First Flocab Lesson

Meet Our MCE of the Month: Dustin Ecker

Post Series: MCE of the Month
What inspired you to go into education?

Dustin: I grew up in a family that worked with children of all ages year around, so the decision to become an educator came naturally! I’ve always enjoyed building relationships and helping youth to reach their goals in all areas – as an educator, I absolutely love being able to do this on a daily basis.

What kind of educator do you strive to be?

My philosophy is “Relate, then educate.” With that being said, I think it is absolutely critical to build meaningful relationships with my scholars. Without intentional relationships, even the best instruction will fall flat. I strive to be an educator who inspires our youth to believe in themselves, share their thinking with pride and to encourage those who surround them despite their differences. There is far too much negativity in the world so it’s imperative that we find the time to build student confidence and allow their voices to be heard. When students know that their viewpoints are not only heard but also valued, the growth they’ll make as a person will be immeasurable.

How do you typically integrate Flocabulary into your curriculum?

We use Flocab as a whole group a lot to start the year. Listening to a specified video as a class, learning the lyrics, even choreographing dances to them (with the understanding that we must know the lyrics and the meaning behind them before we worry about the dancing component as added fun). The “Discuss” option is a great way to get your scholars to openly discuss the topic being covered and work on interpersonal skills. Although Flocab is fun, I try to make sure that my students understand that it is an effective learning tool that we use to enhance their learning. I want to ensure that they take it seriously when we are using accompanying materials or when they’re working on a Quiz or Read & Respond activity throughout the year. For this reason, we will often do a Quiz or Read & Respond as a whole group at the beginning of the year to model strategies to use while taking them.

What is one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had in the classroom while using Flocabulary?

This is a tough one! Although I absolutely loved seeing students work through a variety of scientific concepts using Flocabulary during our Alien/Space Room Transformation, I have to say one of my most memorable experiences was following a unit on African American history.

Students had researched influential African American figures throughout history and written informational persuasive essays on why their individual was one of the most influential people throughout history. Upon completion of their essays, they transferred that information into raps using Lyric Lab. The creativity and student voice that I witnessed through those raps and performances was impressive to say the least. Students owned their work, proudly shared it and celebrated the work of their classmates with genuine excitement.

Through this project, not only did my scholars better retain the information they had researched, but they also uncovered a new way to tell the stories of influential leaders throughout history.

For teachers who are new to Flocab, what's one tip you have for their back-to-school use?

Start small…find one video that accompanies a lesson you do every year anyway. Look through the available teacher resources and see if there are any handouts that you can use when teaching this lesson. The key is to watch the video multiple times throughout the week so that students get to know the lyrics and can sing and dance along. Increased engagement will result in that lesson having a lasting impact!

I’ve found that with Flocabulary, my scholars are far more engaged, have greater mental stamina when working on rigorous tasks and they’re simply happier. Because of these three things, they’re not only demonstrating better retention of the content they’re learning, but also a greater ability to transfer that new learning to more complex tasks.

How has Flocabulary impacted your classroom?

Flocabulary videos and lessons are created with so much intentionality that it makes it easy to integrate into everyday instruction. My students thrive on being able to release some energy and absolutely love music (hip-hop especially), so learning new content through rap really resonates with my students. I’ve found that with Flocabulary, my scholars are far more engaged, have greater mental stamina when working on rigorous tasks and they’re simply happier. Because of these three things, they’re not only demonstrating better retention of the content they’re learning, but also a greater ability to transfer that new learning to more complex tasks.

How has becoming an MCE impacted you?

As an MCE, you get the opportunity to demo different products, and that’s really cool. My kids feel like they’re the big deals because I’m able to say, “The feedback you gave Flocab? I emailed them and she emailed me right back.” And then I pull it up on my screen and I’m like, told you. They really want to hear what you guys have to say.

One of the things my students tested was the Vocab Game, and originally it was in increments of three. My students suggested that every four beats we end on a new element. And then Flocab did it! The MCE experience is a pretty cool experience to have.

Alright, time to rhyme -- let’s write a rap (using Lyric Lab, of course). We’ll start... “ MCE of the Month, and this month, it’s me. So let me tell you something about Flocabulary... “ - your turn -

It gives your students the type of learning they desire

You’ll be more than impressed with the skills that they acquire

Your students will smile, they’ll be ready to learn

Engagement will no longer be a concern

But first you gotta know, they deserve to have a voice

They have more to give if you just give them the choice

You see to reach your students, you gotta know their story

So dig right in and then give them the glory

The room isn’t yours, it isn’t all about you

So step back and listen because…

Kids. Have. Stories. Too.

Mic drop. Be sure to check out Dustin’s takeover of the Flocabulary Instagram this week!

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