Teach to Reach: Designing Hip Hop Curriculum for Student Success


Special Events
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Start Time: 

8:00 AM

End Time: 

1:00 PM
Hilton Hawaiian Village, Tapa Tower

This workshop is divided into two sections: a skills based workshop (8 am – 11:00 am and a special educator session with hip hop artists (11:15 am – 1:00 pm.) co sponsored with Rock the School Bells-Hawaii.

Registration Cost: $60.00/$40.00 (Students)


PART 1 Teach to Reach: Designing Hip Hop Curriculum for Student Success

(Wednesday, October 11, 2017 8:00 am – 11:00 am. Registration starts at 7:30 am)

Target Audience: K-12 Educators, University Teacher Trainers, Mental Health Counselors; After-school activity leaders

Are you looking to spice up your curriculum, after-school program or education trainings with Hip Hop to help young people excel? Look no further than this interactive workshop to give you the essential tools you need to integrate creativity into your classroom or activity setting.

This workshop will address the educational and therapeutic value of Hip Hop culture, specifically music production, beat-making, and lyrical creation or analysis and how educators can utilize it it in the classroom. This creative approach is grounded in decades of research and thousands of practice hours as evidence based practices which, in turn, can inform therapeutic and educational strategies for educators, mental health workers, public health professionals, caregivers, and other youth workers.

The workshop will also discuss the intersection of mental health and education and the value of using Hip Hop as a strategy to reduce stress and anxiety. At the most basic level, working with individual songs can be the emphasis, either creating a song or listening to or analyzing one song. At more complex levels, using multiple songs can be emphasized, such as developing song playlists, sequencing songs in a playlist, and also creating sequenced, edited, and potential multimedia art, and multiple arts-based projects. Activities use education and music technology and are hands-on, interactive, and engaging.

Participants will leave with familiarity with music-integrated strategies, and a basic language and structure to understand Hip Hop based educational strategies. More specifically, the core competences are used as an organizing tool for desired outcomes.

Workshop participants will:

  1. Identify the specific ways classroom experiences can buffer the negative influences of stress and adversity in the lives of students.  
  2. Determine how the creative arts, and particularly Hip Hop culture, can play a role in promoting positive and empowering class and school experiences.
  3. Formulate specific strategies and activities that use Hip Hop culture to achieve both classroom and afterschool objectives.  

About the Workshop Leaders

Photo: Raphael Travis

Raphael Travis’s research, practice and consultancy work emphasizes positive youth development over the life-course, resilience, and civic engagement. He also investigates music, especially Hip-Hop culture, as a source of health and well-being in people's lives. Dr. Travis is an Associate Professor and BSW Program Director at Texas State University in the School of Social Work. He is also Executive Director of FlowStory, PLLC, blending social work and public health expertise to guide applied research and health promotion strategies. FlowStory also promotes the empowering aspects of Hip Hop culture as a critical tool for growth in families, education, therapy, and afterschool and summer programs. Dr. Travis is the author of “The Healing Power of Hip Hop” and his latest research appears in a variety of peer-reviewed academic journals.


Kimberly Corbin is a full time instructor and field supervisor at University of Hawaii at Manoa in the College of Education, Secondary Institute of Teacher Education. Kim has 20 years of teaching experience in public schools in Texas, Georgia, and Hawaiʻi. She holds a B.S in Interdisciplinary Studies with a specialization in Special Education from Texas State University, a M.Ed. in curriculum studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa and looks forward to graduating in Spring 2018 with her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, also from the University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa. Her research focuses on culturally sustaining pedagogy, with specific interest in hip-hop education. She works closely with members of Super Groupers and Soundshop developing curriculum. She partnered with Ableton to obtain a donation of beat-making equipment now being used in local classrooms and with Soundshop at Doris Duke Theater. Kim also works closely with the Director of Arts in Education at Maui Arts and Cultural Center, providing professional development opportunities for teaching artists in the area of differentiated instruction.

