Tribal and Diverse Youth Created Social Media Curriculum Created by youth from over 100 schools and communities.
Includes Educators Training manual, 24 lesson plans, step by step instructions, DVD and a multitude of youth created songs. Topics include:
Opioids and Prescription Pills
Culture as Prevention
Cost is $99.00 (includes shipping)
An Innovative State Wide Youth Created Opioid and Prescription Prevention Social Media Campaign Todd Denny, M.S.W.
This statewide Prescription Pill Abuse Prevention Social Media Campaign utilizes evidence-based prevention education strategies informed by a middle and high school student music contest. This engaging youth centered program empowers students to be active creators of education content by leveraging social media with innovative education. Through musical expression prevention content is reinforced and constantly reviewed when youth create and perform their songs.
A compilation musical CD of poetry, songs and PSA's dedicated to Youth Prescription Pill Abuse Prevention will be developed from the work of the top 12 music teams selected by their peers across the state. Contest judges, comprised of students, teachers and school counselors will weigh each schools’ submissions based on overall presentation, effectiveness of message to the target audience, and overall creativity. This unique project will use music and popular culture to empower students as the frontline of a major educational campaign to increase public awareness of youth leadership in preventing prescription pill abuse.
This social media campaign will give students the tools to create original Prescription Pill Abuse prevention songs and then make a year-long commitment to present their music and poetry to their schools, peers, parents and community. This music campaign extends into community-wide activities while also involving parents as allies and stakeholders. Working with youth in their own language and culture engages them and makes peer education dynamic and memorable.
Participating students will download a series of youth created Prescription Pill Abuse prevention songs created for the campaign and musical instrumental “beats” to prepare students for their song creation. A music mentor Opioid prevention lesson plan will assist participating student’s song creation. Student’s life experiences with Prescription Pill Abuse and their journal notes will evolve into songs and poetry.
Music Mentor Academies will record and master the music CD. The top twelve “Life Over Pill's” finalist school teams will present their music live at a statewide presentation and be featured in a music video. An advertising and marketing firm will professionalize the campaign and revise it for distribution throughout the state and nation. Partners will include state government, Indian tribes and K-12 school districts. Peer presentations, CDs and music videos will have multiple uses in the students’ schools, radio stations, web sites, face book, Instagram and communities. High school music teams will present to neighboring middle schools and middle school teams will present to area elementary schools. This campaign is sustainable, transferable, and designed to continue long after the departure of the Music Mentor Academies team.
Rhythm and Rap at Heart of a State Wide Youth Prescription Drug Prevention Music Academy Todd Denny M.S.W. and Kaitlin Manry
Attorney General Rob McKenna Recording A Message for the Project
A 16 year old boy with a red and black bandanna wrapped around his neck leaned over a notebook and furiously penned rap lyrics. “I went to over 10 funerals in one year for people I knew who had over dosed.,” Kyle Moses wrote. “Running around getting keyed/ Are they thinking it’s going to get better for them/80 bucks for 1 pill…” Around him a diverse group of teens including American Indian youth sat on a porch overlooking Port Susan bay and wrote their own lyrics about Prescription Drug abuse and addiction. “It’s really easy to rap about because I’ve seen a lot of it,” said Moses. “I usually rap about the truth. I think it helps me because it helps me express my feelings and having other people see how it is”.
More than 70 youth including tribal teens and adults from across Washington state gathered at Warm Beach Camp & Conference Center in Stanwood, Washington for the "New Directions: Tribal Youth Music Academy." The program goal was to reduce the incidence of unhealthy lifestyles and addictive behaviors by engaging youth in a sustainable prevention program. The experiential program empowered youth to reflect upon and craft prevention messages from their life experiences. “The key is for adults to work with and treat young people like the smart, dedicated young people they are and give them the tools to reach other youth” remarked Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, whose office helped fund the program.
The teens recorded their own CD in 2 dorm rooms turned recording studios, helped create music videos about addiction prevention and bounced lyrics and poems off each other. The Music Academy was designed by Todd Denny and funded with grants from the Washington State Attorney General’s office and the Washington state Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, along with support from several Northwest tribes.
