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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

December 22, 2016
Learn Anything in 4 Steps
The Feynman Technique

Winter Solstice Shadows

70 Books to Make You Feel Hopeful...
Places to Go!
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  Learn Anything in 4 Steps

(0 Dec 2016) Feynman.jpgIf you ever mastered a new skill, you were possibly using "The Feynman Technique."

One day when I had completed a long term sub in Kindergarten I was asked to do a five month sub in 6th grade. Panic! But flattered that the principal thought I could do it. I was up front about my math teaching skills at that level, but the principal promised to mentor me. He did! Every night I did the assignments, taking apart the problems, breaking and writing down every step so I could understand concepts and processes. Soon I was teaching math solo and enjoying it! In retrospect, I had unknowingly utilized a version of "The Feynman Technique."

I think any of you who are considering learning something new will appreciate reading about this technique and perhaps try it, because life, unless you are frozen, is always about change and growth. The extra bonus is your children seeing how you tackle something new and learning The Feynman Technique themselves.

(2 Buttons) Button_Weekend.jpg(Holidays) Christmas_Boy_NormanRockwell.jpgMerry Christmas and warm holiday times for all.

Please share our newsletter with new friends so they won't miss a few tidbits of wisdom from our author contributors, and as always our many fun events!

Have a festive weekend with family and friends!  Parmalee

  The Feynman Technique

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Learn Anything in Four Steps with The Feynman Technique

"With the Feynman Technique, you learn by teaching someone else a topic in simple terms so you can quickly pinpoint the holes in your knowledge. After four steps, you're able to understand concepts more deeply and better retain the information.

The Feynman Technique is a mental model that was coined by Nobel-prize winning physicist Richard Feynman. Known as the "Great Explainer," Feynman was revered for his ability to clearly illustrate dense topics like quantum physics for virtually anybody. In "Feynman's Lost Lecture: The Motion of Planets Around the Sun," David Goodstein writes that Feynman prided himself on being able to explain the most complex ideas in the simplest terms. Goodstein once asked Feynman to explain why...

The Feynman Technique is laid out clearly in James Gleick's 1993 biography, "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman." In the book, Gleick explains the method in terms of how Feynman mastered his exams at Princeton University: "He opened a fresh notebook. On the title page he wrote: NOTEBOOK OF THINGS I DON'T KNOW ABOUT. For the first but not last time he reorganized his knowledge. He worked for weeks at disassembling each branch of physics, oiling the parts, and putting them back together, looking all the while for the raw edges and inconsistencies. He tried to find the essential kernels of each subject." This is the first part of his process, but let's take a look at all four steps:

1. Pick a topic you want to understand and start studying it. Write down everything you know about the topic on a notebook page, and add to that page every time you learn something new about it.

2. Pretend to teach your topic to a classroom. Make sure you're able to explain the topic in simple terms.

3. Go back to the books when you get stuck. The gaps in your knowledge should be obvious. Revisit problem areas until you can explain the topic fully.

4. Simplify and use analogies. Repeat the process while simplifying your language and connecting facts with analogies to help strengthen your understanding.

The Feynman Technique is perfect for learning a new idea, understanding an existing idea better, remembering an idea, or studying for a test. We weren't kidding when we said it was good for anything. How would you use this technique?"

 

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  Winter Solstice Shadows

(0 Dec 2016) solstice-shadows.jpg"If you're inclined to take pleasure in the little things, like shadows that seem cast from a funhouse mirror, then the winter solstice is the time for you. It's now that the sun is at its lowest arc across the sky and thus, shadows from its light are at their longest. (Imagine a flashlight directly above your head and one hitting you from the side, and picture the respective shadows.) And in fact, your noontime shadow on the solstice is the longest it will be all year. Relish those long legs while you can."

Want to know more about Winter Solstice?  Read: 8 things to know about the winter solstice >>>

 

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  70 Books to Make You Feel Hopeful...

70 books to make you feel hopeful: An end-of-year reading list

"...a selection of uplifting reads - all suggested by TED speakers - for your end-of-year break..."

When you get snowed or rained in...
When you're reading to or with kids...
When you want to explore the world but can't stand to leave your house...
When you're looking for a completely different perspective on life...
When you want to take a trip back - or forth - in time...
When you're looking for a read that gives your brain something to chew on...
When you want a strong dose of reality...
When you want to pause and take stock of your life...
When you're ready to go forth and kick butt (without being a jerk)...

A few...

