We are thrilled to announce that we've selected our winner of the Black History Rap Contest: Jaden. Jaden J. is a gifted poet, and with over 1,000 submissions, his immediately stood out for its emotional power and imagery even in its opening line and impressing us with his lyricism all the way through. Jaden seamlessly wove together John Lewis's biography, the broader historical context, connections to today and the impact he has had on him personally. In his video, it's also clear that Jaden is a talented performer. We can't wait to meet him in person when he records his song with…
No doubt you’ve heard about, and maybe even participated in, our Black History Rap Contest. If you’ve been following along, you know that we’ve selected our finalists and you are probably biting your nails in anticipation of finding out the winner.
Earlier this spring, our Lyric Legend Contest gave classrooms the opportunity to write and submit their own lyrics to be featured in original editions of the Week in Rap Junior and Week in Rap Extra! And the winners were (drum roll please): Steven Torres’ third grade class at Felix A. Williams Elementary in Florida, and Karl Karkainen’s sixth grade class at Enumclaw Middle is Washington!
For their impressive lyrical talents, the winning contestants were rewarded with a microphone, mic stand, headphones, AND an iPad! Now they can keep making masterpieces like the WIR Junior and WIR Extra editions that were based on each class’ lyrics!
We interviewed the proud educators of these talented students to learn more about how they use hip-hop as an instructional tool.
When working with an ESL population, one of teacher Leah Simpson’s goals is to help students prepare for the WIDA test, an English language proficiency exam used by a number of states across the country, including her home state of Tennessee. The Warren County High School Teacher, based in McMinnville, TN, uses our Word Up Blue and The Week in Rap to help students practice Tier 2 vocabulary and bring nonfiction text into her classroom.
As part of their test preparation, students also need practice with academic vocabulary across subjects. How did Leah decide to boost subject-specific vocab with her class this year? With rhyme-writing, of course! Each of Leah’s five class periods picked a subject—math, science, social students, ELA or social/instructional language—and worked over the course of a month to compose a rap as a group. Students performed their raps for their families at Warren County High School’s ESL Family Night this fall to much celebration. Here’s what Leah told us about the experience:
Each week, we recognize stellar student work submitted to the The Week in Rap and The Week in Rap Junior Shout-Out Contests. For their Week in Rap Shout-Out, students in Mrs. Karen Chin’s 7th Grade Social Studies class at Jane Addams Jr. High in Schaumburg, IL flexed their poetic muscles to produce a plethora of poems dedicated to inanimate objects. Meanwhile, in Houma, Louisiana, Mrs. Parfait’s 4th grade Physical Education class at Acadian Elementary School claimed Week in Rap Jr. Shout-Out fame with a thoughtful entry on their Thanksgiving guests of choice. Read on to explore these excellent entries!