Singing and music help with learning….???


I have often thought that this concept was helpful to children with learning disabilities. I am sharing an article I received where a Special Needs Consultant supports the theory that music can be extremely helpful in helping a child understand and learn what you are trying to teach him/her….  

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Singing and Movement Increase Learning

By Faith Berens, M.Ed.
Special Needs Consultant

….”Did you know that linking music and movement to learning helps to increase a student’s engagement, retention, and long-term memory of information? More parts of the brain are used when producing music than in any other activity. Additionally, music just may be the “perfect” delivery system for information because it engages all learning styles equally and at once! Sung language is processed in more parts of the brain than just spoken language, making material “stick” faster.

Catchy Tune

Case in point, recently my husband wanted to call to get some estimates to have our family room recarpeted. He mentioned he needed to look up the number to some flooring specialists. Off the top of my head, I was able to sing him two leading companies’ phone numbers simply because I had heard them a few times on TV ads.

My husband was quite impressed because he knows me so well and will testify that math is not my strong point. In fact, I have a math dysfunction (dyscalculia) that causes me to have a very weak memory for numbers, number sequences, math facts, etc. However, if I put numbers to music, I can easily remember them. You do not forget what you sing!

Singing academic information makes learning fun, fast, and easy. Music and singing turns the brain on, so to speak. Moving and singing while learning causes the brain to perform “integrated thought” (gets more areas of the brain talking/connecting to one another creating and strengthening those synapses/neural pathways). Particularly for students with learning disabilities, processing glitches, and attention and focus difficulties, music and movement can be powerful learning tools to wield for instruction.

Active and Soothing

For students with slow or weak processing areas, singing and moving activates the dormant or slower areas. Singing may actually be easier for students with stuttering and other verbal and expressive/language difficulties and music/singing activities can also be helpful to utilize with students with fluency and prosody problems in reading. So get singing and moving during your day—it will help turn your kids on to learning and it can help with stress and anxiety.

My kids are naturally tactile, kinesthetic (wiggly) learners! I continue to learn that, rather than fight against this natural bent in their learning preferences, I need to incorporate music and movement into my teaching times, be it acting out Bible stories, putting motions to poems, or singing directions during important routines and transition times. I hope that you will do the same and find that your children get more turned on to learning.

Resources

Virginia Largent, creator of Acadamiacs, educational specialist, and workshop presenter who spoke on “Music, Learning, and the Brain” at the 2013 HEAV conference offers related workshops. Check out her website.

• Be sure to check into Dianne Craft’s materials such as theBrain Integration Therapy manual and Teaching the Right Brain Learner study manual and DVDavailable at her website.

• Sue Dickson’s workshop, “Singing Your Way to Success: From Failure to Honor Roll,” available through the FPEA website.

• Brain Gym by Paul Dennison and Gail Dennison

• Smart Moves: Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head and The Dominance Factor: How Knowing Your Dominant Eye, Ear, Brain, Hand, & Foot Can Improve Your Learning by Carla Hannaford

Some other great teaching materials that integrate music and movement are:

• Carol Barnier’s “Ditty Bugs” CD; these are rhythmical chants and simple “ditties” to teach information.

Her book, The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles is fabulous and packed full of easy-to-use activities and teaching ideas to bring in music, movement, and multi-sensory into your teaching day!

• Acadamiacs, offers over 2,000 songs and videos with interactive lyrics, movement, and educational information to make learning fun and easy.

• Sue Dickson’s “Songs That Teach”

• Lyrical Learning , puts scientific information to traditional tunes and songs in order to assist students in learning science concepts and facts.

 

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Developmental updates


It has been awhile since I have posted any improvements and updates into our journey with Nathan.  I am pleased to say that he is doing well and even seems to be starting to comprehend some academic ability.  I have been using the FREE Funnix program along with the worksheets which has been working great!  Hand coordination with the pencil is a little awkward but at least there is more of an attempt this time than before.  One important lesson I have learned is that if something doesn’t work the first time DON’T give up, try again at a later time.  It might take a little bit for the brain to pick up.  It is very similar to you learning a new task and then one day it just clicks and becomes second nature.

I think that a hand brace for writing just might help him, as the hand-over-hand technique allows better letter formation than doing it on his own!

A few weeks ago was good for new activities.   On Sunday we built a big fort in the house which Nathan seemed to enjoy.  At first like always he was a little apprehensive until his sisters went in and then after that he had no reservations from there.  🙂

The next night they did some dress up activities, here is our son in his “costume”

Nathan-Bandit

Dress up activities are great for children with sensory issues to get used to different textures.

As we continue introducing new activities we will share our experiences.

 

FREE Funnix Math program available!


I have been trying to sample this math program for awhile now but I always seem to miss the open download period.  You can download the Math program until December 15th, after that they will be offering the Reading program for FREE, starting December 16th – December 31st!!
 
Please visit www.funnix.com for more details.