Place Rap Video Takes Learning to New Levels

Place Value Rap Video Takes Learning to New Levels
Posted on 10/29/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Place Value Rap Video Takes Learning to New Levels

collage from class making place value rap video

About this time every year, Gifted Intervention Specialist Erin Maddox shows her Cherokee Elementary fourth-graders a rap video to help them learn about number place value.

Inspired by the “WE are In This Together” back-to-school music video that featured Lakota teachers and administrators, Maddox’s students came up with a new way to learn place value concepts. “We were given a challenge to learn all of the lyrics in the rap video, but then our class came up with this whole crazy idea to actually make our own video,” said fourth grader Keira Phair.

Maddox didn’t think the idea was crazy at all. Student voice and choice are all a part of the district’s emphasis on personalized learning. “With all of the new resources we have in our Innovation Hub, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to allow my students to take ownership of their learning,” said Maddox.

So the Math Plus fourth-graders ran with the idea, working in small groups to create sections of the video from start to finish. Each group worked together to tackle tasks that included creating video backdrops, recording lyrics and developing choreography.

The project went well beyond teaching standards on place value (such as each number is 10 times greater than the one before it and how to compare numbers to the left and right) by giving students opportunities to work on soft skills like collaborating, problem-solving and using their creativity.

Phair liked that “we got to work together on the project – it wasn’t just a singular thing. We learned how to compromise.”

Fourth grader Alex Dennis said his team rehearsed and rehearsed, trying new things until they found the way that worked the best. He mentioned that the class wanted to put the video on social media so that everyone can watch it – and “maybe we might be Twitter and YouTube famous after this!”

Innovation Specialist Lori Vanover helped the students bring all of their hard work together, and the completed Place Value Rap Video is now on YouTube. The students are already discussing ways to improve for the next time they make a green screen video, including gaining more independence in filming and editing. “They learned the place value skills that I wanted them to gain, plus the video encouraged teamwork and sparked their creativity and interest in green screen video making,” said Maddox. “I’d say it was a success!”