its return to Beijing sovereignty in 1997.

Further US sanctions were imposed as part of the National People’s Congress in March unilaterally approving legislation to overhaul the island’s electoral system to ensure that only so-called patriots can hold office.

Britain has also imposed measures to punish China because of the law, going so far as to pave the way for citizenship for nearly 3 million Hong Kong residents.

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Are you looking for events? 5 things to do this weekend in Mecosta, Osceola counties

Happy Father’s Day to all male role models whether or not they have offspring.

Here are five things to do this weekend.

1. ROCK OUT ON US 131: The highly anticipated 131 Music Fest kicks off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, featuring local bands and paying tribute to creator Jason “Hobie” Hardy, who died of COVID-19 in April. Bring a lawn chair and cooler to this family event.

Haven’t purchased tickets yet? There will be more available at the event, according to an article posted Monday on the event’s official Facebook page.

• When: 3 pm-11pm on Saturday June 19

• Where: 22520 Trails End Drive, Reed City, six miles north of city limits on 225th Avenue between 8 Mile and 9 Mile Highways.

• What to bring: garden chairs, coolers

• Cost: $ 10 (plus $ 5 parking), available at Affordable Prints, 901 N. Main St., Evart; by participating bands; by sending messages to the organizers on; or at the event.

MORE: Reed City’s 131 Music Fest Still Running Despite Co-Founder’s Death

2. CELEBRATE FREEDOM: Community members are invited to celebrate freedom, love and community on Saturday at the Juneteenth Celebration Picnic at Hemlock Park. While the Juneteenth feast commemorates the emancipation of black slaves in 1865, organizers say it’s a feast for everyone.

“Juneteenth is not meant to exclude or isolate but to celebrate and love. Not everyone grew up knowing what Juneteenth was and how important it is, so now I’m happy to be able to help share the importance.

• When: 3 pm Saturday June 19.

• Where: Hemlock Park, Big Rapids

• What to bring: water guns, games, blankets and chairs

MORE: Big Rapids to Host the Juneteenth Picnic This Weekend

3. READ A BOOK: To keep kids busy learning this summer, area libraries will be running summer reading programs in June and July. While each library manages their program differently, most involve a reading challenge with prizes and special events throughout the summer. Check your local library for details.

And parents, a good way to get your kids to read is to model this behavior yourself. Libraries have books for all ages.

MORE: Beyond Books: Check Out These Library Events June 15-22

4. GOLF: With a sunny forecast, with highs in the mid-70s, Saturday looks like a good day to hit the links. West Central Michigan has several golf courses to choose from.

• Big Rapids: Clear Lake Golf Club, Katke Golf Course, Falcon Head Golf Course

• Canadian Lakes: The Royal, The Highlands and The Pines at Canadian Lakes.

• Stanwood: Tullymore Golf Resort and St. Ives Golf Course

• Hersey: Spring Valley Golf Course

• Baldwin: Marquette Trails golf course

5. TAKE DAD TO BREAKFAST: Dad doesn’t like golf? Big Rapids Eagles 2535 will be offering a free Sunday morning breakfast. The public is welcome.

• When: 9 am to noon on Sunday June 20.

• Where: Big Rapids Eagles 2535, 18361 16 Mile Road, Big Rapids.

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Reading and writing

How to use memory systems to deepen learning

The role of working memory

Working memory is an area where thoughts are temporarily held while you are using them. Oakley visualizes him as an octopus sitting in your prefrontal cortex, juggling a game of balls. Working memory can hold about four “balls” at a time before they start to fall. That’s why we can remember a couple of items that we need to pick up from the store, but if the list is much longer than that, we’ll have to write it down.

This is also why many students find it difficult to follow multi-step instructions. It’s not a lack of focus. Their working memory just does not have the capacity to “keep in mind” something like a five-step process – unless they have practiced those steps so many times that it has become a routine that they do. does not require active thinking. This is why qualified teachers spend so much time at the start of the year establishing classroom procedures and thinking routines. These practiced routines can free up working memory space for students to learn new materials.

Race car students often have “a very large working memory” which is more efficient at keeping material and moving it to long-term storage, Oakley explains. Student hikers may need more repetition and practice to keep the same material.

“I’ve been through the hiker experience,” says Oakley, a decorated engineering professor who tells her students about her struggles to learn math and science. “I don’t have a very good working memory, so in college I had to take notes like a stenographer and then stay up late to try to understand. And I would come to understand it so deeply that all the racing car learners would come and ask me “can you explain this?” It took me a long time to get something, but when I got it, oh, I got it on a very deep level.

