Westerville City Schools: Pointview students find rhythm in new fitness-drumming project

Marla K. Kuhlman
ThisWeek group
Pointview Elementary School third-grader Ja'Queen Edwards dances with her drumming noodles during a freestyle moment in a fitness-drumming class held by physical-education teacher Alisa Franklin and music teacher Alex Chapman at the school March 16.

Students at Westerville City Schools' Pointview Elementar School skip around a large exercise ball that’s stabilized in a plastic basket and then drum on the ball with pool noodles to the beat of the "Chicken Dance" song.

The fun is all part of a fitness-drumming project teaming Pointview physical-education teacher Alisa Franklin and music teacher Alex Chapman.

In the physical-education classroom, fitness drumming is used to practice coordination and motor skills, whereas drumming promotes such music skills as a steady beat and the ability to accurately perform rhythms. 

Chapman said the students are doing the same things they have done in the past but with different tools.

“It’s a new method,” he said. 

After 35 minutes of skipping, drumming on the ball and other aerobic activity March 16, third-grader Ja’Queen Edwards said, “It was tiring.”

She said she likes drumming on the ball and coordinating those skills to music “a little bit.”

Pointview Elementary School music teacher Alex Chapman hands student Taliyah Saunders a set of drumming noodles prior to a fitness-drumming class for third-grade students at the school March 16.

Edwards adds her own body twists and footwork while drumming.

Classmate Adam Mohamed, also a third-grader, said, “It was good.”

He said he likes drumming on the ball. 

Franklin said she intentionally staggers the fitness-drumming class because it’s such an intensive workout for her.

“I was hesitant to start it, but I enjoy it and they enjoy it,” she said. What we have works well. They’re getting an arm workout and leg workout – everything they need.”

Franklin said she first saw a nursing home using the program and mentioned to Chapman how fun she thought it would be.

A cardio drumming class that was started in Pickerington for people of all ages increased from 22 participants at its debut April 2, 2019, to 91 on Oct. 6, 2020.

Chapman said Franklin had shared some cardio/desk drumming resources that music and physical-education teachers have created for students to use at home during the pandemic. 

“We both thought that it would be a fun and safe activity for the students at Pointview,” he said.

Third-grader Adam Mohamed stretches at the end a fitness-drumming class held by physical-education teacher Alisa Franklin and music teacher Alex Chapman at Pointview Elementary School on March 16.

In one of the district’s weekly district news updates, Chapman said, he saw information about the Bette Marschall Memorial Education Fund of the Columbus Foundation. 

The fund was established in honor of former Westerville teacher and principal Bette Marschall, who died in 2001.

The Pointview teachers applied and received $491 to purchase materials for the project. 

Due to the pandemic, many musical instruments and gym supplies are unable to be sanitized safely without damaging the equipment, Chapman said. The stability balls and drumming supplies are sanitized safely for students, according to Franklin.

“With the funds, we were able to purchase a class set of cardio drums and DVDs to help support the project,” Chapman said. “We received all of the supplies in January and started rolling it out to the students when they returned to the building.”

He said all of Pointview’s roughly 300 students in kindergarten through fifth grades will have an opportunity to participate. 

Franklin said she and Chapman have created their own warmup for their students. 

“The kids have loved cardio drumming,” she said.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla

More photos

Pointview Elementary School third-graders participate in a fitness-drumming class held by physical-education teacher Alisa Franklin and music teacher Alex Chapman at the school March 16.
Physical-education teacher Alisa Franklin leads a fitness-drumming class for third-graders at Pointview Elementary School on March 16.
Pointview Elementary's Ja'Queen Edwards skips around an exercise ball during fitness drumming class on March 16.
Pointview Elementary School teachers received $491 to purchase materials for a fitness-drumming project through the Bette Marschall Memorial Education Fund.