CMS teacher gains accolades for doubling as entertainer in the classroom

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Justin Ashley at McAlpine Elementary noticed kids had a difficult time remembering all of the information they were being taught.

So instead of staring at textbooks to memorize facts, students in Ashley's class sing rap songs, dance and play video games.

"My favorite part would probably be getting to do all the projects that we do," says one of his fifth graders.

All the commotion in his class might seem like enough to give a principal a heart attack but Ashley discovered this teaching style actually works best.

"I love using music and dance," he said.

"That's what gets kids moving. Kids have to have that structure they actually need and desire that structure but you also have to make learning fun."

Just last year Ashley was in the assistant principal's role, but his love for the children brought him back to the classroom.

And late January he was honored as North Carolina's Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

"It's a beautiful feeling because I have kids that come to me everyday smiling and coming to give me a hug and telling me they appreciate me," says Ashley.

And the kids are glad to have him back.

"He's really cool."

"It's my favorite class."

Ashley says he understand teaching history can be boring because it has so many facts and dates.

But he believes if you teach it in a way that is fun and it relate it to our lives today…children will be much more interested in learning from it.

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