Last summer at a math conference, Clift Elementary fifth grade math teacher Chrissy Colwell met a group of young men that she knew could help inspire her students.
They were selling their CDs and when she heard them, she knew they were the connection she needed to make learning fun for her students.
Music Notes is an educational music company founded by Jimmy Pascascio and LaMar Queen (Mr. Q-U-E), two high school teachers in South Central Los Angeles.
David Landix (Mr. D) began rapping songs in his math class and soon joined the other two in making math and motivational CDs and videos. Their goal was to increase student engagement in school by providing high quality educational music and videos to educators and their students.
Colwell began using the songs with her lessons and noticed that her fifth grade boys were walking around rapping math songs everywhere they went.
Students were even getting on YouTube and downloading their songs and learning them on their own. The song, ‘Good Grades,’ became the student’s favorite song and really inspired Mrs. Colwell to research the rappers more.
She emailed the group one day just thanking them for the impact they were having on her students with their songs. To her surprise, instead of emailing her back, the guys sent a video to her students.
“The students screamed with excitement at this video, so I began my journey of getting Music Notes to Clift Nation,” states Mrs. Colwell.
Once it was confirmed the guys were coming to Clift, they made another video to the students delivering them the good news. The cafeteria roared with excitement and many of the students even cried. The date was set and the countdown began. Each week, Mrs. Colwell sent a picture of her students counting down the days until the concert.
She wanted them to see how important this concert would be to the students at Clift. She wanted Mr. D & Mr. Q-U-E. to be as excited to meet her students as they were to meet them. Her efforts paid off. The entire Music Notes team fell in love with Clift! They decided that their newest song, ‘SUCCESS’ would star Clift fifth grader in the music video for their DVD. In preparing for the filming, the company wanted all the fifth grade students to wear Music Notes t-shirts. With the generous donation from some very special people of Waxahachie, all fifth grade students a Music Notes t-shirt to wear at the concert.
The day all the students had been waiting for had finally arrived. The first program they performed that day was for the pre-k through 4th Graders. It was very engaging and fun for the students. Most of them were standing up during the entire concert! The fifth Graders received their own personal concert and autograph session with Mr. Q-U-E and Mr. D. Mrs. Colwell reported, “As the concert progressed, the rappers were surprised when they realized the kids knew every word to every song they were singing. That had never happened at any concert they had ever done before. They were very emotional about that. They even stopped singing at one point and just enjoyed the students for a bit. It was so wonderful seeing kids get to just be kids and have fun all while singing math songs!”
That night, Clift Elementary hosted Family Math Night and Mr. D & Mr. Q-U-E. preformed to culminate the evenings activities. All three concerts were full of energy, highly engaging, interactive, and educational. Students were invited up on stage to perform along with the Music Notes group. It was emotional for the audience to see the students sing and dance the last song all-together. It was hard to tell if the students or the Mr. D & Mr. Q-U-E were having more fun. They were so touched by the student’s performance at Clift, that during an interview while back in California the next week, they bragged about Clift Nation in Waxahachie, Texas. They are now a big part of the Clift family and will be back next year.
We are very excited about seeing our students in their new video ‘SUCCESS.’ All of their CDs and DVDs can be bought online at www.musicnotesonline.com .
Christi C. Kubin serves as the principal of Clift Elementary School in Waxahachie.