To Contact This Program
Taft Elementary School‚ 9800 Quarterline Road
Mesa, AZ 85207
The West African Drum Club is an activity in which children learn the history of West African music and instruments. The main focus is drums. Fourth to sixth graders participate in this activity. Children design and create their drums‚ varying shapes and styles. They also give a performance at the end of the program.
Number of Students Involved in This Activity: 17
Range of Student Ages: Third to sixth grade
Duration of Activity: 12 weeks‚ one day a week for one hour
Relevant Contextual or Demographic Information: Parents are often involved (two to three regulars)‚ simply because they love the activity.
What is the academic content of this activity?
Children research West Africa and read West African stories‚ so the activity is notably linked to literacy. They also read music in order to play the drums. They go to the local college to assist a volunteer in the program (who plays drums at the college) by selling his products: therefore it is linked to math. Additionally‚ this activity includes an emphasis on geography because children learn where other countries are located during their reading.
How does this activity create strong relationships?
A parent from the community volunteers a great amount of time to the program. She comes once a week to teach them how to play the drums and the history of the music. Various performers also volunteer to work with the children.
What opportunities are there for authentic decision making?
Kids can seek out their own customers and can choose to do a performance for the other children. They also have the option of learning about instruments beyond the West African drums.
What student leadership opportunities are there?
The children have expanded the program to bring in other cultures (for instance‚ they have a Spanish club). The children are also working on raising funds for the program so that they can enhance the program by obtaining more drum sets and getting more costumes made.