One of the most inspiring moments at SXSWedu this year was hearing the raw passion and excitement two educators have for both their students and personalized learning.

This Battle Rounds session, modeled after the Voice, was planned by Education Elements and featured educators Andy Austin of Stonybrook Intermediate Academy in Indianapolis and Tom Tuttle from Racine Unified School District in Wisconsin.

SXSWedu EduVoice Panel
Tom Tuttle, Anthony Kim, Caroline Vander Ark and Andy Austin

The performances were amazing but they left us wanting to dive into the lyrics even further. It was clear these educators had spent lots of time preparing songs that really spoke to the challenges and successes they have had with personalized learning.

Full video of the session is below and you can skip to hear Andy and Tom at these links:

Andy’s Performance

Tom’s Performance

 

You can also catch these great songs in the SXSWedu podcast here:

“Why I Personalize”

By Andy Austin

Back in ‘95 I was a middle school kid
Who didn’t always fit in, different brain up in my lid
Other kids were writing notes, yeah but I was writin’ poems
Too embarrassed to show ‘em, I just didn’t know it
Kids thought I was lame cause I was into Cobain
They were watchin’ Full House I was watchin’ Gilbert Grape
School wasn’t a place for me to express myself

So I took my creativity and put it on a shelf
But then in my 8th grade English class
I had a teacher who was different yo than any I had ever had
Passionate, crazy, engaging, and weird
I can’t remember one lesson that she taught that year
But I swear I learned the most in her class that’s what I realized
She helped me find my passion…that made it personalized

That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize

Ten years later it was 2005
I was a first-year teacher just tryin’ to survive
Just chasin’ my dreams, inspiring kids to succeed
Got 23 in my class, but 13 can’t read
Not to mention the ones two grades behind in math
And the other 5 kids who try to sleep through class

Then some lady came and handed me some IEPs
She said, “you’re gonna get arrested if you don’t follow these”
Then the governor was like, “Yo, we think you’re the best
But you’re bout to get fired if they don’t pass this test.”

Man, I gotta admit, it’s not the way I saw it
When I truly believed that teaching was my calling
Heading off to college, my life full of meaning
Bout to Carpe Diem like my man Mr. Keating
Instead I felt beat down, burned out and frustrated
Knew I needed to refocus and get rededicated

Enter PL like the Dragon Bruce Lee
Man, it fanned a new flame of creativity
And along with renewed dedication to my art

That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize

Now it’s 2017, man you know what I mean…I see the red roses and the trees of green
But this Wonderful World isn’t always what it seems
Cause I know a lot of stuff and I’ve seen a lot of things
Like some students
I teach growin’
up on the streets
And, man, when they come to school that’s the only time they eat
And you’d think they could leave, that they wanna succeed

But man I really don’t think some of em know what that means
Cause our kids won’t know the path unless we show ‘em
It’s time to find out what’s on
their hearts and minds
And lead ‘em to the light keep their eyes on the prize
Cause I’m staring out the window straight lookin’
like Bosnia

And feeling that we gotta stay woke like insomnia
The times that we’re livin’
in require some action
To educate our students with purpose and passion
And it’s blasphemous to leave ‘em by the side of the road
Like a dream deferred, bout ta fester and explode

So I choose to be the one to mentor and guide
Every child has the right to their future, that’s why I personalize.
And we can’t show the path unless we know ‘em

That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize
That’s why I personalize

Getting Blended”

By Tom Tuttle

How you gunna learn from outside the class? Open the door and get in!

LET’S GO!

Digital content
Targeted Instruction
Reflection and ownership
Data to drive my decisions
Personalizing – Everybody’s learning
Hittin’ the 4 Core when my students are journalin’
Write your thoughts down, I wanna read those
If you write poetically or in deep prose
I wanna see growth
And know you’re learnin’
Gotta see the bottom line is raisin’ more than it be burnin’

I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
We getting blended
I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
Learnin’ and you can’t stop us

Digitally really is the only way to be
Gotta get ‘em learnin’ and yearning for earnin’ a degree
Earnin’ a degree?
Yeah, maybe earnin’ three
A Bachelors, a Masters, whatever they may need
Pleadin’ for the knowledge let em see they got the key
They can open up the doors they ain’t gotta wait for me
‘Cuz it’s free and it’s all you’ll ever need to be released
from the chains and their brains are amazing you see!?

Yo Mr. T, I think you gotta slow it down a little bit. You know, personalize the speed for em’…

I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
We getting blended
I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
Learnin’ and you can’t stop us

Education is Elemental workin’ with Anthony Kim
So growin’ the things you know ain’t nothin’ fancy to him
Don’t matter how you show just gotta see what you know
Never quit these kids for a second you might BE how they grow.

I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
We getting blended
I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
Learnin’ and you can’t stop us

You can learn my style know my profile
and I know how to break it down
so I am bound to wonder how but not slow down
so please don’t clown I frown at that and that’s a fact
so please step back from off that ledge
I swear it’s to the gain of brains I pledged

I race at my own pace now
Clever like a fox not dumb like an ox or a box of rocks
I match like socks I’m outside the box not outside the lines
Content’s mine
I personalize

Stuck in my mind won’t leave my head everything I read all that I saw,
it got me hooked like I write with a claw
Got no flaws
Maybe two
Maybe just a few – you can’t tell I learn so well from bell to bell know what I smell?
I smell success
YES!

I know my style
I know my style
I know my style
We getting blendeeedddd

So if you’re the judge who wins the Battle Round? What lyrics stood out to you?

For more from Andy Austin, see his YouTube channel Mix Tape Math.


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