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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

“Teach Me How To… STUDY” Not “DOUGIE” — Urban Elementary School Teacher Gets Creative With Her Music Students

— Inspiring YouTube video shows Washington, DC-area elementary school children singing “Teach Me How To Study” based on the popular Cali Swag District song, “Teach Me How to Dougie.” –-

Mrs. Odori Pendleton - Teach Me How To Study

Music teacher Odori Pendleton teaching her students the “Teach Me How To Study” rap song at Occoquan Elementary School in Prince William County, Virginia.

Washington, DC — One music teacher at Occoquan Elementary School in Prince Williams County, Virginia is motivating her students to be hard-working in a very creative, melodic way. Her name is Odori Pendleton (or Mrs. Pendleton to her students) and she is using a unique tune that her students just absolutely love singing. It’s called “Teach Me How to Study” based on the melody of the hit rap song “Teach Me How To Dougie” by Cali Swag District.

In what seems like a heart warming scene from the 1990’s films Mr. Holland’s Opus and Sister Act 2 or maybe even the 1980’s film Lean on Me, Pendleton’s students can be seen on YouTube performing the motivational song and loving every minute of it! (Watch the YouTube video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=2f4m7wSFuCo)

We recently did an interview with Mrs. Pendleton and here’s what she had to say:

BlackNews.com: Hi, Mrs. Pendleton! Wow! We were really amazed at what we saw on YouTube. Congratulations for all of your success!

Odori Pendleton: Thank you so much!

BlackNews.com: Can you tell us what is your background? And how did you become an elementary school music teacher?

OP: Both of my parents were educators, and my mom especially taught me that being a teacher surpassed the classroom and went into the community. I went on to earn a degree in Music Education and Performance at Virginia Tech University, and as a college student, I had the opportunity to travel to England, Ireland, South Africa, Jamaica and the Bahamas for different music projects. After graduation, becoming a music teacher was a no-brainer for me.

BlackNews.com: So how did you come up with the idea to create the song “Teach Me How To Study” based on the song “Teach Me How to Dougie”?

OP: It was a team effort. A colleague of mine, Nitasha Clark, who is a student specialist, was using a state program initiative called “I’m Determined” with some of the 5th grade students. The template for that initiative was brought to the school by our principal, Mr. Harnish Brewer, and it consisted of implemented lessons on study skills, goal setting and the integration of a motivational song.

Nitasha and the classroom teacher she was working with felt that there needed to be something to help solidify the program for the students. She came across different versions of “Teach Me How To Study” on YouTube, and after getting approval from our school’s administration, she mentioned this to me. I shared with her my research, and told her that I would love to participate. Then, my husband (who is a music hobbyist) and I started putting an original version of the “Teach Me How To Study” song together for the students at our school.

BlackNews.com: How did you get your students to become so motivated about the song? They seem to really love it!

OP: I had a small window of time to teach the school the song. The first year, I focused on teaching 3rd – 5th grade the entire song, and only teaching Kindergarten – 2nd grade the hook/ chorus. With the help of the students, I choreographed the movements to assist in learning the words.

In addition, the other teachers in the school would play the reference track that my husband and I made and the administration would take time to play it over the intercom at random points of the day. In addition, I joined with Library, Art, & PE to teach the upper grade students the words.

Today, all of the students in Kindergarten through 5th grade know and love the rap, and they can perform it on demand.

BlackNews.com: How did the parents feel when they heard/saw their children singing the song?

OP: I think the parents were excited to see the school do something so different and relevant. Parents were videotaping our performance with their phones, and smiling from ear to ear. The parents tell me that their children come home rapping “Teach Me How To Study” all the time.

BlackNews.com: What other creative music projects have you done with your students?

OP: Well, myself and other teachers at Occoquan Elementary School often take creative approaches that others are using to a whole new level of creativity. Our goal is always to have the students reap the benefits.

In addition to the rap song for the students, I teamed up with the SOL pep rally team to write another song (but this time for the teachers) that answers to the students’ “Teach Me How To Study” song.

So, my husband and I, with the help of two of his friends, wrote “Taught You How to Study” to the tune of “Started From the Bottom” by Drake. We also made a music video that features our principal and all the teachers at my school rapping the song. That video can also be viewed on YouTube (www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RMXg1qs8LI).

BlackNews.com: Well, keep up the good work! You and your colleagues are making a huge impact and obviously motivating your students in a very unique way. Surely what you all are doing will encourage other educators around the country to start doing the same!

OP: I hope so! And thank you very much again for the interview. Myself, my school, and the school district really appreciate it!

For more details about Odori Pendleton and her music projects with her students and outside of the classroom, visit www.InTuneMusicLab.com


Odori Pendleton