(0 Dec 2016) Book_YouAreSpecial.jpgYou Are Special by Max Lucado
This is a beautiful children's book. I've read it to my four boys, and I've cried more than a few tears while doing so! The story takes place in a village inhabited by small wooden people, known as the Wemicks. The central character, Punchinello, is constantly being judged by the other Wemicks. The very hopeful message here is the importance of not allowing ourselves to be held captive to the criticism or the praise handed out by the people around us. Instead, we can get to a place where neither the criticism nor the praise sticks to us, and we are free to be who we were created to be. The most hopeful piece of the message: we can all get there.
- Jim Hemerling (TED Talk: 5 ways to lead in an era of constant change)

(0 Dec 2016) Book_ImaFrog.jpgI'm a Frog! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) by Mo Willems
My children adore Willems' funny and charming books about a pig and an elephant who are best friends. They are early reader books with a very simple vocabulary, but they still manage to come across as sophisticated and witty (in a six-year-old kind of way). This one is my favorite. It ends with a funny punchline but also with one elephant's realization that he really is the teller of his own story, as are we all.
- Emma Marris (TED Talk: Nature is everywhere; we just need to learn to see it)

(0 Dec 2016) Book_PowerofNow.jpgThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
I began my meditation practice simply by learning, in part from this book, what it meant to be "in the now." I practiced finding the space between my thoughts, curious to see where my mind would go next. It became like a portal into another kind of awareness - into being the one who is aware of awareness. Using this approach, I found it seemed possible to detach from reactivity and egoic fixations and contemplate multiple perspectives with equanimity.
- Alyssa Monk (TED Talk: How loss helped one artist find beauty in imperfection)

  Places to Go!

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Track Santa with Norad
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  Track Santa with Norad
Norad
Date: Every day (Dec 1-Dec 23) from 3:00pm to 8:00pm
Details: Follow Santa's progress Christmas Eve
view all details >>
     
Ice Skating by the Bay
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  Ice Skating by the Bay
Ice Skating by the Bay
Date: Every day (Nov 19-Jan 8)
Ages: All
Details: Spend the dayice skating in a winter wonderland right by the Bay.
City: Monterey Phone: 831-649-4511 view all details >>
     
Twinkle Tours
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  Twinkle Tours
Mt. Herman
Date: Every day (Dec 15-Jan 9)
Ages: 10+
Details: Zip line through the twilight!
City: Mr Herman view all details >>
     
Ice Skating at Circle of Palms
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  Ice Skating at Circle of Palms
San Jose Downtown
Date: Every day (Nov 17-Jan 29)
Details: Skaters never tire of circling, twirling and gliding beneath 32 palms that stand majestic by day and twinkle by night
City: San Jose Phone: (408) 610-4055 view all details >>
     
4 Significant Steps
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  4 Significant Steps
Date:
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Guided Elephant Seal Walks Start Dec 15
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  Guided Elephant Seal Walks Start Dec 15
State Park Ano Nuevo
Date: Every day (Oct 25-Mar 31)
Ages: All: (Lots of walking)
Details: 3 mile hike over sand and sloping terrain to see thousands of elephant seals, including newborn pups, their mothers, and bulls
Special Instructions: Dec 15 - Mar 31
City: Pescadero Phone: 800.444.4445 view all details >>
     
Holiday Train Rides
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  Holiday Train Rides
Beach Boardwalk
Date: Every day (Nov 24-Dec 23)
Details: Celebrate the Holiday Season with a ride on one of three festive trains!
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
Preschool Adventures at the Sanctuary Exploration Center
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  Preschool Adventures at the Sanctuary Exploration Center
Sanctuary Exploraiton Center
Date: Every Wed from 10:00am to 11:00am
Ages: 3-5
Details: Free Storytime with Crafts and Show and Tell
City: Santa Cruz view all details >>
     
July Fridays at MOD
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  July Fridays at MOD
Santa Cruz Children's Museum of Discovery
Date: Every Fri (Jul 1-Jul 28) from 10:30am to 4:00pm
Ages: 0-12
Details: Stories, Circle Time, Summer Art
City: Capitola Phone: (888) 424-8035 view all details >>
     
4 Significant Steps
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  4 Significant Steps
Date:
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Tours of the Monarch Grove
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  Tours of the Monarch Grove
State Park Natural Bridges
Date: Every Su and Sa (Oct 15-Jan 31) at 11:00am
Details: Tour the monarch groves with a docent, 11am or 2pm
Special Instructions: Also 2pm
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 423-4609 view all details >>
     
     
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