Music artists from Los Angeles to Puyallup helped the teens dig deep to create their own poignant messages about prescription drug abuse and addiction prevention during the six-day academy. Attending students represented a wide array of talents, from budding poets to college students studying music. The academy included daily prescription drug and addiction prevention workshops, music and poetry project development and nightly music jam sessions. That passion was contagious, students created and recorded powerful and life affirming poetry and songs in preparation as music peer educators.
“No youth unlearns ten to fifteen years of hurtful attributes about prescription drugs in typical adult delivered programs, which rarely inspire youth involvement” noted Todd Denny, Music Academy director. “Youth who are immersed in ongoing programs are the ones most likely to be changed.” Incorporating popular culture engaged these hard to reach youth, while increasing their resiliency and partnering with local/state government and tribal communities as allies in supporting healthy youth. The focus was to change youth knowledge and behaviors by empowering them as the designers and messengers of their own health promotion campaign. Empowering youth to be active creators of education content was enhanced by leveraging popular culture and social media with experiential education. Music Mentor Academy staff including recording engineers, producers and musicians collaborated with the youth and adult chaperones in creating prescription drug abuse prevention songs. The youth examined personal challenges they face in their communities, homes and with their peers in relation to addiction and prevention. A national-award-winning original music video, "Game Over," created by students with the guidance of Denny's Music Mentors Program, inspired the teen’s personal song creations. Members of the Washington State Music Mentors, who were previous academy youth graduates served as ambassadors, performing their prevention songs and mentoring the participants throughout the week. These “Intermediaries," served important roles as young staff with life experiences similar to the teens and thereby connecting with them and with adult staff.
The music academy culminated with a check presentation by Attorney General McKenna an ongoing supporter of the Music Mentors Program. McKenna also attended music workshops and even recorded a spoken word piece for the academy CD. “It’s all about peer to peer communication” commented McKenna. “Were learning from the young people themselves. If adults can empower young people, train them, encourage them, then they will do the rest and go out and carry that message to influence other young people”.
The youth created educational content was designed for sustainability and social media outreach. All of the young artist projects were professionally recorded as a compilation musical CD of songs and stories dedicated to prevention and awareness. The residency also enhanced community outreach by preparing 40 youth as prevention peer educators, presenting their music keynote at the community CD release celebration the final evening and back in their respective communities and schools across the state. The final CD was distributed to the participating teens, their tribal communities, and for use on a new Web site on addiction prevention.
The academy increased the youth’s knowledge and leadership regarding addiction prevention. Leveraging youth culture’s own language was the key distinction in promoting long-term student involvement in prevention education. Teens learned how to use media as a tool in prevention education by creating their own education content. Students worked hard and had fun while immersed in the residency that included presentation and performance skills. Pride and competence, as well as a deepened understanding of the causes and consequences of high risk behaviors, characterized the experiences of the participating youth and adults.
"Denny does amazing work with teens," said Rhonda Stone, community education coordinator for the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling, one of the program co-sponsors. "He takes everyday students and transforms them into confident speakers and performers in a very short period of time. Music, poetry and prose are powerful and safe ways for teens to use their voices against a variety of addictions."
The academy was funded in part by grants from the Washington State Attorney General's Office and Washington State's Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse to specifically address prescription drug abuse, the fastest growing form of addiction among teens, and problem gambling awareness. Other support for the program came from several Washington State Tribal Nations including the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, Yakama Nation, Stillaguamish Tribe, Chehalis Tribe, Nisqually Indian Tribe and the Evergreen Council on Problem Gambling.
Lesson Plan for Opioids and Prescription Pill Prevention from my music curriculum training manual.
Sound Science; Hip Hop Music Makes the Difference When Students Created Its Educational Content
Todd Denny M.S.W.
Urban youth of color have few opportunities to experience nature while learning science, especially in traditional schools classes. To create positive experiences which associate science with activities that are engaging and meaningful to youth, three collaborating organizations created a unique program – Music Mentors Academies (MMA), the Research Ambassador Program and Gear Up at The Evergreen State College (TESC).
The program featured a week-long music academy, where scientists engaged urban middle school students in aspects of field biology and natural sciences. MMA staff taught them how their workshop journal notes could transform into music, primarily hip hop and spoken word poetry.