Because many students don’t understand their working memory, they study inefficiently, she says. They reread their notes or look at a list of vocabulary words and think “I got it”. And they have it in their brains – while they have their notes in front of them. But working memory is short term. Student backpackers, in particular, need concrete strategies for moving material into long-term storage.

And that’s where the next two memory systems come in. As Oakley puts it, “Our brains learn through two main pathways: the declarative and the procedural. And if you throw one in, it’s like saying, ‘Okay, I want you to be a faster sprinter. Now jump on one leg.

Understand declarative and procedural memory systems

Declarative memory refers to facts and information that we can consciously recall “or state” – that we can remove from long-term storage when necessary to solve a problem, accomplish a task, or initiate a discussion. On the other hand, procedural memory implies knowing how to do something “by heart”. For example, once we master typing, lacing a shoe, preparing a favorite recipe, or commuting to work, it takes no more conscious thinking to engage in these activities. In fact, if powerful typists think about the placement of letters on the keyboard, it will slow down their typing.

Oakley notes that the declarative system is the “quick way to learn” and often the first way older students and adults acquire information. The procedural system comes more slowly and is engaged by practice, practice and practice again.

The two systems work hand in hand to achieve expertise. For example, declarative memory can help a pianist learn an unfamiliar piece of music by relying on his knowledge of notes, chords, tempo, and dynamics. But once they have practiced a song so much that they can play it without looking at the music, the song resides in procedural memory.

Young children learn largely through the procedural system, explains Oakley, which is why approaches such as Montessori proved so effective in the early years. Adult brains assimilate much of their new learning through the declarative system. The best kindergarten to grade 12 teachers rely on both systems to support student learning.

Putting it all together to support student learning

“I really advocate a balanced approach,” says Oakley. Whether a teacher leans more towards formal instruction or practical group activities, the key to success is “active learning” which activates both declarative and procedural learning pathways. Even small changes in instruction can make a big difference for students as they “learn to learn”.

Active learning is when “the student himself is grappling with the material,” says Oakley. “It really builds our procedural connections in long-term memory. While you can actively learn while watching the teacher, you can’t do it for very long.

Simple strategies for incorporating more active learning into a classroom period include:

  • Offer brain breaks: Pauses are crucial for the formation of long-term memory. When students mentally relax, even for a minute or two, it gives their brains time to consolidate new learning. Think of it as interval training for the brain, says Oakley.
  • Use the point recall technique: Take a break from teaching and help students see if they have moved material from work to long-term memory. Take a minute and have them write down important ideas from the class, a sketch to visually represent their learning, or key ideas from previous classes that relate to the topic under study. This recovery practice is especially important for students with working memory problems.
  • Teach students how to engage in active recall: Do you remember the student who looks at the vocabulary list and thinks they have memorized it? Teach students to regularly put away their notes or close their books and see what they remember. Have them teach a classmate a science technique, tell a pet story of photosynthesis, or create a study guide without looking at their notes, then go back to fill in the gaps. .
  • Get involved in Think-Pair-Share: Activities such as think-pair-share require students to engage individually, with a partner, and then with the class. This is because they interact with information three times in a row, helping to strengthen their neural pathways.
  • Practice interlacing: Interlacing involves mixing up practical problems instead of working on almost identical activities over and over again. This relies on active recall practice and cognitive flexibility, as students must consciously decide what information or procedure to apply to a given problem. And practice builds procedural memory.

Celebrate “desirable hardships”

Learning something new is often a struggle as the brain is still developing pathways to store concepts. This is why students are more likely to drop out in the early stages of a new business. But what if we encouraged them to make things a little harder – on purpose! – as a way to start their own learning?

“The best way to progress quickly is to make your life difficult,” says Oakley, building on the concept of “Desirable difficulties“Invented by cognitive psychologist Robert Bjork. “Don’t just read a book or read a section of a book, see if you can pick up those key ideas from what you’ve just read. It’s harder.

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Writer market

Fed predicts earlier timeline for rate hikes with rising inflation

Washington – The Federal Reserve signaled on Wednesday that it could act sooner than expected to start slowing down low interest rate policies that helped fuel a rapid rebound from the pandemic recession but which also coincided with a rise in l ‘inflation.

Fed policymakers predict that they will twice increase their short-term benchmark rate – which affects many consumer and business loans, including mortgages and credit cards – by the end of this year. 2023. They had previously estimated that no rate hike would take place before 2024.

