Teacher Combines Music and Math in Educational Program

"This is what I like to call rap pedagogy."

A local teacher is thinking outside of the "boom box," using music to fight classroom boredom. And he's nearly got it "beat."

Lamar Queen is "king" at making arithmetic appealing and equations entertaining.

"I was called a boring teacher," he told NBC4. "That's when I realized, OK, I have to do more than just stand in front of the classroom and lecture."

Queen, a middle school math teacher in South Central Los Angeles, founded Music Notes - a program that fuses mathematics with music. The company's goal is to "increase student engagement in school by providing high quality educational music and videos to educators and their students."

"This is what I like to call rap pedagogy," he says.

As a core part of his program, Queen produces a DVD series of educational songs. He released his first, "Slope Intercept," in 2007. Live school tours accompany the series.

On tour, Queen's goal is to, "... get students out of their seats... Get them up, moving, so they can associate movements with what they're learning. It helps with retention."

In February, Queen visited Creekside Elementary School in Moreno Valley. His math concert was a special occasion - he turned it into a Black History Month celebration, focusing on the connection between Black Americans and math. One mathematician he highlighted was Katherine Johnson, the NASA research mathematician whose work inspired the Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures.

Creekside principal Nadakia Neal appreciates Queen's unconventional teaching strategies. "It gets the teachers interested and it opens their eyes to new ways of teaching, and to kids it opens their eyes to new ways of learning."

Third-grader America Espadas enjoys the new learning style. "The music helps me remember, because whenever I need help with a problem, I can sing it in my mind."

Those who wish to learn more about Lamar Queen and his Music Notes program can visit musicnotesonline.com.

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