Sunday, June 12, 2011

Attention Control-Chapter 3

Thanks Kristen for the blogs first comment!  This is the first blog I have done so I think the only way you can participate is to "comment".  I am not sure how we balance individual needs with the needs of the whole class.  My approach will probably be to use the information and ideas from the book as the year progresses.  Right now I am in the grammar stage with the information I hope to move to the logic stage throughout the year as I plan for the year and encounter new learning needs.

Chapter 3-Attention Control
Everyday I see the delicate balance between the attention controls of our students.  It was extremely helpful for me to see the attention system broken down into three controls: mental energy, intake, and output. 
Attention control categories are helpful because I could use the categories to talk with teachers about how to scaffold and monitor these skills in the classroom.   While all of the areas are extremely important I feel like this is one of the areas we need to get a handle on or students will loose ground quickly.  A student's inability to develop their attention controls will affect their capacity to develop in all other neurological areas. 
 I can already think of some 3rd grade students who would be overwhelmed by the prospect of monitoring all three attention controls, but I think students could be directly taught most of the skills required for attention control.
Mental energy controls consist of four functions, while teachers cannot control one of the functions (sleep) it would seem we can help students with three of the functions.  How do you think teachers can control for alertness, mental effort and consistency in the classroom?  All aspects of Intake control could potentially be taught, even satisfaction control.  As with intake controls, output controls would be directly taught and scaffolded for students.  Can you think of one strategy you could use to teach or monitor one of the sub-functions of mental energy, intake or output control?


  1. I am not sure if I am directly answering your questions or not Rebecca, but some thoughts I had on the chapter were:
    1. I like the "look before your leap" expression they used...not only is it a core knowledge expression, I think that it pretty much sums up the chapter and is a concise way to teach kids how to deal with attention control
    2. i love how our classical approach to instruction goes along with the active processing that was encouraged in this chapter. I also think that when a child is in trouble and you walk them through options of what they could have done instead (stressing that there is more than one right way) is a great idea from this chapter that also fits with the mission of our school.
    3. in the classroom, i think the idea of taking "mind breaks" for the kids to rest their minds in the middle of a long lesson is a great, doable way to help with attention in the classroom (and as opposed to just doing it, explain to the students why you are doing it!)
    4. i think that self evaluation can be used more
    5. talking about the 14 attention controls in class to empower kids with that knowledge sounds great!
    6. i like that excessive interest in sports is a type of visual motor ecstasy...i think i have that!

  2. Kristen,

    Your connections to approaches/ideologies we have as part of our school culture are really meaningful. It inspires yet another question from me, what do we already have has part of our philosophy/curriculum that could work with the ideas that Mr. Levine is presenting in this book. Classical education, as I understand it, does go hand and hand with the attention and memory strategies Mr. Levine describes.

    Great connection!