On October 23, 2014, Middletown High School South posted a video to YouTube detailing their experience of Rock and Roll: An American Story in the classroom. Produced by the Middletown Township Public School District, the video provides a window into how Teachrock.org is being assimilated into existing curricula and its ability to reach a wide range of students.
“I’ve definitely found that by using this curriculum, it’s engaged a lot more students in the content,” reports Emily Kaster, a music teacher who incorporates social studies into her course. “[Because the lessons refer] to the present day, that helps the students make connections to what’s going on in their lives.”
Assistant Principal Vic Bayers conveys his enthusiasm for the curriculum’s unique tie to Middletown, New Jersey. “The curriculum was developed by Steven Van Zandt, a Middletown native who attended Middletown schools,” says Bayers. “And he’s very passionate about the delivery of the materials to the students.”
Kaster continues that as she’s guided students through lesson plans, including Chuck Berry and Elvis and Race in 1950s America, she’s witnessed how the students have connected the materials and their own lives. “I’ve also seen an uptick in the number of musicians who’ve been taking the course,” she says, “so for them they love finding connections between what they’re doing as musicians in their own bands and what happened fifty years ago, and how is this whole thread is tied all together.”
Bayers and Kaster will conduct a Rock and Roll: An American Story professional development session with the school’s social studies department in December. We are thrilled to see teachers and administrators making great use of the curriculum and encourage any educators interested in using Teachrock.org in their classrooms to reach out to us.