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3 Ways to Build Your Brain:

It's Just Like Mountain-Climbing

 

Today's snack idea: make a "cereal mountain." Shape Raisin Bran into a "mountain" in your bowl, and top the peak with "snow" - vanilla yogurt. If you're feeling silly, yodel between bites!

 

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Smart people's brains are like a mountain with three levels:

 

1. A huge, wide base - countless bits of facts, knowledge and skills.

 

2. A large middle - built by practice applying those facts, over and over.

 

3. A smaller, distinct peak - the ability to create original thoughts and ideas.

 

 

You are never going to get to the peak unless you start off with a big base - a big foundation for everything you think and do. You also need a big middle area - lots of practice in working with ideas, words and numbers so that you can answer questions and solve problems quickly, accurately and confidently. THEN you're ready for the good stuff - the creative, original, exciting thinking, like writing a movie script or planning a new million-dollar business.

 

But it starts with that big knowledge base. You have to have a lot of discipline and self-control to build it up. It takes time. You can't skimp! The best way to get that big base is to literally stretch your brain, like you'd work a muscle, to make it able to store more and more knowledge.

 

But how do you collect a pile of knowledge that is, well, mountainous? How do you "stretch" your brain?

 

Simple - you practice thinking! It's like mountain climbing - just put one foot in front of the other, and keep moving ahead!

 

Here are three simple methods to help you get started on that mountainous brain you're building:

 

1.       Chart Your Reading.

 

Read for fun at least 30 minutes a day to push yourself to the point of "automaticity." That means you can read so well, you don't even have to try to understand what you're reading: the process has become automatic. You can use a calendar to keep track of your reading. Record 30 minutes a day, and check it off on the calendar. When you miss a day, read 60 minutes the next day. Keep it up! Don't slack off! This not only builds your reading skills, but also your power of concentration. It's best to NOT listen to music or have the TV on while you are reading. Then your brain can focus totally on comprehending what you're reading.

 

2.       Spelling "Ring."

 

Get two large locking rings, and a hole puncher, from an office supply store. Get together a lot of scrap paper. It should have no writing or typing on it - the back of pages that do are ideal as scrap. Cut or tear the scrap paper into equal-sized pieces (one-fourth, one-sixth or one-eighth of an 8 " x 11" piece of paper is good). Punch a hole in the corner of each piece of paper. Now start writing words that you have trouble spelling on these pieces of paper. Add them to your "ring." Keep your ring of tough spelling words by your desk or bed or on the kitchen table. Flip through it daily. After a while, have someone give you a simple spelling test. See if you've mastered the words on your ring. If so, move the words you've mastered onto the other ring. Now you'll have one with words you're learning, and another with words you've learned. It wouldn't hurt to look at the ones you think you know, from time to time, to make sure you still know them.

 

3.       Math Flash Cards.

 

For math, you build your brain with flash cards. Obtain a set of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division flash cards. These are the "math facts" that it is so important to memorize. So with the flash cards, you should go over and over and OVER them until you can get 100% in a short amount of time. It's important to memorize your math facts so that when you take on the more complicated math in middle school and high school, you have "automaticity" in the basics there, too. Kids who are smart in grade school and do pretty well in math can get completely tripped up in middle school and high school because they have been lazy about memorizing their math facts. You can make your own set of flash cards from scratch paper, or they're available in stores for just a dollar or two.

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Brainstorming 06 2015

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