A teacher is rapping with kids about economics, getting them engaged in the curriculum.  As a result of her success, she is the 2017 Georgia Economics Teacher of the Year, selected by the Georgia Council on Economic Education.

Soft SkillsVanessa Ellis is a sixth grade social studies teacher at Fort Middle School who writes her own raps and performs them with her students.

“We were blown away with her innovative teaching strategies and command of the economics subject matter,” said Michael Blake Raymer, the council’s associate director and chief program officer. “She really makes her classroom come alive.”

Ellis first began to see the value of using rap as a means of engaging her students at a professional development conference.

“There was this middle-aged white guy up on the tables in front of his students singing and rapping about math,” she said, “and all of the kids could recall the formulas and how to work out the problems. I was like, ‘Oh, my gosh! I could use this in social studies!”

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