Enhance Memory and Learning by Unraveling the Sensory Puzzle: T1I S1 E5

Enhance Memory and Learning by Unraveling the Sensory Puzzle: T1I S1 E5

Cheri Dotterer: cerebellum
controls a lot of things and

some of the new research is it's
directly related to learning and


Jonily : Hello, everyone.
Welcome to tier one intervention

podcast, talking about
strengthening the tier one for

classroom with academic and non
academic interventions,

strategies and techniques to
meet the needs of all students

regardless of ability or
disability. I am Jonily

Zupancic, and I am here with my
partner in education partner in

crime. CHERI Dotterer. I teach
lessons. When I give quizzes,

when I come back to content, why
do students have so much trouble

retrieving the information and
recalling the information after

I've taught it? So Sherry is
going to enlighten us today on

everything that's happening?
That affects memory and

retention of content.

Cheri Dotterer: Good morning,
everybody. It's cheri Dotterer,

your classroom coach and lesson
plan whisperer, what's happening

inside your brain? What is

Jonily : I've heard you talk
about this a lot. But I'm gonna

say the first thing that came to
my mind was feelings. And I know

you talk about this difference
between feelings and emotion.

But there's some times I think
of this word stimulus, when I

think sensation, and how that
makes me feel emotionally,

mentally, physically.

Cheri Dotterer: Yes, we are a
three part being we have a mind

we have a body and we have a
spirit. And sensation is a

stimulus sensation is that
touch. It's that what's going

into the fovea of the eye. It's
that sound that you hear. It's

that taste, or that smell. All
of those things, that initial

contact, is that initial
sensation. And that initial

sensation can be calming or
alarming. When it's alarming.

You're never going to get
anything beyond what what I call

the amygdala hijack. Actually, I
don't call that somebody else

coined that phrase. That phrase
was coined by Daniel, Dr. Daniel

Amon, he is a radiologist, and
psychiatrist, what a

combination. But he does some
amazing things with radiology

and how and he's done some
research into what happens in

the brain with different
diagnoses. And he's done some

extensive research, and how the
brain lights up with normal

people, and atypical people. And
matter of fact, he has done

80,000 quarterbacks. And he has
researched post concussion, how

every concussion changes their
brain. So he has a big series on

what happens after concussion.
So he's very intriguing to me.

He wrote a book called Healing
ADHD, and that is absolutely one

of my favorite books, to really
delve into ADHD, change your

brain change your life was
another one of his books. And it

really talks about your health
and he and his wife have an

actual health system her her
name's Tana, make sure that we

share some of that stuff in the
show notes so that you can reach

out to him if that interests
you. We mentioned the five

sensations we mentioned, smell,
taste, hearing, vision and

touch. And so those are the
little icons, I have to

represent those different
sensations. The thing of it is

we have three more. Inside. You
also have the ability to have

sensation. These words are
proprioception, vestibular, and

interoception. Today, I'm going
to delve a little bit into the

proprioception, and other
podcast episodes, you'll get to

hear me talk a little bit more
about vestibular and

interoception. So what I use the
spring for is the proprioception

because proprioception is
reminds me Have a spring, it's

the spring, that's helping the
joint know how far to bounce

back and forth. I use the
Tumbleweed for vestibular

because that's the one that
makes you go tumble and move.

