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Merengue to writing?

Stacey Kelley is a 20-year veteran teacher at Indianapolis Public Schools. In the spring issue of the Advocate, Kelley described how a partnership with an arts organization led to improved student outcomes. 

Who would have thought that teaching a ballroom dance to third graders would create better writers and increase reading comprehension scores? I was very skeptical at first, but Shawn Whistler, an instructor with Arts for Learning, worked with my students. He opened my eyes to a method that both improved instruction and student engagement.

Every day that Mr. Whistler visited our classrooms, the students began with a simple warm-up routine to make the movements more descriptive. As the lessons progressed, the students utilized beginning, middle and end of stories when choreographing their own dance routines.

It was amazing to witness as educators how the students improved in their portrayal of the characters over time. Arts for Learning in our classrooms has been a rewarding experience for both students and teachers.

To read Kelley’s full article and learn more about the experience, read the Advocate online at