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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County
Brains and Stars
March 10, 2011
from the Editor
Man with a Mission: Helping Children, Families and Teachers
Suki's Blog: Going Green, Going Cheap
This Week
Star Chasing
About Brain Rules
Just Notes from Dr.Medina's Lecture
Click to view our Business Directory
  from the Editor

(Products/Books) BrainRulesBook.jpgLast week Cabrillo College, Gateway School and the Santa Cruz County Office of Education brought renowned developmental molecular biologist and bestselling author Dr. John Medina to Santa Cruz for a free presentation.  Brain scientists have uncovered some important new details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know. As Dr. Medina stated.  "We can all be in the same room seeing and hearing the same talk, but how we perceive that same information will be unique to each of us."  You may read my perception below and I would like to hear yours if you were there. 

(Products/Books) BrainRulesBabyBook.jpgI'm excited about reading his two books, Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby. In his lecture, Dr. Medina made the fledgling science of studying the brain exciting, interesting and funny!  I expect this will come through in his books.

Are you preparing for Spring Break? Many of our businesses offer full or drop-in camps and classes for you. This is a great way to explore a new activity.  If you're home with the children and thinking of taking a few day trips, take a look at places to go in our business directory's Art, Activities & Attractions section. 

There's something magical about night star gazing.  I've met the nicest people chasing stars. They seem to universally want to share their telescopes and knowledge. We're featuring three locations where you can explore the heavens in the company of experts.

(Icons/Graphics) SpringForward_SetYourClocksAhead.jpgSpring forward this weekend with DAYLIGHT SAVINGS and set your clocks forward Saturday night.

Happy reading, Parmalee

  Man with a Mission: Helping Children, Families and Teachers

(Site Photos) 46cceo_Dr.jpgI think Dr. Medina is the kind of teacher who so respects his audience that he puts out the information/facts and allows us to draw our own conclusions. My head was so full of the facts he threw out and the excitement generated with his entertaining talk that it took a while for me to realize that he is a man with a mission to help children, their families and their teachers be successful.

Every article I read, discussion I have with educators and lecture I attend leads me back to the primary factor that ensures success in school. It all keeps coming back on us parents.

No matter which school we parents choose for their children, how great the teacher, how much money is spent per pupil, the child who has the best chance at success in school is the one who goes forth into the world from the CONSTANT of a stable family life. What's the essence of a good family life? Emotional stability, parents satisfied in their primary relationship and parenting as a team. Who says? Dr. John Medina!

His field of study is genetic psychiatric disorders of the brain, which has led him toward considerations of how the brain works chemically when under stress (or not), and to offer the results of his studies to parents and teachers working with "young brains" in order to facilitate "smarts".

At last week's lecture on the Brain, Stress, Emotional Stability, Exercize and Learning, Dr. Medina reminded us that parenting is not easy. Our darling offspring, as babies, toddlers, kids, teenagers engage our hearts with their cooing, talking, and wit and at the same time pose non-stop challenges with piercing crying, tantrums, sibling fights, refusal to cooperate, sassing, and outright rebellion. In fact, Dr. Medina has documented that the moment baby enters family, stress rises, and increases with the arrival of a sibling or two.

According to Dr. Medina, not only have studies shown that with the birth of a child, stress within the family will increase but that that unless there is a solid relationship between parents, in approximately 50% of families, without intervention, stress will lead to disharmony and can result in divorce.  Family stress adversely affects the child and his/her ability to learn in school.

Dr. Medina is a scientist/teacher who relies on measureable data and engages his audience in rapt attention. With charts and graphs he takes us through examples of the relationships between stress, exercize and brain activity. He cites Dr. John Gottman who, through studies with control groups (the study was on heterosexual couples), has been able to isolate the one factor that accurately predicts marriage failure/success: the wife feeling that she is heard. He was quick to remind us that the wife must communicate her feelings well and the husband must listen. He confirms what we intrinsically know, and yet 50% of us cannot seem to find our way out of the stress!

With numerous examples, over and over Dr. Medina helped us understand that exercize is the best antidote to stress.  It's good for ALL of us --parents, grandparents, teachers, children, everyone-- ALL our lives long.

Dr. Medina fed us a teaser by referring to a "secret sauce" used to intervene and turn marriages that were headed toward divorce into harmonious families that were able to provide an emotionally stable environment for themselves and their children.  Of course the audience wanted to know the recipe for this secret sauce, but we will have to read the books in the notes below.

