Expression Through Sound at Speas Elementary
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By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
APRIL 10, 2017 – On Friday morning, Speas second-grader Bailey Hunt was excited about the prospect of performing in front of her fellow students.
“I’m going to be a dancer,” Bailey said.
Joining Bailey on stage would be students who had made their musical instruments. Some students had made guitars by wrapping rubber bands around cafeteria-size cans that had once held such foods as diced peaches and green beans. Other students had made drums out of disposable aluminum pie pans. Students would also play straw flutes and tuning forks.
“Second grade has been working really hard,” said Tanya Lee, the second-grade teacher serving as lead organizer for the morning’s performance. Lee is also the school’s Teacher of the Year. A music lover, she also plays with other Speas adults in the Speas Global Band.
“I think it’s going to be awesome,” said Nada Masri, a first-grade teacher assistant.
It was all part of Expression Through Sound segment of Asian Cultural Day at Speas Global Elementary School. With the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Speas, each grade concentrates on a continent and, for second grade, that’s Asia. With the IB program, everyone works hard to integrate one subject with another, and, while studying sound, they had also looked into such subjects as science and social studies.
“They see how the science of sound could be expressed in culture,” Lee said.
“It’s a big day,” said Katryna Jacober, Curriculum Coordinator & IB Coordinator
On hand for the performance were a number of parents and grandparents, including Bailey’s parents, James and Arden Hunt.
“We like to come to things that the kids do and support the school,” said Arden Hunt.
Bailey’s first-grade sister, Bella, also goes to Speas.
Second-grader Anadia Reeve’s grandmother Lora Smith was there, too.
Once all 600 Speas students were settled in the gym, second-graders who had taken on the responsibility of introducing everyone to the various elements of the program took turns talking about such topics as pitch and vibration.
When the students started performing, one of the bonuses was watching Lee, who was stationed below the stage, dancing along with the students.
One of the students responsible for introducing the program was Londyn Branee Foster. Beforehand, she said, she had been nervous. But she had discovered that getting up in front of everyone was a lot of fun.
“I liked it that I had to speak on the microphone,” said Londyn.
When it was time for everyone to head back to their classrooms, Principal Robert Ash said that such events serve students in a number of ways.
“It’s helping them be culturally aware and globally aware,” he said.
And, in learning to make musical instruments out of material at hand, students learn that, in some parts of the world, that’s exactly what people do.
“They would use what they could find,” Ash said. “A blade of grass can be an instrument.”