Every week, our Week in Rap Shout Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. Last week, we asked you to imagine what an alien would think visiting Earth for the first time. You submitted so many incredibly creative entries, coming up with all sorts of new world and backstories for your alien characters. Really amazing work! Continue reading
Every week, our Week in Rap Shout Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. Last week, we asked you to send in three questions for the Flocabulary team. In addition to giving the winner a shout out, we’re also answering their questions, as well as the questions from the runners-up.
Congratulations to our winning school Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, MD, as well as our runners-up Hidden Oaks Middle School, FL, and Jonesboro Math & Science Magnet School, AR.
With no further ado, our answers to your questions: Continue reading
Every week, our Week in Rap Shout Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. Last week, in honor of the new school year, we asked you to describe your ideal school. What would students study there? What courses would it offer? What would be the school’s mission?
Our winning entry comes from Normandy Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. They took us to “Low Down Middle School,” and they created both a school pledge/song and a course list. Continue reading
BROOKLYN (AUGUST 15, 2013) Flocabulary, an online library of educational hip-hop videos, today announced the launch of a revamped site with new features designed to help teachers implement Common Core State Standards. The product release also includes 17 new CCSS-aligned videos for English Language Arts.
With the new deployment, all Flocabulary units for math and ELA are aligned to Common Core Standards. Teachers can now navigate based on grade, subject and standard, and search using key words.
“Our goal is to make educational content more accessible for teachers and more engaging for students,” says Alex Rappaport, Flocabulary’s Co-Founder and CEO. “These new features will help teachers use Flocabulary more effectively to meet their CCSS objectives and bring their lessons to life.”
With the addition of new CCSS-aligned units for ELA, Flocabulary has expanded its robust library of content for teaching the Common Core in grades K-12. Topics include reading strategies like “Main Idea” and “Context Clues,” and writing strategies like “Using Descriptive Language” and “Point of View.” For older students, there are several videos about the research process, including “Note-Taking Methods” and “Source Credibility.” These new units have made Flocabulary’s existing library of CCSS-aligned resources for math and ELA more comprehensive.
For teachers who want to explore the resources, Flocabulary offers a free two-week trial of its digital subscription program. Schools can register for 30-day trials which provide access for all teachers and students. Both options provide unlimited access to all songs, videos and lessons. Paid subscriptions are available starting at $7/month or $63/year for an individual teacher, or $1200/year for a school building.
Flocabulary is an online library of songs, videos and activities for grades K-12. Hundreds of thousands of teachers use Flocabulary to supplement their instruction and engage students. Our team of artists and educators is not only committed to raising test scores, but also to fostering a love of learning in every child. For more information, visit www.flocabulary.com.
We are SO excited to finally share our new website, which is lookin’ fresh from its back-to-school makeover. You’ll probably notice that everything is prettier, but there have been some major feature upgrades as well. Make sure you check out all of the handy new tools in our toolbox!:
1. CCSS Alignment Guide
We know that Common Core alignment is a major concern for many of our teachers. That’s why we made it easier than ever to browse Flocabulary units by Common Core standard. With our new Standards Alignment guide, you can browse by ELA or math as well as by grade level. See at a glance what videos we have for your specific standard. Explore now!
2. Revamped Unit Pages
Our unit pages are easier to navigate than ever before. You can now turn on Classroom View to optimize the site for projection in front of the class. Menus will instantly disappear, leaving a clean view of the video and the lyrics for you to share with your students. Videos are now higher quality and larger. Clickable Lyrics are back and better than ever; click on a highlighted lyric to bring up an info box and learn more. You’ll also notice that our interactive features — Challenge Questions and Fill in the Blanks — are now easily accessible via tabs on the top of each unit. Printable lyrics, activities and tests can be found on the right of the unit under “Handouts.” Below the handouts, you can quickly view recommended grade levels, CCSS alignment and a unit description.
Do you find yourself returning to the same unit over and over again? Or wanting to have a set of videos ready to roll for a lesson? Now you can easily save favorite units to one place. On any unit, click the Star next to “Add Favorite,” and that unit will be saved to your Favorites. Click the Star button on the top toolbar, next to “My Account,” to see the videos you’ve saved.
