The 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference in Osage Beach

Missouri Early Learning Conference pic
Missouri Early Learning Conference

In addition to leading Educational Solutions International and Open Mind Technologies, Inc., in Columbia, MO, Willy Wood, a respected writer, public speaker, and consultant in the field of education, explores various education-related topics on his website, As part of his responsibilities as the president of Educational Solutions International, Willy Wood coordinates the Missouri Early Learning Conference.

Designed for pre-K through third-grade teachers, the Missouri Early Learning Conference features breakout sessions and informative presentations on teaching strategies, reading and literacy, educational technology, classroom management, and a range of other teaching topics. The event also includes networking activities, book sales, and an exhibit area featuring teaching tools and related products.

In 2017, the Missouri Early Learning Conference will be held November 9-10 at the Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri. The two-day event will include keynote presentations from New York Times best-selling author Dave Burgess and children’s singer and author Jack Hartman. Other children’s authors will also be at the conference, including Bruce Lansky, Jeff Nathan, and Jarrett Krosoczka.

Along with meeting popular authors and entertainers, attendees will have the opportunity to sharpen their teaching skills through sessions led by John Schumacher, Lisa Murphy, Kara Welty, and other education experts. To learn more about the 2017 Missouri Early Learning Conference, visit


2016 Missouri Early Learning Conference


Missouri Early Learning Conference

Missouri Early Learning Conference pic
Missouri Early Learning Conference

As an educational consultant at Open Mind Technologies, Inc. in Columbia, MO, Willy Wood presents to educators, schools, and conferences all over the United States in the area of brain-compatible teaching programs and research. Willy Wood also serves as a conference coordinator for the Missouri Early Learning Conference.

The Missouri Early Learning Conference is designed to assist primary grades and preschool teachers with the challenges of teaching young children. The conference introduces practical classroom strategies from professionals in specific fields such as writing, math, and reading to provide instructors with new ideas that can be used in the classroom.

The Missouri Early Learning Conference includes exhibits, displays, and lectures to help educators with specific teaching ideas. Exhibitors carry items ranging from learning solutions to clothing, jewelry, and bags. A mobile app is available from Missouri Early Learning to keep individuals informed about event schedules, session descriptions, speakers’ bios, and important updates.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classroom Book Shows How to Use Music in Teaching

The Rock ‘N’ Roll Classroom pic
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Classroom

As the president and founder of Open Mind Technologies, Inc., in Columbia, MO, Willy Wood serves as an educational consultant to educators and school districts, helping to develop effective classroom techniques for learning. Willy Wood also co-authored the book, “The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classroom: Using Music to Manage Mood, Energy, and Learning.”

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classroom takes a look into how educators can change the environment of the classroom by using music to create a positive learning atmosphere. In the book, the author shows that music can improve a student’s mood, providing them with greater energy along with being able to retain more and focus on the lessons more effectively.

In The Rock ‘n’ Roll Classroom, the authors address issues such as customizing playlists to increase focus and reduce stress according to the specific purpose, tips for easy access to music choices, anecdotes and examples of how other educators have used music to improve the environment in their classroom, and sample ideas from various grade levels.

Using the Loci Method of Visualizing and Memorizing Materials

method of loci
method of loci


An author and educator in Columbia, MO, Willy Wood consults for Open Mind Technologies, Inc. As a proponent of classroom approaches that reflect the ways in which the brain actually processes information, Willy Wood teaches visualization strategies to help students memorize complex materials.

While acronyms, keywords, and rhymes are suitable for remembering simple materials, they do not work well for more complex facts and ideas. One approach, called “chaining,” involves creating a story (often nonsensical) using sound-alike words as a mnemonic for the words or concepts to be recalled.

The method of loci uses sound-alike words as well, but it emphasizes spatial details rather than a chain of narrative events. Using a familiar space, such as a childhood home or school, practitioners journey mentally through the spatial environment, connecting items specific to the materials they wish to memorize. One example involves remembering the stages of mitosis, in order. First, one would visualize entering (interphase) a bedroom and looking at pro (prophase) sports trophies sitting on a bookshelf. The next room is the kitchen, where meat (metaphase) is waiting on the table for dinner. This can continue as a lengthy narrative, which is often easier to remember than difficult scientific terms.

“Stretch” Methods of Setting in Place Achievable, Self-Generated Goals

Stretch Goals pic
Stretch Goals

As the head of Open Mind Technologies, Inc., Willy Wood provides advanced techniques of learning across disciplines, with a focus on language arts. Willy Wood has extensive experience in goal setting and self-improvement, and he wrote an article on why setting New Year’s resolutions often does not work.

One reason people fail to reach their goals is that they frequently set goals requiring serious effort to achieve without also creating a step-by-step plan for getting there. One way of avoiding this trap is to create “stretch” goals of an appropriate magnitude, such that they are challenging to achieve but by no means impossible.

Overly ambitious goals, such as losing 100 pounds or earning a prestigious award, may not only be impossible to achieve but may cause one to give up striving to achieve other goals in the future. On the flip side, goals that do not involve enough of a challenge may ultimately result in a why-bother attitude because they do not inspire or motivate.

Finding the middle way involves taking time to closely evaluate what you actually want to occur and to visualize the steps it will take to get there. Do not simply set an overarching goal but break it into achievable component parts and set and evaluate those goals on a monthly basis. Ultimately, setting goals effectively involves becoming your own boss and manager and holding yourself accountable.

Better Teaching with Mnemonics

Open Mind Technologies, Inc. pic
Open Mind Technologies, Inc.

Education consultant Willy Wood uses the latest research in neuroplasticity to help teachers develop strategies that function based on the way students’ brains absorb and retain information. As president of Open Mind Technologies, Inc. in Columbia, Missouri, Willy Wood creates training sessions and one-on-one coaching on brain-compatible teaching.

One strategy for information retention is the use of mnemonic devices that help people remember information by associating it with certain images or words. Students tend to enjoy learning mnemonics and may become more involved in the lesson. Loci, or the memory-palace technique, is one of the earliest used mnemonic devices. Using Loci, students visualize a place familiar to them and then place the information they need inside that space. For example, to help students remember the order of the planets in our solar system they could think of their own home. As they walk in the front door, the first planet they see in the entryway is Mercury. Moving down the hall, the planet Venus would appear on the shelf. They’d then place the rest of the planets in rooms in their home that are further and further away. When students need to recall the order of the planets they do a mental walk through the house. This helps students visualize the answers and gives them a narrative to keep them in the correct order.

Wood shows teachers how to develop a Loci or other mnemonic device for students: starting with a list of information they need to memorize, students choose the mnemonic that is most appropriate and connect it to the information.