POLYGLOT HIP-HOP FRAMEWORKS
FOR 21ST CENTURY LEARNERS
Constitutional Principles multilingual word wall exercise, Newcomers High School, Long Island City, Queens
Fresh Prep is an innovative student-centered curriculum that uses Hip-Hop music to help students review the key content and skills tested on the New York State Regents Exams. Harnessing the appeal and mnemonic power of music and youth culture, Fresh Prep’s standards-aligned instruction helps teens build the confidence, critical-thinking, and writing skills they need to succeed on the Regents.
"We take the culture students are enmeshed in, youth culture, and package the content they need to know in order to pass the Regents in it. We see youth culture as a culture in itself, and we transform what would be otherwise unrelatable and unintelligible content and package it in the performance style and assessments of that culture. What’s the result? A classroom where the teacher becomes part MC, spitting lyrics, part DJ, playing rap music filled with historical content, and part game show host, conducting assessments as family feud games and rap battles. Students build confidence as their culture and experiences are welcomed into and lead the classroom, in stark contrast to their normal school day, where youth culture is treated, at best, as a distraction, and something they should check at the door, alongside their cell phones, social media accounts, hats, hoodies and sagging pants."
Urban Arts Partnership piloted Fresh Prep in the summer of 2009. 29 students from New Design High School, who had failed their Global Regents exam as many as five times, tested a new approach to preparing for the exam. After twelve days of Fresh Prep, these 29 students took the exam again, with spectacular results: 79% of them passed, including 100% of students designated as special needs.
Since the program’s inception in 2009, Fresh Prep has served more than a thousand students, helping them prepare for, and pass, their Regents exams through an innovative, arts-based, fresh approach to learning. This past summer, 83% of the students in our Fresh Prep re-takers class passed their Global History Regents, with a 16% average point increase. One student increased her score by 30 points.
As a Fresh Prep master of curriculum (MC), I have worked inside the classroom, with a four on bilingual and multilingual classrooms, classroom presentations, music videos, and trainings for teachers on using the curriculum and hip hop pedagogy in the classroom.
For more information about the program, including sample music and an in-depth look at the curriculum, please visit the Fresh Prep homepage.
Using the engaging power of hip-hop music and 'call-and-response', Mandarin with MC Tingbudong is arts-integrated language course where students learn the basics of mandarin Chinese with engaging lessons rooted in hip hop pedagogy.
Through cooperative games, learning songs, and watching films, students acquire key vocabulary, and practice grammar and pronunciation through learning and performing hip hop chants. In this performance based course, students also have the opportunity to practice simplified Chinese characters, and demonstrate what they've learned through hands-on arts projects and label them with the appropriate vocabulary. Beginner students play to learn and create their own heroes, heroines and monsters; advanced students take the stage as emcees, and create their own battle raps and music videos.
The course is divided into three units: Me: learning body parts, numbers, family, and actions; You: colors, shapes, animals; and Us: environment, seasons, hobbies, and food. We create a culturally immersed and thematically cohesive environment with specific unit wrapping each unit in a study Chinese animated films such as The Monkey King, Calabash Brothers, and Ne Zha Conquers the Sea.
The method and materials developed in this course have been made available at workshops for chinese language teachers, and was featured at NYU's 2010 Election day institute for chinese language teachers.