Speaking at a press conference, President Jerome Powell said the Fed’s policy-making committee has also started discussing when to cut back on its monthly bond purchases. But Powell made it clear that the Fed has yet to decide when it will. The purchases, which consist of $ 120 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgages, are aimed at keeping long-term rates low to encourage borrowing.

The Fed has made it clear that its first step in slowing its support for the economy would be to reduce its bond purchases – and that it would not start raising rates until soon after. Its key rate has been close to zero since March 2020.

The central bank’s new forecast for rate hikes from 2023 reflects an economy growing faster than expected earlier this year.

At the same time, Powell sought Wednesday to allay any concerns that the Fed may be in a hurry to withdraw economic support by making borrowing more expensive. The economy, he said, still hasn’t improved enough to curb the pace of monthly bond purchases, which the Fed said it intends to continue until “further progress substantial “has been achieved towards its employment and inflation targets.

“We’re a long way from further substantial progress, we think,” Powell said at his press conference. “But we are making progress.

Shortly after the Fed released its statement on Wednesday, US stocks fell further from their record highs and bond yields rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bill fell from 1.48% to 1.55%.

Sung Won Sohn, an economist at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, suggested that the initially negative market reaction to the Fed’s statement may have prompted Powell to adopt a more conciliatory tone at his press conference. (“The doves,” in the Fed’s parlance, generally focus on the Fed’s mandate to maximize employment and worry less about inflation. The “hawks,” on the other hand, tend to be concerned. more of the need to avoid high inflation.)

“We received two different messages from the Fed today,” Sohn said. “The interest rate projections were a little more hawkish than the market expected.”

But during his press conference, said Sohn, Powell “stressed that the economy is still not where it should be, especially in terms of unemployment…. and the Fed still thinks the economy needs a boost from the central bank.

Yet Powell also sketched a broadly optimistic picture in his remarks on Wednesday. The inflation spikes of the past two months, he said, will likely prove temporary, and hiring is expected to accelerate throughout the summer and fall as COVID-19 recedes further with the increase in vaccinations. This will allow schools and daycares to reopen, allowing more parents to work, while additional federal assistance for the unemployed ends.

“There are all reasons,” said Powell, “to think that we will (soon) be in a labor market with very attractive numbers, low unemployment, high participation and rising wages at all. levels”.

His comments suggest that the Fed chairman is not worried that this spring’s hires, while strong, are below expectations. Powell had said in early spring that he would like to see a “string” of hiring reports showing about 1 million additional jobs each month. The labor market has yet to reach that total in a month of this year, although employers have posted a record number of open jobs.

At the same time, inflation has risen much faster than Fed policymakers expected in March. Inflation jumped to 5% in May from the previous year – the biggest 12-month increase since 2008.

The increase was in part due to a huge increase in used car prices, which have skyrocketed as semiconductor shortages have slowed vehicle production. Significantly higher prices for car rentals, plane tickets and hotel rooms were also major factors, reflecting pent-up demand as consumers move away from the large purchases of goods that many of them had made. while they had stayed at home to spend on services.

Powell has stuck to his long-held view that these spikes will only have a temporary impact.

“The prices that drive higher inflation come from categories that are directly affected by the recovery from the pandemic and the reopening of the economy,” he said. “Prices that have been rising very quickly due to shortages and bottlenecks etc. should stop rising. And at some point, they should in some cases go down. “

The central bank on Wednesday raised its inflation forecast to 3.4% by the end of this year, from 2.4% in its previous projection in March. Still, officials predict that price increases will remain moderate over the next two years.

Fed officials also expect the economy to grow by 7% this year, which would be the fastest expansion of the calendar year since 1984. They expect growth to slow down thereafter. , to 3.3% in 2022 and 2.4% in 2023.

Economists generally expect the Fed to continue discussing reducing its bond purchases, and then – by the end of August or September – to state precisely how and when it would start. This would pave the way for a reduction in bond purchases that would actually start towards the end of this year or early 2022.

Another key consideration for the Fed is whether inflation persists long enough to affect public behavior. If Americans start to expect price increases, those expectations can trigger a self-fulfilling cycle as workers demand higher wages, which, in turn, can cause their employers to keep raising prices. to offset their higher labor costs.

Powell said measures of long-term inflation expectations have increased in recent months, after falling at the start of the pandemic. But most of them remain within a range consistent with the Fed’s 2% inflation target.

“It’s gratifying to see them come out of their pandemic lows,” he said.


AP Economics writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

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