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Continuing Education

[Online] Hip-Hop Literacy in the Classroom

Date: 9:00am - 1:00pm PDT August 18 Location: Online


“If hip-hop has the ability to corrupt young minds, it also has the ability to uplift them.” KRS-One, Emcee and Hip-Hop Scholar.

What do the 1970’s Bronx, New York and 2020’s Portland, Oregon have in common? Both places have a ripe zeitgeist for innovation! Hip-Hop music and culture rose from the ingenuity of New York’s youth of color as a third of their borough was on fire. Today, in the midst of a pandemic, as our culture inevitably shifts, we as educators have an opportunity to co-create new models of learning and literacy with our students. Let’s rise to the occasion!

This online Oregon Writing Project class will explore how to authentically bring the power of Hip-Hop music and culture into our evolving definition of the classroom. We will share our experience and ideas of how to build strong and healing literacy communities that have relevance to student lives. Participants will explore online resources and strategies to engage students, and create a curriculum over the course of the week.

Beginning at the origins of Hip-Hop culture, participants will merge their story with hip hop’s story and find resilience in the cypher; a circle of equity where stories and knowledge are exchanged. In this course, educators will explore the Hip-Hop ethics of ‘keeping it real’, ‘reclaiming public space’ and ‘each one, teach one’, and bring the wisdom of those axioms into the art form of literacy.

Sample Day at a Glance

9-10:30 a.m.  |   Zoom Classroom Session
Introductions in a Cypher, Presentations on Hip-Hop Culture and Elements, Writing Strategies

10:40 a.m.-12:30 p.m.  |  Self-guided Learning, Curriculum Building and Writing
Between live sessions, participants will read articles, complete writing exercises, build curriculum for the upcoming school year, reflect on their teaching practice, and meet one-on-one with instructors.

12:30-1 p.m.  |  Closing Cypher on Zoom
End each day in the Cypher, building community, sharing insights and offering support. On Friday you will present curriculum you developed over the week.

By the end of the course, participants will:

  1. Understand the use Hip-Hop lyrics as mentor text for personal narrative, poetry, and essay writing.
  2. Understand Hip-Hop as a culture and the elements of the art form
  3. Know how to create cyphers in their evolving classrooms to emphasize student voice and community
  4. Have developed fresh curriculum for their upcoming school year using mini lesson writing strategies
  5. Have tools and guiding principles from Hip-Hop education movement for navigating the cultural and education shift
  • The Oregon Writing Project (OWP) is a collaboration program between Lewis & Clark and metropolitan or rural area schools and districts, and offers programs designed to improve the writing of Oregon’s K-12 students and teachers. 

Please note: Registration for this class will close one week prior to start date.

Course Information & Registration

Dates: Tuesday-Friday, August 18-21, 2020, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (Friday class 9 a.m.-noon)
Instructors: Nancy Arteaga, MEd, Jesse Gardner, MAT, Desmond Spann, MAT

  • We are committed to making our events accessible to all needs and abilities. When registering, let us know your access needs. Please contact us at 503-768-6040 or with questions.

    Please note: Discounted ‘Student Rate’ registrations are for current students only and do not include continuing education credit (CEU/PDUs)

Graduate Continuing education credit: CEED 839, 1 semester hour, $350 
Continuing education credit registration form (PDF)

Noncredit: $250, includes 15 PDUs. Alumni save 20%

Register now

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About the Instructors

Jesse Gardner, MAT, currently teaches Hip-Hop Literature and English at Madison High School. He is a 2020 recipient of OnPoint Credit Union’s Circle of Excellence award for outstanding educators. 

Nancy Arteaga, MEd is a language arts teacher at Lane Middle School. She is an Oregon Writing Project coach.

Desmond Spann, MAT is a teaching Hip-Hop poet, currently teaching English at Franklin High School with more than a decade of experience in teaching freestyle rap and emceeing.

Image by Roy Blumenthal