Cascades Academy Independent School PK-12
Jam Sessions in Fourth & Fifth Grades
Jam Sessions in Fourth & Fifth Grades
The fourth and fifth grade music classes have continued to refine their jam sessions to a spectacular degree. With all students being proficient on ukulele and xylophones, and a variety of multi-instrumentalist in class playing banjo, guitar, recorder, piano, percussion and more, it really opens up our ability to vary the sonic textures. Students are generally given an "A" section (containing two to four chords) and a "B" section (with two to four more chords) and asked to cycle through the parts. This rhythm section provides the harmony while each student is given the opportunity to express themselves creatively during individual improvisations in front of the class. Lately, we've been exploring modes, dabbling with major tonality (happy songs), minor keys (melancholy music) and the mixolydian scale (songs with a bluesy characteristic). The kids sound great and really enjoy this time making music with their friends.

~ John Cardwell, Music Teacher


How Jumping Rope Improves Brain Function
How Jumping Rope Improves Brain Function

The Lower School students have been working hard on their Jump Rope unit in PE class by performing different tricks on the single ropes, partner ropes, as well as Double Dutch. Not only is jumping rope a fun and exhilarating activity, it also has many amazing benefits. First, when you jump rope on the balls of your feet, your mind and body connect to make "neural muscular adjustments" to keep you balanced. Skipping rope improves your balance and quickness/coordination by making your mind focus on your feet for sustained periods of time, even if you're not conscious of it. Secondly, jumping rope increases bone density while preserving your joints since the impact of each jump is absorbed by both legs. Lastly, activities with both physical and mental demands (like slacklining, ballroom dancing or jumping rope) have higher impacts on cognitive functioning than exercise tasks alone (like the treadmill or stationary bike). Turns out the very best workouts for brain health involve coordination, rhythm, and strategy.

~ Ms. Thomas, PE Teacher


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