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Rapping 'Rithmatic with Mr. Duey

TeachHUB Interview

Rapping 'Rithmatic with Mr. DueyThe core curriculum just got a little cooler, thanks to Mr. Duey.


Daniel "DJ" Duey brings his love of rap into the classroom into his 7th grade math class in Michigan to tremendous results. After his videos started topping the charts on TeacherTube, Mr. Duey recorded his hip hop curriculum and is making it available to schools around the country. 

With the first run of “Class Dis-Missed” now sold out, DJ Duey let TeachHUB know what it's like to be rocking raps in schools around the country. 

What is your favorite song – in and out of the classroom?

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"Fractions" in the classroom because it helps so many students with a difficult subject. "50 States 50 Capitals" for outside the classroom, which is a new song coming on my new CD because it even helped me memorize all the States and Capitals and can't wait for the world to hear it.


How did you get the idea to integrate rap into your classroom?


During my student teaching I was trying to create an impressive unit to engage my students so they could easily memorize the material on Measurement. I gave them each a CD with my "Measurement" song that I created for them to listen to after school. I was surprised that all my students had "Aced" the test. My wife said she liked the idea and thought it would be great to write songs for the grade she was teaching which was 7th grade. I then wrote and produced my full length album, "Class Dis-Missed" for students in grades 5th-8th covering all four main subject areas.


Describe the initial reaction the first time you rapped for your students.


The students were stunned at first, but when a few students started dancing and cheering it seemed that they were hooked. Word spread fast throughout the schools in my area, so every time I went to sub at a school, the first thing they wanted me to do is rap.


Are you still a full-time teacher? Aside from rap, what other ways do you connect with students?

Yes, I am a full time 7th grade Math teacher at Adams Middle School in Wayne-Westland, MI. Other ways I engage my students is from using my SMART Board, that SMART Tech supplied me with and relating Math with things that students relate to such as; sports, music, video games and TV shows/movies ect.


What do your careers as a teacher and rap musician have in common?


Musicians write songs for the audience to take a message from it. Teachers create lessons for students to learn and take a message from it. Both musicians and teachers try to captivate an audience in new and creative ways to deliver the message effectively.


What do you hope to accomplish by selling your rap curriculum to schools throughout the country?

On a day to day basis I teach 135 students. My goals is that I would like to be able to help and teach students around the world with my music on a day to day basis.


As a math teacher, are your as comfortable producing songs for other subjects?


Math is my strongest subject so writing Math songs are a little easier however, producing songs in other subjects is fun because I'm learning new subjects that I don't teach. I also get to experiment and get a little more creative in some areas such as Science and Language Art songs. I'm glad my area of expertise is Math because it seems that it's hard to find creative Math material to help teachers engage students.

What response has there been to your Class Dis-Missed curriculum – with students, teachers and administrators?


The response has been great. We have receive hundreds of emails from all over the world from students, parents and teachers saying that my music has helped increase grades. Students in other states have posted YouTube videos dancing and singing my songs. Teachers have asked for me to produce their music. Just recently I performed at a middle school in Arkansas and approximately 600 students were singing my lyrics for my song "Verbs". When the response is so great it keeps me motivated to keep doing music and videos.


Check out Mr. Duey's "Long Division" video:

Find more info on Mr. Duey or download raps for your classroom on his website.

How do you tap into your students interests and get their attention? Share in the comments section!


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