Arts in charter school helping elementary students in the classroom

News 12 This Morning/Thursday Dec. 19, 2013

(WRDW)--"They get to learn how to listen to music. They get to learn how to sing music on pitch. They get to learn how to engage in movement," said Phillys Johnson-Porter, Ph.D.

And after a semester's worth of practice, Johnson-Porter's 4th and 5th grade chorus students get to show off their skills at Jenkins-White Elementary Charter School's Holiday Celebrations.

"The very first day that they walked into the classroom for chorus for the 2013-2014 school year, we started making preparations then," she explained. "Why? Because just can't do a fly-by-night thing and expect it to be done in a superior way."

Johnson-Porter says the kind of focus and attention to detail it takes to prepare for performance like this translates for the students in the classroom.

"In music, when you sing you've got to read. You have to understand, you have to comprehend the message," she said.

She says her students also learned the historical value of each piece and most importantly, she has her students focus on self-evaluation.

"Students will not always have adults or their teachers with them and they have to learn how to determine what is good, what is adequate, what is excellent--or what is superior about any performance that they do, she explained. "And when I say performance, it's just not geared toward musical or visual art performance, but their performance in their classrooms as well."

Every single class prepared and participated in Holiday Celebrations.

The school is now working to become the first full fledged elementary performing arts school in Richmond County .

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