SEA GIRT — Sea Girt students learned the elements of rhyme, rhythm and beat and expressed their literary compositions in rap form through a four-day hip-hop workshop Feb. 27 through March 2. The workshop was part of their English Language Arts [ELA] class requirement.
The seventh-grade students used the characters in Greek mythology to identify with the qualities these characters symbolized. The eighth grade students wrote their arguments based on inspirations from Peter H. Reynolds’ “Say Something” and hip-hop icon Kurtis Blow’s “If I Rule the World.”
The goal was to discuss “the importance of looking outside of ourselves, helping others and, most importantly, speaking out in our own unique ways,” said Sea Girt ELA teacher Carol Walters, who has been teaching at Sea Girt Elementary for six years now.
Collaborations to produce the students’ first hip-hop songs were guided by Newark-based hip-hop educator and artist Sheikia Norris, also known as “Purple Haze.” Ms. Norris was the former director and founding member of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center [NJPAC] at 24 Rector St., Newark.
“Sometimes as adults we can’t talk about this [current issues] in a way we respectfully disagree with. Not only did they [students] talk about it, but they had fun amplifying their voices and standing for what they actually believed in,” said Ms. Norris.
Eighth-grader Ella O’Reilly shared part of the rap chorus her group created: “You see it on the news/ but what do you have to say/ my prayers go to them/ I’m sorry for your loss/ but now you came to nothing/ coz you are not the boss.”
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