Monday, December 31, 2012

Music "Spices Up' Teaching and Learning

In connection with my previous post, this set of SPICED-UP SPELLING activities contains examples of how music enhances learning. Students and teachers alike have been delighted with the energy and enthusiasm these ideas bring to spelling practice, so I've finally compiled and formatted them for others to use.

I'm not sure which activity is my favorite, but I do love the intensity on students' faces when they're engaged in "Speedy Spellers." It's amazing how many words students can write during this 15 minute musical spelling activity (150-210), and yet they still say they have fun. I also love the amazement students experience when I record the "Jungle Drums" activity and play it back to them. I've been sharing these with many 6th grade teachers and their students this year, and I get a thrill out of hearing that spelling time was the best time of the day : )

This set of lesson plans is availabe here:

Music as a Driving Force Behind Learning

Music as a Driving Force Behind Learning

Musical Magic? If the title of my blog appeals to you, then you probably agree that music plays an integral part in the human experience. As an educator, I see first hand the difference music makes for so many students and teachers. I am passionate about music as a magnificent art form in itself. I am also fascinated with the magical effects music has in other areas of life, learning and creating.


Here are some of my favorite quotes regarding MUSIC as a DRIVING FORCE BEHIND LEARNING:
“The arts enhance the process of learning. The systems they nourish, which include our integrated sensory, attentional, cognitive, emotional, and motor capacities, are, in fact, the driving forces behind all other learning.”                                                 
                                                                                       – Eric Jensen from Arts with the Brain in Mind

"Much of what young children do as play - singing, drawing, dancing - are natural forms of art. These activities engage all the senses and help wire the brain for successful learning."
                                                                       - David A. Sousa in How the Brain Learns
“…if we hope for our children that they will become full human beings, and that they will move toward actualizing the potentialities that they have, then, as nearly as I can make out, the only kind of education in existence today that has any faint inkling of such goals is art education. “                             
                                                                               – Abraham Maslow, Psychologist, 1957

 “From fine-tuning muscular systems to integrating emotion and logic, the arts have important biological value. For their unique contributions to brain development, the arts and music take center stage in schools.”           
                                                 - Robert Sylvester, Professor of Elementary Ed., Eugene, Oregon

 “I would teach the children music, physics and philosophy, but the most important is music, for in the patterns of the arts are the key to all learning... Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.”                                    – Plato

“The best way to learn is through the powerful force of rhythm.“
                                                                - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

The value of arts education is often phrased in enrichment terms--helping kids find their voice, rounding out their education and tapping into their undiscovered talents. This is true, but as President’s Committee saw in schools all over the country, it is also an effective tool in school-wide reform and fixing some of our biggest educational challenges. It is not a flower, but a wrench."
     -   Re-Investing in Arts Education: Winning America’s Future Through Creative Schools 2010,
        President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities

If you have a favorite quote related to this post, please feel free to share/post it. I'd love to hear from you. More to come...

Three, two, one... blast-off! I'm excited to finally get this blog up and 'humming!'