Category Archives: Professional Observations

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking

The following verse was sent to me by my mom yesterday. Unfortunately, I do not know the original author. Please, if you know who wrote this verse, let me know so appropriate credit can be cited. This is so true and just confirms how important each of our jobs as parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend, example is. The children definitely are our future and our legacy.


A message every adult should read because children
are watching you and doing as you do, no t as you say.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you hang my
first painting on the refrigerator, and I immediately
wanted to paint another one.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you feed a
stray cat, and I learned that it was good to be kind
to animals.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make my
favorite cake for me, and I learned that the little
things can be the special things in life.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I heard you say a
prayer, and I knew that there is a God I could always
talk to, and I learned to trust in Him.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you make a
meal and take it to a friend who was sick, and I
learned that we all have to help take care of each other.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw you take care
of our house and everyone in it, and I learned we have
to take care of what we are given.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw how you
handled your responsibilities, even when you didn’t
feel good, and I learned that I would have to be
responsible when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw tears come
from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things
hurt, but it’s all right to cry.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I saw that you
cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I learned most of
life’s lessons that I need to know to be a good and
productive person when I grow up.

When you thought I wasn’t looking I looked at you and
wanted to say, ‘Thanks for all the things I saw when
you thought I wasn’t looking.’

Each of us (parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, teacher, friend)
influences the life of a child.

How will you touch the life of someone today? Just by
sending this to someone else, you will probably make
them at least think about their influence on others.
Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply.
Speak kindly.
Leave the rest to God.



Filed under Parent-itis, Personal Thoughts, Professional Observations

Okay so I’m prolific today…

But, we saw this video at convention and I just remembered I wanted to share it with you when I saw it on a friend’s Facebook. Enjoy!

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The Importance of Talking to Babies

Here is an interesting video that was shared by a colleague of mine. Although I completely agree with the importance of talking to your infant, I’m a little put off by the idea of spending $400.00 on a vocal pedometer. There is enough to be stressed out about in parenting without fretting about an actual word count every day as well. I’d be interested in your comments on this. What do you, as parents of young children, think? The video is at this link.

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Not On the Test

I recommended Tom Chapin to you early this semester when parents were asking for a discography of suggested listening. Today, a colleague sent me this link to Tom’s “Not On The Test” video. This is very timely as many schools are in the middle of Ohio Achievement Tests this week.  some facts that Tom has on his website here for you. I really encourage you to go to the website and view the video and read the other things he has posted there.

Young people who consistently participate in comprehensive, sequential, and rigorous arts programs are:

– 4 times more likely to be recognized for academic achievement

– 3 times more likely to be elected to class office within their schools

– 4 times more likely to participate in a math and science fair

– 3 times more likely to win an award for school attendance

– 4 times more likely to win an award for writing an essay or poem.

Source: Americans for the Arts (

The arts provide children with:

– different ways to process information and express their knowledge

– the ability to think creatively in areas like math and science

– the ability to be independent and collaboration skills

(source: Young Audiences, Inc.

The arts also:

– teach children to make good judgments about qualitative relationships.

– celebrate multiple perspectives – showing students that there are many ways to see and interpret the world

– make it clear that neither words in their literal form nor numbers exhaust what we can know.  The limits of our language do not
define the limits of our cognition.

– help children learn to say what cannot be said.  They must learn to reach into their poetic capacities to find the words to describe how
the work of art makes them feel.

(source: National Art Education Association website – From Elliot Eisner’s book: The Arts and the Creation of Mind)

Miss Christa’s note – I believe that the early exposure Kindermusik provides to these goals will help your child excel later in school – even if the school’s program is cut or is not supported.

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Music Training Linked to Enhanced Verbal Skills

See article at
Music Training Linked To Enhanced Verbal Skills

Because the brainstem offers a common pathway that processes music and
speech, the study suggests that musical training conceivably could help
children develop literacy skills and combat literacy disorders.

by Staff Writers

Evanston IL (SPX) Sep 25, 2007

Music training, with its pervasive effects on the nervous system’s
ability to process sight and sound, may be more important for enhancing
verbal communication skills than learning phonics, according to a new
Northwestern University study. Musicians use all of their senses to
practice and perform a musical piece. They watch other musicians, read
lips, and feel, hear and perform music, thus, engaging multi-sensory
skills. As it turns out, the brain’s alteration from the multi-sensory
process of music training enhances the same communication skills needed
for speaking and reading, the study concludes.