5. How It Works
Need a quick overview or refresher on how to implement Flocabulary in your classroom? Visit our How It Works page anytime for a tour of all of our features, from videos to assessment. And if you’re looking for inspiration, make sure to check out the “Projects and Games” tab for out-of-the-box ideas.
6. Flocab, Month by Month
If you’re looking for seasonal activities, look no further than Flocab, Month by Month. This section is organized by month to facilitate easy planning for this month or the next. Want lesson ideas for election season in November? How about final exams in May? Or maybe even the first day of school? You’ll find it all on Flocab, Month by Month.
7. Spread the Love
Every day, we get amazing emails from educators who want to share their Flocabulary stories. We are thrilled to finally showcase their wonderful words and smiling faces on our website at Flocab Stories. And if you have your own story to share, you can submit it easily here.
Phew! That sure is a lot of new content! We hope you have a blast exploring everything our new site has to offer. As always, don’t hesitate to contact us with questions, comments or concerns.
In our new Public Speaking video, a purple man with cat-like features prepares to give a speech. For this past week’s Week in Rap Shout Out Contest, we asked you to tell us his backstory. Where does he come from? What is his speech about? Our winning school is Belhaven Middle School in Linwood, New Jersey, who submitted some very creative entries that really made us smile. Check out some of the stories they concocted:
- This is Jerry. He wasn’t born purple, just clumsy. One day his father was painting the bathroom. Jerry opened the door and tripped on a paint brush. His head went straight into the purple paint. Shower after shower, it wouldn’t come off. Jerry got worried that other kids would make fun of him not only because he had big pointy ears and whiskers but now that he was purple. When he would go to school, kids would always make fun of him so twelve years later when Jeremy was twenty four he decided to boost his confidence and make a speech on self-confidence. He talked about how it doesn’t matter who you are on the outside but the inside that counts. Jerry practiced six times a day. When Jerry went up to podium everyone laughed. However, when Jerry was done his speech EVERYONE was speechless. So maybe it is true that is what matters on the inside not the outside. When he finished everyone clapped.
- There once was a skinny man who loved grapes. He ate too many grapes that he turned purple. Then unfortunately he got bit by a vampire. Then he got pointy ears. This man, nicknamed Grapes, wanted to give a speech about his life story. Then he got scratched by a were-cat so he has whiskers. He climbs up in the tree and howls.
- This new character, a wonderful creature, is a Grat, also known as a grape cat. He was born like this for his mother was a cat and his father a grape. He travels around the world telling speeches about his experience being a Grat. His real name is George, but he is nicknamed Royalty, because of his color. Clearly, Grat is a majestic, beautiful creature.
- Meet Jerry, this half cat half grape is ready to give a speech about being bullied for his appearance to a group of students. He was born an ordinary town called Linwood, NJ. He has always been bullied because his father was a cat and his mother a grape. Ever since this “crape” was young he wanted to abolish bullying once and for all. Although this stranger creature is one of a kind and different than everyone else, Jerry still has the chance to do great things.
- This man was born into a popular family of socialites with a silver spoon in his mouth. He was named Richard Tuttle III after his grandfather. Being six feet tall with blonde hair and charcoal eyes, he was extremely good looking. One day, while walking to his job as a bank attorney, he was caught in a freak accident by his hometown, Manhattan. He was trying to remember his speech, while absentmindedly trying to cross the busy street. A truck, carrying bleach, swerved trying to avoid hitting anything. The truck hit a pole which cracked open the truck barrel, and bleach came pouring out by the gallon. Shrapnel from accident nailed his ears to the road and as he tried to move his ears were stretched. Because of specific genes in his blood, the bleach dyed his skin permantely purple. This messed with his male hormones leaving him to grow whispers. The accident left him blind and he can no longer see. In the hospital, he gave a speech to the media about the accident. The public ridiculed him and made fun of his looks. He realized then that he was lucky to be alive and looks don’t matter. He spent the remainder of his days speaking to the public.
Congratulations, Belhaven Middle School! And don’t forget to enter the next Week in Rap Shout Out Contest for a chance at a shout out in next Friday’s Week in Rap.
Then, follow up the video with our trivia worksheet, or one of these easy-to-use Mini Lessons. They are listed in order of time required, from quickest to most involved.
