“It’s after school, but about a dozen Jackson Elementary School students are prepared to stay as long as it takes to get this assignment done.Dome, dum, dum a bass drum sounds. They bob their heads, their knees bending at the sound of each beat. They grin and glance at one another as their teacher, Scott Sayre, looks on. For this day, their Altadena classroom has been turned into a recording studio.
‘Gandhi!’ they rap in unison into the microphone as they stand in front of a synthesizer. ‘The freedom fighta, the freedom fighta.’
Sayre, a pianist, wanted to give the sixth-graders an unconventional way to learn their reading material and suggested that they write a rap song. In exchange, their research paper assignment would be shortened.
His songwriting idea has led to the students recording their second single on a recent afternoon.
‘It’s their media, it’s their love, it’s their genre,’ said Sayre, who believes that some students remember information better by singing it, similar to how youngsters learn the alphabet. ‘We frequently teach the linear side but forget about’ other methods of teaching.”