And then the last one really
does reflect those feelings that

you mentioned earlier Jonily,
and where it's where the, our

inner, that inner soul connects
with our body. And so it emotion

and feelings, and all of the
internal organs are responding

to interoception. And let's
really dig into the impact of

the olfactory system on you in
the classroom, the olfactory

system, your nose, think about
the anatomy around your head,

right now, where does that sense
go, it goes straight right into

the middle of the brain, into
the Olympic system. So your

brain is basically separated
into three parts, it has the

brainstem, and that's the back
of the neck, which goes up to

the center of the brain, which
is the limbic system. And then

we have the outer layer, which
is the cortex, that's where all

the thinking occurs, and all the
comparisons to our world. So

that DRAM is really that
rudimentary level, it is

controlling things like how fast
you breathe, what's going on

with your heart rate, turns on
and off digestion, when we go up

to the Olympic system takes
those sensations that we feel

from looking at our eyes, our
mouth, and all those other

areas, and filters them. The
thing that's different with

sensation of smell, is it goes
directly into the Olympic

system, it bypasses the
brainstem. And it doesn't go

into the cortex directly. It
only goes to that association

cortex in the frontal lobe,
which I'm getting a little

technical on you. But I want to
say this, because the olfactory

system is the one that you're
going to get a non thinking

response out of, okay, I'm gonna
get a little crass, maybe here.

So you have one of those kids in
your classroom that passes one

of those very loud gas bubbles,
the one that all the other kids

are going, although that initial
response of Ooh, that really did

stink, that is all subconscious,
which is where the Olympic

system is, that's your
subconscious brain. And all

those responses that you cannot
control are going right into

that limbic system. So that is
the only sensation that goes

directly into the Olympic system
that you have no other filtering

control, it is raw, think about
the classroom. Do you defuse

essential oils? Or do you defuse
something that you can get off

the shelf at the grocery store
like a glade? It may not be good

for all kids was the eighth
grade math classroom? How about

that John Lee it was the math
classroom. Anyway, the maths

teacher had glade push, push ups
in her plugs all over the room.

I think I found three of them.
But when I opened her door for

the first time that morning, I
got blasted with an overwhelming

smell that I could not tolerate.
I started tearing, I started

sneezing. And I'm going oh, this
is not going to work today. And

then I realized what she had
done. So I just gently pulled

out way through the room pulled
out all of them and left them

sit on the floor or at some
place next to where the outlet

was. And I left a message for
her. When I let at the end of

the day saying hey, I pulled
them out. This is why I'm

allergic to them. So I want you
to think about those smells that

are going on in your classroom
that you may be on suffering as

a calm for some may not be a
calm for others. What are your

thoughts on that? Did you ever
have any experiences where what

you thought was calming, was not

Jonily : No, for me smell
definitely affects my thinking.

Just a side note here, I grew up
in households with cigarette

smoking. And I remember the
smell, just when I would leave

the house the smell on my
clothes, it was something that

was overwhelming. And then when
I moved out to go into a place

now where that smell is, and
just it brings back that

sensation that I had felt
previous. And I never thought

about that before sharing when
you were talking, but that was

one smell that I think really
affected my mind to be honest.


Cheri Dotterer: it will it's
going to block. That filtering

system from working effectively
sensation that I'm going to talk

a little bit about here is
taste. We have a couple

different things that happen
with taste, we have the taste

buds on our tongue, that are
going to share the different

flavors, the bitter, the sweet,
the salty, but we also have

saliva that's getting put in our
mouth, we have that ability to

chew straight up and down. Or if
we have the more advanced to

where we're chewing with our jaw
at the bottom, going around in a

circle, that stimulation from
chewing can enhance attention.

Sometimes all you need is a cold
drink to stimulate attention. So

thinking about those kids that
are not paying attention in

class, that ability to have
water with a straw that's going

to allow them to suck the water
up into their mouth, rather than

a sports bottle without the
funny lid but just like a

regular drink, this couldn't
give a different effect on their

attention. With when you have to
pucker your lips, you're going

to get a stimulus that's getting
shot through the brain. And it's

going to increase attention.

Jonily : I've always heard and
been told that. And I know for

me now that I'm reflecting on
this chewing gum, oftentimes

will help me get into a really
focused state when I'm doing my

work. And then oftentimes I will
I know this is going to sound

weird, but chew ice, which helps
me think and is there anything

to a taste of a minty flavor
that stimulates that brain? So

talk to us about that Sherry,
because I know a lot of times in

schools when we are doing
testing, we might give the kids

mints. I know gum is a hot
topic, we really don't want kids

to have gum, but for me and my
work. And when I'm working on

projects, or presentations or
lesson planning, I know that

chewing really helps me maintain
a good focus or is that just in

my head?

