Using Drumfit, Students at Orange Avenue School Combine Music and Physical Fitness


Because of a CFEE grant, students at Orange Avenue School are experiencing a cardio program that combines the mental health benefits of music with the overall health benefits of physical fitness for a full body workout.
Ms. Suzette de Araujo, Physical Education Teacher and Amanda Holodak, 4-8th Grade Band Director co-applied and were awarded the seed funding for DrumFIT, a movement-based activity that increases heart rate and builds motor skills. During Phys-Ed classes, students in grades 3 through 5 use drumsticks to enthusiastically beat exercise balls to music and routines. CFEE provided the seed funding for the program at OAS, which will continue to serve students for many years to come. Ms. de Araujo was excited to introduce the fundamentals of physical education in a new and different way. “To give students the ability to move confidently and to give them the mastery of those fundamental movement skills and combine it with music so they don’t even know that they’re doing it -- it then becomes an integral part of who they are,” Ms. de Araujo said. “Hopefully what these students will do is take this ability to move to music, move to a beat, move to a rhythm, and channel that in all that they do. That’s our goal in physical education.”
“A lot of these kids came in and thought they were just drumming,” Ms. Holodak added, “but at the same time they are starting to sweat, heart rates are going up, and it’s a great form of exercise.” Ms. Holodak is excited to see how Drumfit may help her students draw new connections to rhythm and music. “Being able to cultivate my students musically in a new environment has been awesome and I’ll think I’ll be able to see that impact when they come back to my classroom.” When asked what advice they would give other potential CFEE grantees, both OAS teachers encouraged applicants to think outside the box. Ms. Holodak suggested that applicants can start small by applying for shorter programs that can fit into gaps in curriculum, saying “This was a three-week long unit. It doesn’t have to be a huge part of your school year. Think of something new, something exciting, that future grades and current students can look forward to next year.”
“There is so much changing in education, and we’re lifelong learners so we’re constantly learning new things and new ideas we want to bring to class,” Ms. de Araujo added. “Without CFEE, there was no way we’d be able to bring Drumfit to the students. So I encourage you. Take the time. Find stuff that’s new. Think outside the box. What’s your dream? What’s your passion? Figure out how to bring it to the students and ask the CFEE to fund you.” Click the video below to see Drumfit in action.