¡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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A Guide to Math Picture Books in the Classroom

I Hate Mathematics book, Imagine This blog, Big Brainz, math factsIf you’re an elementary teacher, you’ve probably seen these two kinds of students in your classroom:

  1. Students who understand and enjoy math.
  2. Students who are frustrated by math because they don’t understand it.

It’s your job to help those in the second group find their way into the first group. Luckily, picture books about math can really help.

The ‘Why’ of Math Picture Books

It’s human nature to enjoy stories. By relating to a character who feels the way they do, students can gain the confidence to move through their own challenges–both in and outside the classroom.

Even more importantly, there’s a tangible link between reading and math. It stands to reason that doing one can help the other.

When teachers use picture books containing math themes (either implicit or explicit), they offer students a contextualized experience with mathematics generally.

Plus, a good story can comfort the heart of any student who’s afraid of math. Read more »

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The Culture of Imagine Learning Español

España, Spain, map, famous architecture, information, cultural activity, Imagine Learning Español

Learning about España

In Imagine Learning Español, young students have a great time learning to read in Spanish.

As students begin their learning paths, they listen to letter and syllable sounds, sing along to captivating songs, and build reading skills in activities made just for them.

But most kids are less familiar with how Spanish is spoken around the world. They might think that every Spanish speaker sounds just like them!

The designers of Imagine Learning Español want to help young readers of Spanish appreciate the wider world that surrounds them.

With this goal in mind, Imagine Learning Español includes cultural activities featuring Spanish-speaking countries around the globe. Read more »

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Language Acquisition and the Mathematics Classroom

A guest post by Linda Hardman

President of Linda A. Hardman Consulting, Inc., teacher, and developer of multiple award-winning K12 math products

Imagine Learning now publishes monthly guest posts in order to stimulate conversations about K12 education across the country. Opinions expressed herein are those of the individual author and may not necessarily reflect the official opinion of Imagine Learning.

 

According to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), the percentage of English language learners (ELL) in US public schools grew in the 2012–2013 school year by 9.2 percent (i.e., 4.4 million students) compared to the prior school year.

Additionally, a new Pew Research Center study reported that a near-record 13.9 percent of the US population today is foreign born, with 45 million immigrants residing here.

Wiki Commons photo, preschool kids, English language learners, academic language, math, math literacy

A diverse group of young students

Because of these trends, students are significantly challenged to master academic language across the US.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for mathematics are also placing high demands in mathematics regarding abstract and quantitative reasoning, constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others, and looking for/expressing regularity in repeated reasoning.

Students and educators are even more challenged with the acquisition of academic language as a tool for mastering conceptual and procedural understanding of mathematical standards and practices.

As a result of the increasing amount of ELL students and the challenges presented by the CCSS for mathematics, it is important for students to acquire both academic language skills and mathematical fluency.

Moreover, the same essential reading components and first-language supports provided in reading classes also belong in the mathematics classroom.

Read more »

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Rhyme and Repeat: 5 Poetry Activities Kids Will Love

Hey diddle diddle, poetry, rhymes, kids love poems, rhyming activities, classroom, memorize poem, poem in a pocket, celebrate poetry, Imagine Learning blog, rhyme and repeat

The cow jumped over the moon …

Hey diddle diddle …

You already finished the rhyme, didn’t you. Ever wondered why those childhood poems stick in your brain?

The answer is simple. Rhymes and poems have a beat.

At its essence, poetry is the most kinesthetic of all written forms. We can dance to it, sing to it, and feel to it. Poetry and rhyming tap into each listener’s heart and soul in ways that other texts may miss.

Imagine Learning blog, Rhyme and Repeat, Jabberwocky, Lewis Carroll, image, Wiki Commons

Jabberwocky

From an educational view, poetry also fosters social and emotional growth.

Sharing poetry also builds a sense of community within a group of listeners and fosters creativity.

Poems are great avenues for self-expression–among all cultures and languages. Students who don’t speak English in the classroom can still listen to, read, or write a poem in their own language. Poetry is universal!

Test it for yourself by reading the following lines aloud:

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Thus begins one of the most beloved of children’s poems, “Jabberwocky,” by Lewis Carroll (from Alice Through the Looking Glass, and What She Saw There, 1872).

National Poetry Month may be nearing an end; but luckily, you can use poetry in the classroom all year round. Simply rhyme and repeat any of these activities in your class! Read more »

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