Teacher’s Welcome Back Rap Video Gets Compared To Michael Jackson’s Will You Be There


New teacher Dwayne Reed wanted to put his fourth grade students at ease for the first day of school at Stenson Elementary School in Skokie, so he decided to create a music video.

“I didn’t want it to be boring and super old school,” said Reed, 25. “I wanted to get them jazzed about coming to fourth grade.”

The video is called Welcome To the 4th Grade. The creative young teacher raps about himself and what his students will be learning.

Before filming the video, Reed asked the school principal for permission. He posted the video to YouTube and Facebook last weekend and sent links to the parents to show students. The video had nearly 190,000 views on YouTube Wednesday afternoon. The response has been both positive and controversial.

“We loved the idea, so we encouraged him,” said Sue O’Neil, who has been principal at Stenson for 22 years. “Of course, we had no idea it would take off like this. When we saw it, it was uplifting and creative, and it’s a great way to connect with the kids and get them excited about school,” she said.

O’Neil said she liked the creative approach Reed took to capture the attention of his students. The staff watched the video Tuesday and applauded, she said.

On Wednesday he got to meet his students and their parents for the first time at a meet-and-greet. “They’re the sweetest things,” Reed said of his students. “This is like what I’ve been made to do in life and now I’m finally getting a shot at it.”

Outside of the classroom, Reed records music for fun with his friends. This video — his first — wasn’t without controversy. Reed said the song has a melody he sang often but didn’t know how it originated. After seeing the video, his friend said it sounded familiar. Reed said he later realized the tune sounded similar to Michael Jackson’s song “Will You Be There.” “It was no attempt to copy, steal and riff or anything,” he said.

He’s not selling the “Welcome to the 4th Grade” song and instead is making it available to download for free.

So how would he grade himself on this project?

A solid B, he said. Next time, he wants to include school staff, students and their families.

Read more at the Chicago Tribune | All Things Michael

Just Solve It! White Plains Teacher Parodies Michael Jackson

Sources: WXII12 | All Things Michael

Adam Johnson motivates students for End-of- grade (EOG) tests


A Surry County teacher is using an interesting way to motivate his students for this week’s end of grade testing.

He’s doing it in song.

White Plains Elementary School teacher Adam Johnson writes music and produces music videos to inspire his students.

In his latest video, he parodies the Michael Jackson hit “Beat It” with a song called “Solve It!”

If you’re on our main website, you can watch the video below.


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Korn’s James ‘Munky’ Shaffer Jams Michael Jackson With Young Kids For Charity

Sources: The PRP | Banana 101.5 | All Things Michael


Korn guitarist James “Munky” Shaffer recently performed a cover of Michael Jackson‘s “Beat It” with a bunch of young children in conjunction with music education charity Little Kids Rock. Hot Topic also donated $1.2 million to the charity at the event.

March is national “Music in Our Schools Month” and for those interested in helping to get more musical instruments to students, you can learn more and donate to the cause at Little Kids Rock. They are a nonprofit that focuses on doing just that for disadvantaged public schools across the country.


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Sesame Street: Celebrating 45 Years Of Teaching Education In Our Changing Culture Along With Celebrity Guests

Sources: Detroit News | The Telegraph | Edited By – All Things Michael


You don’t get to be the longest-running children’s show in U.S. TV history by doing the same thing over and over. So even though parents who grew up watching “Sesame Street” can still see old favorites like Big Bird, things on the street have changed since the show debuted 45 years ago on Nov. 10, 1969.

Cookie Monster now exercises self-control and sometimes eats fruits and vegetables. Millions of kids watch the show on phones and computers instead of TV. And there’s less time spent on the street with human characters. They’re just not energetic enough for today’s viewers.

In Britain, a BBC kids’ show, “Blue Peter,” is even older — on since 1958 — but that “Sesame Street” still exists in the U.S. at all, given the competition here, says a lot. In 1973, it was one of two shows on U.S. television for preschoolers. Now it’s competing with 84 kids’ shows on TV and countless others online. Yet “Sesame Street” still holds its own, ranking 20th among kids ages 2 to 5 with 850,000 viewers per TV episode, according to Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the show.


But now half the viewers watch it in digital formats. A “Sesame Street” YouTube channel has a million subscribers and 1.5 billion views. And touchscreens have been “a magic wand for us in terms of engagement,” says “Sesame Street” senior vice president Scott Chambers. Kids can trace letters or point to colors or shapes, and the app provides positive reinforcement.

