Naysayers may assume pop culture perverts young minds, but a New York City educator proves otherwise.
Erica Buddington, a teacher at Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter Academy in Harlem, N.Y. (a school founded by Hip Hop mogul Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and famed pedagogue Dr. Steve Perry), noticed her students had an affinity for the trending rap song “Bodak Yellow.”
Before class, they rapped the lyrics and tapped the beats on their desk.
She took that opportunity and ran with it. And the results are fantastic.
Buddington rewrote the lyrics to the Billboard Top 100 song and transformed it into a geography anthem.
The teacher gave her sixth grade class a handout of the song and a homework assignment that required them to learn the words over the weekend.
On the following Monday, her students were in full compliance.
The classroom energy was at a full 100,000 watts, as beautiful, amped up children charted locations of continents and oceans around the globe.
They rapped about latitude and longitude and hemisphere and climate zones with Hip Hop music as the backdrop.
“Said: You can know the globe if you wanted to
7 continents, 5 oceans and 4 hemispheres too…
Got three climate zones: polar, temperate and tropical.
And I north, south, west and east like my compass is cardinal.
Hey, I don’t guess, I know my longitude
Said I don’t guess, yeah I know my latitude
If you see me with a map, ask me how I get to school
I’m gon’ point out the direction, ain’t gon’ give you attitude.”
By the end of the day, the entire school was reciting the remixed version of Bodak Yellow.
Buddington tweeted the classroom session and posted the lyrics.
She later tweeted another clip of a student putting what he learned to work while his classmates rapped in the background.
“And we celebrate each other when we try our hardest,” she said in the post.
Her teaching approach has gone viral and earned praise from social media and Cardi B, rapper of the original song.
Buddington’s culturally relevant lesson plan has since been praised in numerous media outlets and by teachers, parents and students.
In interviews, Buddington noted the passing rate among her students on a standard map quiz increased from 60 percent to 92 percent, after she instituted her unique lesson plan.
Many of them want more (because duh)
Buddington is no stranger to performance art.
She is a poetry-slam champion and has appeared on Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry Jam. She has also authored four books: Intention, Borders Apart, Of Micah and Men, F-Boy Literature.
Buddington also stays busy as the founder of Langston League, an organization that focuses on “literacy, infused with S.T.E.A.M.d. elements –science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and design.
From the looks of it, Buddington is gung-ho about meeting children where they are.
So what do you get when you mix Hip Hop music and a NYC classroom?