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Music and Learning: The Songs of Imagine Español

Have 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.
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Technology tips for the classroom: Virtual tours and live video

Save on field trip costs by taking advantage of world-class exhibits and performances for free online. Visit any room in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, view Van Gogh at the National Gallery, or snag front-row seats at one of the Kennedy Center’s daily performances—all from the comfort of your own classroom. You can even take a 360-degree tour through historic buildings around the world. Not bad for the price of an Internet connection.
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5 Ways Music Helps Struggling Readers

Today we're sharing a guest post from Elizabeth M. Peterson, fourth-grade teacher and host of the Inspired Classroom, a blog about using music and arts education to enhance student learning. For more information about Elizabeth, check out her bio at the end of the post. Our students come to us with many interests and talents. Music is one of them. Whether it’s Beethoven, the Beatles, Bon Jovi or (Justin) Bieber, tapping into their love of listening to music can help students become better readers. The two disciplines are innately very similar, and teachers and parents can take advantage of these similarities to help struggling readers become motivated learners.
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Celebrating literacy across the globe

Have you ever done something you considered to be insignificant, only to find out later that it had a much greater impact than you thought? A couple of years ago I posted a video of "The Opposite Song" on YouTube. It was a song that helped children learn the concept of opposites. The video was part of a television program I helped produce here at Imagine Learning called Imagine Island. The show was designed to help English learners and pre-K kids learn the alphabet, build vocabulary, and master the basics of literacy. We created 26 half-hour episodes -- one for each letter of the alphabet. In recent months I realized that "The Opposite Song"  had been viewed over 20,000 times. This was quite surprising, as I hadn't really emailed the link to anyone or promoted it in any way. As the total views for the video continued to increase, we began receiving comments from viewers who used the video in their classrooms.  It was exciting to know that teachers were finding our video and putting it to use. But that fact was really driven home last week when I received a video response to "The Opposite Song."
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