Aim High teachers inspire and empower our students, and they also lead some pretty cool lessons. Jewell Bachelor, an Issues and Choices teacher at our East Oakland campus, is an excellent example of this. In her class, she introduced her students to the five elements of hip-hop—emceeing, beatboxing, breakdancing, DJing, and graffiti. At the end of the unit, students explored their inner artists and created a graffiti mural. As an educator, Jewell seeks ways to empower her students. Through the exploration of hip-hop, she hopes to expose them to the power of creativity and expression. Hip hop culture originated in the South Bronx of New York City during the 1970s. Since its beginning, young people have remained at the epicenter of the movement. Jewell incorporates hip-hop into her curriculum to demonstrate the power of youth-led movements and show students that the combination of creativity and knowledge can result in positive change. For the first project, students listened to and discussed Kendrick Lamar’s clean version of “I love myself.” Then, they wrote their own 3-stanza poem that focused on self-love and affirmation. “Since they are in a transitional period in their life, I want them to understand what it means to love themselves and practice that idea,” Jewell said. Students also learned how art can lead a movement. “Art lives beyond any movement and moment and can give a visual. Creative pieces can be used as historical documents while also showing how people stayed true to their culture and beliefs,” Jewell said. To emphasize this, she invited Reza Harris, a San Francisco-born and -bred educator, activist, and hip hop artist to join her class. He guided the students through the process of creating a graffiti mural. After devising an outline, each student took turns spray painting different segments of the composition. Beyond the five elements of hip-hop, Jewell wants her students to understand the power of standing up for what they believe in. “Young people can create change, but it must be organized, intentional, and communal,” Jewell said.
Aim High students are doing great things during the summer. Read more about why summer matters.