Cheri Dotterer: No, it's no it's
not meant has a dual effect.

Mint goes down into your GI
tract. And it helps calm

digestion. All of our
neurotransmitters are made in

our gut. And they are sent to
our brain. So if you're calming

all of those anxiety related
feelings that happened in your

gut, you're going to have a
better connection to the

neurotransmitters that need to
go back up to your brain. The

taste goes a little bit through
the brainstem. It goes up into

the Olympic system as a filter.
But there's also this thing in

the back of the head called the
cerebellum. That's where we

control and we smooth out
movement. If you didn't have

that cerebellum, when you go to
pick up a glass of water, your

will be shaking all over the
place. And when we have students

or adults or whatever the have
that jerky movement, that's one

of the places that a neurologist
will look for a mishap that

might be happening in the brain.
And the cerebellum controls a

lot of things and some of the
new research is it's directly

related to learning and memory.
It's directly related to

learning and memory with
cerebellum isn't working, the

cerebellum is going to mess up
the connections beyond that

point with access to learning.
So the that system is very

important. So, ice chewing.
Mints are all good to help

stimulate thinking and attention
in your students. So be careful

of temperature because sometimes
temperature isn't always needing

to be cold. To stimulate
attention, sometimes you just

need the actual water. So don't
worry so much about the

temperature. However, they do
know that cold will stimulate

more. So if you have a kid who's
overstimulated, you might want

to give them some warm water,
your tongue is moving, your jaw

is moving. So it has to go to
the motor cortex, and the

association cortex to make
associations what to say,

there's also a part of the
temporal lobe, which is on the

side of the brain next to the
ears. And there's two areas in

there one's called the Broca's
area one calls the warning keys

area, one of those areas helps
with receptive speech, the other

one helps with expressive
speech. So there is a spot where

it's going to actually form the
words and make associations to

the language. It's a little
complex, wouldn't you say?

Jonily : It's very common.
Honestly, Sherry, the amount of

information that our kids
actually do retain, should be

celebrated, because there's so
much that's going on for

learning to happen. And I just
trinette has a great point to

your point, Sherry, I'm just
going to reiterate it because I

think this is an important
statement to make, which is the

straw in using a straw to drink.
The sucking trinette says the

second is a calming mechanism,
which shear you've already

mentioned that, but I think it's
important enough to say that,

again, just little things that
we can think about. Especially I

know, we're talking about tier
one and the full classroom, but

especially for pulling students
one on one or in small group and

working through maybe an
intervention cycle in a smaller

group rather, rather than the
whole class. I think these are

really some key interventions
that we can use with kids to

help their sensation, and in the
end will improve memory will

improve their emotional
attachment to the situation, it

will improve their focus, and
then long term, it's going to

improve the retention of the
content that we're trying to get

them to master.

Cheri Dotterer: Right now you
are getting the beginning part

of a two and a half hour
workshop, we are offering you as

a podcast listener, a discount
for your first month. So for a

mere $17, you can join us engage
in one of the workshops. If it's

not for you, fine, we understand
that. But if you're finding that

this material is engaging and
enriching your lesson planning,

if you are an OT, and it's
enriching your practice, in

connection with your students,
join us for a couple of months

and at every month after your
initial month will be $97. Or

you can join annually. But I
wanted to take this break right

here and do that. Because I
really think it's important that

you understand that John Lee is
going to start going into a much

deeper impact, and much deeper
into making rectangles and how

it relates academically, but
there's always those underlying

connections to what's happening
non academically. And that's

where I will interject thoughts
and comments. Our next one is

auditory. While we hear that
vision, hearing and kinesthesia

are the three types of learning.
Why is hearing so important?

