January 22, 2015


What is Brain-Based Learning? Excerpt from Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner

Over the next month Wood N Barnes Publishing Company is offering a series of excerpts from my new book that combine research and educational theory with practical strategies to increase engagement. The first lays a foundation for upcoming articles and activities by exploring What is Brain-Based Learning? Jennifer Stanchfield’s new book Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner […]

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December 04, 2014

Experiential, Brain-Based Approaches to Teaching

The Language We Use in Facilitation and Teaching: Reflection and Reflective Practice

There’s all the difference in the world between having something to say, and having to say something. —John Dewey   My March of 2013 blog post “The Language We Use in Facilitation: Reflection Vs. Debriefing” explored the importance of the language we use in facilitation. At the time I had been facilitating some workshops for […]

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November 22, 2014

Inspired Educator Inspired Learner by Jen Stanchfield

New Book! Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner

Inspired Educator Inspired Learner: Experiential, Brain-Based Activities and Strategies to Engage, Motivate, Build Community, and Create Lasting Lessons I am thrilled to announce the release of my new book Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner published by Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing Company. The book explores experiential, brain-based techniques for engaging learners of all ages emotionally, physically and intellectually […]

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October 02, 2014


Cultivating Creativity

Excerpt from the new book: Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner   Play Dough Pictionary is one of my favorite community building and academic review activities. One of the reasons it stays on the top of my list is that it has led to many meaningful discussions about creativity. After playing the game, I will often ask […]

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August 29, 2014

Classroom Community Building

Draw Your School or Workplace

It’s that time of year again! Schools, and colleges are kicking off their programs with community building and goal setting sessions. Draw Your School or Workplace is a strategy I’ve used with programs of all kinds to initiate reflection and conversation on creating a positive learning and working environment.     Purpose/Focus: community building, group […]

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August 01, 2014

Active Engagement Review and Reflection

Bag of Nouns Activity for Review, Reinforcement of Content, Formative Assessment, and Fun!

Many of the inspired educators that I work with have shared variations of this playful party game for active review and community building in the classroom or training sessions. If you like using Playdough Pictionary or Charades Race (see previous posts) you will enjoy this one too.   Purpose: Community Building, Communication, Descriptive Language, Active […]

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July 18, 2014

Physical Activity Promotes Learning

Get Them Moving! Physical Activity Improves Learning.

There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive impact of exercise on brain development and function – and therefore memory and learning throughout life. Exercise has the long-term effect of improving blood flow thereby improving the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Neuroscientists have found exercise also increases blood flow in certain regions of the brain such as the hippocampus—an area of the brain that plays an important role in the organization of

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June 06, 2014


Gallery Walk: Active Group Reflection and Information Gathering

This time of year I find myself facilitating vision and goal setting retreats, training programs and project oriented planning meetings with many schools and organizations. Time and time again I find the “Gallery Walk” activity a useful tool when I want to gather information on experiences, opinions and questions from group members. It is a […]

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May 18, 2014

Postcard Reflection

Using Metaphor to Build Community and Positive Climate – Postcard Strengths Activity

This post was originally published in March of 2013. As the school year comes to a close I have been using this technique quite a bit with great success. I am posting this article again as a reminder to educators and group facilitators looking to help their groups build community, reflect on strengths and celebrate […]

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May 09, 2014

Educators From New Orleans Play RPS During Our Inspired Educator Workshop at the LOOP NOLA Program

A Tag Game That is So Much More: Practicing Collaboration, Consensus and Decision-Making Through Play

This time of year I find myself facilitating a number of student team-building programs, “step up” days where students visit their new school and new classmates for the first time, field days, and camp trainings. The advisory leaders I work with often ask for activities that they can use for bringing their students outside for […]

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April 06, 2014

Stanchfield Inspired Educator

Choice, Control, and a Sense of Ownership

One of the tenets of experiential education is that people learn best when they perceive a sense of control, and have choice and ownership in their learning experiences. Think about creating opportunities that build this sense of choice and control for participants or students from the very beginning of the program or school year. Empowering learners to set reasonable parameters around their participation creates an atmosphere of healthy trust and will increase involvement from reluctant participants.

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January 07, 2014


Strong Beginnings: Find a Hook to Engage Your Groups!

This evening as I sit cutting out quotes with “new year” and “new beginnings” themes in preparation for some upcoming workshops, I have been reflecting on the power of strong beginnings. Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner that explores this subject.   Starting Off With Style Think back to your […]

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December 18, 2013

Group Reflection

The Brain, Learning, and Reflection

A century ago, John Dewey emphasized the importance of engaging learners in reflection. He believed that our experiences shape us, and when reflective practice is part of the learning, meaning and relevancy is created, initiating further growth and change (Dewey, 1933). Reflection is a key tenet of experiential education philosophy.   As I mentioned in […]

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December 16, 2013

Reflection in Teaching

The Value of Reflection

Reflection brings learning to life. Reflective practice helps learners find relevancy and meaning in a lesson and make connections between educational experiences and real life situations, increases insight, and creates pathways to future learning.

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December 09, 2013

Experiential, Brain-Based Approaches to Teaching

Allowing for Labor in Learning

The art of teaching and group facilitation requires a careful balance of challenge, observation, encouragement, guidance, and the ability to know when to step in to help learners, and when to step back and let them learn through struggling with a problem. Sometimes educators have a hard time allowing learners to labor through difficult problems.

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October 17, 2013

Communication Activity

Communication Focused Activities Part Three

In today’s post, I offer another activity that is useful for exploring how complicated communication can be, and how miscommunication arises. This activity is sure to initiate meaningful reflection and dialogue with the groups you work with.

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October 13, 2013

classroom community building

Communication Skills Building Activities Part Two

In yesterday’s post I shared one of my favorite activities for jumpstarting reflection and conversation with groups about communication and the pitfalls of miscommunication called “Telegraph”. Others that I use for this purpose are “Zoom”, “Tin Can Pass”, and “Communication Break Down” which I will share in this and upcoming posts.

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October 12, 2013

Communication Activities

Communication Skills Building Activities Part One

One of the most fundamental aspects of team-building and developing a positive learning and working environment is effective communication. Communication skills are an incredibly important social-emotional skill necessary for success in the 21st century workplace. Group facilitators and educators often look for activities to practice communication skills and explore how communication works in a group and how to improve it – whether it is between staff members, levels of an organization, or student to student. Over the next few posts I will offer some of my favorite activities to initiate reflection and conversations around communication.

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