The participating groups – Music Mentor Academies, the Research Ambassador Program and Gear Up provided the curriculum, structure, technical support, and evaluation for this unique project. This engaging youth centered program empowered students to be active creators of education content that is on the cusp of leveraging social media with innovative education. It took place July 12 – 16, 2004 at The Evergreen State College, in Olympia, Washington.
Participating Organizations: Music Mentor Academies (MMA) are innovative year-long music residency programs that promote education, health and help prevent addiction among youth. Students learn how to write, record and perform their original musical messages with a year-long commitment as peer educators within their schools and communities while developing peer created social media campaigns.
The Research Ambassador Program is funded by the National Science Foundation (Informal Science Education Program). It provides incentives to academic researchers to communicate their research directly to non-scientists, especially to non-traditional audiences.
Gear Up is funded by the Department of Education to increase awareness of college and educational opportunities for middle-school children, particularly at-risk youth.
Students included 40 sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders from Lochburn, Woodbrook and Oakville Middle Schools. The first two schools represented the majority of the participants from military families located in urban Tacoma, Washington along with a smaller group of students from a rural area.
How Did The Program Work? Research Ambassadors, including a forest ecologist, an entomologist, and a marine biologist, led outdoor activities designed to expose students to the hidden worlds of nature and engage them in the active scientific study of those worlds. After the morning field portion each day, students composed original songs and poetry about their experiences in the forest, with thatch mound ants, and on the beach. MMA staff participated in the field work and guided students in the making of music. The final two days, audio engineers recorded the original lyrics performed by the participants about their experiences with science and the natural world.
Program Logistics: I met with Dr. Nalini Nadkarni in the spring to discuss my previous Gear Up with Music Academies in Escondido, CA and Toppenish, WA. She was enthusiastic about our innovative music education approach. As a TESC alumnus I was familiar with the campus and unique surrounding grounds including a rainforest and inland sea (Puget Sound). After an initial meeting with Gear Up and campus staff we began the music academy planning. Two months prior to the program, participants were recruited by staff from the College Gear Up office through previous contacts, outreach, and telephone calls. Each day, prior to the arrival of the students, all “Sound Science” staff met to plan the day, work out logistics, assign group leaders, and verify that field equipment was present and working. Students were bused in from their schools under the guidance of Gear Up counselors. Staff members had already begun to develop relationships with the students at the resident schools. The ratio of staff to students was 1:5. The Research Ambassadors were Dr. Nalini Nadkarni (forest ecologist), Dr. John Longino (entomologist), and Dr. Gerardo Chin-Leo (marine biologist), all faculty members at The Evergreen State College. On each of the first three days, one of the scientists led outdoor and laboratory activities designed to expose students to the hidden worlds of nature and to involve them in an active study of their specialty area.
Day 1 students were broken into small groups of (5-7) and then assigned to an individual staff person to enhance teacher relations and monitor class movement and field exercises. Media Services of the College provided equipment. Healthy food and snacks were donated by local merchants and the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Summer Lunch Program provided lunches. At each day’s conclusion, students walked to their buses with Gear Up staff. All program staff then met to review the day’s activities and discuss improvements for the next day. "Sound Science" featured dynamic field work lessons and engaging biology workshops taught by the research Ambassadors but perhaps most importantly, included “ intermediaries," MMA staff who connected well with urban youth and served as ambassadors between students and scientists. One MMA staff intermediary was Terrence, an articulate and talented rapper know as C.A.U.T.I.O.N.. Terrence had a similar lived experience as the many of the Tacoma students and was a key member of previous Music Mentor Academies projects.
Day 1 of "Sound Science" music academy began by hiking the students into the campus rain forest to watch C.A.U.T.I.O.N. climb 60 feet high (six stories) into the canopy using technical climbing gear. Dr. Nadkarni, did a demonstration of climbing, and taught our rap artist rope climbing techniques. As C.A.U.T.I.O.N. inched up the tree, she explained to the students that he was venturing where no person had ever gone before, and would be surrounded by completely different types of plants and animals than those around them on the forest floor. After Dr. Nadkarni completed her ecology lesson, C.A.U.T.I.O.N. rappelled back down to the youth, and still in his harness, spontaneously wrote a rhythmic poem. The students enthusiastically gathered around him as he performed the rap song which reinforced Dr. Nadkarni’s ecology lesson.
