Class Post 1

Hey Folks:  These are the tasks to complete before our next class Sept 27th

Essential Question 1: How have our current understandings of psychology impacted the way we look at mental health and success in our students and teachers?

Read chapters 1-5 of The Emotional Life of Your Brain: How its Unique Patterns Affect the Way You Think, Feel, and Live-And How You can Change Them.

Read: Research-based benefits of gratitude. In this article the essential findings of the research on gratitude.

Watch: Marty Seligman: The New Era of Positive Psychology. In this video Marty Seligman discusses the findings of positive psychology and how it’s helped us understand how what gives people life satisfaction and how we can start to develop that.

Listen: to this podcast, The Science of Gratitude. In this podcast you hear life stories about the impact of gratitude on and the research programs that are being developed to widen the impact.

Project 1 Gratitude Letter: (Due September 20th 11:59 P.M.).

Description: Research shows that expressing gratitude to someone who has done something important for you has a positive impact on your psychological health and well being.  For this project you will write a letter of gratitude to someone you would like to thank for having an important impact on your life.

Part 1: After you write your letter, write a reflection describing how the process of writing this letter impacted you emotionally, physically, cognitively, or spiritually. You should try to call or visit this person and express your gratitude to them.

Part 2: In addition, after you write your part 1 reflection , select three findings from the research on gratitude and write one paragraph describing each finding and why you found it important to you.

Submission: You can submit part 1 and part 2  by clicking on the “leave a comment” box at the bottom of this page. Submit both parts in one reply.

You don’t have to include or send the the letter unless you would like to share it.  I will make all the comments public on the web page unless you ask me not to.


1. Your post should include specific information about it impacted you emotionally, physically, cognitively.

2. Your three research findings are succinctly and effectively described.

Assessment 2: Building Background and Factual Knowledge Due Sept 25 11:59 P.M.


For this assessment I want you to create 10 analogies using ten terms, concepts, or ideas you select from chapters 1-5 of The Emotional Life of Your Brain.  Analogies help us connect new information to current understandings. You will be connecting a new term, concept, or idea to one you already understand. Creating an analogy is often an initial step toward understanding.

Your amygdala is like a sentinel because it’s looking out for danger.

Assessment Criteria:

  1. Your 10 analogies are written in language that makes it clear what you are comparing.
  2. Your explanation after “because” is 1-4 sentences long and clearly explains the reasons you are making the analogy.
  3. The reasons accurately reflect the relationship between the new idea and the old idea.

As stated in the course syllabus, I will evaluate all assessments as either Not Met, Met, or as Exceeding the criteria. The grading scale is on the syllabus.


I recommend that you begin all writing work in Google Docs Google Docs.  This will give you a working space that is visually easier to write in and a stable space to save working drafts. Even if you have a personal Gmail account,  I’d like you to use your Pacific Google Apps which are called Boxerapps. You can access them directly from your email or from this link. This page also has links to tutorials for using Google Apps. If you have any technical questions you can use the tutorials, search YouTube, or work with Jesse in the lab. He is available 9-5 M-F.

To submit your assessment use the Share button to share it with me at my email address:

Assessment 2 (a) In addition to creating the 10 analogies, identify 10 passages from the book that captured your attention in some way. Write a statement (a few sentences) about why they captured your attention and bring that document to class. Bring these written statements to class on Sept 27th to support your role in discussing what you have learned. I will check to see that you have completed them.

Digital Tool Development: Before the next class, establish a Twitter Account and follow me on Twitter @mark_szymanski

Thanks for your work.

Enjoy the day.


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