Archive for June, 2014

Music: A Learning Tool, An Intelligence

by Kari Fedde, HCA Music & Band Teacher

God has given each of us a unique set of learning tools. We hear these referred to as intelligences or learning styles. We develop these intelligences throughout our lives as we learn and grow in God’s world. Music is a unique discipline that enables students to strengthen their set of learning tools and provides an authentic space for practicing all the intelligences.

Let’s look at Howard Gardner’s 7 intelligences:

  •    Visual-Spatial – We learn through drawings, imagery, videos, photographs.
  •    Bodily-Kinesthetic – We learn through movement, making things, role playing.
  •    Musical – We learn through rhythm, sound patterns, lyrics, multi-media.
  •    Interpersonal – We learn through group activities, interacting with others.
  •    Intrapersonal – We learn through independent study, books, diaries, privacy.
  •    Linguistic – We learn through lecture, reading, word games, poetry.
  •    Logical-Mathematical – We learn through logic games, experiments, mysteries.

Now let’s look at these intelligences through the discipline of music:

  •    Visual-Spatial – We learn the language of music notation.
  •    Bodily-Kinesthetic – We learn the physics of sound production vocally and instrumentally.
  •    Musical – We learn to identify sound patterns/rhythms.
  •    Interpersonal – We learn to work with a group/band.
  •    Intrapersonal – We learn to excel on an individual instrument.
  •    Linguistic – We learn to analyze a piece of music.
  •    Logical-Mathematical – We learn music theory/patterns.

Taking it one step further, let’s look at how this translates back to the classroom:

  •    Visual-Spatial – We learn the language of music notation.  (This strengthens language skills.)
  •    Bodily-Kinesthetic – We learn the physics of sound production vocally and instrumentally. (This   strengthens science skills.)
  •    Musical – We learn to identify sound patterns/rhythms.  (This strengthens math & science skills.)
  •    Interpersonal – We learn to work with a group/band.  (This strengthens social skills.)
  •    Intrapersonal – We learn to excel on an individual instrument.  (This strengthens self-confidence.)
  •    Linguistic – We learn to analyze a piece of music. (This strengthens higher level reasoning skills)
  •    Logical-Mathematical – We learn music theory. (This strengthens math skills)

The intelligence of music helps us identify our learning tool strengths. The discipline of music demands that we strengthen those learning tools. The beauty of music gives us the opportunity to share our strengths to the glory of God.




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Raising Web Savvy Kids

Part 1 in a series on tech by Heather Smith, Communications Manager

It’s hard to imagine, but children born after the year 2000 will have no recollection of life that existed before the internet. That’s not to say that’s when the internet was invented, but that marks the point by which the internet had taken over more than 97% of telecommunicated information. We’ve gone from computers the size of classrooms (I discovered, while researching this article, that the first computer weighed 27 tons) to more information that we could possible absorb in the palm of our hand.

And with those developments, our children grow up knowing that whatever they need to know can be found via the magical portal known as Google (in 2013, 68% of searches done online were done via Google).

But how do they know what’s true and what isn’t?

We’ve all stood in check-out lines at the grocery store, amusing ourselves with the crazy headlines invented by various, um, publications. I’m sure more than a few people remember seeing tabloids like the following:

It doesn’t take a Rhodes Scholar (or even an eight-year-old) to discern that this article – and most anything you would read from Weekly World News – probably isn’t true.

But when kids get their information all from the same place, like they do with internet, it can suddenly be a lot more challenging to detect what’s real and what isn’t.

This topic came to mind while perusing Facebook this week. An acquaintance had posted a link to article declaring that Obama was seeking a third term for presidency. Never mind that a cursory knowledge of the constitution should have immediately debunked this idea, the article has been floating around the internet and pops up every so often on social media. Being that so much of my job revolves around media knowledge, I watched that particular post to see how people would respond. To my surprise, it took TWO DAYS before someone pointed out why it couldn’t be true. Before that, there were various comments from college-educated people, believing what the article said.