Day 2, Dr. John Longino led an experiment involving the homing abilities of the numerous huge thatch mound ant colonies in the campus parking lot, student’s learned how to test a hypothesis about homing abilities in the ants. The student’s experiments were again reinforced by a brilliant song about evolution created by C.A.U.T.I.O.N. which he recorded overnight and premiered the next morning.
Day 3, Dr. Gerardo Chin-Leo taught the students how to collect marine organisms from the intertidal zone on the campus beach, the young scientist examined them under magnifiers in the field and later had a microscopic perspective of these organisms in the lab. CA.U.T.I.O.N. created a rap sound track that featured rhymes for words in the student’s journal notes such as "starfish," "barnacles" and "clam squirts."
During the first three afternoons of "Sound Science," small groups of students huddled together in seminar rooms and hallways to craft musical interpretations of their field experiences. While doing so, they perused science encyclopedias and natural history magazines to generate inspiration and information, scribbled lyrics in notebooks and tested musical beats MMA staff created. Throughout these sessions, all MMA staff and scientists remained on-call to provide individual support and mentoring. For example, when 13-year-old Jamal and his buddies hit writer's block while struggling to match lyrics to their driving beat, Jamal issued an S.O.S. to C.A.U.T.I.O.N.: "We got no rhyme for photosynthesis, and we gotta work it in!"
Unfortunately, even C.A.U.T.I.O.N.--skilled though he is—could not finesse a rhythm for "photosynthesis." (Although he did help the students craft an alternative rhyme that conveyed their message.) Students engaged in journal-writing each day of the five days and were coached by four staff provided by Gear Up and three staff from Music Mentor Academies. Each afternoon, after the end of activities, all students and staff formed a “talking circle” and discussed what they had learned from that day’s experience. This was also a time for feedback on “Sound Science” content and logistics.
During the program's final two days, the students performed their musical creations, nature-inspired rap songs and spoken poetry. These performances were recorded by MMA engineers and packaged into a CD that each student took home to their schools, friends and family. By the time the music academy ended, Dr. Nadkarni and her scientific co-leaders committed to participate in other "Sound Science" programs.
What were the outcomes? The students produced a CD comprised of 12 pieces of music, rap and spoken word poetry. The quality and content was outstanding due to the student’s talents and mentoring of our professional audio engineers. Students evidenced a great deal of pride in the final product, and vocalized their eagerness to share the CD with their friends, family, and schoolmates. At the closing activity, 90% of the participants concurred scientific learning was fun and that they had learned much about the hidden worlds living in the canopy, insect behavior, and marine biology. In the final talking circle, 85% of the youth stated that they would recommend their friends attend future Sound Scientists programs. The Research Ambassadors also expressed a high level of satisfaction with having participated in Sound Science. A formal exit interview revealed that in all three cases, their experiences exceeded their expectations of professional and personal achievement. All stated that they would repeat their participation in another music academy, and would recommend it to their scientific colleagues. Furthermore, various conservation programs began to apply aspects of "Sound Science's" techniques to reach and engage diverse communities.
Conclusions: This music program met its educational goal of advancing life-long, scientific learning for student participants. The program provided experiences which associated science with activities that were both engaging and meaningful to urban youth. Through musical expression, science content was reinforced and constantly reviewed when youth created and performed their songs. They were empowered by becoming the artistic performers.
Peers also find it appealing to review this kind of “Homework”. Creative leveraging of social media is the future of education. By working with youth in their own language and culture they are engaged in an unprecedented and joyful manner that makes learning dynamic and memorable. Subsequently this approach has been applied to math with Mescalero Apache school youth. Future MMA programs could include all STEM elements including engineering and technology.
My Music Mentor team (Music Video DVD) awarded top prevention team in Washington State by our Attorney General and received the national award for public awareness media campaign for our "Game Over" DVD and curriculum.
"The Cards We Were Dealt" music video by the Men's Violence Prevention music project.