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Stop The Violence: Music is the Message

There are ongoing acts of violence in schools between students, and often with staff, that create an unsafe climate. Frequently, it is a small minority of students who repeatedly bully others or initiate aggressive and violent behavior. On Sept. 22, 2010 The Philadelphia School District identified and adopted Bullying Policy #249 to address this concern. In it is the commitment to provide “a safe, positive learning environment for district students.” It recognizes the “negative impact that bullying has on student health, welfare, and safety and on the learning environment at school that creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, detracts from the safe environment necessary for student learning, and may lead to more serious violence.”

This unit is written for a class of elementary age students, who have been identified as having repeated difficulty getting along with peers and/or school staff and demonstrate aggressive “bullying” or violent behavior. The teaching of non-violent behavior and offering alternative responses to confrontation will help improve their self-control, reducing their need for ongoing offences.

The lessons and activities in this unit incorporate an historical exploration of African American music from slavery to rap. It also provides an opportunity for students to develop their own musical prose and/or artistic style, both alone and in small collective groups. By supporting positive behavior interactions with peers that will also extend into the community, these students will become more conscious of their choices and their effect on others. In addition, students will learn the social skills needed to have appropriate interpersonal relationships, and a successful school experience.

Regina Perrulli
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