Guest Post via @mskirksey4: “Back in the day when I was in pre-service…

…before I had a classroom and before I had my degree.” A Tribe Called Quest happily played in the background as I worked on developing strategies and my portfolio. Then it hit me. How can I represent my love for hip hop in my classroom? Yeah, some of the tunes are too inappropriate to play for my future students, but I know I can make it work. I developed my strategies and even tested them out as a student teacher and then BOOM. Three important things happened:

  • I graduated
  • I earned a position as a 7th/8th grade Science teacher
  • I wimped out on my hip hop strategies as a first-year teacher.

At the end of the school year, my principal moved me to 4th grade, and I assured myself that I would develop a hip hop theme for my classroom. It all started with my door. Parents, students, and staff would know that we are a TRIBE, a family helping each other learn and grow.  My students that year thrived off of knowing that we were a “Tribe Called Kirksey.”

What strategies did I implement with the influence of ATCQ?

  • If I wanted my student’s attention, all I had to do is say “Can I Kick It?“, while my students quickly replied, “Yes you can!”
  • I created stations that gave my students the task to write raps and poems using their weekly spelling words or science vocabulary terms.
  • Using online resources such as Flocabulary excited my students and I used it as hooks, in reviews, or even as an end-of-the-day incentive!ATCK

I carried the same theme and strategies with my second 4th-grade class, who also responded well to our tribe theme. As my third teaching year closes, I am beginning to get stuck in the sand and stagnant. I started this blog to share and collaborate with my fellow teachers, to help keep things fresh and relatable for my students. Have you used any hip hop themes? What about literary themes? Let me know, because like Q-tip has said before, “We got to do our due, not separate, TOGETHER.” 🙂


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