• February 23, 2012

The Vocabulary Gap

Close the achievement gap with direct vocabulary instruction. One promise of public education is to level the playing field for the rich and poor. Unfortunately, the system is not entirely fulfilling that promise. The socioeconomic achievement gap has been an issue for decades, but a recent study released by Stanford University sociologist Sean F. Reardon, shows that the gap has widened by 40% since the 1960s. Achievement gaps can be mystifying and confounding because so many cultural and economic factors contribute to them. The layers are complex and interwoven enough to make the problem seem insurmountable, but progress can be…

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  • June 12, 2011

Easy DIY Educational Summer Activities

“Where can I find some fun, educational, summer activities for my kids?”

We’ve got you covered.

The “summer slump” is a dangerous reality, and supports the notion that learning outside the classroom is so essential. Organizations like the Harlem Children Zone have recently placed an emphasis on helping families to provide a safe and educational environment for babies and toddlers. Their goal is to prevent any child from falling behind before they are even in the classroom. These same efforts should be made to prevent kids from falling behind during summer vacation.

Kids need opportunities to scoop up knowledge and practice their skills so they remember how to activate their minds when they get back inside the classroom. But parents don’t need to enroll their kids in fancy academic programs. Engagement and learning can occur on the living room couch, at the playground, or walking down the street to grab a slice of pizza.

So here are some ways to keep the wheels greased:

1. Story Telling
Parents can easily adapt Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s thoughtful story-telling lesson plan for the home. Sit down with a child and ask him or her to tell you a story about something that occurred that day. This activity will give kids a chance to reflect, organize their thoughts, and present. If you share a story first it might give them a better idea of how to form a narrative with facts about their day.

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  • April 8, 2011

Don’t know much about history? Flocab is here to help!

Here at the Flocabulary HQ, we're hard at work on our new book: Hip-Hop History of the World, Part II! (Missed Part I? Check it out here) Though you won't be able to listen to our raps about the Conquistadors or the Cold War until this summer, we couldn't wait to share a few outrageous facts that we've dug up for your historical edification. Did you know... -Apprentices on Magellan's ship had to polish the toenails and shave the legs of higher-ranked sailors! -During the Age of Exploration, ships typically listed the names of saints on their rosters in hopes…

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  • March 25, 2011

An Animated Zoom Through Scale

Calling all science teachers, art lovers, young philosophers and people who like playing with really cool stuff! The world can be a big place, and a very small one. If you've ever wished that you could see DNA or float among asteroids, the internet has granted your wish. Explore the different scales of the world, from sub-atomic particles to the stars! Click here to get started. Warning: You're about to be mesmerized.

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  • March 23, 2011

MC LaLa brings you Manifest Destiny

Just like the Americans during Manifest Destiny, MC LaLa can't stop! Hip-hop education wizard Peter DiLalla is dominating the nation with his new history rap. Manifest Destiny was the belief that Americans were destined to travel west and take over the entire North American continent. (Of course, conveniently ignoring the people who'd lived on that very land for thousands of years...) "Arkansas? No we don't stop! Oklahoma? No we don't stop!" Don't want to stop listening? Check out MC LaLa's other videos on his YouTube page. Thanks once again, Peter, for sharing another excellent teaching tool with all of us!

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