As an artist and educator, Mrs. Finney noticed early on in her teaching experience how quickly students memorized and recited hip-hop songs throughout the school day.  While her students walked in the hallways, socialized in the school cafeteria or completed class work, she would find many of them rapping popular hip hop songs or even creating their own lyrics.  These moments led Mrs. Finney to reflect upon her own similar experiences with hip-hop as a young rapper when she attended grade school.  Periodically, she noticed that many students showed a disconnection while she presented math lessons in the traditional fashion.  Eager to have her students engaged in the lesson as well as increase their level of comprehension, she started creating lyrics that explained the math content she was teaching.  When she shared the lesson through these lyrics, her students lit up!  Their excitement for learning increased, and so did their level of comprehension.  Through this experience, Mrs. Finney continued to provide her students with opportunities to learn their math lessons through hip-hop lyrics that she created.  Administrators, teachers, parents and students expressed their appreciation for Mrs. Finney’s ability to tailor the curriculum to meet the needs of her students. In addition, this made for a more rewarding and memorable classroom experience.

In 2014, Mrs. Finney and her husband, James Finney realized that students across the world should have the opportunity to learn math strategies through hip-hop music.  Together, they created JFINTV Lyrical Math, a hip-hop math curriculum. The curriculum includes a student workbook, teacher guidebook and CD.  The data received from Delaware Charter Schools, after-school programs and summer camps that have implemented the curriculum has been amazing and inspired Mrs. Finney to continue teaching through Lyrical Math.   In the summer of 2016,  a video series of Mrs. Finney teaching Lyrical Math was completed for parents that were requesting the home school edition and as a supplemental product for the classroom curriculum.  For Spring Break 2017,Mrs. Finney and eight Lyrical Mathematicians started their JFINTV Lyrical Math Tour!  In one week, they traveled to Baltimore, Maryland City Hall, Manhattan, New York Times Square and Main Street Elementary School in Upland, Pennsylvania to provide live Lyrical Math Performances and Breakout Teaching Sessions.  Mrs. Finney and the Lyrical Mathematicians look forward to taking the JFINTV Lyrical Math Tour worldwide! Through JFINTV Lyrical Math, they plan to help students master their basic math skills, increase students’ desire to become academically successful and help students have a great time learning!  Mrs. Finney is currently finishing her 15th year teaching, creating Lyrical Math Part 2, planning professional developments for summer camp facilitators and preparing to teach JFINTV Lyrical Math in the Boys and Girls Club during the summer break.

waapoll Womens Achievement Awards Nominee: Keziah Finney

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