When you walk into Monique Jackson’s 3rd-grade classroom at Stevens Park Elementary, you’re surrounded by soft lighting, positive affirmations, and math equations.
“Tell me why y’all chose 8,” Jackson asked her class pointing to a graph on the projection screen, her math symbol earring dangling as she moved. “They love when I wear them!”
In between solving math problems, Jackson exercises the other half of her students’ brains to help them learn. Jackson makes up math raps.
“I think that it’s important that we build that love at a young age,” Jackson said. “Because I know I struggled with math as a student.”
“A fraction represents a part of a whole,” students rapped while dancing together.
“I think the little twist that I added, like the raps, has really impacted their love and understanding for math,” Jackson said.
“It helps me understand more things with the raps,” 3rd grader Olamide Oluamdie said.
“Like a division rap,” Alexander Herrera pointed out. “That helped us learn about division because of the lyrics.”
‘It’s a very humbling feeling just to know that my practices and my teaching is impacting them and they’re actually understanding and comprehending mathematics,” Jackson said.
Jackson said she hears students say they love math a lot more than before she incorporated raps into her curriculum.
“There’s a lot of things you can do with math,” Herrera said. “There’s math everywhere!”
“Whenever we’re learning something, she makes it fun,” 3rd grader Amy Castillo said softly. “I want to be a math teacher like Ms. Jackson.”