Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The importance of Arts in Education

In the last year I've covered a lot of academic territory, but what hasn't been covered is physical education related. The Arts stimulate minds and help strengthen the skills socially and emotionally, allowing for better communication and comprehension of all materials at hand.

My own children are dancers...where this gene for such gracefulness came from completely eludes me as I seem to have been born with two left feet and have the body of Roseanne Barr, pre-surgery. What I can say my husband and I both have is a great appreciation for Theater Arts, and on my side a bit of exposure to varied other performing arts, including painters, pianists and the symphony.

While I hope to never hear my daughter utter the phrase “One time at band camp” in the context it is used in our modern society, I will give her (and her brother should he continue down the same path) exposure to dance competitions, conventions, workshops, and as many classes as our pocketbook allows for. Both children have learned the history of the time of Classical Ballet they've seen performed, the political history of the era, and we've turned it into a lesson in geography and mathematics at the same time that they are off learning to plie, tendu, jete, shuffle-hop, buffalo and ball change their way across a stage.

While it doesn't have to be dance (in my case it worked out) I would strongly advocate that arts be included in your own student's education. It fits seamlessly into ours and provides extra physical education that is outside the realm of sports.

Give it a try – you might find your own child learns to express themselves better while learning things you never would have imagined too!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Teaching the difference of Memorial and Veterans Day

After I wrote the Memorial Day post here my mother asked me “So what's the difference between Memorial day and Veteran's day."

Doing a little research online revealed that the two days are very much the same, simply their roots are set in different era's – one began due to observance and memorial of those who made great sacrifices in the civil war and the second was an amalgamation of observance and memorial of World Wars I and II.

Per the Us Department of Veterans Affairs website:
History of Veterans Day
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.

Thus began Armistice day...

Memorial Day began as Decoration day and over time grew to become the holiday we know it as, and in 1938 Armistice day became an official legal US holiday. This is a great opportunity for your older elementary aged student to cover history of the US, and have their own comparisons and discoveries as to how the holidays are similar but different.

Post World War II it became known as Veteran's Day – and a great activity would be for your students to trace the timeline of what twists and turns have happened over time and with laws to make the holiday we now know it to be.

Good luck and come back to share with us what you have come up with!