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The Week in Vocab

Review the Biggest Buzzwords of the Week!

When you follow national and worldwide affairs, you get access to controversial murder cases, big money, planes falling out of the sky and more. Each week, we’ll highlight the top buzzwords or terms that your students might not have known or even heard until now. All these words are featured in the most recent edition of The Week in Rap. And once students beef up their vocab, the news will make a lot more sense.


second-degree murder (noun) — non-premeditated killing, resulting from an assault in which death of the victim was a distinct possibility

Why it matters? After six weeks George Zimmerman has finally been charged with the second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin.


inevitable (adjective) — certain to happen; unavoidable

Why it matters: Santorum’s drop from the Republican nomination race became inevitable when he could no longer figure out a way beat Romney’s delegate count. Santorum also cited his daughter’s health as a reason for ending his campaign.


compensate (verb) — to recompense someone for loss, suffering or injury

Why it matters: The Navy will compensate the residents of the Virginia Beach apartment complex that the military jet crashed into.


defiance (noun) — open resistance; bold disobedience

Why it matters: North Korea will continue with it’s planned long-range rocket launch in defiance of other countries warnings that to do so will violate a ban on missile activity.



Did you hear any other big terms this week? Share them in the comments!

Learn all about these stories and more in The Week in Rap.

The Week in Vocab

Review the Biggest Buzzwords of the Week!

Week in Rap
When you follow national and worldwide affairs, you get access to perfect basketball teams, controversial Supreme Court decisions, mind-reading devices, dyed animals and more. Each week, we’ll highlight the top buzzwords or terms that your students might not have known or even heard until now. All these words are featured in the most recent edition of The Week in Rap. And once students beef up their vocab, the news will make a lot more sense.


incomparable (adjective) — without an equal

Why it matters: The Baylor women’s basketball team was the first in history to finish with a perfect season. They were led by the incomparable Brittney Griner.



casualty (noun) — a person killed or injured in a war or accident.

Why it matters: A new study shows that the number of casualties in the Civil War was about 20% higher than previously believed.


degenerative  (adjective) — a type of disease marked by gradual deterioration of organs and cells along with loss of function

Why it matters: A new mind-reading device called iBrain may help people with degenerative brain diseases to better communicate in the future.


violation (noun) — a failure to comply with a rule

Why it matters: As labor law violations have come to light at the Apple factories in China, the company has agreed to raise the wages of workers and reduce overtime.


inject (verb) – to force a liquid into something (usually a body) with a syringe

Why it matters: Farmers have injected eggs with food dye to created bright, unnaturally-colored chicks for Easter. But this practice is illegal in many states.


perception (noun) — the act of recognizing something

Why it matters? According to The New York Times, after winning in three states on Tuesday, there is a “growing perception” that Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination.


Did you hear any other big terms this week? Share them in the comments!

Learn all about these stories and more in The Week in Rap.

Keeping students happy… but at what expense?

Week in Rap

When we’re creating The Week in Rap, we often need to make tough decisions about what news stories to include. How much should students know about a real world where nightly news stories would almost certainly garner an R rating in a fictionalized version? This week we cover violence in Syria, a school shooting in Oakland, the legality of strip-searching and 750,000 deaths in the Civil War. We also talked about Day-Glo chicks.

Should students always get the real deal? The crusade to make students feel more comfortable at school is nothing to scoff at. Nobody wants a student to feel sad or ostracized. In the best case, a student who is upset has trouble focusing on learning. At worst, these children could feel uncomfortable, intimidated and they won’t want to come to school.

But there is a fine line between making sure students feel okay and censorship. Recently, some efforts to shield students from upsetting information have ironically led to an increase in student strife:

  • “Bully,” a new documentary about the terrible effects of bullying, was slapped with an R rating, as a result of a scene when a bully uses the F-word. This means that the students who would need to see it most wouldn’t be allowed. A teen who was a victim of bullying started a petition at to give it a PG-13 rating to no avail. She hoped that bullies would gain a greater understanding of how they hurt people like her.
  • A student was expelled from school after making a linguistic observation about the F-word. (The linguistics professor at my university made the same observation on the first day of class when I was a freshman.) But this kid’s school has a policy against profanity. The road to [bleep] is paved with good intentions, it seems. His intellectual curiosity means he can’t finish his senior year at his school.
  • New York State wants to ban “loaded words” from tests that might upset certain students. These words include: Dinosaurs, birthdays, religion, Halloween, Christmas, television and divorce. Standardized tests are stressful, and it is understandable that we wouldn’t want to make them even worse. But alleviating that stress is a larger task that is unrelated to eliminating dinosaurs. The poor things have already been eliminated once.

