• 57°

A different drum: schools combine music, P.E.

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost

WOODLEAF — It’s hard not to move to the beat. The music blaring from a speaker in Woodleaf Elementary’s gym is all high-energy — “Witch Doctor,” “Wipeout,” “Ghostbusters,” “Beat it” and “What Does the Fox Say?”

But there’s another sound in the gym: the sound of drums. Second graders wield drumsticks, clacking them together above their heads and bringing them down with force on individual “drums” as they work their way through song after song.

The performance is part of a new physical education unit called “Drums Alive.” And it’s unlike any other unit the school system has run before. Because this one is a collaboration between music class and P.E.

When a school has the drums — bright green exercise balls balanced in a bucket — students get a chance to play twice a week, once during their P.E. time, and once during their music time. Operating on a “two brains are better than one” principal, the class is co-taught by music and P.E. teachers who guide the students through movement, rhythm and routines.

Kelly Feimster, director of instructional programs, said that research has shown that combining music or art and physical activity helps stimulate the brain and sparks creativity.

“You’re using all areas of the brain when you combine music and physical activity,” she said.

And it adds an extra “fun factor” to both classes that helps capture students’ attention. The Drums Alive unit helps students learn how to follow directions, improves coordination and can even help them with fluency and literacy later in life.

“I think you get more power, you get more of the power flowing,” she said.

Feimster said she learned about Drums Alive when she saw a video of it on Facebook. The idea immediately captivated her.
“So we started investigating to see if it was a possibility,” she said.

The school system purchased three to four sets of 25 “drums” and drumsticks to be shared between the district’s 20 elementary schools. Schools sign up for the unit, getting the equipment for several weeks, before it’s passed on to the next school.

And they can accomplish a lot during that time. Some of the classes at Woodleaf are learning routines, and will put on a performance for parents and family members at the end of the unit, music teacher Molly Trexler said.

Trexler said students are “very much engaged” in the unit — twice a week they’re happy to take wood to rubber, make noise and dance around.

“Honestly it’s something different for our kids to do,” she said, “… It’s something new and exciting that they can get into.”

When they walk into the gym and see the drums, students’ faces light up

It also introduces them to the concept of integrated subjects — something that they’ll need later in life. And for Trexler and co-teacher, P.E. instructor Tammy Daugherty, it’s a workout. The two run six classes a day, twice a week. And while a Drums Alive session captivates kids easily, Trexler said, the two work to keep their own energy high.

But co-teaching makes it easy to split responsibilities. Trexler guides the students through each song— telling them where to strike the drum and walking them through repetitions — while Daugherty helps them move, signaling them to crouch on the floor, circle around their drum or weave around the gym during a slow measure.

Students at Woodleaf are enjoying the unit so much, in fact, that Trexler and Daugherty are raising funds to get the school its own set of drums.

“We’re used to sharing but it would be really nice to have something,” Trexler said.

Feimster said the district is also looking to expand its sets.

“The sky’s the limitation on this,” she said.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264. 

Comments

High School

High school football: Some anxious moments, but Hornets win state title

Local

Photos: Salisbury High Hornets win big in 2AA championship game

Local

County manager outlines projections for the upcoming fiscal year budget, suggests uses for stimulus money

Business

Miami-based Browns Athletic Apparel opens second screen printing location in Salisbury

News

At funeral, fallen Watauga deputies remembered as ‘heroes’

Coronavirus

COVID-19 cluster identified at Granite Quarry Elementary

Coronavirus

More than half of North Carolinians have now taken at least one vaccine shot

Local

City hopes to cover expenses in 2021-22 budget with surplus revenue generated this year

Local

Fallen tree proves to be a blessing for local nonprofit Happy Roots

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Health department drops quarantine time from 14 to 10 days

Crime

Blotter: More than $100,000 in property reported stolen from Old Beatty Ford Road site

Local

City fights invasive beetles by injecting trees with insecticide

Local

City names downtown recipients for federal Parks Service grant

China Grove

China Grove Town Council weighs 2021-22 budget priorities, supports buying body cameras

Education

Educators reflect on Teacher Appreciation Week

Education

Livingstone College wins $30,000 Home Depot grant

Education

Shoutouts

News

Shield-A-Badge With Prayer program enters 26th year, accepting volunteers to pair with officers

Education

COVID-19 infection, quarantine numbers in Rowan-Salisbury Schools reach new highs

High School

High school football: Offensive line came together for Hornets, who play for state title tonight

Local

Pro baseball: White makes pro debut and says, ‘It felt amazing to be out there’

Education

West Rowan Middle eighth grader wins investment writing contest

Local

YSUP Rowan invites agencies to participate in youth-focused training