Pizza, Pedagogy, and the Brain: The SACRED Framework for Teaching and Learning


Pizza, Pedagogy, and the Brain: The SACRED Framework for Teaching and Learning offers educators a set of six brain-based principles that bolster student engagement and deepen learning. Each principle is paired with a series of classroom activities and practical suggestions that make it easy to infuse brain-based learning practices for immediate and profound results. Best of all, the six SACRED principles are analogized to pizza-making, resulting in an easygoing, memorable, and perhaps even mouthwatering foray into the research of how our brains learn best.

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Teaching is hard.

Brain-based learning makes it easier.

Teaching has long been referred to as the most sacred profession. It’s also one of the most challenging. Make the best use of your time and energy with brain-based strategies that work.

Here’s What You’ll Find Inside

Pizza, Pedagogy, and the Brain will help you enhance your teaching by equipping you with a working knowledge of brain-based learning. You’ll understand how the brain learns best, what that means for your classroom, and how you can easily transform your learning environment to boost student engagement, motivation, and learning.

The Principles Explained

The book is divided into six parts, one for each of the six brain-based learning principles in the SACRED framework. You can expect a comprehensive and easily digestible explanation of each principle — analogized to pizza-making. 

Practical Strategies  

Each explanation of the six SACRED principles is accompanied by an extensive series of practical brain-based strategies, activities, and examples that can be quickly and easily implemented into your own classroom to engage your students.

Current Research

Every principle and strategy in the book is informed by current research in the fields of education, learning science, psychology, and neuroscience. You’ll find the pages brimming with citations, should you wish you delve even deeper.

A Unifying Framework

You’ll be equipped with a unifying framework that makes everything else make sense. All of those trends, buzzwords, and new initiatives? You’ll have a powerful new lens for understanding where they fit in, and where they don’t.

About the Author

Dr. Marc Cicchino is the Director of Innovation at one of the highest rated public school districts in the United States. He is also an adjuct professor at Rutgers University where he teaches writing, research, and game design. Marc has conducted and published peer reviewed research in game-based learning and problem-based learning (Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem Based Learning), has delivered major conference keynotes on student engagement, and has written for popular education publications such as ISTE, Edutopia, and Cult of Pedagogy.

What Are The Six SACRED Principles?

Let’s cut to the chase. What is the SACRED framework all about?



The first essential brain-based principle is Safety. In short, the brain requires a sense safety in order to allocate resources to memory and learning. Without this critical foundation, nothing else matters.



In order to access the parts of the brain that are pertinent to memory and learning, we must first penetrate the Attention filter. Despite popular belief, attention isn’t voluntary; with the right strategies, you can be an irresistible force in the classroom.



Once the groundwork of Safety and Attention has been laid, we must consider the manner in which memories are made (or, in other words, how the brain “learns” and “remembers”). Connection is the underlying principle that facilitates learning.



What makes a memory more enduring, easily accessible, and durable? Learning it once doesn’t cut it; Retrieval is critical to make learning “stick.” There are several proven effects for easily making this happen, but they’re rarely discussed in education.

What Educators Are Saying About

Pizza, Pedagogy, and the Brain

Chris W.

Teacher - CA

I Devoured The Book 

"I devoured the book, the course, and all of the resources in just a few days. I found it all very valuable, easy to navigate, and easy digest. Very refreshing."

Kelly C.

Teacher - MA

Amazed At The Quality

"I'm a harsh critic of books about teaching but I am amazed at the quality of the explanations and strategies in this one."

Jeremy J.

Administrator - TX

Should Be Required Reading

"This really should be required reading for teachers everywhere. It's crazy to me that we are all in the business of education and yet have no idea how the brain learns. I just ordered forty copies for my staff."

An Invaluable Upgrade to Your Teaching Repertoire

Great teaching is more challenging than ever, but it doesn’t have to feel like an impossible undertaking. In fact, brain-based learning makes it easy to upgrade your teaching repertoire, reclaim your classroom, and engage your students like never before.

The greatest benefits of brain-based learning are perhaps the least tangible: less stress, greater efficiency, deeper learning, and rekindling a love for what you do in the classroom every single day.

Best of all? It won’t cost you $50,000 in grad school tuition to get started.

A note from Marc.

It wasn’t until I’d been in the classroom for years, and had already earned my doctorate in education, before I’d gotten my first real dose of PD on the neuroscience of teaching and learning. It immediately changed everything for me.

All things instantly came into focus. Student behaviors that were previously inexplicable suddenly made sense. I was able to better understand why some lessons were grand-slams while others petered out. My students were learning more than ever before. And I felt like I had suddenly been given x-ray vision for every other new initiative that came my way: Is it consistent with the science of how we learn, or not?

It’s my hope that this book will empower you with as many of those brain-based understandings as could be distilled on these pages so that you can take your teaching to the next level, so that you can better engage every student, and so that you might feel some of that same transformational awe that I was so fortunate to experience years ago.