If people who should know better can be taken in by official-sounded jargon from a website that looks like a news outlet, how can our kids possibly know the difference?

Simple: We have to teach them. Both at school and at home. Don’t wait until your kids are looking things up for a high school research project! Start talking to them as soon as they start playing games or surfing online.

1. Teach Your Child to Authenticate Content

Remind them – daily if you have to – that just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true. Doubt everything at first!

Then go through the following steps:

  • Who published this information? (A college or university will generally have more accurate information than a blog)
  • What are you getting? (Can this information be collaborated with other sources? Or is this site the only place these facts/ideas are found?)
  • Where are you? (A look at the URL can be very helpful)
  • When was the site created?
  • Why are you there? (Is this information best sourced by the internet? Or would a book be more helpful?)*

2. Teach Your Child to Understand the Authority of the Author

The author’s information should be easily located, as well as information about where they sourced their materials. If your student likes to use Wikipedia, teach them to use the links throughout the wiki to go to the original source material, instead of citing Wikipedia in their homework.

3. Teach students to understand plagiarism.

Journalists have labeled this generation the “cut and paste” generation, which demonstrates the lack of understanding that students have of taking material that doesn’t belong to them. If they are using someone else’s words or images, they need to give credit where credit is due. This behavior has become so rampant that many high schools and universities run their students’ papers through tools like PaperRater or DupliChecker, to make sure the writing is actually belongs to the student.

For a quick summary, this video on Google’s Digital Literacy Tour provides some easy, simple reminders for teaching students how to get the most out of the internet, without getting duped.

* These questions, and more information, can be found at MediaSmarts

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What Habits Does Schooling Form?

by Dr Stacy Loyd, Academic Dean

As you move through the tasks and activities of your day, what do you routinely do? When you woke this morning did you start your day in prayer, whisper good-morning to your sleepy child, or brew a cup of coffee? Did you brush your teeth before or after breakfast? As you ended your day did you fold laundry, watch the news, or read a bedtime story to your child? Do you walk like your father? Crave ice cream when stressed or respond to God’s gifts with gratitude? The answers to these questions describe the decisions you are not intentionally making. These routines are the habits you live by.

Habits form as the brain converts sequences of actions into automatic routines (Duhig, 2012). These automatic routines are a way for the brain to save effort. Forty percent of the actions adults perform each day aren’t actual decisions, but habits (Verplanken & Wood, 2006). Because of the power and prevalence of these behavioral chunks, habit formation during childhood demands intention.

Different school settings focus on helping students form different kinds of habits. Our vision at Heritage Christian Academy is “to equip and nurture students to be servant leaders with a biblical Christian worldview who will have an impact on their world for Christ.” In order to accomplish this vision, we teach a particular curriculum and set expectations to help students develop distinct sets of habits. The habits formed during schooling make up the spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, physical, and aesthetic routines our students live by.

We strive to teach HCA students to have the habit of . . .

  • recognizing God’s forgiveness of sins and understanding that Jesus came to earth to bring eternal life.
  • understanding the Bible is the source of all truth.
  • memorizing God’s Word.
  • reasoning biblically as they analyze life’s situations and make personal choices
  • developing Spiritual disciplines such as prayer and Bible study
  • using the Bible to communicate the joy of the Gospel and share beliefs with others
  • demonstrating Christian self-governance and respectful social skills
  • approaching learning opportunities with curiosity and joy
  • developing good character through practice of neatness, carefulness, order, and intellectual honesty
  • demonstrating persistence in completing tasks for God’s glory

Habits are powerful. Our habits and experiences are shaped by the culture we participate in and these gradually shape our perception of reality, our worldview. Think of the way schooling shapes the way we live—how we speak, write, dress, and interact with one another. We very easily conform to the world around us (Romans 12:2a). Of course, it works the other way too: our worldview shapes our actions, and our actions become habits. We can be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2b). Worldview is much more than simply principles that we hear and study. Ultimately, worldview is the habits we live by. It is our mission at Heritage Christian Academy to diligently cultivate a culture where students develop habits that form a biblical worldview.

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