Drums are Alive at Rushton Elementary School

Rushton Drums
Shawnee Mission School District

Students at Rushton Elementary are combining their physical education (PE) and music classes for lessons on drumming and movement in a unit titled, “Drums Alive.”

Deb Simmons, PE teacher, participated in a workshop three years ago where collaboration was encouraged between PE and music classes.

“Our PE curriculum includes units on dance and the music curriculum includes units on movement. It was the ideal partnership,” Simmons shared.

Sixth grade students in PE and fourth grade students in music work in pairs on drumming, beats- per-second, and movement. Each student has a partner, a set of drumsticks, and an exercise ball (the drum) on top of a bucket.

Recently, students were challenged with breaking down the song “Wolves” by Selena Gomez. Michael Bechina, music teacher, played the song and noted the six different musical sections in the song. The student teams choreographed a movement and beat to match each section.

“I like to hit the ball and the bucket especially since I’ve never been a drummer before,” Jada, sixth grader shared.

“This unit includes many different types of learning such as audio, visual, musical, written and physical,” Bechina noted. “This is an opportunity for students to work together and share their strengths.”

At the conclusion of the unit, the students will present a performance.