Shielding children from language doesn’t shield them from realities. As the education community works together to make students feel better at school, we need to think about the bigger picture. The world is often unpleasant. And it is the role of educators to help students make sense of realities, rather than hiding them. To make the world better, students need to see what they need to change.

Aliza Aufrichtig is the editorial director of Flocabulary.

How to Be An Entrepreneur Lesson Plan

An Educator Guest Lesson

How to Be an Entrepreneur Song

Here at the Flocab HQ, whenever we see an email from JoDee Luna–an innovative educator in Lancaster, California–we know it’s going to be good. Luna is always dreaming up creative and fun ways to get her students involved, and she recently sent us this great lesson plan to go along with our Word Up vocabulary song, “How To Be An Entrepreneur.” This lesson gives students experience writing application letters and interviewing, while also teaching 15 vocabulary words. See some student examples from Luna’s class at the bottom. We liked one so much that we hung it up on our office wall!

The Lesson

Materials: Entrepreneur Role Playing Cards, Timer, Notebook or computer for writing.

1. Divide your students up into 5 teams. Give each team one of the roles from the Entrepreneur Role Playing Cards: Training Manual, Application Letter, Interview Question, Create an Application, Create an Entrepreneur Rap. Set a time for teams to work on their roles. (Times will vary depending upon teacher’s discretion and schedule limitations.) Each student must create his or her own paper.

2. Once students have completed the writing for their role, mix teams up so that new teams have one person from each role. Have team members share their particular role with their new team. Have students respond to the roles with discussions, interviews, and job application activities

3. Copy the best role from each category for students to distribute to their new team, or to the entire class.

4. Using the application letters and interview questions, determine who should get hired to work for Flocabulary!

Student Work Examples from Mrs. Luna’s Class

We liked the "Entrepreneur Training Manual" so much that we hung it up in our office. That's our CEO, Alex, learning how to be an entrepreneur.

“How to be an Entrepreneur Training Manual”

  • Learn to make money
  • Skills (math and reading)
  • Getting things done
  • Pay attention to what you’re doing
  • Minimize prices
  • Show customers a perspective
  • Workers will abet costumers
  • Inventive ideas with your team
  • Evolve a good attitude
  • Workers won’t rebuke
  • Bad things don’t happen sporadically
  • Discern for everything you don’t like

“Interview Questions”

  1. How would you abet someone to do a better job at what they’re doing?
  2. How could you use Flocabulary to point out atrocities in the world?
  3. Do you think you could evolve to become a manager?
  4. If you could minimize the wasted time what you do?
  5. What is your perspective on creativity?
  6. Do you think it’s feasible to ask your staff to work overtime?
  7. How could you become inventive and creative for a new product for Flocabulary?
  8. When you become a manager for Flocabulary would you be fastidious, if so why?

“Application Letter”

Dear Flocabulary CEO:

My colleague and I would like jobs with your company. We will never abet someone in doing evil or committing an atrocity. When we make Flocabulary captions, they will look good. We have discernment and can find all the words that don’t belong. We will deploy all the workers to create songs.

Our work will evolve so we can get things done. We will exemplify excellence so other people will see how to do it. We will be fastidious workers so we can get things done. It is feasible that we can complete all the work we have to do. We will be inventive yet do things the right way. We will try to minimize the work errors. We will give our perspective about work. We will rebuke workers for being on their phones. Employees with sporadic times on their phones do not work well. We have a voracious appetite for working, so please consider us as future employees.

Have you created a lesson to go along with a Flocabulary song or video? Send it to us–we’d love to feature it!

The Week in Vocab

Review the Biggest Buzzwords of the Week!

When you follow national and worldwide affairs, you get access to presidential visits, statement-making representatives, cheating scandals, deep sea dives, box office hits and more. Each week, we’ll highlight the top buzzwords or terms that your students might not have known or even heard until now. All these words are featured in the most recent edition of The Week in Rap. And once students beef up their vocab, the news will make a lot more sense.


impoverished (adjective) — reduced to poverty; poverty-stricken

Why it matters: President Obama, on an official visit to Korea, compared the impoverished North to the thriving South.


rally (noun) — a gathering, especially one intended to inspire enthusiasm for a cause

Why it matters: In Florida, and across the country, supporters of the late Trayvon Martin have organized rallies to show their support.


chastise  (verb) — rebuke or reprimand severely.

Why it matters: Representative Bobby Rush was chastised for wearing a hoodie on the House of Representatives floor as he spoke out against racism and profiling. He donned the hoodie in solidarity with the controversies surrounding Travyon Martin’s attire when he was shot.

precaution (noun) — an action taken to avoid a dangerous or undesirable event

Why it matters: In light of a recent cheating scandal, SAT and ACT administrators are taking stricter precautions with students registering for tests. To refresh your knowledge of prefixes, like the “pre” in  precaution, listen to Flocabulary’s prefixes rap song.

ceasefire – a temporary stoppage of a war in which each side agrees with the other to suspend aggressive actions; also known as a truce

Why it matters: U.N. envoy Kofi Annan negotiated a ceasefire between the Syrian President’s regime and the rebels. For a two hour period each day, neither side will attack and they will allow humanitarian groups to administer aid.

revenue — the amount of money a company receives during a specific period

Why it matters? This weekend, The Hunger Games premiered with a $155 million opening. The movie set a revenue record for a non-sequel. After the final installment of Harry Potter and The Dark Knight, The Hunger games is the biggest debut ever in terms of revenue.

Did you hear any other big terms this week? Share them in the comments!

Learn all about these stories and more in The Week in Rap.

Classification Lesson Plan

Educator Guest Post

We always like to hear how teachers are using Flocabulary to best meet the needs of their students. So when Tammy Seneca of West Baton Rouge Parish Schools sent us this awesome lesson to teach scientific classification, we couldn’t wait to share it with our community. This lesson teaches students to classify life by Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species.

The Classification Lesson Plan

Materials: Classification worksheet (created by Tammy Seneca) and Alien Picture Cards (via Glencoe).

1. Listen to Flocabulary’s classification song. The song contains many mnemonics to remember the different ways to classify.

2. Ask students what the song is about. Have write down on the worksheet what each letter of the mnemonic stands for. Then ask them to identify the Five Kingdoms of Organisms.

3. Introduce the concept of a dichotomous key Using the worksheet and Alien cards, have students complete a Space Alien Identification Dichotomous Key.

4. Once students have completed the dichotomous key for the Alien cards, they should design their own alien and name it.

Did your students create a spectacular alien? Send us the pictures and we’ll post them!

Have you created a lesson plan with Flocabulary? Contact us, and we’ll be happy to post it!

Hunter Gatherers

Imagine a world with no electricity…or fire! No homes to protect yourself or your family from the elements. And, of course, absolutely no grocery stores or restaurants to buy food and drink. Can you imagine having to be totally self reliant? Hunter Gatherers were.

Here are some facts about Hunter Gatherers:

  • They are sometimes known as foragers
  • They obtained their food from wild plants and animals
  • They were relatively mobile
  • The typical societal structure was non-hierarchical and egalitarian
  • Their society groups were often gender equal
  • They grouped together based on kinship and tribe membership
  • It’s misleading to think that the men were the sole hunters and the women the sole gatherers. In reality, women hunted small game while men hunted larger game and helped gather.

In Flocabulary’s Hunter Gatherer rap song you can learn more about the evolution of man, from their hunting and gathering days to the ability to craft and use tools. Here’s the hook:

Oh, we ain’t got no homes,
So all we gonna do is roam.
We’re not Romans, but we’re roaming,
We’re nomadic, so you know we keep it going.

Like this song? Listen to more Flocabulary history songs here.

Who Was Hernán Cortés?

Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition to the New World that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire.

Conquistadors were soldiers, explorers and adventurers at the service of the Spanish or Portuguese Empires. They sailed around the world conquering territories for their rulers, colonizing the New World and opening trade routes. Learn more about conquistadors in Flocabulary’s song “Glory & Gold.”

Cortés was born to a family of lesser nobility. Before bringing down the Aztec Empire he made a name for himself in Cuba, where he received an encomienda (a system employed to regulate–and often enslave–Native Americans) and became an alcalde (magistrate) of the second Spanish town founded in Cuba.

In 1519 Cortés was elected captain of the third expedition to the mainland. He was successful at befriending and creating alliances with indigenous people. He had a special relationship with one woman in particular,  Malinche. She served as an interpreter for Cortés and also bore him a son. (The photo above is a depiction of Cortés and Montezuma’s meeting, with Malinche in the middle).

Before conquering the Aztec empire, Cortés infiltrated Tenochtitlán and pretended to befriend the leader, Montezuma. Montezuma treated Cortés well before realizing his ulterior motive and was able to put up a good fight for two years before succumbing to Cortés.

Cortés was awarded the title of Marqués del Valle de Oaxaca for overthrowing the Aztec Empire.

Listen to Flocabulary’s rap song about conquistadors and slavery to learn more about conquistadors and their relentless quest for glory and gold. 

The Week in Vocab

Review the Biggest Buzzwords of the Week!

When you follow national and worldwide affairs, you get access to claims of self-defense, high stock prices, old mysteries, sports trades and more. Each week, we’ll highlight the top buzzwords or terms that your students might not have known or even heard until now. All these words are featured in the most recent edition of The Week in Rap. And once students beef up their vocab, the news will make a lot more sense.


self-defense – a countermeasure to an assault on one’s self, one’s property or the well-being of another from harm. The right to use self-defense is a legal justification for using force in times of danger, but the interpretation varies from court to court.

Why it matters: George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain from Florida, shot and killed teen Trayvon Martin, allegedly in self-defense.

dividend – a distribution of a portion of a company’s earnings, decided by the board of directors, to a class of its shareholders.

Why it matters: Apple’s profits have become so high it will reward shareholders with a dividend and stock buyback program–something that former CEO Steve Jobs never did.

circumnavigate  (verb) — to sail or fly around.

Why it matters: A new clue has surfaced that may help explain the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart. Earhart famously set out to circumnavigate the globe in 1937, when she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, fell off the radar without a trace.


unprecedented (adjective) — never done or known before.

Why it matters: An unprecedented case has arisen for the NFL. Saints head coach Sean Payton has been suspended without pay for the next season for paying “bounties” to his players for knocking out players from other teams. Payton is the first head coach suspended by the league for any reason.

hate crime – a crime against a victim because of his or her perceived membership to a certain social group (typically race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.)

Why it matters: Former student Dharun Ravi was convicted Friday of anti-gay hate crimes against his roommate, Tyler Clementi, now deceased.

Did you hear any other big terms this week? Share them in the comments!

Learn all about these stories and more in The Week in Rap.

What is the Rosetta Stone?

A Lesson Plan About Ancient Egypt:
Students Create Their Own Rosetta Stone

What is the Rosetta Stone

For thousands of years after the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization, people appreciated how pretty hieroglyphics were, but couldn’t read them. All the information in the hieroglyphics was lost. This all changed in 1799, in a town called Rosetta, in Egypt, when archaeologists found the Rosetta stone. What is the Rosetta Stone? This smooth dark stone is almost four feet tall, and it has three different languages written on it. Because the same passage is written in Greek, demotic (another ancient language) and hieroglyphics, historians have been able to figure out the meaning of many hieroglyphic symbols. The stone effectively translated the language of ancient Egypt into words that historians could understand.

Lesson Plan For Students to Create Their Own Rosetta Stone

Objective: Students will understand why the Rosetta stone was a major breakthrough for the study of Ancient Egypt, and understand how it worked.

1. Play Flocabulary’s Ancient Egypt video, “Walk Like An Egyptian.” Ask students how you think modern people learned so much about Ancient Egypt? (Students might give answers like archeologists, stories passed down, hieroglyphics.) Tell your students that you’ll be focusing on one important way that people learned more about the ancient Egyptians: hieroglyphics.

2. Tell your students about the Rosetta stone and why it was important. (More information about it is at the top of this post.)

3. Explain to students that they will create their own Rosetta stones to transmit a secret message to a classmate. Students should write down their favorite quotation in English. Make sure that they don’t show it to anyone.

4. Students will then create their own symbols for each letter of the alphabet. Give students no more than 5-10 minutes to do this (or it could take quite a while…). Then have students write their favorite quotation using their new symbols.

5. Students will now create a Rosetta Stone. Have each student write down the following phrase in normal English, and then write the same phrase in their symbol language:

 The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dogs. 

Students will then hand a partner their quote in code, as well as their “Rosetta stone” key. Their partners will translate the code. In the same way that Egyptologists learned more about Ancient Egypt through translating the Rosetta Stone, students will learn a little bit more about their partner because of their favorite quotation.

Possible extension: Have students research other codes that have been cracked that allowed people to learn more about others.

Liked the Ancient Egypt Video? See hundreds more Flocabulary songs and videos with a free trial to Flocabulary.

Rosetta Stone image available via a Creative Commons 3.0 License.