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.

Neologisms

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 write a dictionary entry for a word of your own creation, or a neologism. The Oxford English Dictionary, the “definitive record of the English language,” updates regularly to include new words. Language is constantly evolving, and new words are coined all the time. Maybe one day some of your neologisms will find their way into the dictionary!

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Retell the News

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. Here at Flocabulary, we put the news into song every week. News articles are a great way to learn about current events in detail, but other formats can make the big picture easier to understand. For this week’s contest, we challenged you to retell a news story in a different form of media. A comic strip, an infographic, a video—any format that can tell the story.

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Behind the Scenes: Making New Rap Music on a News Deadline

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Dillon V, dressed to the IXs

Flocab rapper Dillon V was up late waiting anxiously to see who won the World Series. His home teamthe Atlanta Braveshad been out of contention for quite awhile. So why did he care?

He needed to wait until the game ended to record the Week in Rap. Otherwise we couldn’t include the winner! (Missed the game? You can find out who won in this Week in Rap.)

We typically record the Week in Rap on Wednesday evening. That way, we have time to make the video all day Thursday, and get it to you by Thursday night! But that means that if news breaks late on Wednesday, or any time on Thursday, we don’t get to include it.

When big news is missing on a Friday, we hear from you! (Students were very mad when we missed the death of Steve Jobs.) So if we know a major news story is going to break late on Wednesday, or even Thursday morning, we’ll hold off on recording as long as we can.

Dillon told us, “I was glad that the game didn’t go into extra inningsmy bed time was getting close, and since Halloween is coming up I’ve been a little sca…eh. I was just glad to get to bed on time.”

Sometimes we even record two versions! Back in 2012, we knew the Supreme Court was going to announce its huge decision about the Affordable Care Act on a Thursday morning, so we recorded two versions of the Week in Rapone where the law was upheld, and one where it was struck down. (We just have to make sure we use the right version).

So thanks to Dillon V for staying up late to get you the news! And if you’re trick or treating around Atlanta, look out for a man dressed as a lobster.

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Dillon V, spitting rhymes as a lobster

Did we miss any news stories you wanted to see? Let us know in the comments!