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Meet Our MCE of the Month: Summer Johnson

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

Summer: Revolutions begin in classrooms – I’m just here to change the world!

What kind of educator do you strive to be?

I put a lot of value in relationships. Learning should be something that is facilitated by educators and you need strong relationships with students to make that possible. Learning is also about curiosity and risk taking, how could we ever promote those concepts without strong relationships with students?

As a tech coach, what would you say makes a good edtech tool? How do you decide which ones to use?

The best edtech tools aren’t just for consumption but also for creation. Students shouldn’t just be sitting in front of a screen filling out the same non-engaging worksheets they used to fill out on paper that are now online. When edtech tools connect students with the world, encourage their creativity and allow them to flourish in ways that respect their individual learning styles and interests, that’s when you know you have a good tool. This is exactly why I love Flocab so much!

How long have you been using Flocabulary and how has it changed since you started?

I’ve known about Flocabulary for a while. I was a Social Studies teacher before I became a tech coach, so I had that book with the CD insert back in the day! I was also familiar with some of the videos on YouTube but I’ve only been using the assignable activities and individual accounts feature this past school year.

How do you typically implement Flocabulary?

At my school, teachers implement Flocabulary in a variety of ways. It might be as a choice in a student’s learning path or a review activity. Turning on the discussion tool is great for small groups and I love to see creative students who dive all in with the lyric lab. Flocabulary is also an excellent tool for teaching digital citizenship for students of all grade levels.

When edtech tools connect students with the world, encourage their creativity and allow them to flourish in ways that respect their individual learning styles and interests, that’s when you know you have a good tool. This is exactly why I love Flocab so much!

As a high school-level tech coach, what would you say to teachers who think Flocabulary is only for younger students?

Whenever I demo Flocabulary, I always start with asking teachers “by a show of hands, who here has students who like hip-hop?” Undoubtedly, every hand will go up because hip-hop is universally loved by teenagers. This is culturally relevant to students and they take notice when their teachers want to be engaging in ways that already include things that interest them.

I also think the artists that contribute to Flocabulary are so amazing and bring such positive energy and messages to these lessons. The Extra Credit playlist on Flocabulary’s YouTube channel is a great place to get more high school students into Flocabulary because they showcase the different contributing artists. I became a big fan of Sammus and Blimes because I heard them on Flocabulary and then immediately devoured any other music from them I could find. Flocabulary is not just about “raps for school” — it’s also home to some seriously dope emcees, and I can think of plenty of high school students who would be into that!

How has Flocabulary impacted your students?

I think the biggest impact on students is the variety of activities available in every Flocabulary lesson. Students should be familiar with the type of learners they are — especially by the time they get to high school! It’s really powerful to see students choose which activity works best for them to practice and learn the concepts associated with the lesson. If students want to practice flashcards or build the beat in the matching game, there is that option. If a student is more auditory and just wants to listen to the song several times over, they can. And for students who want to get creative and use the Lyric Lab or app smash Flocabulary resources with other edtech tools, they have those options as well. It’s also been wonderful to see teachers give up some of that control and allow students to choose their learning paths because they have confidence in this tool.

Aside from this recent project, what has been one of the most memorable experiences you’ve had while using Flocabulary in the classroom?

Seeing students use the Lyric Lab AND perform it for their classmates is always the most memorable for me. Their fellow classmates are always so supportive and encouraging and I absolutely love the bravery involved for those scholars to go get after their learning like that!

Watching my principal experience this tool for the first time was also really memorable for me. As soon as she saw the variety of lessons, she was impressed. Then when her head started bobbing and she was loving the matching game, I knew she would be an excellent partner with me to build capacity and spread the flove! Word got out and I was getting emails from other tech coaches who were told to go find out more about Flocabulary! It’s my hope that we keep building capacity. Flocabulary is infectious!

How has being an MCE impacted you?

I adore being part of this community. The Twitter chats, Facebook group, MCE group calls — it’s always inspiring! I know that I’m automatically around other educators that are like-minded, which is so important to the survival and success of every educator. I love that I get to represent high school too!

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 -

MCE of the month, and this month, it’s me

So let me tell you something about Flocabulary

K thru 12 resources bring something for everyone

Learning activities build a positive outcome

So check out Lee High School and see how we roll

A community of learners — that’s our goal

On Twitter… @scholarcation is where I stay

And I’ll be Flocabing even on summer vaycay

Cayley Ross

Cayley Ross is Flocabulary's Marketing Co-op. She is a senior at Northeastern University majoring in communication studies and minoring in English and graphic design.

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