Read my notes at the end of this newsletter and see if you agree with me that we parents who want to see our children do well in school are responsible for providing the kind of family harmony and stability that equips our children to make the most of educational environments.

  Suki's Blog: Going Green, Going Cheap

(Site Photos) SukiRedHead_138.jpgA friend and I were talking about how all this emphasis on "going green" was getting her down. Her family is presently in reduced economic circumstances, and she said, "I feel like we can't afford to be green!"

So we started to talk about all the ways in which her family is actually living a "green" lifestyle. There are plenty of ways to live a lifestyle that has less impact on our Earth and also save money. Here are a few we came up with: 

Read Suki's five suggestions!  >>>>>>>

  This Week

Event CalendarBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

Class Calendar | Movie Showtimes

 

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School

Corner

 

 

 

 

 

Monarch Community School K-6  Open House 3/10

 

Orchard School K-6, Open House 3/15

 

Good Shepherd Pre-8, Open Showcase 3/16

 

Waldorf K-8 Why Waldorf Q & A 3/16

 

Kirby 9-12 Open House 3/22

 

Aptos Academy Pre-8 Evening Open House 3/23

 

Santa Cruz Montessori Pre-8 Parent-Child Co-educational Collaboration 3/4-4/15

 

Waldorf K-8, Parenting Boys and Girls 3/25-26

 

Waldorf School 1-6 Waldorf Alive! A Walk Through the Grades 3/29

The 12 Brain Rules

 

After you read a chapter, reinforce the main points through illustrations, charts and video.

 

EXERCISE Rule #1: Exercise boosts brain power.


SURVIVAL Rule #2: The human brain evolved, too.


WIRING  Rule #3: Every brain is wired differently.


ATTENTION Rule #4: We don't pay attention to boring things.


SHORT-TERM MEMORY  Rule #5: Repeat to remember.


lLONG-TERM MEMORY  Rule #6: Remember to repeat.


SLEEP  Rule #7: Sleep well, think well.


STRESS  Rule #8: Stressed brains don't learn the same way.


SENSORY INTEGRATION  Rule #9: Stimulate more of the senses.


VISION  Rule #10: Vision trumps all other senses.


GENDER  Rule #11: Male and female brains are different.


EXPLORATION  Rule #12: We are powerful and natural explorers.

Ready to play? Watch Michael deal with the baby crying and the goldfish is dying. Then John Medina will ask YOU some questions.

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Chile Verde!

 

Our tender & lean thick-cut pork loin chops are coated with our flavorful seasoned coating, then simmer with a salsa of mild green chiles, yellow corn and garlic, for an easy and flavorful main dish. Topped with Monterey Jack cheese too! Use leftover sauce on your eggs the next morning for a special breakfast...

 

Corralitos Berry Cobbler

 

What a great warm dessert this will make! Berries grown right in Corralitos. A 2-berry combo--blackberries and raspberries--with a tender, buttery and flaky cobbler topping. Serve with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

 

YUM! ORDER HERE

Free Delivery to your kitchen!

429.1390

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Tyrolean Inn

Restaurant


German Roulette Continues!

This has been one of our most popular specials ever!


Every Tuesday and Thursday* in the month of March, the chef will pick an entree from our regular menu and offer it at

1/2 price!

*except Buffet

9600 Hwy 9, Ben Lomond
336.5188

(Business Logos) TyroleanLogo3.jpg

tyroleaninn.com

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 Star Chasing

(Site Photos) Galileostelescope.jpgFriday Evening Public Star Shows ~ Hartnell College
Learn about our starry skies ~ Every Fri from 7:00pm to 9:00pm
"Astronaut"   March 11, 18, 25 ~ 7pm  ~  Admission Fees: $4-6

Start your weekend out by taking in a star show at Hartnell College's J. Frederic Ching Planetarium. Enjoy exciting full dome immersive imagery and the relaxing sight of a starry night sky as produced by the Konica Minolta Mediaglobe. Our programs will inform and entertain curious minds.

