Moving Music into Learning

I am convinced that music gets a short thrift in most classrooms. I know that, as a kid, if my teachers had at least once in a while use music for lessons, I would have been much more engaged in what was going in the class. I try to use music as much as possible — from analyzing song lyrics to listening to music to writing songs.

The other day, I came across Mr. Duey, who is a teacher from Detroit who raps, and after watching this video about Fractions, I ordered his CD. Even if it was bad, I figured any teacher who tries something like this needs support.

And the CD is pretty decent. It is divided into curriculum areas — Math, English, Science and Social Studies — with an audience of middle school students. Topics range from writing essays to solving improper fractions to latitude/longitude lines. I got the CD yesterday and my own two kids were boppin’ around the house, reading the lyrics and listening to the hip-hop beat. Mr. Duey’s rap about Integers even sparked a discussion about the number line and positive and negative numbers.

Along with the CD is a DVD that I have not yet watched, but which shows the making of the music and this following video. I can’t wait to check it out.

Hey ya, Mr. Duey!

Peace (in rappin’ teachers),

  1. Kevin
    It’s interesting to read this post about music being under utilized. Just this week, I bought a CD of rap tunes for the multiplication table. I was desperate. I wanted to do something different. We’d been using computer programs to help build skills and fill gaps. I had the Cd playing when my grade nine students came into class. They loved it. For about 10 minutes, we danced around the room, singing the times table clapping our hands to the beat. It was a energizer as well as a great way to learn the multiplication table. I actually listened to the CD on my lunch because it was so up beat and energizing. It put smiles on lots of faces.

  2. I like him … but I’m not sure how my students would feel. Well, ok, I am sure. Some of them would laugh like crazy … but maybe after that, they would settle down and listen to what he’s saying? My ELL students would probably have a hard time understanding him, but they might really be surprised to find that rap isn’t only the stuff they hear on the radio. Hmm …

  3. Thanks for the comments.
    You know, ELL students would struggle, most likely, but it might help to have lyrics printed out, etc.
    And then, have them make their own rap, right?
    That would give them ownership and push writing into the arts (always a good thing)

    Elona, I had to laugh, envisioning your class dancing around.

    And hi Pati! (Pati is the media specialist at my school and a partner in projects)

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