Fourth Grade Plays Together During Annual Drum Circle

The sound of hand drums and percussion filled the still, humid air the morning of September 21 as the entire fourth grade class excitedly partook in their annual open-air drum circle on the lower school basketball courts.

The annual event, started six years ago by teacher Buckley Griffis, is a collaborative way for students to share a musical experience together. There are no ranked chairs, every student is welcome to the circle, and able to choose whichever seat and corresponding instrument they are drawn to.

“I love this event because it’s a powerful way for students to enjoy a shared communal experience together,” said Griffis. “They get to express themselves and let out steam in a fun and healthy way.”

Griffis, who was originally drawn to teaching by the desire to help children build a strong sense of self-esteem and confidence, says his own teaching began in the drum circle some 20 years ago. 

“Then I made the switch to an academic classroom,” he said. 

When asked to distill Benjamin’s ethos into three words, Griffis said community, family, and learning all stand out.

Griffis has used the drum circle as a creative way to impart some of that learning, especially during the study of fractions.

“This can be a tough concept for 4th graders and I think the rhythms will help them feel and hear the fractions,” said Griffis. “Two kinds of learning that aren’t often engaged in during math class.”

A premier PK3 - Grade 12 independent, coeducational day school with campuses in North Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens. Since 1960, The Benjamin School has provided a challenging college preparatory education to a diverse student body in a structured, nurturing community environment.
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