While most Metro school kids are out on spring break, about 12 thousand students are taking advantage of extra time to learn this week.
Special programs are being offered at every Metro school during what's called “intercession” week.
In Michael Mitchell's third grade art class at Neely's Bend Elementary School, students are playing their very own musical instruments for the first time.
The students made the diddley bows from scratch during intercession week.
“We had to cut the piece of wood about 30 inches to be able to have it as the neck of the diddley bow,” explained Samantha O'Neal, a third grader at Neely's Bend.
Even though this is an art class, students used math to help them complete their projects.
“We made those instruments 30 inches based off of their arm span, that's about as far as they could reach,” said Mitchell, “They pulled a tape and then we talked about what 30 inches was in feet and so we worked through that it was 2 feet 6 inches.”
From right angles, to addition and subtraction and reading, intercession molds lessons toward each student's specific needs.
Neely's Bend elementary school invited about forty students to participate based on their progress throughout the year.
Each student takes three assessments, which predict how well they will do on the statewide standardized, TCAP exam.
“Once we knew our group that we would be targeting, our teachers really worked within that data to focus on specific skills,” said Andrea McVay, who helped organize the intercession activities, “This week they were focusing on areas that those students really needed versus the wide content of things that TCAP can cover.”
“We focus on that data,” added McVay, “Because that's the main focus right now for us, coming up in April.”
Teachers like Mitchell believe this kind of instruction is priceless.
“We feel like our jobs is to push what the teachers are doing on a day to day basis every day to prepare for those tests,” he said.
O'Neal told Nashville's News 2, “It's not just fun, it's helping your brain,” and added, “You get to meet the teachers more and learn more about them and spend more time with them.”
Metro Nashville Public Schools' official spring break is March 25 to 29.