PBS in the Classroom

That's a Rap! Weaving the Arts into Education

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October 17, 2016

Hi, it’s Mister C and I'm a PBS Digital Innovator from Ohio! I would like to invite all of you to tap into your musical “super powers” and create the soundtrack for your classroom by participating in PBS Education's "That's a Rap!" challenge. Here's how it works:

  1. Record a 60-second rap video that shows us how you use the arts to teach subjects like math, science, history, and English language arts.
  2. Upload your video to your Twitter page.
  3. Tag it with #FallArtsRap, @PBSTeachers, and  @OriginalMisterC

Not sure what to do? Don’t worry, it's super-duper easy! Check out my story below.

Creating the Soundtrack for Your Classroom!

Now that we officially have the challenge underway, take one moment… pause...and let your mind wander to the first song that comes to you. I’d venture that the song you were thinking of connected you to a memory, feeling, or specific moment in time.  Maybe it was the song that inspired you this morning on your way to work,  or maybe you’re like me and... Snap, you’re singing to yourself, “I’ve got the power!” or “It’s Science Time!!” One thing is certainly true, music is a powerful tool that connects with us in a very special way! 

Many years ago when I was a fifth grade science teacher, I learned that music and art were two of my personal “super powers” which allowed me to creatively connect with my students.  During the holidays, my students rewrote lyrics and created a parody using a familiar holiday song.  We focused on science concepts and targeted poetry, lyrics, rhyming and various other language arts components. Once songs were rehearsed, we recorded and compiled them into an album using a mobile recording studio. I then burned CD’s and distributed them as a surprise gift for students! They were a smashing hit! Students sang these content-related holiday songs for the remainder of the year! I had a gut feeling I was onto something big. 

Quickly recognizing these earworms would remain for my students many years beyond the classroom, I began to write and produce my own original songs to share with students and educators all over the world.  Over the last decade, I have produced dozens of math and science songs (and other fun educational videos) which I’ve made available on YouTube and iTunes.  Have you ever been interested in learning about the 3M’s? If not, take a peek at “3M’s - Mean, Median and Mode” which is one of my favorites!  It may just change your tune! 

So let’s get started! First, don’t be intimidated by the thought of integrating music into your classroom. Technology has become so readily available and allows all of us to create music on the fly.  More importantly, you already have the best resource in your classroom:  students.  They are ninjas and can learn anything!  Allow them to explore apps like Google Docs for real time editing and investigate GarageBand to compose a song with a unique beat, rhythm, melody, and vocals.  Once the song is recorded, allow them to create a final product using iMovie or stop animation.   You’ll quickly find that students will share their knowledge and expertise with others and the best part is….it doesn’t have to be perfect! 

My goal will always be to provide students a fun and engaging way to interact with content while incorporating music and the arts into the process.  If it’s fun...they will be engaged.  If they are engaged...they will remember.  If there’s a song...they will sing it AND remember!


Mister C  (a.k.a. Kevin Cornell) – is Ohio’s Lead PBS Digital Innovator and also the Director of the Dayton Regional STEM Center. Check out his website www.LearningScienceisFun.com for more fun, educational videos and resources.

Kevin Cornell

Kevin Cornell Director, Dayton Regional STEM Center youtube.com/c/learningscienceisfun Twitter: @OriginalMisterC

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