“Audiovisual processing was much enhanced in musicians’ brains compared
to non-musician counterparts, and musicians also were more sensitive to
subtle changes in both speech and music sounds,” said Nina Kraus, Hugh
Knowles Professor of Communication Sciences and Neurobiology and
director of Northwestern’s Auditory

Neuroscience Laboratory, where the work was performed. “Our study
indicates that the high-level cognitive processing of music affects
automatic processing that occurs early in the processing stream and
fundamentally shapes sensory circuitry.”

The nervous system’s multi-sensory processing begins in the brainstem,
an evolutionarily ancient part of the brain previously thought to be
relatively unmalleable.

“Musicians have a specialized neural system for processing sight and
sound in the brainstem, the neural gateway to the brain,” said
Northwestern doctoral student Gabriella Musacchia, lead author of the study.

For many years, scientists believed that the brainstem simply relayed
sensory information from the ear to the cortex, a part of the brain
known for cognitive processing.

Because the brainstem offers a common pathway that processes music and
speech, the study suggests that musical training conceivably could help
children develop literacy skills and combat literacy disorders.

The study, “Musicians Have Enhanced Subcortical Auditory and Audiovisual
Processing of Speech and Music,” will be published online the week of
Sept. 24 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
The co-investigators are Gabriella Musacchia, Mikko Sams, Erika Skoe and
Nina Kraus.

Study participants, who had varying amounts of musical training or none
at all, wore scalp electrodes that measured their multi-sensory brain
responses to audio and video of a cellist playing and a person speaking.

The data showed that the number of years that a person practiced music
strongly correlated with enhanced basic sound encoding mechanisms that
also are relevant for speech. Beyond revealing super-accurate pitch
coding vital to recognizing a speaker’s identity and emotional intent,
the study showed enhanced transcription of timbre and timing cues common
to speech and music.

“The study underscores the extreme malleability of auditory function by
music training and the potential of music to tune our neural response to
the world around us, ” Kraus said.

Previous research has shown brainstem transcription errors in some
children with literacy disorders.

Since music is inherently more accessible to children than phonics, the
new research suggests, music training may have considerable benefits for
engendering literacy skills.

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Article from NY Times – Music/Language connection

Skilled Ear for Music May Help Language
Article reprinted from
Published: March 20, 2007
Anyone who has tried to learn Chinese can attest to how hard it is to master the tones required to speak and understand it. And anyone who has tried to learn to play the violin or other instruments can report similar challenges.

Now researchers have found that people with musical training have an easier time learning Chinese.

Writing in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience, researchers from Northwestern University say that both skills draw on parts of the brain that help people detect changes in pitch.

One of the study’s authors, Nina Kraus, said the findings suggested that studying music “actually tunes our sensory system.” This means that schools that want children to do well in languages should hesitate before cutting music programs, Dr. Kraus said. She said music training might also help children with language problems.

Mandarin speakers have been shown to have a more complex encoding of pitch patterns in their brains than English speakers do. This is presumably because in Mandarin and other Asian languages, pitch plays a central role. A single-syllable word can have several meanings depending on how it is intoned.

For this study, the researchers looked at 20 non-Chinese speaking volunteers, half with no musical background and half who had studied an instrument for at least six years.

As they were shown a movie, the volunteers also heard an audiotape of the Mandarin word “mi” in three of its meanings: squint, bewilder and rice. The researchers recorded activity in their brain stems to see how well they were processing the sounds.

Those with a music background showed much more brain activity in response to the Chinese sounds.

The lead author of the study, Patrick C. M. Wong, said it might work both ways. It appears that native speakers of tonal languages may do better at learning instruments, Dr. Wong said.

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