Texas teacher uses ‘funk’ to motivate students for STAAR test

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A teacher in North Texas is helping motivate her students for the STAAR test with funk. That’s because by day, she’s Kelli Hauser in the classroom, and Lady-Hauza on YouTube.

Hauser teaches reading at McMath Middle School for Denton ISD. For the last 5-years, she’s been making her own parodies to hit songs to get her students ready for the yearly standardized test. Kelli tells KXAN that she is a huge fan of Weird Al, so rewriting lyrics to songs came easy to her. Hauser’s latest creation is a parody of Uptown Funk.

Her videos are now tradition, and getting results. Hauser says her students tell her– “Now I feel ready to take on this test!”

Tell me about your name on YouTube.  Where did Lady Hauza came from?

My name on YouTube was started when I made my first video, after lady Gaga. I did a song to “Poker Face” called “TAKS Face”. She was super popular at the time and so I knew my students could connect with it and might also think it was funny.

Do you have a singing background?

I have been singing since I was little. I really enjoy singing and was in choir pretty much all of my life, but teaching was such a huge passion for me that I pursued it as my career. I love when I can incorporate my love of singing into my teaching though!

What inspired this video?

During my first year of teaching in 2008, around testing time, I wanted to inspire and motivate my students and one of the only things I could find that really hit home with my students was a video on YouTube titled “What you know about TAKS?” At the time it was one of the only parody type videos I could find about state testing or education. These two gentleman in the video were hilarious and it inspired me to start making my own the next year. I am also a huge fan of Weird Al, and when I was younger I loved rewriting lyrics to popular songs so I knew this would be something enjoyable and creative that I could incorporate into my teaching.
I got my students involved in the filming process, and people in my school district started showing the videos every year to motivate their students. Each year I had people asking, “When will your next video be here?” The students look forward to them and I think that them seeing teachers be silly and willing to sing and dance to get their attention it takes away some of the stress and anxiety that sometimes comes along with taking tests, so I just continued to make them.
Who helped?

Who helped?

The dancers in the video are Ryan High School Strutters (drill team dancers). The students playing horns in the stage scene are band members at Ryan High School, the the drummer is Brian Adams, the counselor at McMath Middle School, who is always doing things like this with me to get the students motivated.
There was also a quick cameo of some Ryan High teachers and two of the administrators from Ryan, one being my husband, Eric Hauser, and the other Trey Peden.
The videographer did most of the work to make this film look so similar to Bruno Mars version. his name is Cameron Smith. I credit him for making this whole thing look incredibly professional!

What kind of reaction are you getting from kids and adults?

Honestly I had no idea this song and video would be so popular! The students faces were priceless when we showed them the video. Some didn’t even believe it was me! I had one student say, “Now I feel ready to take on this test!”, which was exactly the reason I make these videos. My students are singing it in the hallways, parents are coming up to me with such positive comments, the community is spreading the link like wildfire, and my colleagues are being super supportive. I feel so humbled by everyone’s reaction and it warms my heart to know that we are motivating and inspiring others. It’s so important as a teacher to connect with students and build relationships with them to boost their confidence. Student learning and academic success is the most important thing to myself and all teachers in Denton ISD, and this video is just a vehicle of encouragement and motivation.  We now have students all over Denton ISD who are now wanting to make their own videos, and teachers who want to be involved in the next one we do or make their own as well. Today teachers must meet students where they are. Reaching out through technology and using innovative ways to encourage them is becoming the standard. In our district, we believe in that. I’m hoping that this ignites a fire in the hearts of students to step out of their comfort zones, do what they love, and create great things that will also inspire others.

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