Stop The Violence: Music is the Message

Author: Regina Perrulli


John Patterson Elementary School

Year: 2011

Seminar: Who Are Those People and Why Are They Listening to That Music

Grade Level: 1-4

Keywords: African American History, Music, rap, Slavery, violence

School Subject(s): African American History, History, Social Studies

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

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.

Download Unit: 11.05.06-1.pdf

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