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D.C. teacher incorporates learning with movement

Demetrius Lancaster's fourth grade Language Arts class. (Photo: ABC7)
Demetrius Lancaster's fourth grade Language Arts class. (Photo: ABC7)
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WASHINGTON (ABC7) -- At the William E. Dior Junior Public Charter School for the Performing Arts, students in Demetrius Lancaster's fourth grade Language Arts class are practicing spelling. But to an observer outside the classroom, it might be hard to tell as students can be seen jumping up and down.

In every lesson, Lancaster incorporates movement, from jumping jacks while spelling the word "peers," to jabs as they shout the letters for the word "habit."

Lancaster discovered the power of movement when he first taught younger students.

"If students are engaged the entire time, they're completely focused on the task at hand," and that increases retention, Lancaster says.

Students say it also makes them excited to learn.

"It like gets my arms moving and stuff so I can write," explains Jesiah Cook.

Fellow student Treasure Jenkins says, "He makes reading fun."

Jamar Israel-Sinclair adds, "I usually don't laugh in school but he makes us laugh, and when I laugh I'm happy at school and I feel better about doing my work."

Lancaster also sets high goals for his students with going to college at the top of that list.

"I believe that when we set high expectations for our students and give them rigorous opportunities to learn, they rise to the occasion every single time," he states.

Principal Demetria Gartrell sees the positive impact that Lancaster's teaching practices are having and calls it a model for other teachers to follow.

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"Because he's so intentional, we know that we're getting closer to our goal."

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