As I mentioned on Tuesday, the Mother Letters e-book is now on sale. I’m honored that Amber and Seth included my letter in the collection, and I’m delighted to celebrate and promote the work by participating in their affiliate program. If you click on the book widget below and buy a copy of Mother Letters, I will receive a commission. I’m one of many who believe the content is worth investing in.
John Medina, in his book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School, says he asks a question of students in every college course he teaches: “Given a class of medium interest, not too boring and not too exciting, when do you start glancing at the clock, wondering when the class will be over?”After a little shuffling of papers, hemming and hawing, someone will blurt out, “Ten minutes.”They start to lose attention at the ten-minute mark.Medina says, “Peer-reviewed studies confirm my informal inquiry: Before the quarter-hour is over in a typical presentation, people usually have checked out” (74).He recommends planning presentations in 10-minute “modules,” if you will, each module representing one big idea. Introduce the idea with a one-minute story or something that will capture attention and then spend the following nine minutes explaining it. As the timer ticks into the ninth minute, though, wrap it up.To successfully reboot audience attention for the following ten-minute segment, he has found success by telling another attention-grabbing story, demonstration or activity (it must be relevant to the information presented) that either wraps up the current point or introduces the next. He often speaks on topics associated with the brain and finds that curious case studies related to unusual pathology effectively engage his students with the material.By making that effort to divide up the presentation into 10-minute units, the speaker works with our brains’ natural tendencies, helping listeners pay attention and retain information.
Festival of Faith & Writing, here I come!While at the Festival, I’ll be tweeting using the official #ffwgr hashtag.[blackbirdpie url=”https://twitter.com/#!/FFWgr/status/192443416150409216″]As you can see above, the Festival Twitter handle is @FFWgr. If I have time, I may post a few thoughts on Facebook and my blog, as well, as I process the flood of information and stories. If not, I have prepared a Food on Fridays post unrelated to the Festival (but whole-foods healthy).I’ll also be listening to see if any of the speakers naturally employ the ten-minute-segment technique or other attention-grabbing elements. I won’t be judging, of course…only curious.
Do you know any good sources for sample essays I could include in teaching materials? I’m teaching another high school writing class next year, and one of my biggest frustrations this year was that I couldn’t find solid essay models for the students to learn from. If you know of a source or would be willing to share one of your own with me, including permission to distribute for this class, I’d appreciate your help. I’d love to collect good, solid examples of the following:
- Basic, Informational Essay
- Definition Essay
- Compare-Contrast Essay
- Persuasive Essay (especially one that models how to build a solid, logical argument)
- Narrative Essay (this is the easiest to find, as many blog posts fit this)
- Critical Essay
Have you written something like this at your blog or for a class? Have you seen something online that I could ask for permission to use in class?
Back in January I bought a Groupon for a massage. I saved it for quite a while, as we were dealing with situations that made it difficult to get away for a chunk of time. Then, I got a break.Last week, I went in for my long-awaited treat. I’ve only had three massages over the course of my life, so I don’t have a lot to compare. However, I do think this was the best I’ve ever had. She concentrated on my back and shoulders, working to relax tight muscles.That afternoon and the next day my back felt good-sore, like my legs feel after a long run. Later, I felt flexible. Relaxed. Renewed.I phoned my friend and left a voice message: “I think any revisions to health care in America should include regular, mandatory massages. It would help with job creation as out-of-work people could be trained in massage therapy to help meet demands. And it could promote peace in our nation, as everyone would just kind of chill out.”
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Notebook image by Ann Kroeker. All rights reserved. You may “pin” in a way that links back to this post.