Short Stories and Mashed Potatoes

What I’m Reading:  “100 Years of American Short Stories” edited by Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor. While I love novels, I’m also a sucker for short stories. This particular complication is wonderfully organized by time period starting in 1915. Moore and Pitlor give a brief history of each author before their short story, which I think provides important context. I’ve only just started reading this 753 page behemoth but I’m enjoying it so far!

100 years

Building Confident Learners: Experiential learning. Provide actual context for learners whenever possible. If you’re learning about history, go to a historical home or monument. If you’re learning about science, DO a science experiment or explore nature. Physical and mental exploration are key in retention of information.

What Gives Me Joy: Travel. Although I’m not in a position to travel very far right now, I did visit Charleston with my mom when she was in town for Thanksgiving. American history (both beautiful and horrific) is imbedded in the city and I enjoyed learning more about our country’s past while there. Plus, time with my mom is always a plus!


We obviously had to stop for some delicious (although perhaps not nutritious) food on our trip. I’m a fervent fan of mashed potatoes.

The joy of learning. Together. 


Novel Experiences

Everyone can agree that experiencing something for the first time can be thrilling. We all love the feeling of getting new shoes or a new phone, trying an exciting new food, or visiting a place we’ve never been. It turns out that not only do we really enjoy novel experiences, we also learn really well from them! Unsurprisingly, we tend to remember a novel experience and the things associated with them better than something mundane. There are a lot of ways teachers and parents can create novel experiences for their learners. The purpose of a field trip for example is to make what students are learning about in school novel and relevant. Novel learning experiences can happen anytime and anywhere! You don’t need to go far or spend a lot of money to find them. Try camping out in your backyard, go for a hike and write in an observation journal, cook something new, or go to a museum. Not only do novel experiences help children learn, they are also a ton of fun and bolster their curiosity promoting further inquiry.

Speaking of novel experiences, I learned to shuck oysters last weekend! I know oysters look a little disgusting but I love them, and now I can prepare them.


If you want to learn more about what happens in the brain when experiencing something new and exciting, follow the this link from Scientific American.

The joy of learning together. Nora