Bulb Archived: Peck Collaboration Laboratory 2017-2018: Contreras & Aquil

1) Describe the context of your school, neighborhood, or classroom.

Peck Elementary, a Chicago Public School from Pre-K to 4th grade, from District 299.

The Classroom we worked with was a third grade with 29 students.

2) Big Idea: 

Rap/hip hop is folk music/culture

3) Inquiry: 

How can I express my ideas, musicality, and culture through rap?

4) Academic Content(s): 

Creative writing, literary devices (iambic pentameter), world cultures

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We used a grid to chart rap lines and rhyme structure

5) Artistic Discipline(s): 

Music, rap, creative writing, recording, performance

Aquil plays the students recorded version of Sha Boo Ya Roll Call in the classroom

6) Standards Addressed: (Common Core, Next Generation) 

MU:Cr1.1.3a Improvise rhythmic and melodic ideas, and describe connection to specific purpose and context (such as personal and social). 

MU:Pr5.1.3a – Apply teacher provided and collaboratively developed criteria and feedback to evaluate accuracy of ensemble performances.

7) Describe the context of your school, neighborhood, or classroom. 

Peck Elementary is a Chicago Public School from Pre-K to 4th grade from District 299.The Classroom we worked with was a third grade with a diversity of 29 students. Students had been learning how to read and perform music on xylophones, boomwhackers, and other percussion instruments  but had never worked on writing rap or their own lyrics before. When asked how many had been to a recording studio only 1 of the 29 said she would go with her mom which is a hip hop singer. Other 2 students responded they had family members that had created a recorded studio at their homes.

8) Please describe what you did and what you made for this project: 

The students learned about hip hop culture and its roots in Caribbean and black American cultures, then wrote raps of their own based on a hip hop folk tune called “Sha Boo Ya Roll Call”, which were recorded in the classroom. They also created a beat and dance moves to accompany the raps in small groups, and took a field trip to Notes For Notes Chicago studio, where Aquil is program director, to record the music. 

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Dancers wait for signal to start their original choreography.
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 “Stompers” and “Clappers” pose for a picture at Notes for Notes Studio.
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Students ask and answer questions about the recording process.
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Students are ready to perform  boomwhackers. 
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Students wait for their turn to record “cup” percussion.

9.) What did you learn about yourself, your partner(s), and the students? How might what you learned impact your teaching practice?

 As a teacher I learned that I have to encourage self-expression, create new music with students, understand and incorporate more folk cultures into curriculum, including hip hop, develop a more student driven and youth culture-centered practice.

I learned that creating new music is a process and that it is OK to take  more than a few classes. I learned from my partner to integrate and translate rap and hip hop into traditional music curricula. I learned from the students that each one of them had their own voice and story to tell and share. 

10.) How did the collaboration challenge your understanding of teaching, learning, and art-making?

 The  biggest challenge was to wait a period of months to have a final product. I usually have my students analyze songs and have them perform it the following week or on a maximum of two weeks. I focused on building a varied repertoire of music since I wanted them to read and perform music “fluently”. 

Having students create their own hip/hop lyrics, with instruments, dance, and a “catchy hook” was refreshing. Then, having them perform at the SMART Museum in front of a big audience and celebrate their success was amazing.