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Drumming integrates students with severe special needs with their peers in enthusiastic rhythm activities

This video features special education teacher, Nancy Brauhn-Curnes, third grade teacher Marcia Kress-Wright and their students, ages 7-10 performing at the Colorado Council International Reading Association (CCIRA) in Denver this past February. CCIRA is a professional organization of educators and community members dedicated to the promotion and advancement of literacy. The drummers from Laurel Elementary, Fort Collins, Co were invited to demonstrate how reading and rhythm can be integrated to enhance learning. In a collaborative effort, Nancy and Ms.Kress-Wright infused drumming as part of the African social studies unit. Each drummer learned and practiced four part rhythms by pairing drum strikes with word phrases. This was an exciting and rewarding experience for the students, Ms. Kress-Wright, and especially Nancy!

What began as a way for Nancy to integrate student with severe needs with their typical peers back in 2010 has now become a weekly activity in which she teaches drumming through interactive and enthusiastic activities. She has found by providing rhythm to students of all abilities that the drumming circle is a natural way to teach cooperation and teamwork as it promotes each individual to be a valuable contributor to the synergy of a group.

Laurel embraces and supports drumming to connect the schools' many students of diverse cultural, economic and academic backgrounds. In addition, the teachers see firsthand the positive benefits for their students as they observe increased concentration, focus, memory and listening skills during the drumming session(s).

Most importantly...it is just plain fun!

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