The Last 18 Years in Rap Mini Lessons
For each lesson, begin by watching The Last 18 Years in Rap.
1. Did You Know?
Ask students which events they knew about and which they didn’t. Choose one story they didn’t know about and learn more by clicking on lyrics. Extend the activity by asking student which stories they would have included that we left out.
2. Change the World
Ask students which event in the last 18 years changed the world the most. You should communicate that it doesn’t just have to be the most momentous or dramatic event (like 9/11), though it could be. Students should explain why they think their chosen event changed the world the most.
3. What Were They Thinking?
It’s easy to form opinions about history when all is said and done, but while events are happening, they’re more difficult to understand and form opinions about. Have students choose an event from “The Last 18 years in Rap” and find out how people felt about it while it was happening by reading editorials and op-eds from the time. Have views changed since the event? What do we know now that people couldn’t have known then?
4. The Next 18 Years in Rap
Think 18 years into the future. For you graduates, you’ll be about 36. Pretend that you are writing “The Last 18 Years in Rap” in 2030, and think about which events might have happened. Did humans walk on Mars? Did we find peace in the Middle East? Who was elected president? You could either write it out as a list or in rap form.
5. Writing History
Ask students to pretend that they are writing the chapter in a textbook for the last 18 years. (In fact, for many of you, your textbooks might not include much information about the last 18 years.) Students should figure out how they would organize the chapter. How would they divide it? What are common themes? What are the most important events? For an extended project, students could even write this as a short chapter or outline.
Did you enjoy “The Last 18 Years in Rap”? Well we usually do this weekly. You can get the top news each Friday with The Week in Rap. Start your free trial now.
You asked, we listened. The Flocab hive has been buzzing with worker bees and the honey is going to be scrumptious. Here’s a sneak peek at the new songs we’ll be rolling out for next school year:
Upcoming ELA Songs
- Fiction vs. Nonfiction
- The Writing Process (POWER mnemonic)
- Plot Elements
- Point of View (1st, 2nd & 3rd person)
- Persuasive Language
- Who, What, When, Where, Why
- Using Descriptive Language
- Word Choice (connotation & denotation)
- Five Paragraph Essay
- The Research Process
- Context Clues
- Main Idea
- Source Credibility
- Note-Taking Methods
- Making Inferences
- Ode to the Library Media Specialist
Upcoming Science Songs
- Parts of a Plant
- The Food Chain
- Life Cycles
- Natural Resources
- Roles of Water
- States of Matter
- Wave Properties
- What Is Science?
Are you as excited as we are?! We hope so! Stay tuned in the 2013-2014 school year for these new topics and more. In the mean time, check out this month’s new additions:
New This Month
Watch this video to learn fifteen vocabulary words for the sixth grade. “Yes We Can” tells the story of a Latina woman who fights to help her people. Watch now.
Watch this autobiographical Flocab video to learn fifteen vocabulary words for the sixth grade. Hear a bit of the Flocabulary founders’ philosophy along the way! Watch now.
Watch this video to learn fifteen vocabulary words for the seventh grade while you hit the road for an epic road trip! Watch now.
In this video, students will learn about the colonization of India and Africa as well as the works of Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. Watch now.
In this video, students will immerse themselves in the writing of the US constitution in a rap featuring John Locke, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. Watch now.
Assigning enjoyable summer reading titles can help keep those literary gears turning over vacation — and hopefully introduce kids to new favorite books. We’ve assembled a summer reading list for all grade levels based on various recommended reading lists.
Give summer reading a multimedia twist by using Flocabulary videos to supplement! For each book, we handpicked a Flocabulary video that explores similar themes, so you can give your students a sneak peek and get them excited before they leave.
What Do You Do With a Tail Like This?
By Steve Jenkins
This 2004 Caldecott Honor Book takes us on a beautiful tour of different animals, from the mole to the platypus. We learn how different creatures use their ears, eyes, mouths, noses, feet and tails.
If you’re reading What Do You Do with a Tail…, you might also like Flocab’s K-2 story, “The Chipmunk,” which teaches exciting words like “enormous,” “magical” and “rumpus.” Listen now.
Name That Dog! Puppy Poems from A to Z
by Peggy Archer
This silly and smart collection of poems about naming some special dogs helps early elementary students to review the alphabet and explore rhyme.
