Dearest Moogsters –

Our first year of implementing Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool in Asheville City Schools is complete, and it has been very successful! Last summer, we developed a second grade curriculum that met the requirements for second grade science of sound education following both North Carolina state and national standards. In the fall, we shared the curriculum with second grade teachers in the Asheville City Schools through monthly teacher training sessions. The teacher training was filled with opportunities to experience the science of sound through synthesis, and teachers reported that they were very eager to share their new knowledge with their students.

The curriculum was taught to students in the spring semester, starting with a kick-off at each school led by August Worley and Ben Hovey. The theme of the kick-off was the importance of imagination. August encouraged students to think like Bob Moog, using science notebooks to record their ideas, no matter how strange they may seem. Ben provided musical inspiration for this theme, showing these second graders how innovative synthesis can be.

Teachers tell us that after the kick-off students couldn’t wait to start learning about sound. The ten lessons in the curriculum were taught in weekly sessions between January-March. Students learned about sound waves by creating chains of sound with cards, by acting like air molecules in sound waves, by viewing sound waves on oscilloscopes, and of course by playing the theremin! We have pre- and post-tests from these students and are analyzing them now, along with teacher feedback, to learn more about this first year of our curriculum. All indications are that it was very successful: teachers report high levels of engagement and learning from students.

The finale for SoundSchool was held at the Orange Peel in downtown Asheville.  Each class came prepared with a creative expression of what they learned from the curriculum. There was visual art, poems, and songs, all demonstrating how SoundSchool has ignited the innovator in these second graders!

Looking to the fall, I am pleased to announce that we are extending our reach! SoundSchool will continue in the Asheville City Schools, with another teacher training for the rest of the second grade teachers. Additionally, we will include ten teachers from four elementary schools in Buncombe County School District in North Carolina. This meets our goal of building our program first in North Carolina and then across the country. This year will be devoted to making any necessary adjustments to the curriculum and developing our infrastructure to support greater expansion in the coming years.

I couldn’t be more delighted with the progress we’ve made this year in the development of The Bob Moog Foundation’s education initiatives. We are a strong team with a solid plan for educating and inspiring students for years to come.

Jonna Kwiatkowski, PhD

Jonna is an experimental psychologist with 15 years experience in creativity and aesthetics research. Her philosophy is that creativity exists in every mind, and is unleashed when people are given the opportunity to feel their creative thought in action, to understand how they access their creative potential. She has led national, grant-funded research initiatives to understand creativity in grade school and high school students, including projects with the Department of Education and the College Board. In her primary research, she has investigated the creative mind using EEG and other cognitive techniques. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Mars Hill College, loving living in Asheville, and especially collaborating with the Bob Moog Foundation.