The Week in Rap Extra: Read All About It!

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Here at Flocab HQ, we’ve been thinking a lot about the news topics that seem to come up week to week. For every Week in Rap video we release, we try to make sure to give you a quick summary of a bunch of major headlines – and sometimes, we don’t have time to dive deep into the larger, important issues (we’re working with a two-minute rap video, you know?!).

That’s why we’ve decided to kick off a new type of video – the Week in Rap Extra. With this series, we’re providing a more in-depth resource to help explain complex topics and events. We will release these videos throughout the year as different issues dominate the news cycle –  you can use them alongside our regularly scheduled Week in Rap programming.  And like our weekly videos, you’ll see each WIR Extra video comes with challenge questions, interactive lyrics and activities for classes looking to spend more time on the subject.

For our first edition, we decided to cover ISIS, since the the Week in Rap has featured many headlines about the group over the last year (because of ISIS’s nature, this video is appropriate for students grades 5 and up). To create this video, we did a lot research, looking at reputable news sources (like the ones we link to in our interactive lyrics) to offer the background and context you might be looking for. We hope this video helps you learn and talk about a topic that can be confusing and scary.

With the launch of our first edition of Week in Rap Extra, we’d love to hear what you think! Share any thoughts and feedback by filling out this quick survey. We’re all ears – and we’ll keep your answers in mind when we create our future editions.

Student Oxymorons

Every week, our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. For this week’s contest, we challenged you to create original oxymorons. Oxymorons seem to contradict themselves, and this contradiction can be a powerful literary device. Phrases that seem nonsensical at first can force the reader to dig deeper to understand their meaning.

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Real-life Superheroes

Every week, our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. For this week’s contest, we asked you to tell us about someone you consider a superhero. An average citizen who went above and beyond (like Wesley Autrey), a celebrity who inspires you, or even a teacher or coach who changed your life for the better. Who would you call super?

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Looking Back on 2014

Every week, our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. For our final contest of 2014, we asked you to take a look back at the last twelve months. In your opinion, what defined the year 2014? Was there a particular trend, news story or other even that you thought represented the year as a whole?

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Figurative Language Feast: Flocab’s Custom Rap Contest

This November, we found ourselves dreaming about our Thanksgiving favorites: turkey, mac and cheese, sweet potato pie, stuffing. And it got us thinking: love for these feasting foods could be a source of powerful poetic inspiration for all of our rhyme-loving Flocab fans.

So we asked you – teachers and students in our community – to take part in festive lessons on writing academic rhymes. We wanted see what savory raps you could cook up, with as much figurative language baked in as possible (all puns intended). And write you did. We had so much fun reading the many inventive submissions we received (the worst yet best part was how hungry it made us).

In the end, we chose this all-star rap from Shanna Mellott’s 10th grade class at Cache High School, in Cache, Oklahoma. We thought the lyrics were so smart, and we loved how they provided examples that helped define each type of figurative language used. Watch our video with their winning original rap, and don’t miss their clever lyrics below as well. Congrats, Cache High!

Apple pie dances in the mouths of the people.
Get this song famous and go for a sequel.
Like pie pieces, poetic patterns are parts to a whole.
Alliteration got us going out of control.
Did you catch that? Yeah, I said it kind of rhythmically.
Using like or as to bust out a simile.
Take away the like and you got a metaphor.
Apple pie is American down to the core.

With all the fabulous Thanksgiving raps we saw, we had to shout-out our runners up as well. Check ‘em out!

From Cindy Kelly’s 7th grade class at St. Robert School in Flushing, MI
I’ve got rolls on my plate, rolls on my mind
buttering em up-like six at a time.
Green bean casserole-an amount insane!
Hot stuffing and potatoes, I’m gonna bust a vein.
Rivers of gravy, enough to feed the Navy.
If my plate was a pacifier, it’d stop a crying baby!
So much food, I’m never gonna stop.
Not until I eat, each and every drop!

From Amy Ardoin’s 6th grade class at Youngblood Intermediate in Houston, TX
Chicken out the oven is like a million degrees,
when you cut in the skin you see the steam.
Chicken races my heart as fast as a road runner.
Chicken is the toast to my butter.
Chicken! Chicken! Thanksgiving is so nice.
You’re about to go on the ride of your life.
Chicken talks to me as I eat it.
BOOM! I blew your mind you have to admit it.

To all the schools that entered, we thank you for your amazing creativity and hard work. We hope you’ll enter again! Don’t forget to check back for more contests to get your chance at Flocab fame.

Press Release: Flocabulary Raps Top 10 Reasons to Code for Computer Science Education Week

Brooklyn, N.Y., December 2, 2014 – Coders change the world when they’re puttin’ in the work.” It’s just one of many reasons to code, according to Flocabulary’s newest educational hip-hop video. In time for this year’s Computer Science Education Week, Flocabulary announces a free video highlighting the top ten reasons to code to engage students in computer science.