One of our most popular programs, Astronaut, returns! Blast off into both inner and outer space as we see the effect of spaceflight on the human body and examine the human desire to expand our knowledge through exploration. Co-feature "Two Small Pieces of Glass" traces the 400 year history of the telescope, from the initial discoveries of Galileo to to our modern and ever expanding understanding of our place in the universe.  more information >>>>>>


(Site Photos) moonthroughtelescope.jpgEvening Star Gazing at Foothill College: View the stars through a 16 inch telescope ~ Every Fri 9pm


Foothill Observatory is open for public viewing every clear Friday evening from 9-11pm. Visitors can view the wonders of the universe through the observatory's new computer-controlled 16-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. Views of objects in our solar system may include craters and mountains on the moon, the moons and cloud-bands of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn, etc. The choice of targets for any evening's viewing depends on the season and what objects are currently in the sky.

On clear, dark, moonless nights, the telescopes give visitors views into the deeper reaches of space. Star clusters, nebulae, and distant galaxies provide dramatic demonstrations of the vastness of the cosmos.  more information >>>>>


(Site Photos) MoonVenus2.jpgWelcome to the Santa Cruz Astronomy Club. "Some people promise you the stars.   We deliver."

The Santa Cruz Astronomy Club serves all communities in Santa Cruz County, California and neighboring areas. Our emphasis is telescope observing, family participation, and public enjoyment of the wonders of the starry night. Check the events or calendar for our schedule...

We meet on the Second Thursday of every month at 7:30pm, at the Harvey West Park Scout House, and hold 2-3 star parties per month, generally at the Bonny Doon Airport, weather permitting.

Various of our club members volunteer to provide a viewing experience to the public. We may randomly do sidewalk astronomy around the area, as well as occasional school and camp groups.

If you're thinking of coming to one of our viewing events, its always a good idea to check the club's email list for last minute updates.  The next Bonny Doon Observing is March 26.  We ask that you contact us if you are planning to attend.

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  About Brain Rules

About Brain Rules   ~  Excerpt from BrainRules.net

"Most of us have no idea what's really going on inside our heads. Yet brain scientists have uncovered details every business leader, parent, and teacher should know-like the need for physical activity to get your brain working its best.

How do we learn? What exactly do sleep and stress do to our brains? Why is multi-tasking a myth? Why is it so easy to forget-and so important to repeat new knowledge? Is it true that men and women have different brains?

In Brain Rules, Dr. John Medina, a molecular biologist, shares his lifelong interest in how the brain sciences might influence the way we teach our children and the way we work. In each chapter, he describes a brain rule-what scientists know for sure about how our brains work-and then offers transformative ideas for our daily lives.

Medina's fascinating stories and infectious sense of humor breathe life into brain science. You'll learn why Michael Jordan was no good at baseball. You'll peer over a surgeon's shoulder as he proves that most of us have a Jennifer Aniston neuron. You'll meet a boy who has an amazing memory for music but can't tie his own shoes.

You will discover how:

* Every brain is wired differently
* Exercise improves cognition
* We are designed to never stop learning and exploring
* Memories are volatile
* Sleep is powerfully linked with the ability to learn
* Vision trumps all of the other senses
* Stress changes the way we learn

In the end, you'll understand how your brain really works-and how to get the most out of it."

  Just Notes from Dr.Medina's Lecture

March 3, 2011

I learned a lot from Dr. John Medina's lecture tonight, and I'm writing about it right away, as he suggested, because I'll remember more now than I will tomorrow. Dr. Medina's field of study has been genetic psychiatric disorders of the brain, which has led him toward considerations of how the brain works, both chemically and emotionally and to offer the results of his studies to parents and teachers working with "young brains" in order to facilitate better learning.

I learned that brain science is a fledgling science. What Dr. Medina will commit to is what he or other scientists have been able to prove clinically with controlled studies and chemical analysis.

Myth: there are no "left brained or right brained" people. We all use both sides.

Exercize and Stress

Historically, the brain is designed to solve problems in an outdoor setting under all meterological conditions when moving! Question: What happens to brain smarts when we put children in classrooms (and people in cubicles) and expect them to sit still?

Exercize boosts brainpower. We know aerobic exercize 3x week for a half hour influences smarts. We don't know if exercize increases academic performance. The US is low in math scores/skills. Perhaps schools should schedule all math classes right after gym class.

Exercize does not change memory unless/until 36 months of regular exercize has been practiced, ie, make a lifestyle change if you want to maintain or increase memory performance.

