Transmitter #48

Brain Hacks

Would You Talk To Your Best Friend The Way You Beat Yourself Up? How to Cultivate Emotional Intelligence

The co-author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Dr. Travis Bradberry, shares his favorite techniques for increasing anyone's EQ. I've summarized some of the most tactical here:

1. When you notice someone having strong feelings, ask questions and listen. Indicate that you get it so that they feel understood. 

2. Don't put off telling people when you think they're awesome.

3. Check on your emotions throughout the day. Literally ask, "How am I feeling about X?"

4. Get enough sleep. It is "often the one thing keeping you from getting things under control."

5. When your brain starts beating you up, stop and write down the criticisms. Externalizing negative self-talk can slow down the damaging messages. I always ask myself, would I talk to my best friend or a student the way I'm thinking about myself?

(Source: Travis Bradberry)

Short Vs. Long Checklists - Which Beats Procrastination?

Our brains have 2 neural regions responsible for procrastination: the limbic system (which is impulsive) and executive function (which is rationale). While Solving the Procrastination Puzzle recommends keeping a short list of tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed, Tim Pychyl thinks that's all wrong. Pychyl, the author of The Art of Procrastination and professor of psychology at Carleton University, argues, "This is the way to become a couch potato, not an effective human being." 

Pychyl recommends "structured procrastination" instead, which involves listing everything you need to do. A long list, says the author, enables individuals to complete tasks farther down on their to-do list when they're avoidant, rather than doing nothing.

(Source: Jane Porter, "Brain Science Explains the Most Productive Ways to Procrastinate" in Fast Company.)

Teaching Strategies - Directly from Education Journals

STUDY: Effective Practices That Help At-Risk Latino Students

Shari Brady's dissertation profiled teachers who work primarily with at-risk Latino students in the middle grades. The classroom professionals reported the following obstacles: 

​1. Teacher turnover forces effective teachers to socialize an average of 3 new hires every year.
2. Language barriers leads to lowered expectations for Latino learners.
3. Administrators under-react when kids are volatile or come down too hard on kids without understanding that some at risk middle schoolers are (to cite one real example) parenting three siblings while the single mother is out of town.
4. Teachers get blamed for under-achieving kids when test scores are more accurately attributed to chaotic home lives and poverty.
5. Lack of parent involvement.
6. Students who move from school to school.
7. The unavailability of adequate mentors.

In the dissertation, the researcher profiled several teachers and extracted best practices for help at risk Latino middle graders achieve:

1) Make Class-Time Predictable - One middle grades teacher always began class with a vocabulary warm-up, followed by stations, then hands-on group or independent activities. Another instructor alway had a basket full of books placed on each desk when students entered the classroom so "all they need to do is pick it up and read. It helps to relax them after the transition of changing classes."

2) Take The Time To Bond -  Said Felicia, “Once my kids knew that I really liked them, they were perfectly comfortable calling out loud or answering questions, even if they knew they were wrong.” She warned that you can't become "buds" with your students or they will take advantage.

3) Take Advantage of Youtube - Bruce, a middle school science teacher, included video in his classes to "make the world a slightly bigger place for a student that may never get a chance to leave the city."

4) Make Failing Due to Bad Attendance Difficult - When one Latino boy was chronically absent, the teacher presented an option: "He could give up twenty minutes before school every day or stay one day a week for tutoring and I would make sure that he was caught up in all of his classes . . . there was no option of not coming."

5) Create a Welcoming Space- One teacher played music and was available before and after school to help with schoolwork. "But the expectations were clear that this was a privilege and if abused you could go wait in the cafeteria with everyone else.”

6) Mix Ability Levels - Said another teacher, "If I can mix the abilities in the groups a certain amount of peer tutoring begins to happen and they not only help each other learn, but they achieve a higher level of mastery for themselves."

7) Use Novelty To Increase Engagement - A science teacher performed crazy demonstrations. "They don’t want to miss the chance of seeing me hurt myself."

8) Hold Students Accountable - One teacher made it a point to talk to a 3rd year repeater privately about "manly things" as a way to demonstrate respect for his maturity and raise expectations. As a result, the young man passed to the next grade. 

9) Change it Up - Teachers found that switching activities every 20 minutes kept everyone engaged. "Downtime is your enemy."

10) Repetition - "I have to come up with creative ways of saying the same thing over and over," said one instructor. 

11) Look Beyond Test Scores -  Testing pressure is heavy in Title I schools. "We have to focus on the whole child," said one teacher

(Source: "To teach me, you have to know me": Illuminating successful teaching strategies for at-risk Latino students at the secondary level, Brady, Shari Ramcharan. Capella University, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016.)

