So I started out with this framework, and decided to engage in a process that would inform the design of the activity.  It was my hypothesis that this would work: where music would act as the bridge creating this learning environment connecting the two literacy skills.  In summary, There’s evidence that: 1) music listening cause improvements in intellectual ability; 2) music listening leads to enhanced performance on a variety of cognitive tests; 3) music-reinforcement provide positive effects on learning.

Mathematics – Order of Operation

          The order of operations can be taught by using the abstract tunes, and the ability of the brain to distinguish between consonance and dissonance of pitch, rhythms, melody, and meters (Levitin, 72) vis-à-vis order the operation procedures – as a form of reinforcement.  For example, in a game of memory where the user is primed with a tune, and a math problem whose operations corresponds to the tune, consonance would correspond to tunes of math operations done in correct order and matches the primed tune, and dissonance would correspond to math operations done in the incorrect order or doesn’t match the primed tune.  Leveling up features of the math portion of the game will be defined by the complexity of the tune to be learned by the user.   Beginning levels of this game would not emphasize the user being able to do arithmetic to solve the problems.  It would only focus on the user’s understanding of the order in which the operations should be solved, correctly.  As the user increases in level (like the famous game Tetris), the user’s ability to complete the arithmetic, in combination with faster and longer tunes/math expression, may become more of a factor of difficulty.

          Wotlz describes learning the order of operations as a skill for processing instance memory.   “Instance memory is another form of representation that could partly or wholly underlie the acquisition of sequential processing skills. That is, sequential skills could develop as the result of storing large numbers of processing episodes, in which each episodic memory includes a specific sequence of operations.   Eventually, skilled performance could rely on direct memory retrieval of solutions to well-practiced instances” (Wotlz, et al, 2).  This theory goes on to propose that if a large number of instances are represented in memory (as a result of practice), direct retrieval will replace the use of slower memory processes over time.  This activity should give learners the practice they need, and hopefully the learner’s confidence will improve overtime as they become more acquainted with the activity.

English – Writing Verse

          Verse writing would be defined by fifth grade common core standards as defined in the state of California.  Moreover, depending on the type of music the game is scaled to, the user would be required to perform written tasks that correspond to his/her favorite musical genre.  For example, a verse in hip-hop is 16 bars (lines), rhymes, and contains lyrical strategies such as metaphors, similes, analogies, and allegories (content in 5th grade California Common Core Standards).  Developing enticing writing tasks called lyrical challenges such that the user is developing their verse over time will give room for the learner to be creative.  The learner will be able to write freely parts of verses, and be able to revisit, and organize their writings to compose meaningful verses because of current technologies, powerful, tagging features, but ultimately with the aid of an instructor.  Think Scrivener meets Evernote where we are leveraging scaffolding features that aid in the creative process of writing long texts, andthe ability to easily capture any moment, idea, inspiration, or experience (creative control), respectively.  Using the power of current software that makes everyone a great writer is a meaningful tool.  Moreover, because of the scalability advantages offered through technology, writing has the chance to at least be enjoyable and not feared by a large, diverse, and deserving group of learners.

          What’s even more enticing is these same technological features are skills most instructors are able to bring into the classroom.  When talking with Laurn Bevilacqua, MT-BC, a board certified music therapist, she says that she sees such an activity “being best used in a classroom”.   It is my intentions to design an activity for a single learner outside of the classroom; probably because of the pessimism people have about music ever making it back into the classroom.  However, Laura reminds me to be mindful of opportunities that this activity could have inside a classroom.


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