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2010 Teaching House Grants
In 2010, International House and Teaching House New York was excited to support the fertile creativity of history and government students at Kingsbridge International High School who through a combination of learning and inspiration produced an incredible collection of original songs.
Tim Ross, the project's organizing teacher at Kingsbridge International High School, described the project in his own words:
Making The Band: Hip-Hop at Kingsbridge
The assistance of Teaching House New York was vital in the development of “Making The Band: Hip-Hop at Kingsbridge”. As a U.S. History and Government teacher at Kingsbridge International High School, I became inspired to use a creative project to help struggling students at Kingsbridge International with the financial assistance of Teaching House New York.
Throughout the year, I noticed that some students who were frequently cutting class or skipping their writing assignments could often be seen writing and performing their own rap music in their free time. With this in mind, I was intrigued when I found an opportunity to earn an Arts-In-Residence Grant from the Bronx Council on the Arts to do a creative, attractive project with the students that would support the curricular standards in New York City. This presented the opportunity to hire teaching artist Latonia Phipps, a talented actor/playwright/teaching artist to design and facilitate a three-month course in writing and producing a rap album and performing the music before a live audience. Latonia inspired the students to search within themselves to write from their hearts about the topics that affect them. She used a variety of methods to generate ideas for the music, including freewriting, group collaboration, and journal-writing field trips in a local park.
The result was that students created quality works of music, even tackling challenging themes such as global politics and domestic violence. In the end, the students were extremely proud of their debut CD entitled Cambiando El Mundo. They performed the music on two occasions upon the projects’ completion, much to the delight of their audiences.
The “Making The Band” project can take credit for improving the attendance of several of the students, as they became excited to participate during the lunch hour meetings. Thank you to Teaching House for filling a vital gap in the budget for the program.