Recently American educators have been struggling with how to better engage students in the classroom and come away with higher student proficiency in reading, math and science.

This summer UW-Madison Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives offers a popular program, “Hip Hop in the Heartland,” that explores how teachers can use urban arts to improve learning. The conference, now in its eighth year, meets July 22-26 on campus.

VIDEO: Artistic piece by session leader: Baba Israel, at TEDxYork, an artist and educator who holds a MFA from Goddard College.

Community leaders as well as educators from K- university level will gain a better understanding of:
• hip hop history, culture and politics
• best practices in hip hop and spoken word pedagogy
• using computer games to teach critical literacy
• healing and connecting in the digital classroom
• improving academic achievement, reducing behavior issues, and energizing classrooms
• and, practical strategies for increasing participation and building community.

VIDEO: Interview with session leader: Michael Cirelli, director of Urban Word NYC, a nonprofit that provides free, uncensored writing and performance opportunities for teens.

Participants learn from leaders of Urban Word NY, practicing artists and musicians, youth program leaders who use the hip hop approach, and professors from Columbia University, Michigan State University, New York University, and Louisiana State University. UW-Madison faculty Dr. Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Dr. Maisha T. Winn,
both from Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction, are session leaders.

At the end of each day, participants will take time to build their own curricula that engages literacy, critical thinking and creative writing. They can earn 1-3 UW-Madison credits for conference attendance or apply their participation to their Wisconsin Professional Development Plan requirements.

For more details and for online registration, click here.