At Salem City Schools, we are always trying new things, innovating the way our students are taught and what they can learn. That drive is what helped Buckeye Elementary physical education teacher Julie Moore try Cardio Drumming for her students. Mrs. Moore uses large inflated exercise balls on top of buckets and colorful drumsticks to create “drum stands” for the students. In action, the gymnasium looks like a popular fitness class for adults, but the energy in the room is great and the children seem to enjoy it. I asked Mrs. Moore a few questions about how she got the idea for the class and how it’s different than a “normal” class.

Where did you get the idea? I like to explore different types of fitness-related activities and this is one that always intrigued me. I was unsuccessful in finding any local to the area that I could participate in, so I decided to create my own version of Cardio Drumming for my students.  There is an established program called Drums Alive that has certified instructors and branded equipment, but it has been much more satisfying starting from the bottom and building it to better suit my students.

Is it a better source of exercise than a “normal” class? I use many different means of exercise for my students, this activity is a great mind/body experience that allows me to incorporate rhythmical dancing patterns into a lesson through dynamic movements of aerobic dance, fulfilling the standards requirements for Physical Education.  Through the use of popular music choices and simple routines, I am able to maximize the number of movements my students are engaging in during our 30-minute class.  The students leave red-faced and smiling, I don’t think they realize how hard they are working until we have finished the class. Cardio Drumming promotes participation overall and my students all come in with the same amount of experience with it as their peers, so it promotes an even playing field where we are all learning together, with no emphasis on competition.

Do the kids enjoy it? The students thoroughly enjoy it and I love the level of confidence they exhibit during the lesson.  The drumming itself is great for stress relief and mental balance as well, a win-win for the students. They usually enter and leave the gym with the same elevated level of excitement.  Even after teaching it 7 times a day, their smiles and energy levels are contagious and I can not help but respond the same way they do.  They absolutely love it!

What kind of songs do you play? I use the Kidz Bop version of current popular songs.  Our current cardio drumming routines are to the Gummy Bear Song,  Up Town Funk, Shake it Off, Starships,  and we end the routine with a cool down to We Will Rock You.