What that is actually one of the
first sensations that we really

encounter when we're born. The
first thing that happens is we

yell and can we hear ourselves
yell? Can we hear our mother

respond to that yell? And we
make those nonverbal

communications with the crying
but some kids really have

trouble. There is a lot of
research and this is why a lot

of kids have tubes in their
ears. is there's a lot of

connections between central
auditory processing disorder,

and difficulty with hearing. I
know my hearing isn't a result

of ear infections and stuff and
reason I never had tubes put in

my ears. However, my hearing is
a result of being in marching

band in the percussion section
and being the cymbal player and

having that sound constantly in
front of me and that that

vibration that hits you in the
air can affect your eardrum and

also your hearing. So the
intensity of sound will also

impact my uncle and my father.
Were both in submarines. My

uncle was in the engine room.
His hearing, he's just about

deaf at this point in his life,
my dad has better hearing

because he was at a different
part on the submarine. But they

both have central hearing loss
because of the intensity of the

sound around them. That's why
decibel levels are so crucial to

kids learning. I had a student
who Gosh, Mom, mom, this was a

private student that I had, Mom
was asking me to help her out.

And they actually had the
audiologist come in, and then

entire day, and record the
decibel levels throughout the

day, because there was a point
in time in the day where she

would just shut down and go
ballistic. And what they were

trying to figure out if it was
decibel level, or there was

something else going on. So they
had one person doing a

functional behavioral
assessment. And then she was

doing the the decibel levels.
And when the kids had free time,

that point in time where the
kids are all making all the

noise, it was too much for her
to handle. So the teacher had to

strategically ask her to go to a
certain area of the room that

was created like a little
cocoon, that will make it a

little bit soft for her. So when
we had this free time that she

could then bring herself back
into the group, but that sudden

change was too much for her to
handle. So gusta gustatory

auditory is really a factor A
lot of kids with that central

processing, auditory processing
disorder, they cannot hear can't

vowel sounds, they can't hear on
a oh, they can't hear a E I owe

you, they're a little it's a
little easier. But think about

it, if talking about the square
root of something, or you're

talking about parentheses, first
of all, they got to know what

that symbol means they have to
have that connection to the to

what that looks like. But if
they're having trouble

understanding what the word is
that you're even saying, they

got shut down. They're back here
trying to process they lost five

sentences of what you just said.
Next one is vision. And this is

probably the one that I know the
most about. In my book, I talk

about the vision and stuff a
lot. And vision is very

complicated. We have the stuff
coming in through the eye. It

goes back through the retina.
The nervous system, switches

sides for half of the vision.
And then it stays on the same

side for half. It goes back into
this back part of the brain

called the occipital lobe. It
also has some touch in the

cerebellum and is creates a
digital file. You know how we

have 10s frames and 12 frames
and eight frames. The occipital

lobe actually makes it look like
a binary code. We get

12121212123 subtle change in
color. I have the green on

today. But how many shades of
green do I have on each one of

those greens is different file
of binary code in the occipital

lobe. That is sent to the
parietal lobe which is the green

part. So the occipital lobe was
the pink part. The prior lobe is

where we interpret and I have
the same thing in this hand.

It's imaginary right now I know
that it's round. It has a stem.

It has a leaf. Sometimes it's
green, sometimes it's red. Oh it

has this thing on the bottom. It
flushing on the inside. What is

it? it, we have the other side
of the the opposite parietal

lobe, which is saying, oh,
that's an apple, it begins with

a, it has two pieces of nail in
the knee. So we have this logic

thing going on, we have this
creative thing going on, those

two sides of the parietal lobes
have to connect together, that

information goes to the
association cortex in the

frontal lobe, I've been keep
talking about it, that's that

blue part. Remember, we have 3
trillion, 3 trillion nerves in

our, in our brain, when you have
a sensation, when you have

something that like you're
seeing, or touching, or

whatever, you can
instantaneously tell that it

happened. The last of the
sensors that we talked about all

the time is Touch. Touch is even
more complex than vision. With

touch, we have, like touched
heavy touch, we have pain, we

have temperature, like hot and
cold, all of those different

areas has nerve. So when
somebody is touching your hand,

when you touch your own hand, is
it hot? Is it cold? Is it good,

bad touch? Is it too forceful?
Is it just right?

