Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

Featuring articles written by Crane Staffulty

For more information about Crane Country Day School, please contact admission@craneschool.org or call 805-969-7732 x127.

Music is My Muse
Donna Brown

I can’t remember when I began singing, but I remember harmonizing with every song that bounced along the radio waves and into my young life. My family had this huge TV/radio/turntable console in our living room. I remember carefully unveiling a black vinyl from its cardboard casing, listening to the crackle of the needle, while eagerly anticipating the opening guitar riff of “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers.

I can’t remember when I began singing, but I remember harmonizing with every song that bounced along the radio waves and into my young life. My family had this huge TV/radio/turntable console in our living room. I remember carefully unveiling a black vinyl from its cardboard casing, listening to the crackle of the needle, while eagerly anticipating the opening guitar riff of “Secret Agent Man” by Johnny Rivers. 
 
My older brother picked up the guitar when I was about nine years old. I was enthralled by the music that filled our house from that day on--classic rock riffs, blues and jazz chords, and some bluegrass licks. I was especially smitten by the jazz chords which made their way into many of my songs. It was 1973 when I was given my first guitar as a birthday present. It was an inexpensive acoustic guitar purchased at Western Auto, but I was thrilled to have it. Little did my parents know that I would play that guitar every day. As soon as I figured out a few chords, I began to write songs. There was something so magical about songwriting. Nothing in my young life had a more profound effect on me. I could easily get lost in the music for hours at a time. Music transported me, shaped me, opened my mind, and deepened my ability to reflect.
 
Interestingly, if you Google “music and the brain” you will find a plethora of articles on the topic. While none of the research studies are conclusive, it appears that playing music is good for us--especially for young children. It may strengthen the connections between the two hemispheres of the brain, improve executive brain function, strengthen speech processing, magnify memory, promote empathy, slow brain aging, foster math and science ability, improve motor skills, elevate mental health, and sharpen self-esteem. 
 
Even if every one of these claims were true, the most compelling reason for creating music (in my opinion) is the pure joy and satisfaction that music delivers. Students have so many opportunities to experience and create music here at Crane. Never underestimate the power of music to inspire, transform, and challenge us. Let music be your muse!
 
Donna Brown
Third Grade Teacher

Most Recent Posts

Outdoor Learning Space

Crane School’s 11-acre campus is most definitely a highlight for those who visit. The balance of nature and buildings, and the natural flow as one moves through campus is welcoming and enchanting. Students, parents, and Staffulty (staff and faculty) can all agree that the campus is thoughtfully designed and carefully maintained. When asking Staffulty about their favorite spot on campus, the vast majority name an outdoor space, but as there are so many to choose from, they don’t all share the same favorite. They can all pinpoint just what it is that makes it their favorite:

“Walking through Crane’s amazing garden is the best way to start my day. It’s a beautiful reminder to take in the beauty that’s all around us.

“Our fields are really magical spaces...”

Choice Voice Image

Choice at Crane School is seen at each grade level in varying forms and amounts. It could be Choice Time at the end of the day in kindergarten, Choice Boards in first grade for extra learning opportunities, Passion Projects in fourth grade, the seventh grade mentor project (QED), or an eighth grader’s public speaking topic. No matter what age, choice brings excitement. Choice is like the shiny, colorful bait that lures the fish and reels it in toward the ultimate goal - in this case, learning. When it comes to our Crane motto of rigor and joy, choice is the joy piece that makes deep, meaningful learning so much fun and memorable...

2020-09-15-FonLGoal

The beginning of the school year brings excitement, stirs up nerves, and offers a fresh start. There is anticipation of the new possibilities and seeing familiar faces again. Some nerves in the form of butterflies appear as students wonder about the unknowns. It is certainly a new beginning for all, which can be recognized by a pristine white school planner, the colorful stylus in a school supplies case, or a new name tag to make a student’s learning space their own...

Reinhart Koselleck

Of the many odd things that I studied in graduate school, none was more engaging to me than the intersections between the history of medicine and the history of political thought. At the time I thought this was interesting on its own merits. I could never have guessed that in 2020, the politics of medicine would become critically relevant. I should like to reflect one those intersections and to explain how they inform my instruction of students in United States history...