Aside: we do not yet know what causes 98% of alzheimers diagnoses.

Interesting Study on the effects of exercize on the brain: Over a year's period of people with diagnosed severe depression control group 1 received: good psychiatric therapy and right level of zoloft ($2,000 or so per month) = 80% cure; and control group 2 received good psychiatric therapy and exercize 5 days/week = 80% cure.

Stressed brains do not learn the way non-stressed brains learn. Stress can cause brain damage. What is stressful for one person is not stressful for another. This can be chemically tested (urine).

The single greatest predictor of success in school is the emotional stability of the homes. It's the parents' responsibility to provide an emotionally stable home environment. The child who goes home to a drunk father who abuses her is so severely stressed that she cannot learn, cannot get out of the hole.

Results of Marty Seligman's study of German shepherds: The more out of control you feel in the face of adversity, of negative stimuli coming at you, the more likely you are to feel stressed to the point of shutting down. It's called a cognitive collapse. When sufficient stress hormones are released so as to overcome the part of the brain that resists stress, the brain shuts down.

There is a relationship between the hippocampus part of our brain that turns short term memory into long term memory and our adrenal glands that release a stress hormone. For some individuals the release of too many stress hormones can overcome the BDNF* (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) factor leading to the death of brain cells. Studies of genetics have proven that some people inherit more BDNF and have greater stress resistance. For those of us who didn't inherit the strong genetic ability to resist stress, fortunately aerobic exercize is as effective as BDNF, producing buffers against the effects of stress.

Dr. Medina cites John Gottman Ph.D., author of "And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives", widely known as the foremost authority on western marriage. Married conflict increases as the baby grows. He did tests on heterosexual married couples from which he determined an accurate predictor of marriage success/failure. He reduced it to one variable that predicts marital success. If the woman feels like she is being heard by the man, the marriage will make it. If not, it's bound for the divorce courts. He followed this up with controlled studies of couples that received no counseling and couples that received intervention counseling. Bottom line, if you can stabilize the home, the kids also stabilize and do better in school.

The "F" word test. We agree that the F word is a combat word. If the baby's hearing it, it shows up in the urine. Without even talking to the parents, a urine analysis can reveal that a marriage is in trouble.

Teach parents how to create an emotionally stable landscape. His "secret sauce" recipe is a 4 week/weekend "intervention" teaching couples how to be emotionally competent. The woman must feel she is being heard. First step is to teach the men to 1) listen and then verbalize what they think they hear/see the woman feeling, and 2) make a guess as to where that feeling comes from.  3) The woman has to tell the husband exactly what she is feeling.

Graphs show chemistry of stress before/after intervention.

Sweet spot for learning is right after exercize and before jumping in the shower (how many good ideas do you get in the shower).

98% of alzheimers cause is unknown origin. They simply do not know enough about it.

Babies use your face to get an emotional reading. They focus on the space between the left side of your nose and eye. Their little throats can only produce high pitched sounds. When you speak to them in soft, higher pitched tones, they will talk back to you.

Kindness has a neuroscience affect. Empathy works. Kindness produces great brain function.

*A large body of evidence has established a link between stressful life events and development or exacerbation of depression. At the cellular level, evidence has emerged indicating neuronal atrophy and cell loss in response to stress and in depression. At the molecular level, it has been suggested that these cellular deficiencies, mostly detected in the hippocampus, result from a decrease in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) associated with elevation of glucocorticoids. Thus, an increase in expression of BDNF, facilitating both neuronal survival and neurogenesis, is thought to represent a converging mechanism of action of various types of antidepressant treatments (e.g., antidepressant drugs and transcranial magnetic stimulation). However, as also revealed by converging lines of evidence, high levels of glucocorticoids down-regulate hippocampal synaptic connectivity ('negative' metaplasticity), whereas an increase in expression of BDNF up-regulates connectivity in the hippocampus ('positive' metaplasticity). Therefore, antidepressant treatments might not only restore cell density but also regulate higher-order synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus by abolishing 'negative' metaplasticity, and thus restore hippocampal cognitive processes that are altered by stress and in depressed patients. This antidepressant regulatory effect on hippocampal synaptic plasticity function, which may, in turn, suppress 'negative' metaplasticity in other limbic structures, is discussed. http://biopsychiatry.com/bdnf.html

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