Ellerbe Middle School students may not be able walk through the decorated halls of National Museum of Jazz in Harlem, New York, but thanks to SRA teacher Marie Lockhart, they can learn about some of the musicians who might be featured in the exhibits at the Smithsonian Institutions Affiliations program.
Lockhart is originally from the “Big Apple,” and used her connections with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem to secure reading materials for students in her classes, including Jazz Inside magazine, which serves as the nation’s primeir magazine dedicated to documenting and promoting jazz musicians, composers, and expanding the art form among Americans of all ages. Each of the students had the opportunity to read an article from the Jazz Inside magazine chronicling the life of a successful jazz musician.
Eighth grader Clarissa Ojeda appreciated the opportunity to read about jazz musicians like Kevin Eubanks and Paquito D’Rivera, and how they began their music careers.
Ojeda plays the flute, but hopes to learn other instruments too.
“It was very inspiring to me to learn about a famous musician,” Ojeda said. “I hope that later in life I can learn how to play the guitar and the drums. I learned a lot of tips from Paquito D’Rivera that will help me become a better musician.”
The article about the life of jazz musician Kevin Eubanks piqued eighth grader Lexi Mabe’s curiosity enough that she went home and searched on YouTube for his music.
Students who participate in the SRA programs throughout school district work on a daily basis to improve literacy skills. At Ellerbe Middle School, Lockhart works with nearly 40 students in grades 6-8. Lockhart said she likes to think outside the box as she chooses material to engage the students with in their daily sessions.
“Of course we focus on the state curriculum, but occasionally, I incorporate material that I know the students will find interesting. When students enjoy what they are reading, they are more likely to comprehend it, and they can reflect on what they have read.