All of that all of those
messages go up through the

brainstem and back through that
limbic system through the

cerebellum. In, they do go into
the parietal lobe a little bit,

because they're trying to make
those associations to what

you're seeing. And up in the
motor cortex and the association

cortex. And I'm stopping at that
point. Because once that hits

the association cortex, and
that's that last stop where

everything gets assimilated
together. So we have something

happen, we have a smell that
goes with it, there might be a

taste that goes with it. Think
about ice cream, you've got a

smell, you've got a taste, you
might be touching the cone, you

might be touching the ice cream
itself, you are using a spoon to

put that in your mouth, you have
the metal, you have all of those

sensations. And when it goes to
that association cortex, it

goes, Oh, I'm just eating ice
cream, that's okay. Or, oh, no,

she's putting up a fraction. Oh,
I don't know what I'm doing

here. And it sees and it makes
those reactions to that. And it

sends messages through that,
which is going to shut down or

stimulate your thinking all this
stuff is happening. Before

education can happen. And it's
that your sensation system and

your motor system, start growing
the moment you're conceived. Any

thoughts so far on the five

Jonily : from what I've heard
and connect making those

connections to my work as
classroom teacher math

specialist, the two sensations
that I have really deliberately

and intentionally trained
myself, to support students to

give them the positive
sensations that they need for

learning to occur are the vision
and the hearing. And I'm going

to talk about those today in our
extended session. But just to

recap, the smell is going to
affect or even negate any poor

instructional practices that I'm
using. So just keeping in mind

and being aware of the smell,
and the feel, and some of those

other senses, subconsciously,
are going to affect access to

learning and vision and hearing.
I think one of the techniques

and techniques that are going to
improve memory and retention of

content is with hearing, I will
use the strategy. All right,

kiddos, I'm going to tell you
something, I don't want you to

think about it. But then I'm
going to tell you again in a

different way. And then I'm
gonna tell you again yet in a

different way, preparing kids
for what they're about to hear.

And I will very intentionally
tell them the same thing three

different times with pauses in
between and allowing them to

process what I'm saying and As I
say it verbally in different

ways, it will give different
students access to the learning.

In addition to telling them what
I'm going to tell them, and then

telling them very deliberately
and intentionally in multiple

ways, I want to parallel that
with a visual. And that is the

big topic for today. Sherry, we
had talked about a picture is

worth 1000 words, my work in
mathematics, and studying why

the number there are, I would
say about 60 to 70% of our kids,

that struggle innately with
mathematics is oftentimes

because the words the language
will get in the way that

hearing. But oftentimes, the
symbols and the notations and

the number are so abstract, that
if I can associate a picture, a

context or an experience with
that notation, I'm going to

enhance the understanding of
this mathematical language that

we have. Not only is the brain
and the body, very complex, but

the mathematics is a very
complex subject to understand

back to that phrase, a picture's
worth 1000 words, anyone have

thoughts on what that phrase
what that quote means? And what

that has to do with learning and
memory and retention of content.


Unknown: thing I feel like is
when you associate hearing and

vision together with your
picture's worth 1000 words, for

any friends that have any visual
deficits, if you can pair that,

with the auditory with the
tactile with the smells, all

that kind of stuff, you then can
help fill in those gaps of when

they do have those visual
deficits, that they're not able

to put that connection together,
you're helping build that


Jonily : Great point and the
pure definition of multisensory

once. That wraps up our time
today. And I just have a couple

of final thoughts. We started
today with this question, why

don't kids remember. And Sherry
walked us through the complexity

of the brain, the body and the
spirit, and how all of those

things interact together to
produce access to learning. I'm

hoping that through, you've seen
ways that we can connect the

medical brain based cognitive
science, occupational therapy

world to what is natural in
learning and have a place in our

math classrooms. So that numbers
come alive. So thanks, everybody

for being here. This was session
three, tier one interventions.

Episode Video

Creators and Guests

Cheri Dotterer
Cheri Dotterer
Hacking barriers to writing success, dysgraphia No ✏️ Required. 30-sec@time Speaker | Podcast Host | Author | Consultanthttps://t.co/eM1CXSUIoZ