Thursday, February 28, 2008

"High School Musical" a Brain Booster?



“What do they want for Christmas?” I asked. “

Oh anything about “High School Musical,” Stephen replied.

“High School what? They’re just little girls. Cari’s only in 2nd grade.”

“Hey Mom, get with it. 'High School Musical' is the thing.”

So off I went shopping. Sure enough, Stephen was right. I soon found "High School Musical" DVD’s, CD’s, dance mats, bed room lamps, sleep-over bags. You name it and you can get it with the HS Musical theme. HS Musical was everywhere—even in the grocery store.

Finally decided on a HS Musical interactive DVD for 4th grader, Abby and a HS Musical dance mat for Cari. I still didn’t have a clue.

So a couple weeks ago at the video store, Eric said “Let’s rent “High School Musical” and see what all the fuss is about. In case you’re not any savvier than we were, turns out HS Musical, filmed in Utah, is a Disney take-off on “Grease” minus John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

A bit hair-brained and not quite as sophisticated as "Grease," but certainly tame enough. HSM 2 struck me as sillier than HSM 1 but then I’m not a 2nd grader. It's been described as a modern-day Romeo and Juliet except everyone lives happily ever after.

The good news is all that dancing. And that’s what the kids are loving. That’s what the dance mat is all about. So is “High School Musical” a Brain Booster? You bet. Doesn’t get any better than dancing, and the dancing in HS Musical rocks.

Now even more curious, I had to Google "High School Musical" and check it out in Wikipedia Seems HS Musical was one of the most successful Disney channel movies—7.7 million viewers in the U.S. saw the premier. Reached best selling album status in 2006.


And in the U.K, HSM got 1.2 million viewers during the first week. In 2006, "High School Musical" was the most watched programs for the Disney Channel in the U.K.

There’s an ice tour and "High School Music 3" is on its way. Disney’s got a winner.

Gabriella, the main character, has her own blog (obviously sponsored by Disney). If you Google, “about High School Musical,” you’ll find chat rooms and online games and even a forum for “I Hate High School Musical.” Plenty that isn't tied to Disney marketing.

At last report, Cari and Abby are learning dance steps thanks to help from the dance mat they got from us. And the little ones, Alison and Andrew, are giving it a try too.

They’re jumping and hopping and crossing the midline like crazy.
Readers of this blog and the Brain Boosters for Your Kids newsletter will remember that any movement which crosses the center mid-line of the body helps increase brain integration between the left and right hemispheres.

Similar in the big picture to Wii Fit that we talked about yesterday. Wii Fit includes dancing and a mat. You can do the High School Musical dance mat with other kids and that's the most fun. (Obviously, you don't need the mat in order to dance since it's one kid at a time on the mat.) Requires digital viewing in order to see those dance steps and you’re moving.

So, I guess, with a bit of a stretch, you could include the “High School Musical” dance mat in the “social network gaming” genre.

That I think the plot is silly, the acting stilted, and the singing dreadful is quite beside the point.

So A+ for “High School Musical”—at least for the HS Musical products that get kids up off the couch and singing and dancing. As for the rest of the products and the online chatter, I’ll pass.

Can't imagine, though, that HS Musical would interest kids much beyond 4th grade, maybe the rare, unsophisticated 5th grader. I'm sure the Ohio grandkids, just a bit older than the NH kids, are saying things like "Yuk, 'High School Musical' is for babies."

Parents, the dance mat is a great toy, inexpensive enough to get a couple of them. And teachers, you can use the CD in your classroom or P.E. class to get the kids not only moving but moving to their favorite music. If you do Brain Gym in your classroom, try a fast HS Musical tune for Cross Crawl.

Meanwhile I’ve been hard at work compiling the “Brain Boosters for Your Kids” ebook and accompanying workbook. I’ve got a self-imposed deadline of two weeks. (Some of you, I’m sure, aren’t holding your breath since you’ll remember this project, in its original incarnation, began months ago and then languished.)

The ebook's got everything from tips and strategies to checklists and quizzes, even a bit of Brain Gym. As the kids say, “Get psyched.”

MaryJo

P.S. Maybe you weren't in the dark about "High School Musical," but you're still wondering what Brain Gym is all about.

Listen to a 4-minute explanation of Brain Gym or spend a full hour learning about Brain Gym and even a couple of BG movements you can use immediately. It's free. Be sure to download the 17-page full-color set of handouts before you click the listen button.

Listen to the 60-minute Intro to BG and get a discount on the next Brain Gym Basics TeleChat starting March 11.

1 comment:

Mark S.A. Smith said...

All of our girls love HSM and now are all taking dancing lessons. And now the big thing is Rock Band! All five of the kids play and our youngest boy is now taking guitar lessons. I love how we are using new, non-coercive methods to get kids interested in music, versus the hated "you've gotta practice the piano" methods that my parents insisted upon. The kids are self-motivating, and that's the way music... and learning... should be.