When Monique Jackson was preparing to teach her third-grade math students at Stevens Park Elementary School about division, she wanted them not only to learn division, but also to understand what division was. Knowing her students were into music, Jackson wasted no time writing a song about division to engage her students.
“On the first day that I taught them division, I told them that I wrote a song for them,” Jackson said. “I literally wrote it from scratch. I used the instrumental to the song ‘I’m Different’ by 2 Chainz and they were super pumped. The reason I did it was because I wanted to engage them with something that was cool, fun and would hype them up for a new unit of learning, which was division.”
The results went above and beyond Jackson’s expectations.
“Because of the song, if you go up to any of my students and you ask them what division is, they will answer the problem with the total given. They rap the lyrics,” she said.
Omar Feliciano, principal at Stevens Park Elementary, acknowledges the great work that Jackson is doing.
“Who doesn’t want to learn math in an exciting way, with a teacher who is creative, caring and innovating?! Our third graders have a great time in Mrs. Jackson’s math class every day because she consistently thinks about how they feel, what they like and what they need to know in order to gain their trust, engagement and ownership of their learning,” he said.
The impact of Jackson’s work has extended beyond her classroom as her rap song about division has gained popularity with students of different great levels.
“Fifth graders to Pre-K students will see me in the hallway and say ‘hey Mrs. Jackson, I heard you’ve been rapping.’ Parents have come up to me and have told me they play it on the way to school,” Jackson said.
Jackson doesn’t plan to stop with the rap song about division. She has become a Dallas ISD celebrity and is often asked when her next single will drop. She already has another math rap song about fractions. To see Jackson’s video on division, click here.
As far as what Jackson hopes for her students, she often uses words like college bound to instill those expectations at an early age. “I’m very passionate about growing future leaders and I look beyond the classroom and look at my students as a whole. I want them to grow to be genuine, confident, kind human beings in life. I try to not only teach them math, but teach them things like respect for oneself and others,” said Jackson.
“Mrs. Jackson’s original rap song is just a small part of how she leads her classroom, it is an absolute joy and blessing to have teachers like her at Stevens Park Elementary. Her third graders are going places, and so is she,” said Feliciano.