“Sesame Street” also has the highest “co-viewing” experience — meaning adults watching with kids — of any preschool show: 49 percent of “Sesame Street” viewers are over age 18. “We’re very proud of that,” said Chambers. “We design the show to engage the parent because we know that’s more educational. If you have a parent watching with you, you’re going to learn much more.”

That’s why sketches often have contemporary celebrity guests or pop culture references that 2-year-olds don’t get, but adults do. One show celebrates “what makes people special,” with Elmo telling Lupita Nyong’o that her skin “is a beautiful brown color.” The actress responds, “Skin comes in lots of beautiful shades and colors … I love my skin!” It’s a classic “Sesame Street” lesson about diversity that goes back to its groundbreaking roots as one of the few shows in the 1970s to feature all races and ethnicities. Today the show also routinely features children with disabilities.


Parents whose kids watch old episodes may be puzzled by warnings that the material may be inappropriate for today’s children. Back in the day, Cookie Monster hosted the show as Alistair Cookie, and he had a pipe, imitating the real show’s human host Alistair Cooke. Cookie Monster gobbled the pipe up rather than smoking it, but any reference to smoking is now unacceptable.

The music has changed too. Those memorable lyrics still open every episode, but now the song has a syncopated, jazzier beat. Other sketches feature hip-hop or Latin music. The Dracula-like Count von Count puppet uses a disco beat to teach a lesson about the number nine in his “Number of the Day” segment, and every episode ends with “Elmo the Musical,” with Broadway-style songs and a velvet curtain. Source

Sesame Street Celebrity Guests


James Earl Jones is considered to be the first celebrity guest Sesame Street ever had. The actor featured in an insert where he recited the alphabet and counted numbers. This appearance came as early as episode two, with Jones returning twice more in 1979 and 2004.


Michael Jackson made a brief appearance on Sesame Street as a 20-year-old. Appearing in the 1978 Christmas episode, A Special Sesame Street Christmas, Jackson gave Oscar the Grouch a book about ghosts.


Bill Cosby has been a recurring guest throughout Sesame Street’s 45 years, starting in 1970 with an insert which saw him play twins who recite the aphabet together.


In 1974, Star Wars droids R2-D2 and C3-PO appeared in inserts featuring Big Bird. They appeared twice more in 1980 and 1982.


Singer Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance in 1973 when he performed 123 Sesame Street and his song Superstition while also enjoying a chat with Grover. Such were the popularity of his scenes that many of them have been repeated as inserts.


Actress Julia Roberts appeared in a 1990 sketch with Elmo in which the two demonstrate the feeling of fear.


Hilary Clinton – as First Lady – appeared on Sesame Street in 1993 for an insert alongside Rosita and Big Bird in which she discussed health tips. Picture: AP


Superman actor Christopher Reeve appeared in 1995 alongside his son where he talked about the independent living skills that he acquired following his disability. He also appeared in 2000 where he recited the alphabet with Ernie’s Rubber Duckie.


The musician Elvis Costello appeared in 2011 for a performance of (A Monster Went and) Ate My Red Two, a parody of his song (The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes. He performed with Elmo and Cookie Monster.

Michelle Obama Big Bird Public Service Announcement

The First Lady follows in the footsteps of Barbara Bush, Hilary Clinton and Laura Bush by appearing on Sesame Street. She recorded a segment abouthealthy eating and nutrition with Elmo, as well as planting gardens with Big Bird. In 2013, Obama was joined by Elmo and Rosita to announce that Sesame Workshop had joined the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to hep promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption for kids (“I think it’s probably the best thing I’ve done at the White House,” she said).


One Direction are set to become the first X Factor-generated act to appear on Sesame Street. They’ll spoof their debut single What Makes You Beautiful with a rendition of What Makes “U” Useful. Source


Award Winning Filipino Teacher Uses Michael Jackson’s Moves, Games And More To Make Math Cool

Sources: Balitang America – By Dan Tagala | All Things Michael


JACKSON HEIGHTS, NY – Math is a tricky subject to teach.

But thanks to award-winning Filipino educator Ramil Buenaventura, learning math has never been easier and fun for his 7th and 8th grade classes at the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, New York.

He makes solving equations in algebra as easy as singing karaoke. He also busts some Michael Jackson dance moves to teach geometry – he slides to the left and slides to the right, pirouettes and moonwalks to teach translation, reflection, and rotation.

Who needs a protractor when a student ballet dancer can show acute and obtuse angles?

