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Teaching math with the beat of a drum

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A Tulsa man spent his spring break teaching chidren to have confidence by dancing to the beat of their own drums, literally. Plus they threw in a little math.

News on 6 Reporter Jennifer Loren visited Cherokee Elementary School and despite it being spring break, some elementary students found themselves in a classroom, learning how to play an African drum.

"It just opens a whole new realm of thinking for them." Arthur Thompson, or Mr. Arthur, calls his workshop Math and Music. He uses drums to teach children self esteem. "It gives them a chance to feel wanted. It gives them a chance to express themselves. Also it builds up their self esteem and lets them know they can be somebody."

Thompson also teaches math. "Then we have our half note. And the value of that is what? Two? Two beats?" The students take a pattern of the chalk board and play it. And then they go up to the chalkboard and turn it into a math problem. When a student gets it right, more drumming.

4th grader Carl Mitchell: “Because when you mix stuff together it just makes one thing. And then when you make one thing, the two things come together and get easier." Then to pull it all together, Mr. Arthur uses the values of those music notes to teach the children about their own value as people. "You're very what? Valuable! And you're how much? 100 percent! These things that we're teaching these children. These are that they're going to use every day and they start immediately and they're going to use it for the rest of their lives."

The Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa sponsored the workshop. Mr Thompson spends a lot of his time working with children at alternative schools in Tulsa.
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