Monday, December 19, 2005


Please consider submitting something to Karen Hansen for the March issue of CONNECTIONS. Keep in mind that this publication goes to EVERY household in the Puyallup School District. See the recent request from PSD Teamwork:

MARCH CONNECTIONS DEADLINE - Friday, February 3, 2006
The deadline to submit stories and/or photos for the March issue of Connections is Friday, February 3, 2006. The theme for this issue is music and the arts, however all story and photo ideas are welcome. Photos and articles can be sent by e-mail or via courier to ESC, Attn. Karen Hansen. Please identify individuals in the photos from left to right, the name of the individual who took the photograph, and a contact number where you can be reached for additional information. Also, please specify if you would like the photos returned.

Music - A New Field of Scientific Study

My interest in brain research has led to interesting reading over the years. When we added FastForword at Zeiger Elementary, the staff received training on current brain research sponsored by the vendor, Scientific Learning. The presentation inspired me to purchase all kinds of "brain reasearch" books such as:
The Secret Life of the Brain by Richard Restak, M.D.
Inside the Brain by Ronald Kotulak
How the Brain Learns by David A. Sousa
Teaching With The Brain in Mind by Eric Jenkins
How People Learn - Brain, Mind, Experience, and School published by the National Research Council
My new role in the Puyallup School District has allowed me to pursure this interest even more. I'm facinated by the study of brain hemispheres, and used Betty Edwards's book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain for many years, particularly in teaching visual art lessons to my sixth-grade students. This study of "right brain" versus "left brain" functions, and the idea that we use, and need both hemispheres for daily life is the focus of a new book I'm reading called, A Whole New Mind. My goal during the next couple of weeks is to finish reading the book and apply the research to my work.
Musicians are perfect examples of effective use of both sides of the brain. To study the lyrics of a song and "read" the music on the staff is clearly a "left-brain" function. Language skills, math skills, simply moving from left to right across the page - these are all left brain activities. However, to apply emotion, dynamics, interpretation and improvisation is right brain activity at its finest. Music educators serve the whole brain of each student, and should consciously teach with this in mind.
"Music researchers are finding correlations between music making and some of the deepest workings of the human brain. Research has linked active music making with increased language discrimination and development, math ability, improved school grades, better-adjusted social behavior, and improvements in 'spatial-temporal reasoning,' - a cornerstone for problem solving." This message, taken from the American Music Conference website, introduces readers to a collection of research you can read for yourself. Take a look, click here or go to the AMC home page by clicking on the link provided on the PSD Music blog.
I'd love to read your feedback, and encourage you to exercise your ability as a contributor to this blog. Post your thoughts. Let talk with each other!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Elementary Choirs Tour PSD

Choirs from Waller Road, Riverside and Fruitland Elementaries took their show on the road earlier this week. Their first stop was Aylen Junior, where following their performance, AJH Choraliers and Falconnaires shared music as well. This was a great opportunity for student singers to share, and listen to each other.

Here you see masses of elementary students waiting for the sharing to begin.

This is Riverside's choir, directed by Dawn Harmon

This is Nancy Nole with her choir from Fruitland.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Jazz Fest 2005

Congratulations to all participants of this year's Junior High/Middle School/High School Instrumental Jazz Contest held last Wednesday at Rogers High School. Seventeen bands from the Valley Region performed in the annual Jazz Festival - 5 of them from the Puyallup School District. Hats off to Bruce Leonardy, Doug Minkler, Emily Asher, Gail Phillips, Eric Ryan and their fine student performers from Rogers High School, Emerald Ridge High School, Ballou Junior High, Kalles Junior High and Puyallup High School. Much thanks goes to Eric and Bruce for directing and hosting this event. Much thanks goes to Mother Nature for holding the snow for one more day!