Check out our Word Up song about a dog named Manny and experience words like “blossom” and “tidy.” Watch now.
A Wizard From the Start: The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison
by Don Brown
This picture book introduces readers to the great accomplishments of Thomas Edison.
If you’re reading about Thomas Edison, include some additional context with our social studies song about the Industrial Revolution. Watch Now.
Mousetronaut: Based on a (Partially) True Story
by Mark Kelly
Astronaut Mark Kelly really did fly alongside mice aboard the Endeavor shuttle in 2011. He honors those little mouse-tronauts in this story about Mike the mouse, who is determined to lend a helping hand on the space shuttle.
Complement Mike’s journey with our video about the solar system. Watch Now.
Walt Whitman: Words for America
by Barbara Kerley
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book Honoree, this beautifully drawn biography introduces students to the fascinating life of Walt Whitman. Learn about his service as a Civil War nurse and how it inspired him to write.
Have your readers identify figurative language in Walt Whitman’s poems or incorporate wordplay into their own writing with our figurative language video. Watch Now.
by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Pam Muñoz Ryan draws from her own grandmother’s experiences to bring this historical fiction novel to life. We follow 13-year-old Esperanza as her family embarks on a difficult journey from Mexico to the United States. This story chronicles the obstacles she and her family face as immigrants during the Great Depression.
Help lend context to this historical fiction by listening to a rapped excerpt of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous 1933 inaugural address. Listen Now.
by Jerry Spinelli
At first, Stargirl’s uniqueness makes her popular. But soon her peers turn against her because she isn’t like them. Spinelli explores the challenges of conformity and being “normal” in this highly relevant teen novel.
Learn fifteen 7th grade vocabulary words in our Word Up song that explores similar themes, “Both Sides Now.” Watch Now.
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Aristotle and Dante don’t think they have anything in common, but in time they become invaluable parts of each other’s lives. Join them on this realistic journey through adolescence as they discover their true identities.
Learn fifteen 8th grade vocabulary words in our Word Up song “Two Bad Cousins,” another tale of camaraderie. Watch Now.
A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier
by Ishmael Beah
Ishmael Beah generously shares this true story of becoming a boy soldier in Sierra Leone. This powerful memoir gives readers a new perspective on the realities of violence in other parts of the world, and tells an inspiring story about rehabilitation and surviving tragedy.
Our World War I song is also written from the perspective of a soldier. Ask students to reflect how our perspective on a historical moment changes when we hear it in the first person. Listen Now.
The Elegance of the Hedgehog
by Murial Barbery
Spend some time curled up in a hammock with this funny and whimsical novel, translated from the French. It tells the story of unlikely friends in a Parisian apartment building: a secretly intellectual concierge, a dramatic 12-year-old girl, and a Japanese businessman.
This vocab song tells stories about different kinds of friendships while incorporating SAT vocab like “magnanimous,” “conciliatory” and “camaraderie.” Listen Now.
by M.T. Anderson
This science fiction novel chronicles timeless teenage troubles in a futuristic setting. Feed deftly explores consumerism and our growing dependence on technology.
This SAT vocab song about a patient and his symptoms teaches great words for discussing Feed, including “hedonist,” “frenetic” and “ominous.” Listen Now.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
This beloved novel is written from the perspective of an autistic 15-year-old, Christopher, who excels in math but flounders socially. He sets out to solve a murder mystery in this sweet and poetic novel.
Take a trip into Christopher’s world by learning SAT math vocabulary, including “decagon,” “perpendicular” and “congruent.” Listen Now.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi
A New York Times Notable Book, this absorbing graphic novel tells the true story of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Marjane Satrapi candidly shares her adolescence with us and lends an intimate perspective to discord in the Middle East.
Learn more about conflicts in the modern Middle East from 1948 to the present with our social studies song. Listen Now.
From everyone Flocab HQ to you: We hope you have a great summer filled with GREAT books!
Every week, our Week in Rap Shout Out Contest gives students an opportunity to win a shout out for their school in the next Week in Rap. Last week, we asked you about your dream job and the qualities you would need for it. What would you do, if you could do anything? What would you need to achieve that dream?
