Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I am going to try to explain all the facets of attention. I will be using the model from All Kinds of Minds, but as you know, many experts in the field have different ways of organizing and presenting information that is basically the same. They divide attention into 3 facets: Mental Energy (having the energy and stamina to concentrate at all), Processing (being able to focus on interacting with information in order to learn it), and Production (being able to pay attention in order to demonstrate learning through an expressive mode). Here are further explanations he gives for each in his video from the Developing Minds series.

1. Alertness
*paying attention sometimes in spite of mental fatigue
*preferential seating, cue for attention, using a “focus object”—something to keep their hands busy can help alertness, but monitor because some things may become distracting
2. Sleep/Arousal
*may have trouble sleeping and then have trouble waking
*improve sleep patterns with consistent bed time using passive activities to help relax and soft background music or white noise
3. Mental Effort
*may need a boost to get started
*help with first sentence or guide organization of thought
*use steps of things to do or lists for things like editing
*use timer-break into manageable sections, allow breaks
* help w/organization, clear work area, & note time and location of best focus
4. Performance
*make aware of up and down days and give strategies for days that require more effort and planning to do well

1. Saliency Determination
*discerning & prioritizing what is important
*being distracted by wrong stimuli & miss important information
*highlight, summarize, note taking guidance, underline question word, focus w/goals
2. Depth & Detail of
*may bog down in detail and miss main point or not understand deeply enough to remember
*may need more repetition for underlying concepts, use of subvocalization, or have outlines provided to clarify main points & details
3. Cognitive Activation
*connection of new to old knowledge
*under active with make now connections
*over active may connect to too much causing distractions
*relate to prior knowledge through discussion
4. Focal Maintenance
*Attending too long or not long enough
*give cues to continue attention and compliment to reinforce effort
5. Satisfaction Level
*Insatiable-may crave excitement which they create if it is not there
*strong desire for constant stimulation
* help them understand what this means and provide times when it is allowed

1. Previewing
*Predicting outcomes of several choices, stories, paper to write, results of behavior
*Practice predicting scenarios
2. Facilitation & Inhibition
*Use prediction skills to consider all options & make best choice
*Impulsivity is acting without thinking, predicting, and making a choice
*Practice wait time, reward controls
3. Pacing
*Many think speed is goal or just get started good when everyone is finishing
*Encourage to slow down, use timer, estimate & plan time w/help
4. Self-Monitoring
*Keep checklist on desk to mark when realize not on task
*Provide steps for editing and completing work
*Give 2 bonus pts for correctly predicting grade estimate
5. Reinforceability
*use of precedent, experience, and prior knowledge—hind sight
*keep log of past experience