“Kahit may konting lecture sa simula, pinapasukan ko ng a little game, para ma-enganyo sila,” said Ramil Buenaventura. “Saka itong games na ito hindi lang game for the sake of game, may application din ng math yan.”

Cellphones are not allowed in most classes in the Big Apple but the 44-year-old Pinoy teacher uses game apps to teach statistics.

Students even get extra points by playing arcade style darts or a fun game of hoops for a job well done.

Andres Aguirre, 18, says Buenaventura’s method of teaching may be unconventional but it resonates well with students like him.

“Sometimes lectures do get boring, I will admit,” Aguirre said. “This is modern, a lot of use of technology, and this is meant to keep you awake and meant to help you learn.”

“He made little songs and dances that are catchy,” said 8th grade student Caitlyn De Jesus. “So for example during a test if I would forget something, I would think of the moves he did and they would just come easier, easier to remember things.”

New York City’s Department of Education has recognized Buenaventura’s energetic and creative approach to teaching.

This Mandaluyong City born and raised Pinoy teacher is among this year’s 12 Big Apple awardees chosen from 3,000 nominees.

“Ang teacher dapat dibdibin ang profession, we’re not just here just to impart knowledge, actually minsan nga natuto pa tayo sa kanila eh,” said Buenaventura.

The award came with a fellowship grant that would allow him to continue making an impact inside and outside of his classroom.

“The good thing is I will be part of the voice of teachers here in New York,” he said. “Na kakausapin namin ang lawmakers, yung mga union leaders to talk about policies that will help improve the teachers teaching and learning development.”

Buenaventura came to the US in 2003 and found his American Dream in teaching. Today, he says, he is teaching to inspire his students to find theirs.

“Parang binatukan ka ni Lord,” Buenaventura said. “Ituloy mo pa yang ginagawa mo huwag kang mapagod, eventually pala nakakinspire ng ibang tao.”

For his inspiring life story that has changed the lives of his students, buenaventura was recently nominated for another recognition – the Hometown Heroes in Education Award.

“Although it’s just a nomination, feeling ko nanalo na ako,” he said. “Parang bonus na lang ito, I didn’t expect it.”

Read more at Balitang America

The Past Celebrated Through Song: Students Honor Black History Month

Source: Jackson Sun – By Nichole Manna

Sixth-graders Mariah Lien, Eren Brooks, Gianni Thomas and Elijah Lien perform ‘One More Chance’ by the Jackson 5 during Tigrett Middle School’s African-American History Celebration on Friday. / NICHOLE MANNA/The Jackson Sun

Students started cramming into Tigrett Middle School’s auditorium around 1 p.m. Friday, anxious to see what their fellow students had been working on performing for the Black History Month Program.

As they filed in, student speakers started sitting on stage, waiting their turn.

Tommie Kirkendoll, Tigrett Middle’s physical education teacher, helped produce the hour-long show, which was a celebration of black history.

“Our students are taking charge,” she said of the ones who performed in the program.

The first performers called themselves the “Jackson 4” and performed “One More Chance,” which was made popular by the Jackson 5.

One sixth-grade student in the Jackson 4 group, Gianni Thomas, said it’s very important for students to learn about black history.

“Black History Month celebrates our heritage, and I think it’s really important because it’s my heritage, I’m part African,” he said.

Other performances included students performing songs by the Temptations and Destiny’s Child. There was also a special performance by former Tigrett Middle student Cornelious Hobson, who dressed up and danced like the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, as the students screamed and cheered him on.

The Tigrett Honor and Tigrett Gospel choirs sang a couple of songs between stage performances and kept the energy in the auditorium high.

The Gospel Choir made up of sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders and led by Carlie Brantley performs the song ‘Ride On King Jesus’ during Tigrett Middle School’s African American History Celebration on Friday. NICHOLE MANNA/The Jackson Sun

David Early, a current student at Madison Academic High School and former Tigrett Middle student, ended the program by giving a motivational speech to the school about the importance of respect, education and hard work.

He told students to respect their peers, family, teachers and, most importantly, themselves.

“Ladies, dress appropriately, it’s not cute. Gentlemen, pull your pants up,” he told the middle-school students.

Early asked students to always honor their mother and father and always have faith in the love parents have for them.

He told students to remain peaceful in life and to settle issues using words, not fists.

“No one has made it in life by fighting unnecessarily,” he said.

And lastly, he reminded students to never give up, to always work hard and to put emphasis on their education.

“Education is a major factor in being successful. School always comes first,” Early said.