One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.
THE WHAT & WHY
If you haven’t used it yet (and why not?), Flocabulary is like a modern hip-hop version of “Schoolhouse Rock!”. It is easy to use and filled with meaningful and engaging content. It also works across devices. Flocabulary usually begins with a content-heavy video filled with music like the Battle of the Alamo one below. It makes it much easier to remember the information in a fun song. They also have a number of activities to build off of that initial video.
Studies have shown that music helps children pay attention, retain content, develop language, and enhance learning. As someone who began their public education career teaching students with autism to communicate and other skills using music therapy, I know first-hand about the positive impact it can have in a classroom.
Flocab is adding new videos all the time which cover a range of content areas including:
- Language Arts – They go over writing elements, book genres, specific literature (like The Scarlet Letter), research skills, grammar, and more. Some of my favorites are the videos for “Parts of Speech” and “Commonly Confused Words“, but you might find use in their “Fake News” rap.
- Math – In general you think a video about math facts would be boring, but many of the math concept videos like “Order of Operations” and “Mean, Median & Mode” are both memorable and entertaining.
- Science – There are so many great raps across scientific fields, but the one on “Eclipses” is particularly timely.
- Social Studies – Students can learn about “The Three branches of Government” and the “Bill of Rights” or jam to “Jefferson vs Hamilton” in the vein of Epic Rap Battles of History (NSF School).
- Life Skills -The social/emotional learning videos may be used more by social workers or therapists and financial literacy videos will likely be for high school students in basic finances class. There are some videos in this group like “Building Empathy” and “Bullying” though that will have universal appeal.
- Vocabulary – This is probably my least favorite section simply because of what it covers, but this is definitely more fun than most other ways of reviewing vocabulary. The “Kid Who Always Says the Wrong Thing” is a particularly hilarious video. The section covers K-12 students, so it is even valuable for SAT review.
- Current Events – This is probably my favorite section where you will find “The Week In Rap” (grades 6-12) and now “The Week In Rap Junior” (grades 3-5) and “The Week In Rap Extra” which every Friday cover, in song, the hot topics of the week.
Flocabulary has been doing a lot to become even more invaluable for its users. Some of their improvements in the past were a direct result of requests by teachers in my district. You see, we’ve had a New York City District 75 (special education) district-wide subscription to Flocabulary for several years and the staff at Flocabulary have been very receptive to changing things that would adapt their content and benefit a larger audience. Some were necessary for our students with special needs like slowing the video (without loss of sound quality) and lyrics to follow along. Some district classes have even been invited to visit their office. They’re very welcoming.
I’ll cover a full list of what’s available below, but here are the latest updates for a new school year.
- Layout – The whole site has a slick new simplified look with different lesson elements sectioned off.
- Teacher Resources – There’s now an easy way to get to unit overviews, handouts, and standards for a video lesson.
- Classroom – Those with school licenses can now easily set up classes integrated with Google Classroom and create assignments.
- Vocab Cards – These provide basic information on topic vocabulary words and asks students to write or draw to demonstrate their understanding of the terms.
- Read & Respond – This section, formerly called lyric notes, gives extra topic info.
There are five different ways to find content on Flocabulary. You can obviously use the search tool or navigate the subject menus, but you may also search via CCS standards. The site also offers month by month content based on thematic units. Finally, you can mark any video as one of your favorites and then find it easily inside your favorites zone in the future.
FLOCAB LESSON SEQUENCE
The goal of Flocabulary is for students to be engaged, master a topic, and create content. To further those efforts they offer a number of resources to sequence a lesson. You can also review a full list of subject-specific lesson resources.
- Watch – You can get students engaged with visually entertaining hip-hop videos.
- Adaptations – You can follow the lyrics, adjust the video’s speed, and turn on discussion points
- Quick Review – This is a brief recalling exercise.
- Vocab – Quickly review and respond by writing or drawing about important topic terms.
- Read & Respond – Review the song’s content in-depth with important vocabulary highlighted and answer related questions. This can serve as a great group think-aloud.
- Quiz – Students can take a 10 question multiple-choice assessment.
- Create – Students can create their own rap songs with a variety of beats, linked vocabulary words, and rhyming hints through the Lyric Lab.
- Teacher Resources – Find a bunch of other resources, overviews, and printable activities.
Yes, Flocabulary is useful for a whole class overview, but it can be even more impactful when individualized for each student. Creating classes is even easier since Flocabulary is linked with Google Classroom. Once you create a class and add student information, adding assignments is as simple as going to a video and selecting ‘add assignment’ and choosing to assign the video, vocab cards, read & respond, the quiz, and/or the lyric lab. These activities are a great way to get a quick view of student mastery, pinpoint trouble spots, and inform future lessons. It can also be a great test prep tool. Don’t worry, you can check the Student Privacy Pledge to see that crucial student data is kept private. Check the Flocabulary blog for more information.
Without music, life would be a mistake.
15 thoughts on ““Break It Down” Into Manageable Educational Elements”
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