The best way to study for a test

December 7, 2007

Cognitive Daily dances through the research with alacrity, pointing to some research-approved methods for studying to do well on tests.

The best way? Greta and Dave Munger, the authors at Cognitive Daily, show the results that say students should study, take a month off, then study again. Cramming the night before has extremely limited benefits.

Can you apply that in class? Will your students listen to you?

The No Child Left Behind Act makes rumblings about using only research-proven methods in the classroom. If anyone ever enforces that clause, this post at Cognitive Daily better be your most visited site on the web. (They have other links, too. See “The Science of Cramming.”)

And, maybe we ought to stay up on the issue — the Mungers posted that information way back in August . . .


Pearl Harbor, 66 years ago today

December 7, 2007

This is an encore post, from a year ago. That was the last official reunion of the Pearl Harbor veterans, though I suspect a few will be there today, unofficially. New resources at the end of the post:

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Pearl Harbor, 65 years ago today

December 7, 2006
1941 AP file photo, small boat rescues victims from U.S.S. West Virginia

Associated Press 1941 file photo of a small boat assisting in rescue of Pearl Harbor attack victims, near the U.S.S. West Virginia, as the ship burns.

Today is the 65th anniversary of Japan’s attack on the U.S.’s Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Our local newspaper, The Dallas Morning News, has a front-page story on survivors of the attack, who have met every five years in reunion at Pearl Harbor. Today will be their last official reunion. The 18-year-olds who suffered the attack, many on their first trips away from home, are in their 80s now. Age makes future reunions impractical.

From the article:

“We’re like the dodo bird. We’re almost extinct,” said Middlesworth, now an 83-year-old retiree from Upland, Calif., but then – on Dec. 7, 1941 – an 18-year-old Marine on the USS San Francisco.

Nearly 500 survivors from across the nation were expected to make the trip to Hawaii, bringing with them 1,300 family members, numerous wheelchairs and too many haunting memories.

Memories of a shocking, two-hour aerial raid that destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft, that killed 2,390 people and wounded 1,178 others, that plunged the United States into World War II and set in motion the events that led to atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

“I suspect not many people have thought about this, but we’re witnessing history,” said Daniel Martinez, chief historian at the USS Arizona Memorial. “We are seeing the passing of a generation.”

Another article notes the work of retired history professor Ron Marcello from the University of North Texas, in Denton, in creating oral histories from more than 350 of the survivors. This is the sort of project that high school history students could do well, and from which they would learn, and from which the nation would benefit. If you have World War II veterans in your town, encourage the high school history classes to go interview the people. This opportunity will not be available forever.

There is much to be learned, Dr. Marcello said:

Dr. Marcello said that in doing the World War II history project, he learned several common themes among soldiers.

“When they get into battle, they don’t do it because of patriotism, love of country or any of that. It’s about survival, doing your job and not letting down your comrades,” he said. “I heard that over and over.”

Another theme among soldiers is the progression of their fear.

“When they first got into combat, their first thought is ‘It’s not going to happen to me.’ The next thought is ‘It might happen to me,’ and the last thought is ‘I’m living on borrowed time. I hope this is over soon,’ ” Dr. Marcello said.

Dr. Marcello said the collection started in the early 1960s. He took charge of it in 1968. Since Dr. Marcello has retired, Todd Moye has taken over as the director.

Other sources:

While this is not one of the usual dates listed by Congress, you may fly your U.S. flag today.

End of encore post —

Other resources:


Quote of the Moment: Alan Kors, human history in 60 seconds

December 7, 2007

Someone should have said “every really good idea can be summarized in 30 seconds.” To whom shall we attribute that: Lincoln? Einstein? Twain? Jefferson? Jesus? Round up the usual suspects, indeed.

The School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania sponsors a series of lectures — some topic distilled down to 60 seconds.

These are geographies of human thought. A map of what to think, sans details. Here, we get the history of humans in 60 seconds (plus a few), from April 19, 2006:

Prof. Alan C. Kors, University of Pennsylvania

Human History

Alan Charles Kors

George H. Walker Endowed Term Professor of History

  • First, tribes: tough life.
  • The defaults beyond the intimate tribe were violence, aversion to difference, and slavery. Superstition: everywhere.
  • Culture overcomes them partially.
  • Rainfall agriculture, which allows loners.
  • Irrigation agriculture, which favors community.
  • Division of labor plus exchange in trade bring mutual cooperation, even outside the tribe.
  • The impulse is always there, though: “Kill or enslave the outsider.”
  • Gradual science from Athens’ compact with reason.
  • Division of labor, trade, the mastery of knowledge, plus time brought surplus, sometimes a peaceful extended order and, rules diversely evolved and, the cooperation of strangers – always warring against the fierce defaults of tribalism, violence, and ignorance.
  • No one who teaches you knows what will happen.

You can find video here : Kors, Human History, high bandwith; low bandwidth.

A couple dozen such lectures, from 2006 and 2007, here.

Tip of the old scrub brush to Dr. P. M. Bumsted.


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