Flocabulary: Educational Hip-Hop

Getting students to writing poetry in class is torturous.  Most students don’t seem like to poetry…except for the fact that frequently it is shorter than prose.

But song lyrics!  Students LOVE music.  I can’t seem to get them to get those ear buds out of their ears.  Poetry and song lyrics are rather similar in terms of objectives teachers seek to have students learn and practice, but the latter is a much more desirable medium.

Flocabuary is a website that “presents academic content in a highly-engaging, contemporary format.”  It has hip hop songs about language arts, vocabulary, social studies, science, and math.  Videos are tailored for students of all grades, from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  All videos come with downloadable PDFs of the song lyrics.  Lyrics also appear on the video website page (no downloading required).

Want to ask students challenging questions without spending hours of your own time watching and re-watching the video to write them?  Flocabulary already has several questions written for class discussion.  Content great for classrooms because it is aligned with the Common Core, especially with English/Language Arts and math.

It is a paid service, for the most part.  There are pricing plans for classrooms, schools, districts, home, after school, and virtual school.  Some content is available for purchase on CDs and DVDs.  However, there are a few videos available for free.  There is also a free trial available for 14 days.

Bonus: the website has a “classroom view” which turns off ads and distracting navigation menus.

I used the Pit and the Pendulum rap as a lead-in for students to write song lyrics about several of the Edgar Allan Poe stories we had been reading.  I was looking for a way for students to utilize several literary terms in a way that was more appealing than poetry.  It was definitely a hit!  Students took to the challenge by making spoofs of popular songs, adding more literary terms and length than I required, and surprising me with their creativity.

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