Denny video going viral: ‘Teach Me How to Study’

January 28, 2011 at 9:44 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle schools | 11 Comments

(Updated Saturday and Sunday with comments from filmmaker, principal)

This just landed in the WSB inbox. We don’t know the backstory (yet) but we recognize the team at Denny International Middle School (even principal Jeff Clark), and this one’s going viral – it’s been on YouTube for a day and already has 1,000+ views. (P.S. The end credit attributes the lyrics to math teacher Gary Lai, who’s prominent in the video – note the scooter; we looked him up in WSB archives and found our story on the extra studying getting done at Denny during midwinter break back in 2008.)

ADDED SATURDAY AFTERNOON: Will Braden, who produced the video, answered our note asking for a little backstory:

The video was shot a couple weeks ago; it only took us one four-hour session and one follow up hour long session to get all the shots.

Gary Lai, who is a math and science teacher at Denny, wrote the lyrics. He and I went to high school together (at Garfield) and are old friends. I do videography and filmmaking, and he asked me to shoot it for him. We came up with a lot of the ideas and settings on the fly, just using whatever we could find. I’ve done some video stuff before as a favor, just to support Denny (and Gary) but this was definitely a more ambitious undertaking!

Gary has a real passion for teaching, and I know he relishes being the “cool” teacher, so I knew this was right up his alley.

We’re hoping to do more of these, since people seem to be responding positively to this one!

ADDED SUNDAY AFTERNOON: A comment from Denny principal Jeff Clark, among those featured in the video:

Thanks to the efforts of Denny staff and an outstanding volunteer, Will Braden, Denny International has our second motivational video filmed and posted online. The goal is to continue to connect our students to their studies and the plan of college graduation in ways that are relevant to them. I would like to thank Mr. Lai, Mr. Braden, Ms. Oatis, Ms. Whited, Mr. Kimball, all of our dancers and everyone else who helped – thank you!

Go Dolphins!

11 Comments

  1. This is so fun! How can the kids not have fun with these teachers? Thanks to all of you wonderful teachers at Denny!

    Comment by Suzanne — 10:16 pm January 28, 2011 #

  2. Stellar effort! Catchy and relatable. Thanks for this. I’ll be passing it on . . .

    Comment by Carter — 10:45 pm January 28, 2011 #

  3. Mrs. Whited is the best! Love Breanna!

    Comment by Bonnie — 11:06 pm January 28, 2011 #

  4. How stupid is this! With teachers and school administrators leading kids with this rap crap, it’s no wonder public schools are failing. If I, in my youth, had been exposed to this kind of degenerate, low life culture, and especially if my teachers had lowered themselves to take part in it, I’m sure its effects would have been detrimental, to say the least. Teachers should set a higher standard than this.

    Comment by phil dirt — 6:14 am January 29, 2011 #

  5. Aren’t the Denny teachers the best?? They teach the kids so many things at so many levels. They are willing to do whatever it takes to reach the kids and always think outside of the box! And yes, Ms. Whited holds the “best teacher” award at my house from both of my kids. She’s a truly amazing person. Thanks for posting this so that our community knows it has great choices for middle school in West Seattle!
    BTW – this is the SECOND video made by the teachers; last year’s was to pump up the kids for the MAP testing – “How High Can You Score” set to Ludacris’ “How Low”. Hysterical – the kids LOVE it.

    Comment by DBurns — 8:30 am January 29, 2011 #

  6. Correction: I should have said Denny “Staff” is the best. Love all of them. And they’re not all teachers in this video, also Assistant Principals, the Principal and others on the Admin team. All so great. Things have come so far! I had Sister Joan and Sister Marilyn – can’t really see them doing anything like this!!

    Comment by DBurns — 8:58 am January 29, 2011 #

  7. Love that!!

    Comment by add — 10:29 am January 29, 2011 #

  8. Way to go Denny staff! This is an excellent way to get kids motivated…positive and cool! We love you Bre!!!

    Comment by Bridget — 5:26 pm January 29, 2011 #

  9. This is cute, but really… No one had to “teach” me how to study, and I became a productive member of society. Not sure what the message is here. And to choose a “medium” of rap, which no one can argue most people would associate with gangs and violence, I think it was the wrong way to go. But, you are supposed to “speak” at your audience’s level, so…

    Comment by Steve — 4:51 am February 2, 2011 #

  10. Phil,

    As a parent of one current and one former Denny student, I cannot tell you how happy I am that you are not a teacher there. By the way, they are both well-adjusted Honor Roll students and were taught by most of the teachers featured in this video.

    Comment by arborheightsdad — 7:35 am February 2, 2011 #

  11. @ phil dirt
    The teachers haven’t lowered their standard based upon this video! They are simply reaching out to the kind of thing a majority of students are interested in now a days. Instead of hearing this song and connect it to the “dougie”, every time they hear it they’ll affiliate it with this version. “Teach me how to study” is, in my opinion, bringing up the level and commitment of these teachers. Considering they did it during winter break, they didn’t take away any time from teaching students. This video shows me how dedicated these teachers are and how much they care for what they do. Whenever I hear this song it inspires me to get off my butt and the computer and actually spend the time to study.

    Comment by Fierce. — 10:40 pm February 16, 2011 #

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