‘Brain Rules’ author to speak at The Bear Creek School Oct. 5

Dr. John Medina, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University, will talk about his best-selling book "Brain Rules" from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 at The Bear Creek School, 8905 208th Ave. NE in Redmond. The event is open to the public.

Dr. John Medina

Dr. John Medina, director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University, will talk about his best-selling book “Brain Rules” from 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5 at The Bear Creek School, 8905 208th Ave. NE in Redmond. The event is open to the public.

General admission is $20. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and books will be available for sale, with Medina signing books after the event.

The lecture is sponsored by The Bear Creek School’s ParentNet group, which hosts discussions “around the topics of creating a home life that will enrich our children academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually,” explained Karen Firminger, who co-chairs the group with Kim Wallis and Natalie Higashiyama.

Medina will address how a supportive home environment promotes success in school, with special attention to “brain rules” about multi-tasking, exercise, stress and sleep.

“One of our goals is to partner with the school and their mission,” said Higashiyama. “We try to tie together home, family and academic life. We hear recurring themes about the problems of stress and overscheduling.”

Parents also commiserate about their kids not getting enough sleep.

“Do you let them stay up late to get homework done?,” Firminger pondered. “Then there’s multi-tasking. Kids are doing homework, texting, listening to the TV or radio.”

When the ParentNet group gets together, “we don’t leave with all the answers. Sometimes we leave with more to think about,” Firminger emphasized.

Wallis agreed, “It’s very reflective. We share our nuggets on how to improve. … Michelle (Tresemer), our new communications director, came up with the idea of ‘Surviving and Thriving from Home to School.’ We really want to integrate all of that, keep it positive.”

Firminger added, “And we want to bring this to the external community. We’re all in this together.”

We asked the ParentNet co-chairs how Medina’s advice about “Brain Rules” can be realistically implemented in an academic or work setting.

For example, there’s “Rule No. 1: Exercise boosts brain power.” Most people know that exercise is both mentally and physically stimulating, but sometimes we’re bound to a desk, whether we like it or not.

The ParentNet members said that recess breaks, activity periods and a no-cut sports policy at The Bear Creek School provide many opportunities for students to stretch and/or play.

Karen Blankenbeckler, vice-president of academic affairs at The Bear Creek School weighed in, as well.

“Dr. Medina will also be speaking to Bear Creek teachers about Rule No. 1. … Teachers can vary the types of instructional strategies within a lesson so that students are not passively sitting and listening to a lecture for long periods of time, but are actively engaged. Lessons that include hands-on interactions, cooperative discussions, kinesthetic activities and other methods that allow for movement and interaction can give students the mental boost needed.”

As for Medina’s “Rule No. 2,” he said, “There is no greater anti-brain environment than the classroom or cubicle.”

Field trips and real-life experiences “can enhance a child’s learning and help them make brain connections,” said Blankenbeckler. “Parents can support this ‘brain rule’ by giving their child experiences to make learning connections. In our media-saturated world, many students experience things virtually through television or the computer instead of playing outside in the backyard, going on a bike ride or visiting a museum. Parents can encourage these types of experiences.”

Medina’s appearance at The Bear Creek School will include a question and answer session.

“With someone like Dr. Medina coming out to our neck of the woods, we thought that the whole Eastside community should be invited, too,” Firminger concluded.

To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.tbcs.org/brainrules.

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