Welcome to Let’s Rap, an integrated social-emotional learning program. In ten thematic rap songs.
Take a moment to listen to our students performing a rap, explore a pdf of our 2015 ASHA presentation, and watch students from around the world perform “Tell the Truth” in English and their home languages!
RESPECT COURTESY RESPONSIBILITY
Click below to listen to RESPECT
Students from the Ivy Collegiate Academy located in Taichung, Taiwan perform "Tell the Truth" in both English and Chinese.
Let’s Rap is a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and development program born from a desire to connect and collaborate with individual faculty, service providers, administration, and the school at large. Using music as an evidence-based memory strategy, cognitive igniter, and means of engagement, Let’s Rap breathes life into social learning. It provides the structure for students and staff to be creative, share their funds of knowledge, and to make connections to the curriculum, the global community, and their daily lives. Let’s Rap is positive, dynamic, and joyful. In other words, it’s fun to do.
Let’s Rap uses short raps and songs on topics within SEL. The program uses a gradual release of responsibility model to transition learning ownership from the facilitator to the student. Eventually students will write their own lyrics and even compose new beats if they choose. Service providers can come into classrooms and work through the songs, weaving in instruction and assessment, in as little as five to fifteen minutes a day over a period of several weeks. Songs can be used independently or thematically, aligning a song to a month and an SEL goal. This functions particularly well on a school wide basis. Teachers can also work this program into their existing curriculum in conjunction with service providers or independently. School wide connectivity comes from activities such as Rap of the Month, performed during the morning announcements; drumline style hall marches; anchor charts posted prominently in shared/public spaces; and an SEL play. The starting point for developing this program came from recognizing an existing desire within the school environment for SEL development and building off of a personal fund of knowledge in the area of music. It further recognized students’ desire to express themselves and be actively involved and the ripple effect this had on improving learning and encouraging positive behavior. Melding a personal passion with a school-backed initiative created built-in support and understanding as well as common language, expectations, and rationale. It also infused the initiative with an authentic joy and expertise.
The daily functioning of school life can be compartmentalized and segregated. Building a true community of learners involves breaking down these walls and weaving students, instruction, content, providers, administrators, and the outside community together. Let’s Rap accomplishes this by calling all individuals to take on the role of lead-learners and by creating opportunities for interaction between multiple groups both within and without the school environment. Humans are ultimately social beings, thus the lens of SEL provides a perfect umbrella for connectivity—content can be examined and interactions can be built off of this premise. Furthermore, music is a universal mode of expression that is a brain-based form of learning. The Let’s Rap program is infectious in nature. It organically “goes viral.” Students and teachers find themselves humming melodies or spouting lines in support of positive behavior, content connections, and personal expression. The songs will pop up during passing periods, lunchtime, at recess, in car rides, and at home.
Implementing the Let’s Rap program is simple. The program is highly adaptive and built to be responsive on multiple levels, addressing the needs of providers, administrators, instructors, and students. Facilitators can use the Let’s Rap album in its entirety over the course of a year, or pick and choose select songs. They can weave in common-core aligned content-based instruction in subject areas ranging from math to the arts, or simply focused on the SEL skill the song is built around. Providers can push into the classroom or teachers can use it in their contained classrooms. Administrators can use this program to support instructional or other initiatives, such as parental and community involvement. The program also works in a clinical setting and can be a great starting point for social groups. On an international platform, translating lyrics and examining cultural connections allows for meaningful integration.