Computer Science Education Week takes place this year December 8-14, and is an initiative led by Code.org to encourage students to become interested in computer science. With “Top Ten Reasons to Code,” Flocabulary hopes to contribute to the movement of making coding accessible to young people by helping to explain what coding is and why it is an important 21st century skill. The video aims to contextualize how coders are solving problems in the world around us, highlights the perks of working in the tech industry, and also emphasizes the importance of gender equality in the field of computer science.

“I think we’d all take a few more computer science classes if we could do it over again,” says Flocabulary co-founder and CEO Alex Rappaport. “The fact is, programming is something everyone at a 21st-century company should have some exposure to, and good developers are ridiculously hard to find these days. We made this video to build on the momentum behind coding education and hopefully inspire the next generation of students to pursue careers in tech.”

“Top Ten Reasons to Code” is one of several forthcoming STEM videos for Flocabulary in 2015. The new video is available on Flocabulary’s webiste at https://www.flocabulary.com/coding and on Youtube.

About Flocabulary
Flocabulary creates educational hip-hop videos for students in grades K-12. Over 20,000 schools use Flocabulary’s standards-aligned videos, activities and lessons to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. The company’s team of artists and educators is committed not only to raising test scores, but also to fostering a love of learning in every child. For more on Flocabulary, visit www.flocabulary.com or connect on Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook.

Contact:
Molly Cronin
Flocabulary
molly@flocabulary.com
718-852-0105 Ext. 28

“Find” A Poem

Every week, our Week in Rap Shout-Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. For this week’s contest, we asked you to ‘find’ a poem by removing, rearranging, and/or restructuring an existing text. A found poem takes existing words and phrases and rearranges them into poetry. A newspaper article, a passage from a novel, a school essay—any piece of writing can be used to create a found poem.

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Press Release: Flocabulary Aims to Close Financial Literacy Gap with New Hip-Hop Video Series

Brooklyn, N.Y., November 12, 2014 – Flocabulary, producer of educational hip-hop videos, today announced a new content series for teaching financial literacy. The collection of 12 hip-hop videos and accompanying classroom activities supports lessons on budgeting, college loans, credits cards and other financial literacy topics. Flocabulary produced the videos in partnership with The City University of New York (CUNY) and the NYS Higher Education Services Corporation (HESC).

“We know that uninformed financial decisions can have a long-lasting negative impact on students,” said Elsa Magee, Acting President of HESC. “Our partnership with CUNY and Flocabulary allows us to provide practical financial literacy education that connects with students in an engaging manner, increases knowledge and helps bring about positive action on the part of students.”

The new series comes at a time of increased emphasis on personal finance education across the nation: this year, 17 states required a high school personal finance course be taken – nearly triple the number of states with this requirement in 2004. In addition, study results released this July demonstrated a financial literacy gap between U.S. teens and their international peers. In the study, American 15-year-olds performed near the average in an assessment of financial literacy, scoring lower than students in China, Australia and Estonia. More than one in six U.S. teens did not reach the baseline level of proficiency in the subject.

“Teachers and students have come to rely on Flocabulary to bring educational content to life across academic subjects,” said Alex Rappaport, co-founder and CEO of Flocabulary. “Personal finance can be a little dry and inaccessible for kids and adults, so we saw this as an opportunity to use our unique approach to teach these important skills and prepare students for life beyond the classroom.”

Each of the twelve units in Flocabulary’s new series teaches a financial literacy topic with an original hip-hop video, providing a subject overview to engage students. Corresponding interactive lyrics offer in-depth explanations of concepts covered, and classroom activities allow students to demonstrate personal finance knowledge through hands-on practice. Each unit in the series incorporates key financial vocabulary to reinforce students’ financial fluency. The series aligns with The Council for Economic Education’s National Standards for Financial Literacy.

“Students need this information to help them understand the real world and make better connections to it,” said Marie Green, a middle school social studies teacher in Michigan who uses the new financial literacy videos in her classroom. “We are always looking for new and innovative ways that reach out to students. Flocabulary does that.”

The complete financial literacy series is now available at www.flocabulary.com.

About Flocabulary
Flocabulary is a Brooklyn, NY-based online library of educational hip-hop songs and videos for grades K-12. The content library includes resources to support instruction in math, science, social studies and ELA, in addition to vocabulary, current events and life skills. Over 20,000 schools use Flocabulary to engage and inspire students. The company’s team of artists and educators is not only committed to raising test scores, but also to fostering a love of learning in every child. For more on Flocabulary, visit www.flocabulary.com or connect on Twitter or Facebook.