[semester equivalent = 1.33 credits]



Mary Ann Johnson



This course is based on reading and responding to the top-rated and inspiring resource book How to Teach so Students Remember by Marilee Sprenger, published by The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD), 2nd Ed,in 2018. (Ordering information is listed at the end of the syllabus.) Learn teaching strategies that give students the best possible chance to form meaning and remember things that are important academically. The book is one of the best written how-to books, revealing seven interesting strategies and giving recent research validating each. There is a lively introduction with an overview of the whole book, and a hint at the great strategies that would lie ahead. The appendices at the end of the book give a Brain Briefing and a rich and varied catalog of interesting graphic advanced organizers.
The author, Marilee Sprenger, has the excellent combination of teaching experience and a keen grasp of the research that clarifies best practice in the real world of accountability that students are facing in high-stakes tests.  She has already written three other successful teaching books, including Becoming A Wiz at Brain-based Teaching, published by Corwin Press.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. A fresh, clear explanation of how to organize their teaching for powerful student processing and access to recall, using a seven-step program.
  2. A resource that is, itself, organized for memorable reflection and recall, so strategies can be tried and retained after the book is read.
  3. The connection for students between conceptual learning and their access to recall.
  4. A range of approaches that will address different student strengths in acquiring and retaining meaningful information.

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit. The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit.

The use of artificial intelligence is not permitted. Assignment responses found to be generated by AI will not be accepted.

Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participants their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, or Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours, Oregon PDUs, and Pennsylvania ACT 48 Hours.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering, determine with your district personnel, department head, or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



  • How to Teach So Students Remember  By Marilee Sprenger; ASCD, 2018, 200 pg, ISBN 978-1-4166-2531-5.
  • For additional reading access an annotated Master Bibliography for this course that enhances any teacher’s toolbox. 

  • How to Teach So Students Remember, 2nd Edition
    ISBN# {equired_text:isbn}
    by Marilee Sprenger

    View Online


Textbook is approximately $20-$26 from Amazon.



Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. 
Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 

Assignment #1: Introduction.

Briefly introduce yourself and explain your interest in the topic.
Look to the seven steps of the learning/memory cycle. Which steps are part of your usual repertoire and which would you like to learn more about?

Assignment #2: Some Strategies.

From Chapter 1: “Reach”  What are the attention and motivational strategies listed in this chapter?  Provide examples of two ways you do, or could, use the strategies listed in this chapter.
OR:  In the introduction to a new unit, give an example of how you do, or could, help students connect their lives to the academic goals.

Assignment #3: Reflect, Wait Time, and Reflective Collaboration .

From Chapter 2: "Reflect"  When you you give yourself time to reflect?   Can you see a difference in the retention of information when you allow your students to reflect?

OR:  "Wait Time"  Give some evidences that Wait Time improves thinking.  Since Wait Time can initially be uncomfortable, what is a strategy you can use to teach Wait Time to your students?

OR:  "Collaboration & Reflection"  Most of us are content-driven.  Collaboration and reflection are time-consuming teaching strategies, and yet they are important.  Share how you can incoproate collaboration and reflection by giving an example from something you've done or could do.

Assignment #4: Recode

From Chapter 4:  About Recoding
Explain recoding.  Why is it important for students for students to choose their best method for recoding?  Give an example of how you could, or did, enable student to do recoding.

Assignment #5: Reinforce

From Chapter 4: "Reinforce"
Assessment is feedback.  What types of feedback are described in this chapter?  Given the fact that no teacher has time to give meaningful feedback to every student on all assignments, to avoid "extinction," what alternatives does a teacher have to give students some chance at feedback?

Assignment #6: Rehearse and Homework

From Chapter 5 "Rehearse:
The author introduces five pathways (lanes) to imprint a memory and states that we may overuse the semantic lane in school.  Give an example of one of the other four lanes which you may use.
OR:  "Homework"
Give an example of a homeowrk assignment that requires upper level thinking.

Assignment #7: Review

From Chapter 6:  "Review"
Without review, most information will be lost from memory.  Examine your review practices for your assessments.  Please give an example of how you create reviews to encourage transfer and/or support permanent memory.

Assignment #8: Retrieve

From Chapter 7: "Retrieve"
Share three ways you can engage students in their own assessment?
OR: "Better Planning"
From Chapter 7:  When retrieval fails, what might be the reason in your planning and/or presentation?  Using information from the whole chapter about problems with retrieval, what can you do to help students retrieve the key learning objectives?

Assignment #9: Realization

From Chapter 8: "Realization"
Now that you understand the seven steps to improve memory, which one would be most useful to teach your class so that they are better at retrieval?  How might you help them with this step?

Assignment #10: Using the Appendices

Appendix A:  "Brain Briefing"

Describe how survival, novelty and/or choice have fit into your classroom strategies to help students remember information.

OR: Appendix B: "Graphic Organizers"

Consider the graphic organizers in this appendix.  Select three of these organizers that would work well in the context of your class, and give an example.  (Remember that it is important to use a variety of organizers, because organizers lose their novelty when overused.)



In this section, you will apply your learning to your professional situation. This course assumes that most participants are classroom teachers who have access to students. If you do not have a classroom available to you, please contact the instructor for course modifications. Assignments done in a course forum will show responses from all educators who have or are taking the course independently. ​Feel free to read and respond to others' comments. Group participants can only view and respond to their group members in the Forum. 


Assignment #11: Lesson Development.

