Some lucky students at Howe Elementary had the chance to work with a California-based hip hop artist this week.
TJ Scott goes by JusTme and instead of just teaching them tunes, he taught them how to be in tune with their minds to improve not only their performance in the classroom, but in life.
He uses a technique called mindfulness and teaches students to think before they act.
“The importance of my brand of mindfulness is showing them that being still and focusing in on their breathing and keeping a calm body is the key to making their world a peaceful place,” says JusTme.
He says rap music usually gets a bad rap because of negative content, but he’s using his positive music to guide young minds.
“I’ve turned it and spun it around and made it so that the kids get some of the same rhythms and grooves of the hip hop world, but they’re getting a message that’s a little bit more appropriate and more digestible for them,” says JusTme. “I just blend sound teaching, sound doctrine that I received as a child and the music together and it’s been working.”
Mindfulness in the classrooms makes students think twice instead of acting out.
“What it comes down to is just self control and self regulation and that stems from being able to be still control your physical body and focusing on your breath,” he says. “Basically a goal or a point of reference to put your focus on.”
“It was kind of hard because I’m the person who moves too much when I’m standing,” says third grader Arabella Walls. “It’s kind of hard.”
In a world full of noise JusTme is just helping students rise above it.
“What I want them to take from it is love yourself, respect yourself, set your mind on higher things,” he says. “Don’t accept everybody’s behavior, but accept everybody, starting with yourself.”
Howe Elementary was able to bring in JusTme with the help of Give Big Green Bay sponsored by the Packers Foundation and the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation.