Category Archives: Uncategorized

3 Ways Focabulary Engages Your Students

Flocabulary is guided by a mission to engage students and increase achievement across the curriculum. But just how well do we do that? To find out, in June we invited classroom teachers who use Flocabulary to complete a multiple choice survey about how their students respond to our videos and activities.

We wanted to examine three branches of engagement:

  • Behavioral engagement – a measure of persistence and participation, and of complying with classroom rules.
  • Emotional engagement – a measure of students’ feelings about school, their teachers, and their classwork.
  • Cognitive engagement – a measure of how students feel about their abilities to complete work and how hard they’re willing to focus.

achievement engagement retention

Because student engagement is, in part, a measure of how invested a student is in learning and applying knowledge, it has strong ties to academic outcomes. As examples: a behaviorally engaged student is more likely to listen and participate in classroom discussions; an emotionally engaged student is less likely to skip school and more likely to respond to teacher directions; a cognitively engaged student is more likely to focus on and work through tasks he or she perceives as difficult.

Across the board, teachers attribute engagement and achievement benefits to Flocabulary, but teachers who use Flocabulary more often — weekly or more — report the strongest results. For instance:

  • 96.5% report that students focus on Flocabulary longer than on other lessons
  • 89.4% report their students work harder on all subjects because of Flocabulary
  • 95.6% report Flocabulary increases achievement
  • 96.4% believe Flocabulary increases engagement in school, generally
  • 88.6% believe that their students are more invested in school due to Flocabulary
  • 99.1% report that students voluntarily participate during Flocab activities (vs 72.8% for non-Flocab activities)
  • 100% report that students complete Flocabulary activities when asked
  • 85.1% report that their students’ behavior has improved since using Flocabulary
  • 90.3% report that Flocabulary increases critical thinking amongst their students
  • 97.3% report that it increases retention
  • 87.6% report that Flocabulary increases test-taking ability

Based on the strength of these responses, we are confident that Flocabulary has the
ability not only to engage students across all three metrics of engagement, but also to improve academic outcomes. To see more results from Flocabulary, please visit: https://www.Flocabulary.com/results/

Flocab’s Freshest for Back to School

The Flocab team skipped a few pool parties these past few months – we spent the summer hard at work! Since last fall, we’ve added nearly 100 new units to support learning across the curriculum, and we’re not slowing down! As you kick off the first few weeks of school, here’s a recap of the new things you’ll find on Flocabulary.

wir-junior-logo-2_360The Week in Rap Junior
We just launched our weekly news program for students in grades K-5, The Week in Rap Junior! With a new video, standards-based exercises and a shout-out contest each week, the series connects real-world news to elementary science and social studies curricula and promotes the development of important skills like reading, writing and critical thinking. Read more about The Week in Rap Junior in our recent blog post here.

themes of geography 2Geography
You talked and we listened! We added a new collection of geography units – part of our social studies resources for elementary and middle school – based on popular requests from our educator community. We rolled out new units this summer like “Longitude and Latitude,” “Landforms & Bodies of Water,” “Five Themes of Geography,” and our very latest – “Oceans.”   Check ‘em out – and check back soon to see even more!

managing frustrationSocial & Emotional Learning
Maybe you’ve seen the first few units in one of newest subjects, SEL! The videos tell relatable narratives – through rhyme of course – to help students learn about topics like bullying, conflict resolution and managing frustration. During the fall, we’ll continue to support learning of more important SEL skills with new units on empathy, managing worry, active listening and more.

Flocabulary_-_Educational_Hip-HopPlus – new features: assessment, planning and differentiation!
Over the summer, we announced some major updates to our site with student assessment features and reporting tools for teachers. With auto-graded quizzes now on every unit, educators can assign our units directly to students online! And with a series of reports to check assignment progress and quiz performance, educators can use Flocab to make data-informed decisions for planning instruction. Have questions about how the assessments or new teacher tools work? Check out our FAQ page.

Tell us what you think about Flocab’s freshest in the comments below. And don’t forget – if you’re new to Flocab – you can try our resources free by signing up for a trial here.

 

Reporting Live From Flocabulary: It’s The Week in Rap Junior!

Breaking news: we’ve got a fresh weekly program for elementary students called The Week in Rap Junior! Drawing on stories from the news, the program teaches students in grades K-5 about the world while reinforcing core skills across the curriculum. And like its popular older cuz (The Week in Rap, for grades 5 and up), The Week in Rap Junior will serve up new videos and activities every Friday (starting after Labor Day)!

So what will you find when you tune in to The Week in Rap Junior?robin cruz

“Back to you, Robin”
You’ll get to know Robin Cruz, our host, along with her sidekicks – reporters in field, Corey Lox and Jean LeBlanc, and Weatherman Bob, who happens to be a fish.

Relevant stories to bring the curriculum to life
With younger students in mind, we’ll select stories that create relevant connections to elementary science and social studies curricula. We’ll also use maps, graphs and other text features each week to support reading and math literacy.

News stories in the series will build on students’ existing knowledge, while introducing new concepts, from countries and cultures, to innovations and discoveries! We’ll also include stories about young people doing inspiring things that students can relate and aspire to.

Cross-curricular vocab
In each video, you’ll find new key terms from the stories highlighted on screen and defined in context, so students acquire new vocabulary as they watch each week. This vocabulary is relevant across subjects – add it to a classroom word wall to use throughout the year to help with reading and writing instruction!

WIR Jr. Activity Jul 10 - smaller cut

Activities that challenge students to think critically
As with all of our units, The Week in Rap Junior comes with activities to promote development of important skills like reading, writing and critical thinking. Weekly activities will help students practice organizing their thinking with graphic organizers, and expressing themselves in the written word through thoughtful, non-fiction writing prompts.

A chance to win a shout out for your school!
Activities each week will give students the chance to be recognized for their creative work through our Shout-Out contest! Every week, we’ll spotlight a winning school in The Week in Rap Junior video.

And because we want all elementary educators and students to get the chance to check out The Week in Rap Junior, we’re offering the first editions free! If you’re new to Flocab, you can also sign up for free trial here. We can’t wait to hear what you think about The Week in Rap Junior – let us know in the comments!

Press Release: Flocabulary Debuts Cross-Curricular News Program for Grades K-5

Flocabulary, creator of educational hip-hop videos, activities and assessments, today announces the launch of TheWeek in Rap Junior, a weekly program that engages elementary students in cross-curricular learning through age-appropriate news stories. With a new video, standards-based exercises and an interactive creative challenge each week, the dynamic series provides a unique platform to teach core subjects through real-world news and promote the development of important skills like reading, writing and critical thinking. The new program reflects Flocabulary’s commitment to bringing value to a wider range of students and educators while continuing to deepen and enrich the curricular experience on its online learning platform.

“We have learned that helping students make connections to the broader world around them is a powerful way to bring the core curriculum to life and get kids actively participating in the learning process,” says Flocabulary CEO Alex Rappaport.

The Week in Rap Junior is a spin-off of The Week in Rap, Flocabulary’s popular program for grades 5-12. All units in the new series start with an educational hip-hop video, offering students a selection of news stories, and emphasizing age-appropriate vocabulary pertinent to each story. With an emphasis on creating connections to elementary science and social studies curricula, the program draws on global and domestic news to build on students’ existing knowledge while introducing new themes and concepts, from countries and cultures, to innovations and discoveries. Activities included in each edition are inspired by stories highlighted in the week’s video, and provide opportunities to develop core skills like reading, writing and critical thinking. Each weekly unit also includes a contest with an interactive challenge to engage students in the creative process. A winner will be chosen each week and featured in an upcoming video. Educators new to Flocabulary can sample the first editions of the The Week in Rap Junior series free at flocabulary.com. The series starts weekly production in early September.

“In the process of developing the program, elementary educators we spoke with were enthusiastic about a resource that naturally integrates social studies and science content into their curriculum,” says Emily Helfgot, Curriculum Director at Flocabulary. “We also know that there is a huge push to get students writing and creating, and we built each Week in Rap Junior offering with activities that ask students to form opinions, organize their thinking, and produce work that is thoughtful and original.”

Beyond TheWeek in Rap Junior, Flocabulary continues to create new content across subject areas, while building out entirely new subjects for 21st-century learners. Last month, the company announced the release of auto-graded assessments and data tools to help educators use Flocabulary for planning, differentiation and intervention.

Flocabulary offers free trials for teachers, schools and districts year-round. For more information on Flocabulary, visit www.flocabulary.com.

About Flocabulary
Flocabulary creates educational hip-hop videos, interactive activities and online assessments for students in grades K-12. Over 35,000 schools use Flocabulary 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.

 

Celebrate Financial Literacy Month with Flocab!

With April marking Financial Literacy Month, it’s a great time to get funky with some financial knowledge!

Back in the fall, we released a new video series for teaching financial literacy. Why financial literacy, you might wonder? We know that these concepts are very important for students (and adults), many of whom are starting their first jobs and thinking ahead about going to college. Personal finance knowledge is necessary for students preparing for their futures. At the same time, we know personal finance can be – we’ll say it – boring for young people. So when CUNY and HESC asked us to partner on the subject, we felt it was the perfect time to create a series of videos and classroom activities to support lessons on setting SMART goals, handling student loans and a bunch in between.

Credit Cards 2

We’ve had great conversations with teachers around the country using our video series about some of their best financial literacy lessons. We loved how these teachers were bringing financial literacy to life, so we had to share. We hope their ideas will inspire you as you plan your own ways to celebrate Financial Literacy Month!

  • “I used Flocabulary’s financial literacy video and worksheet on paying for college. The students were very into the video and after they completed their research, we were able to have discussions on why someone would choose to spend the extra money on a private school. After the research and discussion I had the students use the worksheet to write a one page paper comparing and contrasting the reasons to choose each of the levels of college.” - Theresa Snow, high school instructional support services, New York
  • “Every week we have a new “economics” word of the week. We then tie it into our word generation debates, using words used for every core area.” – Marie Green, 8th grade social studies teacher, Michigan
  • “I had the students create their own product and sell it to the rest of the class, keeping in mind that setting a realistic price that will help them sell their product was key. They were given guidelines to create their product and help was provided. They learned that when creating their price, it was wise to make it cost enough so they could make a profit, but not too much where they couldn’t sell it. All of the students then went “shopping” and had to stay within a given budget. The students had a blast and learned the power of advertising and how the customer is often deceived.” – Andrea Smolin, high school resource, personal finance, and inclusion English teacher, Virginia
  • “The first financial literacy lesson I led was related to understanding the stock market and how it relates to the everyday person. My students were thoroughly engaged as they pretended to be stockholders and business owners.” - Mechele Arnold, business education teacher, Georgia

Now, we want to hear from you – how are you making finance topics fun and relevant for your students? Post your lesson ideas and learnings in the comments below!

For more Financial Literacy Month resources, visit the JumpStart Coalition and The Council for Economic Education

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.

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

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

lobsterdamus_alwaysopen

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!