Assignment #17:   (Required for 400 and 500 Level)
Assignment #17-A:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course.
  • Implement your lesson with students.
  • Write a 250-500 word commentary on what worked well and what could be improved.
  • Include any student feedback on your lesson.
  • Share what you’ve learned with other teachers taking our courses by adding your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Submit your modified lesson to your instructor via the online response box or file upload.
Assignment #17-B:
  • Adapt a lesson reflecting what you’ve learned in this course. (Do not implement it.)
  • Share your learning with other teachers by contributing your Lesson to The Heritage Institute Lesson Library here.
  • For a sample lesson plan template click here.
  • Write a 500+ word article about a noteworthy teaching success you’ve had with one or more students.
  • Please refer to the guidelines on our blog What Works: Teaching at its Best prior to writing your article.
  • When you submit your article to your instructor, please also email a copy to Renee Leon THI blog curator and media specialist.
  • Indicate whether or not you are OK with having your article considered for publishing on our website. 
  • Submit your lesson to your instructor via the response box or file upload.

Assignment #12: (500 Level ONLY)

In addition to the 400 level assignments, complete one (1) of the following assignment options:   
Option A)  Compare and contrast the material in this book with information you find in another book or online research of articles.  For online research, quote any important URL.  Write a summary of information you found, and then compare/contrast with information in the course text.
Option B)  Create an Annotated Bibliography of five (5) books or articles related to the subject of this course.  The annotation should include Title, Author, Publisher (or URL), length of the book or article and your review of information contained.  Add your opinion of the value or your criticism of the contents of each book or article, and rate the importance of the material in contrast to the subject of the course.


Assignment #13: (Required for 400 and 500 level)

(Please do not write this paper until you've completed all of your other assignments)

Write a 400-500 word Integration Paper answering these 5 questions:

  1. What did you learn vs. what you expected to learn from this course?
  2. What aspects of the course were most helpful and why?
  3. What further knowledge and skills in this general area do you feel you need?
  4. How, when and where will you use what you have learned?
  5. How and with what other school or community members might you share what you learned?


Instructors will comment on each assignment. If you do not hear from the instructor within a few days of posting your assignment, please get in touch with them immediately.


Mary Ann Johnson, M.Ed Adm. has worked with students of all levels, from alternative high school to gifted classes. She has also been a junior high vice principal and is now working with teachers for continuing education in classes, distance learning and building leadership groups. She is a teacher emeritus who has led seminars for educators which focus on developing a quality learner environment for students and for teachers. Her courses are research-based and resonate with user-friendly and energizing content.



BOUSHEY, G., MOSER, J. The Cafe Book. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers. 2009.  This book shows teachers how to use effective strategies to increase Comprehension, Accuracy, Fluency and Expand vocabulary (CAFE) in the classroom. These strategies help with both reading and writing instruction.
COSTA, Arthur L, and KALLICK, Bena, Discovering & Exploring Habits of Mind, pb, 106 pages, ASCD. 2000.  This is the beautiful introduction to the list of 16 types of intelligent behavior that Costa and Kallick have termed “habits of mind.”  In this book, you will find out what are these 16 indicators of intelligence, and find a visual icon for each.  (There is also a website with famous quotations for each of these habits of mind.)  At the end of the book you’ll find exciting and inspiring ways for teachers to teach directly what these habits of mind are for students, in many creative and motivating strategies to deeply process their appeal and power.  My favorite is “managing  impulsivity.”  Intelligent, indeed!
ERLAUER, Laura, The Brain-Compatible Classroom:  Using What We Know About Learning to Improve Teaching, pb,168 pages, ASCD. 2003.  This book begins with “A Walk Through the Brain,” and includes seven chapters explaining  the seven most important components of a brain-compatible approach.  Examples show how to put them into place at different grade levels and in different subject areas. At the conclusion of the book, there is a challenge to make the move to help make your school, or even district, commit to putting these powerful tools into practice!  It provides clarity and inspiration to help you test your practice to align it with realities of the truths about human learning.
ERWIN, Jonathan C. 2004. The Classroom of Choice, Giving Students What They Need and Getting What You Want, Alexandria, VA. ASCD. 229 pages.
ISBN 0-87120-829-6  Based on Glasser’s beliefs that people have these motivators: fun, freedom, power and belonging.  Give students choices, and they will pick what meets an unmet need. It is rich and wonderful, full of practical and engaging strategies to achieve important intellectual goals while helping students meet their developing social and intellectual needs.  Erwin believes that while learning is hard work, it doesn’t have to be painful:  Fun is both a prerequisite for and a byproduct of quality learning.
FERLAZZO, Larry. Helping Students Motivate Themselves:  Practical Answer to Classroom Challenges, 2nd. edition. Larchmont, CA.  Eye on Education. 190 pages. 2013. ISBN 978-1-59667-181-2.  Find a dozen categories of strategies to engage the thinking and processing of your course information.   In this book by award-winning author Larry Ferlazzo, you will see:  How to motivate students, help students to take personal responsibility, deal with disruptive students and classes, find best ways to maximize the chances that a lesson will be successful, and more.  Each section of the book provides stimulating ideas and down-to-earth tools, including lesson plans, and even downloads of the handouts that save you hours. 
FERLAZZO, Larry. Self-Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation, Eye on Education, Larchmont, NY, 208 pages, 2013. 
ISBN13-9780-1-59667--239-0 and Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners:  Strategies to Help Students Thrive in School and Beyond, 2015, Routledge, NY, 199 pages. ISBN 978-0-415-74666-3.  After the huge popularity of Helping Students Motivate Themselves, Larry Ferlazzo has continued his contribution to our efforts to awaken and empower students out of their lethargy.  In both books there are more complete lesson plans that will capture your students' focus, self-interest, curiosity, and skills needed both in school and out of school.  All the lesson plans are correlated to the Common Core ELS/Literacy Standards.  Most lessons are targeted to secondary students, because research shows that the teen years are open to influence and life learning.