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Five Pedagogical Reasons to Add Writing Rap to Your Lesson

Do you wish you could make writing more exciting? (Yes, we meant that to rhyme). We all know that writing is not only critically important for academic development and achievement, but is a key tool through which we can deepen our learning, communicate with others, express ourselves and be creative. But students may not always see writing as a wellspring of opportunity: a study from 2006 found that only 8% of students said they enjoy writing (HSSE, 2006).

Crafting writing exercises and assignments that resonate with students, boost engagement and support the curriculum is a challenge, then—but a solvable one. At Flocabulary, a favorite student-centered writing exercise to incorporate in lessons is, naturally, rhyme-writing! It’s as engaging as it is educational, and you don’t need to be a professional rapper to do it—check out our Writing Academic Rhymes resources here. Here are five ways that bringing rhyme-writing into your lesson has pedagogical benefit:

5 Pedagogical Reasons

  • It builds critical thinking skills – The process of writing academic rhymes begins with thinking critically about content and information. The writer must identify what information about a topic is most pertinent and what should be included in the lyrics. Sometimes, this information is provided or taught to them by their teachers, but other times, students must research a topic or content independently, adding to the skills required and reinforced by the writing academic rhymes process.
  • It allows students to deepen their thinking – We want our students to be able to recall important information and understand key concepts, but we also want to build their skills analyzing, evaluating and applying what they learn. Writing academic rhymes reinforces learning by allowing students to dissect information, manipulate it, and repackage it in the form of original lyrics. It moves their thinking throughout the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, including application and creation.
  • It allows students to produce rather than consume (generative processing) – As a teacher, it can be difficult to find engaging activities or teaching strategies that put the power to learn into students’ hands. Writing academic rhymes allows students to create, as opposed to simply consume, content. It can foster a sense of ownership of the content and encourages students to invest more in learning the material.
  • It is a tool for improving reading skills and content learning – Vocabulary is one of the five key components of reading. The process of writing academic rhymes requires students to utilize resources such as a dictionary or thesaurus, promoting vocabulary acquisition. Writing academic rhymes also provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate mastery by applying content knowledge to create something new and meaningful to them.
  • The process of creating a text prompts students to be more thoughtful and engaged when reading text produced by others – When students spend time and energy researching, organizing information, writing, editing, revising and publishing their work, they gain an understanding of the author’s experience. This can prompt students to be empathetic and more engaged by the writing of others, including their peers.

Have you led students to write their own academic rhymes? We want to hear about it! Contact us to share your rap-writing story.

Molly Cronin

Molly's love of education began when she landed her first job at age 17 as a preschool teacher's aide, where she changed countless diapers and led groups of toddlers in many a nursery rhyme. She studied communications, marketing, and education at Cornell University, where she wrote articles for university publications, co-hosted a radio show and led PR for a children's advocacy organization. After a stint in the crazy world of agency PR, she now blends her background in communications and her passion for education in her sales and partnership work at Flocabulary. When she's off Flocab duty, she can be found scouring food blogs and old cookbooks or traipsing around Alphabet City.

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