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Teacher creates musical history

11:11 AM, Feb 4, 2013   |    comments
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CUMMING, Ga -- Advanced Placement (AP) classes in high school are among the toughest classes students can take and, in many cases, they involve a lot of memorizing.

But, AP U.S. History teacher Thomas Wolff, has found a way to help his students retain what they learn.

Name a period in U.S. History, and it's likely Wolff has written a song about it.

His songs about the past help teens in the present better plan for their testing future.

"This is AP U.S. which is a comprehensive class which begins in the pre-colonial period and goes up to the present day, where they have to learn a lot of material," said Wolff, a teacher at South Forsyth School.

Taking in all that material is easier when its set to music - and you might think that's a bit silly for juniors in high school.

"It's not about what's corny or not," said Avari Tavater-Teidemannd. "It's about learning the information; that's pretty much the most important part. So any way we can retain the information is just incredible."

Wolff recognized that when he brought in his guitar years ago.

They ALL get into songwriting with a research project.

"They're graded on how much historical detail are in each song.

"At first when I entered the Wolff's Den, I was sort of wary of his teaching methods, but when he go into the music stuff, because I love music so much, I got into it," said Nick Cichy, a junior.

Nick and other students join Wolff on stage in the school auditorium, for a popular music history review for the entire school.

Best of all, the singing translates.

"We have a record of that learning taking place by his test scores," said Jeff Cheney, a junior.

Parent Jennifer Orechwa nominated Wolff for 11Alive's Class Act Award.

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