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Streetwise: Classrooms that Rock
Streetwise is a 10-part series on alternative music in education.


# 10 Hip Hop Production

The Nature Consortium in Seattle is a community organization that hosts a free hip hop program where our city’s youth find a powerful platform to speak out.

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# 9 Homeless Youth Rock

Every Saturday morning freshly scruffy homeless and in-transition youth walk off the city streets and into the Sanctuary Arts Center, a rock music program held in a church basement. A Seattle church donates the room, Guitar Center gave the equipment, and local artists and musician volunteers join in the fun to teach street youth how to rock.

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# 8 They Might Be Giants

They Might Be Giants write some of the catchiest songs in the universe. They’re most famous for being the first alternative band to get a video on MTV, and for their grammy-winning theme to the “Malcolm In The Middle” TV show. But most people don’t know that this same band is on the cutting edge of alternative music in education.

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# 7 South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo

South African group Ladysmith Black Mambazo are most famous for their work on Paul Simon’s album “Graceland”. Their mission is to share the indigenous culture of South Africa through its music. Their CD “Gift of The Tortoise: A Musical Journey Through South Africa” brings the history and legends of South Africa to an international audience.

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# 6 Street Smartz

Spoken word artist Laura “Piece” Kelley creates her own spoken word and hip hop, and then takes it into the community, using her street knowledge to initiate hip hop education programs in the city of Seattle. We asked Piece, why hip hop?

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# 5 Pop Songs as History

5th Grade Teacher Paul Bloch takes his students back in time using pop songs from the past. From the depression to the baby boom, this innovative teacher creates an autobiography of each era through its music.

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# 4 Punk Goes to College

James Torrance, a professor at Bellevue Community College near Seattle, Washington recreates a counterculture atmosphere in his class on punk history and underground culture.

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# 3 The Mystery of Tupac Shakur

University of Washington Teacher Georgia Roberts teaches college students about the elusive image of top-selling rapper Tupac Shakur. Featuring Tupac’s own narration of his life from the movie Tupac, The Resurrection: In His Own Words.

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# 2 Schoolhouse Rocks the Millenium

The 1970s cartoon series "Schoolhouse Rock" was one of the first TV features to use alternative types of music, like blues, jazz and soul to teach children. Since "Schoolhouse Rock", who has used alternative types of music to educate on TV? Only one show stands out — a twisted series for kids hosted by a goat. Pancake Mountain!

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# 1 Hip Hop Hope: Taking the Hood to the Woods

What happens when the controversial beat-oriented genre of hip-hop is used for education? Youth program Hip Hop Hope takes a diverse mix of teenage and adult artists and musicians to the forest for a new take on the classroom and on hip hop.

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