In the smartphone era, how do you get your students to pay attention in class? You turn a chart-topping hit into a song about the Civil War, of course.
David Yancey, a Grade 8 teacher at Edwards Middle School in Conyers, Ga., who also goes by the name “Mr. Yancey” on his YouTube channel, has been turning hit songs like Adele’s “Hello” and Drake’s “Hotline Bling” into educational lessons.
He recently gave his class a history lesson by putting a spin on the hit song, “Bad and Boujee,” by Atlanta trio Migos. Yancey renamed it “Mad and Losing,” and instead of using the chorus, “My bitch is bad and boujee,” he raps, “The troops are mad and losing,” in reference to the troops that fought in the Civil War. The reworked song also makes mention to Abraham Lincoln, General Grant and the Gettysburg Address.
The video went viral overnight after Yancey's high-school friend tweeted it out on Sunday.
OMG my HS friend teaches middle school in atl now and rapped about civil war over migos beat. bad and bougee = mad and losing.😍😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/XhNqKS16Fc
— josie duffy rice (@jduffyrice) March 13, 2017
Yancey told Complex magazine, “I try to build rapport, teach the material, and bridge the gap. Too often teachers just tell students to learn things because we say so, but instead we need to meet them where they are. I ask the students the song that the kids are into and I adjust the content to match.”
“I’m very intentional on what content I’m delivering. I’ll do the lesson, and I pull it all together in a song,” he told the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
The song “Bad and Boujee” reached platinum status in January and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Yancey’s “Mad and Losing” video is also gathering steam, with thousands of views on YouTube.
Could this method work for teaching kids other key lessons, like say, picking up after yourself? Anyone want to test it out and report back?