8th Grade - Nurturing Independence

Parent Page

    Dear Parents, 

    Below is a list of facts about how the brain works and develops from Julie Adams.  These can guide our strategies and collaboration for student success. I hope they give you some understanding of your young student and strategies to support them at home.

    1. Brains do not fully develop in girls until about age 20, in boys, as late as 25.

    2. The last part of the brain to develop is the Pre-Frontal Cortex; it controls impulses, organization, moral reasoning, emotional stability, concentration and prioritizing.

    3. Adolescents often do not fully process cause & effect (another skill of the Pre-Frontal Cortex) so they really DO NOT know why they just did something stupid or why they got in trouble for it.

    4. Kids need 9-13 hours of sleep daily to concentrate, metabolize sugar, regulate emotions and retain information effectively.

    5. Our mind controls our brain-our brain does not control our mind. Teaching a growth mindset is valuable because it triggers happy, critical thinking chemicals in our brain that increase our capacity for learning.

    6. When kids act out or zone out, it is an INVOLUNTARY response to stress or boredom AND boredom is stressful to the young brain.

    7. Kids can misinterpret instructions and emotions up to 40% of the time. Be clear in your expectations and explicitly model, explain and give feedback to children whether you are teaching them to organize their binder or load the dishwasher correctly.

    8. Information is only stored in short-term memory for about 20 minutes; when information is connected to prior knowledge and emotion, it can be stored in long-term memory.

    10. Young brains need learning breaks to reset their attention span clocks. Every 4-8 minutes, engage students in a "Learning Brain Break" such as turning and talking or retelling (first, then, finally) what was just learned with another on the other side of the room. 

    Article updated June 2017; original content can be found on Julie Adams’ blog.

  • The following questions are designed to help build consistent messaging and expectations about academic and personal responsibility and independence.  Insert your student's name in the blanks.



    • Does ____________ have any chores s/he does regularly at home?
    • What responsibilities does s/he have that are nurturing their sense of capability?




    • Does __________ have a quiet location where s/he can do his homework?
    • Is ___________ getting at least 8-9 hours of sleep every night?
    • When was the last time __________ cleaned out her/his backpack and reorganized her/his binder?
    • Is ____________ reading for at least a half hour every night? Do you see her/his annotations?



    • If your daughter/son is struggling, do you check her/his Binder Reminder?
    • How often does your daughter/son hear that doing her/his best in school is important to you?
    • Do you also check her/his homework has been completed thoroughly, neatly, and accurately?
    • When ___________'s grades was a ____ at the grading period, what rewards/consequences did s/he receive at home?