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Welcome to WGU!  I am glad you have joined us.  WGU is different from any other kind of university out there.  (Yes, VERY different even if you have taken online coursework before.)

New WGU students often find that some of the study styles they used in high school or in other colleges do not work as well here.    They find that they have to look into the study skills tool box and try out some study tricks. I entirely advocate that approach.  But rather than just try different study techniques willy-nilly, I advocate you start with the study style that best matches your learning style.

We already know there are LOTS of different study styles out there:

  1. Read the textbook.
  2. Write notes based on all the headings, subheadings and vocabulary words in a chapter.
  3. Create and use flashcards.
  4. Create question and answer notes– writing hypothetical questions on a vertical half of a notebook page and writing the ‘answer’ to the question on the other half of the page.
  5. Watching videos.
  6. Listening to your iPod.
  7. Getting a study partner and going over what you don’t understand…or going over everything.
  8. Take as many quizzes as you can get your hands on.
  9. Sleep with the book under your pillow and pray and hope.

OK, so some of the ones I listed are better (and worse) than others.  Would it surprize you to know that #1, read the textbook, is actually one of the poorest in terms of efficiency?  I’d put it right above #9 as worst study skill on this list.  Don’t get me wrong.  Reading and memorization are the FOUNDATION of learning.  But it really is terribly inefficient.

And you’ve come to WGU not to waste time (time away from your family) but to speed up time.  So let’s get cracking!

Let’s start with everyone’s favorite topic. YOU! Yes, you are your own favorite topic.  Err… at least initially, it is the one you are *for sure* interested in.  We’ll get to Biology in a bit.

Knowing who you are and how you learn will fill your tool box with the tools you’ll need during your time at WGU.  ALSO, learning more about learning styles will help you as a teacher.  You’ll be able to KNOW that everyone learns a little differently from everyone else.  AND you’ll have plenty of ideas for differentiaion of instruction (meaning = instruction ideas to suit ALL of the students in YOUR future classroom).

So, start by taking a Myers-Briggs Type Inventory.  There are actually many varieties of this personality test out there now, but here is a free one online: http://www.humanmetrics.com/cgi-win/JTypes2.asp

You should take note of linking your personality type to enhancing your learning.  You might want to write notes to yourself of study tricks to try because I will ask you later for some of those ideas.

So WGU is unlike any university you’ve ever attended and your study skills are quite likely going to be quite different that what you imagined.  Yes, WGU will seriously encroach upon your bon-bon eating time (that’s what I call that mysterious free time–that was not actually free– you had before WGU).  But if you are effecent in your learning, you can minimize your time at WGU, graduate faster, and be off to help your students learn too.  WIN WIN.

Coming soon:  Learning and Study Skills is NOT the entire 21st century classroom  Technology skills are critical too.  Interesting article here:

http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/blog/620000062/post/1820033982.html

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The mantra of many years of colds and flu lead us to ‘eat some chicken soup‘.  I’m a big believer in that.  Despite having strong vegetarian tendencies, I keep a few cans of chicken soup in my pantry at all times.  I particularly love chicken soup served with Bisquick biscuit sticks.  Those are basically Bisquick biscuits baked in a pool of melted butter, sprinkled with celery seed (my addition).

But OK, back to chicken soup.  So researchers have studied (and originally here) the curative powers of chicken soup.  They’ve discovered that it is a liquid and liquids, of course, help when we are sick because they help clear the bad nasty uglies from our bodies.  They’ve discovered it has salt– which is something we crave and again, salt begets more liquids…again good for us.  And there is the requisite chicken (protein) and noodles (carbs) and a few misc carrots and celery– all that seem meal-ish…especially if we really can’t muster up anything more fancy than opening a can, mixing with water and 3 minutes of microwave time.  There is some deeper neutrophil research too but that’s too obtuse for my taste in this argument.

But alas– I think we’ve missed the boat on chicken soup and I wonder if the researchers have checked THIS idea out (and if they haven’t, dibs!).

Given: no decent self-respecting soup can start without some boiling down of bones. Yup, I admit it. In all my vegetarian, animal-friendly, hug my pet-ness, bones make the soup.

Given: Bones are the place of the creation of part of the immune system (white blood cells, red blood cells).

Given: It is known that colds and flu come from AVIAN (bird) viruses because between birds and humans, there are similar antigens– keys, if you will, to unlock our cells to the avian viruses. (Love this video here from NOVA Science Now)

Therefore: good chicken soup comes from the boiling of chicken bones wherein lies the chicken immune system ‘starters’ (stem cells?).  We eat said cells– or cell parts– or even fragments– and we actually FEEL better from the very bird colds and flu that we suffer.

I see this connection!  Do you?