How to Chat about Race?

Jade Anderson, a 1st grade teacher at Memphis Business Academy says that teachers can and should discuss race with elementary-aged students. "[Teachers] help them separate fact from fiction. Teachers can provide a real sense of calming and real space for students to share what they’re feeling and thinking.

(Source: Chalkbeat, via Education Digest)


The amount of money spent annually on baldness cures and remedies: $3.5 billion.

(Source: Scotty Hendricks, Big Think)

The amount of money spent on beauty salons: $20 billion.

(Source: Wise Bread)

. . . on feeding 31.6 million students free or reduced lunch: $10 billion.

(Source: Clare McCann, Ed Central)

The possible combinations of a Rubik's cube: 43,252,003,274,489,856,000 or 43 quintillion.  

(Source: The Rubrik Zone)

How many peanut butter sandwiches the average student will eat before graduating from high school: 1,500

(Source: MNN)

"If you took all the peanut butter that Americans eat in a year, it could coat the floor of the Grand Canyon."

(Source: MNN)

Weekly Marcus Aurelius

"The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts."

Tech Watch

Make Your Own Chatbot

A chatbot is a computer program that simulates talk with humans over the Internet. Now anyone can create a chatbot easily, without programming, using It's free. 

Historical Map Overlay

What Was There (iOS) allows the app user to stand somewhere in a city and find out what historical events occurred on that spot. 

(Source: Via Mind/Shift)

Behold! The First Tablet for the Blind

Thesaurus for G-Docs

Thesaurus Pro is a Google Doc add-on that provides fast results, and even gives you synonyms for phrasal and conjugated verbs, as well as plural nouns. It saves time because you do not have to leave Google Docs to look up a word.

(Source: Hat tip to Educational Technology and Mobile Learning)


"A younger cousin to social anxiety is people pleasing."

- Ellen Hendriksen, PhD (Savvy Psychologist)


STUDY: Does Telling on Bullies Solve the Problem?

Studies conducted in a range of countries--England, Australia, the Netherlands and USA--demonstrate that of those bullied students who have asked teachers for help, only 50% report that things improved.

(Source: Positive Times)

Foolproof Research Proposal Template

At the University of Oregon, Dr. Karen Kelsky created an intuitive graphic organizer for anyone writing a masters or PhD research proposal. 

Brain Feed

Podcast Recommendations

If you love podcasts as much as me, you'll enjoy The Audit--a podcast, newsletter, and keyword-searchable index. One of their suggestions turned out to be terrific: The Guardian Long Read - the best long-form stories from The Guardian read aloud. 

Vitamins for Over-50 Males

Today I spent some time researching the best vitamins for men over 50 (like me). Flinstone Chewables didn't make the cut. However, Kirkland Signature Adult, 50+ (Costco's private label) was well supported and is a great deal. $17.25 for 400 tablets. 

Writing Tip Goldmine

The University of Washington has about 25 writing tips handouts here, including how to write transitions effectively, attend to style, compose a summary, and more. These are thoughtful and rigorously edited. 

Also, The University of Texas has even more handouts on writing topics like paraphrasing and wordiness. Hoo-Boy! 

"Why? Why? Tell 'Em That It's Human Nature"

TOTO keyboard player Steve Porcaro reveals how he wrote the 1982 Michael Jackson ballad, "Human Nature" It's about a personal incident that occurred to his daughter at school.

Linguist Warns: Don't Say "The African Americans"

Linguist Lynne Murphy explains that using "the" creates the impression that any group is a "uniform mass" instead of a collection of diverse individuals and subgroups. To illustrate, she notes that Nazi's called their victims "the Jews" ("die Juden") and homophobes say "the gays." 

(Source: Quartz)

Lightning Round!


Chinese parents show their children the photo on the lower left, purported to be students studying at a Harvard library at 4:30 A.M.--an image of competitive industriousness. But the reality is a bit different. The photo on the right is the only library at Harvard that stays open all night, taken at 4:30 A.M. 

(Source: William Chen, Quora)

Harvard library at 4:30 A.M. - Fake Photo 

Harvard library at 4:30 A.M. - Real Photo

Our cool product of the week is Finding Home: 12 Notecards & Envelopes by Traer Scott. Each features an evocative shelter dog and how the animal found a new home. 

​Disclosure of Material Connection: One or more of the links are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

Todd Finley

Edutopia Blogger and Asst. Editor || ECU Ed Professor || Founder of Todd's Brain at || Books: Dinkytown Braves and Rethinking Classroom Design.

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