TeachRock 2020: Looking Forward

Happy New Year! We at TeachRock hope you had a moment to rest, relax, and prepare for the New Year. We’ve been doing preparing as well, and are excited to give you a glimpse of what’s in store at TeachRock in the coming year.

More Educational Resources
In 2019, we launched Trace it Back, which connects today’s most popular artists to the educational materials TeachRock offers. Through this portal, you can direct your student’s passion for Billie Eilish or Ariana Grande to lessons in Science, ELA, SEL and Social Studies. We’ll be publishing a new Trace it Back entry every week, and announce them on our social media every #TraceItBackTuesday.

We’re also happy to announce that we will start publishing Unit Plans starting later this year! These collections of 5-10 TeachRock Lessons will be organized around a common topic or theme, and will include curriculum maps and assessment strategies. Creating unit plans has been regularly recommended by our users, and we are thrilled to begin publishing them!

Growing into More Classrooms
Our mission at TeachRock is to be a resource for every teacher, no matter the subject or classroom. Late last year, we began working with primary school educators to “remix” some of our existing lessons to make them more accessible to elementary learners. Already we’ve created two elementary scaffolded lessons, Singer Songwriters and the Environmental Movement, and Ritchie Valens. We hope to be publishing 1-2 such “Remixed” elementary lessons every month.

In Spring, we’re launching a Blues and Literature ELA lesson collection, which introduces students to the work of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Harper Lee, and August Wilson. Additionally, we’ll release a new Hip Hop-themed visual arts lesson pack, made in collaboration with famed illustrator Andre Leroy Davis. Later in the Summer, we’ll release a Math lesson pack made in collaboration with Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart – our first venture into mathematics!

More Diverse Representation
We’ve written in the past about our efforts to develop a culturally responsive curriculum at TeachRock. Late in 2019, we conducted a site survey to discover that male musicians are featured 2-to-1 over female musicians, and that white musicians outnumber all other musicians by 57%. These numbers are unacceptable, and not reflective of the diversity represented in the classroom.

In response, we are taking a number of steps to make TeachRock more culturally responsive. All this year, we will be looking over Book 1: Birth of Rock, to find places to recognize how less represented musicians have contributed to Rock and Roll – people like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Big Momma Thornton, Ma Rainey, Mildred Bailey, and Bessie Smith. Additionally, we are planning a series of lessons focused on the role Latinx and Asian-American culture has played on American popular music, past and present. Finally, we will be expanding our lesson offerings on LGBTQ+ musicians and history.

Look forward to this (and many surprises) in 2020!