Rockademix: (Rock-a-dem-ics) What’s In A Name?
In naming Rockademix, I considered spellings like Rockademics, Rocademix, Rokademix, Rockuhdemics, and Rockademicks. I ran these variations by the kids in the program and we settled on Rockademix (pronounced Rock-a-dem-ics), as in, rocking academics. Deciding on the name was easier than a decision I’d recently made, which involved taking a break from teaching grades 1-6 after 15 straight years in public school elementary classrooms. In the last couple of years, my students and I had made tremendous strides with the Kids Like Blues project. Kids Like Blues was a program I developed that helped my students learn academics through music, the visual and performing arts, and technology. All of my students showed an amazing amount of growth and we were even recognized by the US Department of Education!
In addition to greatly increasing student success and engagement, The Kids Like Blues Band – comprised of all 30 students in my classroom – became an actual gigging band that played at venues like CSU San Marcos, live TV, The Del Mar Hilton (where we were paid in new laptops for the kids!) and Legoland. My favorite gig was at the California State Fair in Del Mar, where my entire class of 30 students were bussed on one of the last days of school to the fair to perform. Not only did we go to the fair as a class, but also we played at it and got free entry! The kids felt so special.
Inspired by the success of the Kids Like Blues program, I decided to take some time off and develop a new private non-profit program. But, I needed a new name. I wanted to make a clear separation between the work I did in my classroom with my public school students (Kids Like Blues) and my new work. With some help from an advisor, the name Rockademics emerged. I tweaked it slightly to be spelled as Rockademix, just to add a bit of flare to the name, and our new program’s name was born!
Rockademix was an immediate hit with the kids who were joining the new program, and I loved how it incorporated the concepts of rock with academics. Rock isn’t the only type of music we use in Rockademix, but it is a very inclusive genre – I didn’t want to limit the new program to one particular style of music.
Rockademix has had it’s own location in Carlsbad, CA for nine months now. Our classroom is a learning and testing lab for the program’s materials, and the testers are an entirely different and diverse group of students from ages 5-11. We have kids from preschool to fourth grade in the same class learning at the same time!
The kids and I test drive all of the materials I create with people like Grammy Award-winning musicians, PhD historians, artists, web designers, animators, choreographers, curriculum specialists, and education professionals.
The thing I’m most excited about is that the kids involved in Rockademix now comprise an authentic class of up to 25 kids, ages 5-11. These are average kids who present all of the challenges that public school classrooms experience. The kids force me to create engaging material that meets a variety of different age levels and learning styles, because it’s a free, no-strings-attached after school program, and if it isn’t interesting, the kids won’t come back! Their feedback in invaluable.
The Kids Like Blues Band took off quickly, and Rockademix is likewise already a success! Over the past year it has gained the interest of famous musicians, professors of education, curriculum developers, and you! Thanks so much for following our blog and stay tuned for more updates from Rockademix!!!.