Our winning school this week is Glasgow Middle School in Alexandria, Virginia. Ms. Poole’s class submitted quite a few entries; here are some of our favorites!
- My dream job is to be a music producer. In order to do this, I would need to go to college so I can understand technology to make music, and also trust my tastes, in order to be successful. I plan to get a master’s degree. I want music to change people or make them happy, so that means I have to work my best. – Melanie
- My dream job would be a part time doctor and a part time president helper. I would need to be elastic and time consuming, using my time wisely. I would most necessarily need to be able to communicate and work more responsibly. I would need the courage and success in algebra, science, and language. – Tooba
- My dream job is to work in the NICU. In order to work there I need to get good grades in science and math. The hard part of working in the NICU is that you have to be able to handle the death of a baby. It’s stressful because you have to think about the parents and how they will handle it. – Isabelle
- My dream job is to be a lawyer and then when I’m older I can own my very own law firm and name it Nadia’s law firm. The qualities is to have a good grasp on law and go to law school, also be very non-bias, do well in history too. – Nadia
- I want to be a professional photographer. To be a photographer, I need to be very patient because it can take awhile to get a good picture. Also, I need to be calm, especially if I want to take pictures in nature. I also need to be really good with timing because timing can make a huge difference when you are taking pictures. – Camellia
- My dream job is to be a manga artist or a studio artist. If I can’t make it, it would be nice to be a surgeon. I will achieve it by starting to attend art classes in high school and keep improving. I’m planning a major in studio arts in college and possibly to go to Japan for abroad studying. For a surgeon, I haven’t thought much about it but I want to attend college and work at a good hospital. – Nhan
Congratulations, Glasgow Middle School!
We also enjoyed these entries from Hidden Oaks Middle School, Florida.
- Rapper on Flocabulary = intelligent, extensive vocabulary, ability to rhyme quickly and accurately, can read music, “off the cuff” mentality, knowledgeable about current events
- Military (Air Force/Marines) = strong (mentally and physically), brave, courageous, positive attitude/outlook, selfless, loyal, trustworthy, determined, focused, coordinated/good reflexes, fierce
- Artist = take classes, including geometry, be imaginative, be able to use different mediums and colors, have a steady hand, love of art, open mind, patience, and have inspiration
- International Anthropologist = learn about various societies and cultures, travel around the world, earn a doctoral degree, unearth information on ancient tribes
- Psychologist = help and work with people, understand the human brain, earn a doctoral degree, good listener
- Choreographer = love of dance and teaching dance, committed, imaginative, good work ethic, strong, creative, patient, likes working with people
- Business owner (surf shop) = college, sales, good customer service, knowledgeable about surfing or able to surf, close proximity to beach, good employees, welcoming and relaxed environment
- Veterinarian = kind, patient, loves animals, diligent, determined, charitable, ambitious
- Forensic Photographer = love of photography, college education, able to use all kinds of camera equipment and technology, able to develop film, knowledgeable about chemicals, intelligent, has a “good eye”
- Teacher = love of children, college education, patient, intelligent, caring, creative, likes working with people, good with technology, open minded, selfless
Finally, we found this entry from Aliyah at Old Mill Middle North, Maryland, very inspiring!
My name is Aliyah, and I would really love to be a famous musician. Music is so amazing and fun, why not have it has a job? I mean, who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they love? There are a few things I could do to be successful at a music career. I could go on a competition show such as American Idol or X-Factor. For this I would have to be brave because I would have to perform in front of thousands of people on television. That’s something to be really nervous about! I’d have to be eager and have a desire for music to do this because its a really big deal. If I didn’t care, what would be the point? Another thing I could do is to perform at small places and gradually make my way to the top. Did you know that Taylor Swift performed at a small place, then got a record deal with Big Machine Records? I want that to happen to me. For this I would have to be patient. Unlike a competition, that might take awhile because you might not be discovered so quickly. I’d also have to be determined because after awhile of not being discovered, I could lose hope. That wouldn’t get me anywhere. I really hope I get my dream job!!!! Please consider a shout out to my school, Old Mill Middle North!
Thank you to everyone who entered! Our next contest will last for two weeks, with a shout out in the June 7 Week in Rap. Don’t miss the 18 Years in Rap next week!