Education

Rap It Up

July 25, 2006 1 min read

Want to help your students remember tough concepts? Have you tried bustin’ some rhymes, professor? Alex Kajitani, an 8th grade algebra teacher at Grant Middle School, in Escondido, California, swears it works—at least for him. Donning a pair of sunglasses and an oversized necklace, Kajitani performs math-infused rap songs in class. His piece on the decimal point, for example, gets started like this:

Now what in the world is that itty-bitty dot? Yo, I just can't remember, and it's making me distraught. I saw it in the price of the item I just bought. It's the decimal point, yeah, now you're gettin' hot!”

Kajitani says the idea began as a kind of lark, but then he noticed his students were actually singing his songs. “Sure enough, their tests scores started improving, and they seemed to start understanding the material I’d covered,” he said. Inspired by his success in class, Kajitani recently recorded a CD called “The Rappin’ Mathematician, Volume 1,” which has apparently found its way into other schools and some students’ homes (and at least one mom’s car). Unorthodox as it may sound, Kajitani’s method makes perfect sense to some, building on a rich tradition of classroom mnemonic tricks. “A lot of math is memorization,” said one of Kajitani colleagues. “Those kind of little catchy phrases, they stick, and that’s the first step.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Web Watch blog.

Let us know what you think!

We’re looking for feedback on our new site to make sure we continue to provide you the best experience.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Future of Work Webinar
Digital Literacy Strategies to Promote Equity
Our new world has only increased our students’ dependence on technology. This makes digital literacy no longer a “nice to have” but a “need to have.” How do we ensure that every student can navigate
Content provided by Learning.com
Mathematics Online Summit Teaching Math in a Pandemic
Attend this online summit to ask questions about how COVID-19 has affected achievement, instruction, assessment, and engagement in math.
School & District Management Webinar Examining the Evidence: Catching Kids Up at a Distance
As districts, schools, and families navigate a new normal following the abrupt end of in-person schooling this spring, students’ learning opportunities vary enormously across the nation. Access to devices and broadband internet and a secure

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Project Manager
United States
K12 Inc.
High School Permanent Substitute Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
MS STEM Teacher
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District
Speech Therapist - Long Term Sub
Woolwich Township, NJ, US
Kingsway Regional School District

Read Next

Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: December 9, 2020
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of articles from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: Stories You May Have Missed
A collection of stories from the previous week that you may have missed.
8 min read