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OSCA Conference 2019 - Igniting Hope – October 11, 2019
Date:        October 11, 2019
Location:  Holiday Inn Portland Airport - 8439 NE Columbia Boulevard
Keynote speaker:  Cheri Lovre "The Evolution of Crisis Response in Schools"

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For more information about the 2019 OSCA Annual Conference, please visit: 
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President’s Letter: Creativity Opens Emotion

By Laureen Held
Recently I watched the movie “Yesterday,” starring Himesh Patel. It was a creative script with Beatles music woven throughout. Each time a new song began, my mind took me back in time and I struggled not to sing aloud. When the movie concluded, my heart was light and my spirit was joyful. That’s the power of music; it is designed to move us emotionally. When we are moved emotionally, we reflect, we feel, we remember, we learn.

Scientists assert that humans learn through emotions, and wrote in 2017, “Emotion has a substantial influence on the cognitive processes in humans, including perception, attention, learning, memory, reasoning and problem solving.” Often within our classroom settings, we don’t actively seek to engage students in emotional activities. We see students experiencing frustration as they attempt to understand new or difficult content. Their bodies are releasing cortisol that prevents them from learning. We can help students through creative methods, moving them beyond frustration. We can create experiences and stimulate curiosity. Their bodies will release dopamine, and learning will occur. Here are a few examples.

Test Anxiety
When students are stressed about a test, their bodies shrink. They hunch over, heads droop, and shoulders squeeze downward, visually becoming small. Guide the class in an activity to make students big. It boosts confidence. Have students stand, reaching for the stars, spreading their arms wide, and making big arm circles. This releases dopamine, allowing their brains to fully engage in academic work.

Attention Span
Are your students getting bored? Switch it up. Stop talking and get them moving. Have students vote with their feet. Agree? Go to the right. Disagree? Go to the left. Ask volunteers to state why they voted as they did. Teach a few yoga poses: chair, tree and warrior pose. Make it fun. Practice as a class. Each week introduce a new pose. Lengthen the duration of holding each pose as students gain confidence and develop balance.

Music and Rhythm
Begin a class with an attention-getting song. When you release them for independent or group work, play instrumental music. Another great way to engage students with memory recall is rhythm and motion. During instruction, incorporate full-body movement, oral rhythm and pitch, and have students mimic your recitation.

Role Play
Provide students with a potato, have them name it and create a narrative about its privilege or disadvantage. Students introduce their potato to the class. Afterward, collect the potatoes and redistribute them. Students now must find their original potato. The hunt is on! They know their potato. This lesson is about belonging, kindness and acceptance. It engages the right side of the brain while allowing students to grow in empathy, compassion and self-confidence as public speakers.

There are many ways to engage students emotionally. Music, art and movement are effective ways to provide students with bursts of dopamine, making school fun and learning easier. Don’t run from your right brain – engage it!

Contact Laureen Held, OSCA president, at OSCAPresident@oscainc.org.
Tyng, Chai M., Amin, Hafeez U., Saad, Mohamad N.M., and Malik, Aamir S. (2017). The Influences of Emotion on Learning and Memory. Frontiers in Psychology

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To apply to be a Conference Sponsor for the 2020 OSCA Annual Conference, please contact oscapresident@oscainc.org.