Cognitive learning incorporates the short-term and long-term memory. Dr. Michael Orey (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009) discussed the “7 +/- 2” theory for short-term memory storage. This means at any given time, the short-term memory can hold only minimal bits of information; this is why further connections must be made and transfers of the information from short- to long-term memory. The best way to create long-term memory is to allow the brain to create more connections of neurons at the dendrite tips, as we learned from Dr. Pat Wolfe in week 1 of our course studies (Laureate Education, Inc., 2009). Creating images of words and pictures related to one another is a strong way to create memory. When the visual aide ties the information together, the brain will create more connections and begin to make trigger marks, or tags, to recall the information.
Using cues, questions, and advanced organizers is a wonderful way to create the links and tags of memory; this is essential to the cognitive learning theory (Pitler & Hubbell, 2007) (Marzano, 2001). Cues and questions can be crossed referenced and used of advanced graphic organizers will give visual tags to the written or oral information. Students using technology programs, such as Inspiration (or Webspiration online) are able to manipulate and create an image rich concept maps for linking the new information. I have used the program for many classroom assignments and always have great success with the student output and outcomes. Kids love visuals, especially those they can create with instant feedback.
Summarizing and note taking is a whole other ballpark for me. I have spent countless class periods creating, leading, teaching, and handing out notes. I show various techniques and hand out my own set for the students to use as models. I walk systematically through the process of note taking and still, I cannot seem to get the concept across to my 8th graders. Sometimes I think the whole idea is too far above their heads for it to sink in, and other days I see lights shining from in front of me, and it is not the overhead! I instruct using Microsoft Word. I show the students how to easily fix the “squiggly lines” into correct grammar and spelling, but I still receive hard copies and final submissions with errors everywhere. I purposely spell incorrectly so they can see the problems and how to correct them, but still…what to do? Well, Pitler & Hubbell (p. 125) would suggest using non-linguistic notes, with written cues on the left margin and pictures on the right. I highly encourage doodles and drawings to help stimulate the information to long-term memory storage, but too often the drawings do not connect to the information and no memory of any kind are created. I am hoping for suggestions and assistance in this area. My district Assistant Superintendant of Curriculum is a Marzano Superfan, so this would be a great help for me!!