January 12, 2015 by HCDE-Texas
New brain research shows that music accompanied with movement and activity has a positive effect on learning. Teachers of early childhood (grades pre-k to 2) have long known that music and movement are powerful tools for teaching everything from math and science concepts to colors and social skills.
The ABC song is probably our most common example of the power of music and rhyme to generalize learning. Young children are highly auditory learners. They have more vivid imaginations than their older counterparts and exhibit a natural urge to move. Good teachers know the key to successful teaching lies in capitalizing on those characteristics.
Howard Gardner’s landmark study of multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1983) opened the door to a more serious conversation about the use of multiple learning modalities and interdisciplinary instruction. Teachers of all grades and subjects have spent the last 30-plus years moving away from their desks and engaging students physically and creatively as well as cognitively.
In recent years, however, the demands of high-stakes testing put a damper on many of our more imaginative teachers, especially in upper grades. Many experts find this trend troubling.
Interactive lessons which involve music, art and movement engage the brain and stimulate neural pathways associated with higher order abstract thinking. For the last 29 years, Harris County Department of Education’s R.T. Garcia Early Childhood Winter Conference has played a significant role in bringing the latest research, strategies and practices in the area of interactive, multidisciplinary instruction to early childhood teachers in our area. The conference held each year on the last Saturday of January offers a full day of professional development. Teachers hear from nationally known experts and practicing classroom teachers alike about best practices in literacy, math, science, social studies, music, art, classroom management, parent involvement and technology.
This year’s conference on Jan. 31, 2015 will continue this tradition with a keynote address by award-winning children’s author Eric Litwin speaking on Interactive Music & Literacy. Bilingual and English-as-a-second-language teachers will be educated and entertained by popular speaker, Mike Longoria, Ph.D., on Connections between Singing, Moving and Learning. Over 90 additional breakout sessions will be available for teachers to choose from in addition to an interactive Exhibits Hall and great opportunities to network with other teachers.
To register or learn more about the conference, go to www.hcde-texas.org/ECWinterConf.
About the Blogger:
Debra Anderson serves as curriculum director for Early Childhood and Special Education at Harris County Department of Education. She has almost 40 years of experience as teacher, coordinator and director of special education programs. She coordinates HCDE’s annual R.T. Garcia Early Childhood Winter Conference. Her passions are reading, travel and theater.