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Happy Little Clouds: The ultimate Bob Ross remix.

Happy Birthday to a true legend that will never be forgotten.

It’s been more than 23 years since the world lost Norman Robert Ross. But we’ll never forget the relaxed, reassuring and inspiring artist known professionally as Bob Ross.

And it’s never a bad time to sit back and watch this incredible clouds remix from PBS that does a beautiful job of honoring his life.

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Using “Serial” To Explore Whether The Law Is Truly Objective

Podcasts, primetime dramas, and even the mountains help explore whether or not justice is truly blind.

image via youtube screen capture

Here’s an idea...

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This Week in Beat Making: Sabar Drumming Deep in Dakar

How Sabar drummers sample their drum sounds and created a one-of-a-kind West African drum kit to use for Beat Making Lab's electronic production.


One evening in Dakar, our beat making curriculum was transformed by a chance encounter.

I struck up a conversation with a West African drummer, in front of a coconut vendor. He was a weightlifter and a welder and fluent in Japanese, and part of a lineage of traditional Sabar drummers. Within an hour of meeting, he invited me and my friends [producer Apple Juice Kid and filmmaker Saleem Reshamwala] to his home in Medina. For two miles, we darted between sewing shops, street vendors, and mosques; stopping every few blocks to speak to children playing in the streets and to soak in the early evening air, which was filled with the delicious scent of cheebu jen (fish and rice).

When we arrived at his house, he introduced us to his family and retrieved a dozen drums from a small wooden shed. He and his brothers then started teaching us traditional Sabar rhythms—native to Senegal—while women and children from his family danced and laughed. Eventually I put my drum down and started rapping—clumsily trying to incorporate some of the limited Wolof I had learned over the previous days—into my lyrics. This was my introduction to Sabar drumming and one of my most memorable experiences in Dakar.

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As an artist and beat-making teacher, one of my goals is to create memorable experiences through music. In our Beat Making Lab curriculum, one of the cardinal rules is to boycott the use of default drum sounds that come with beat-making software. The reason is simple: if you want to create an interesting sounding beat, you have to sample or record original drum sounds, and amass your own unique kit. This brings a fresh foundation to the beat, and is a good first step towards composing an original, memorable song.

The Sabar drumming was some of the most unique any of us had heard, so after our impromptu session, we hired two Sabar drummers to sample their distinct drum sounds and create a one-of-a-kind West African drum kit to use in our electronic productions. This has since become a part of our process and curriculum. In each country we build a Beat Making Lab, we have our students search for original drums, instruments, chants, and environments; record them; edit them into samples; and publish them for anyone who wants to use them to make music.

We can't invite you into our first Sabar cypher, but if you would like to create a few of your own, please feel free to use our sounds.

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Awesome (and Free) Tools for Teaching Black History Black History Month, The Best Resources for Teaching

Does the teacher in your life need a little help integrating black history into a packed school day? We have the resources she needs.


Does the teacher in your life need a few ideas on how to bring the black experience into the classroom during Black History Month? Good news: A slew of free lesson plans, activities, quizzes, videos, and audio files are just a click away, meaning it's easier than ever to expand the historical and cultural horizons of students of all ages. Here are a few of the best tools available:

Head to the National Education Association

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Annie Leonard's New Story of Stuff-like Series for Kids

The Story of Stuff treatment is applied to garbage, biodiversity, and...frogs. We bet you can't watch without smiling.



The excellent Annie Leonard, who followed up her super-viral Story of Stuff with The Story of Cosmetics, The Story of Bottle Water, and The Story of Cap and Trade has now applied her formula to educate kids. The new PBS series about sustainability tackles, in eight parts, things close to kids' lives, like juice boxes, garbage, electronics, paper waste, Velcro, orange juice, frogs, and (aww) happiness.

The series is called Loop Scoops, and it's awesome, even for big kids. Try watching them (below) without smiling.

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