Los canciones! The Music of Imagine Español

Imagine Español Pin Pon songHave you ever caught yourself humming the tune to a song you heard years ago? If so, you’ve tapped into the power of music and long-term memory.

The fact is, music makes learning stick. Just ask a neuroscientist. But first: a word or two on long-term memory.

Inherent to long-term memory are explicit (or declarative) and implicit (non-declarative) memory. If you consciously think of a specific memory, you’re tapping into explicit/declarative memory. By contrast, implicit/non-declarative memory requires no conscious effort.

When the brain is exposed to music and words together, that information becomes a part of the brain’s explicit and implicit memory. This helps explain why dementia patients who seemingly have little or no explicit memory can still remember tunes and words to songs they knew decades earlier.

Imagine Learning designers recognize that developing brains are open to myriad learning cues from an early age. In a semi-literal way, young brains are like sponges as they soak up information from multiple sources.

That’s why during the development of Imagine Español learning activities, designers worked closely with musicians, actors, and sound engineers to create an optimal learning environment–one in which music plays a critical role. Read more »

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Math and Charitable Giving: The Perfect Sum

Renewal HS, donation, Think Through MathOn any given day, at any given hour, somewhere in America a student is completing a math lesson on Imagine Math (formerly Think Through Math).

But math isn’t the only problem they’re helping to solve.

Ask any math teacher: math can solve real-life problems. Need to balance your checkbook? That’s a math solution. Building a house? You need math skills to ensure a sound construction.

And if you’re donating to a good cause, math helps you calculate the bottom line and deliver the goods as promised. Read more »

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6 Ways to Engage with Black History at School

During Black History Month each February, K-12 teachers across the country take a special look at their lesson plans. Will it be a guest speaker this year, or a lecture on Harriet Tubman?

Although some prominent black Americans question the need for a Black History Month, Americans as a whole think it’s worth commemorating. And all cultural backgrounds can benefit by learning about the black experience–then, and now.

But to really engage students, this occasion requires thoughtful planning. Here are six ideas for making black history come alive in the classroom.

Move Beyond Familiar Historical Figures

black history month, Imagine Learning

Alonzo Herndon

While names like Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. are important, they shouldn’t eclipse the names of unsung black Americans. The recent success of the movie “Hidden Figures” illustrates this point well.

Depending on the ages of those you teach, why not craft a lesson around black inventors–or ask students if they have a lesser-known hero they’d like to discuss? Ask a local historian for further ideas.

You can even talk about and play musical excerpts by black composers. Or profile black musicians in general. The point is: get creative.

Learn More About the Underground Railroad

Make history come alive by seeing how former slaves escaped to freedom via the Underground Railroad. Read more »

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Congratulations, Journaling January Winners!

Journaling January 2017, Imagine Math, think through mathDuring January 2017, we asked math educators all across the country to send us their best student journal entries for Imagine Math (formerly Think Through Math). And we weren’t disappointed!

So what is “Journaling January” all about?

In a nutshell, we asked student/teacher teams to send us an Imagine Math journal page that illustrated how students broke down a math problem and solved for the correct answer.

Journaling January–Weekly Winners

Through great teamwork, these winners took their math understanding to the next level. Congratulations to the winning student/teacher teams from these schools: Read more »

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Why Teach Academic Language?

Every day in American schools, teachers welcome more students whose first language is something other than English.

According to the Pew Research Center, this demographic trend will only grow exponentially in coming years. In fact, Pew estimates up to 93% of our population will come from immigrant populations and their children by the year 2050.

academic language Imagine LearningWhat do these numbers mean for schools? Here’s the short answer: schools will need better ways to teach language generally, and academic language in particular.

Why the importance? When students don’t master academic language, they’re at greater risk for falling behind or even dropping out of school.

The Language of Textbooks

Learning to speak, read, and write in English can be challenging enough.

But without knowing academic language (e.g., general-instruction words like “summarize,” math words like “times” as another way to say “multiplied by,” or science words like “hypothesis”), English language learners can quickly fall behind in their progress. Read more »

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