Part II Rock the School Bells: Using Hip-Hop in Classroom Settings

Co-sponsored with Rock the School Bells - Hawaii
11:15 am – 1:00 pm


The members of Super Groupers will partner with other local hip-hop artists to share with teachers a unique experience that they will be able to implement in their classrooms. In this workshop, teachers will interact with award-winning local musicians in an intimate group setting. The musicians will introduce them to their creative process and demonstrate how it can be applied to any content area as well as to the out-of-school lives of the students they teach. In this experience-based exploration of musical genres, they will discover how to access different forms of writing, speaking, performing and music-making while working collaboratively in small groups. We encourage not only music appreciation and sensitivity but also music application and critical thinking, emphasizing the impact of music education as an active and culturally relevant function in character development in the classroom and in life.

About the Super Groupers

Photo: Super Groupers

Navid Najafi is a  founding member of local conscious rap collective the SuperGroupers and a two-time Na Hoku Hanohano Award winner — he took home trophiesor Hip-Hop Album of the Year in 2012 (for his solo album “Illnomadic”) and 2013 (for “Live From Soul Sound” as part of the band Evasive Species). He was born in Iran and raised in New York but found home when he moved to Hawaii to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Navid is one of the most respected and highly regarded emcees in Hawaii. His smooth flow and intelligent, positive lyrics are always on point and well received by fans and critics alike. He is an accomplished artist, organizer, activist and volunteer in the local community. Along with serving as an administrator for the  Soundshop music education program, he is also a poet facilitator and youth mentor for the non-profit poetry education organization Pacific Tongues for whom he ran a weekly writing workshop on the University of Hawai‘i campus.

Scott Ohtoro  has over 15 years of experience producing music. His eclectic music taste and ability to play multiple instruments lets him create soundscapes for any mood. Scott is a former high school math teacher in Los Angeles and on Oahu. He received his B.A in Business Management from Loyola Marymount University and M.A in Education from Chaminade University. He started making beats under the guidance of world-renowned hip-hop artists DJ Cheapshot, Exile and Aloe Blacc. He has performed over 100 shows in the last year as a solo artist and also playing live beats with Hawaii based hip-hop artists Super Groupers. When The Right Time, his first solo release, was made available on special edition hand designed vinyl. It’s a spacey journey through electronic and hip- hop beats featuring international touring hip-hop artist Blu, singersongwriter Montclaire and Na Hoku Hanohano award winners Navid Najafi and Illis It. He recently released a video game music inspired cassette album, with fellow musician MAX/MO, called “Electrolights” which is stocked full of amazing 8-bit beats and nominated for a 2016 Na Hoku Hanohano award. With a 7-inch vinyl mini-album “Kumamoto EP” and the full- length “Kumamoto LP” to follow, Ohtoro is constantly working on music. That motivation and appreciation of all genres makes his work very unique and emotional. It’s soundtrack music for your day.

llis It is a  highly acclaimed and respected artist and lyricist; Illis It is the 2014 Na Hoku Hanohano Hip-Hop Album of the Year award winner for his solo live album “The Akira Project”. A nomadic spirit wandering time and space, documenting the journey via verbal percussion. He draws inspiration from both physical and spiritual realms to produce abstract revelations and profound discoveries about the way he perceives the nature of self and reality. He is a student on a quest to learn, evolve and grow. Starting with self and ultimately ending with his surrounding environment. He demonstrates that art reflects and embodies the soul of the artist. His music and artistry is just that, a pure reflection of his truth.

About Rock the School Bells

Photo: Rock the School Bells Coat of Arms

Rock The School Bells (RTSB) is a conference that provides a space for youth and students of all ages to participate and engage in a blend of workshops that enhance students’ ability to think critically about current issues in the world as well as their communities, read and write about topics related to their life’s experiences, display effective oral and written communication, and understand the historical and cultural aspects of Hip Hop and its effect on society and education.

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