“I never met a kid that didn’t want to read,
Didn’t want to learn, didn’t want to succeed
If we listen close, they’re telling us what they need,
If it’s real and relevant, they’ll follow our lead.”
(by Ike Ramos, Director of District Partnerships at Nearpod, Flocabulary Artist)
In most scenarios, we hear from classroom teachers about student expectations around engagement and achievement, but what are school administrators saying?
Referencing the lyrics above, imagine being able to leverage the world’s most popular music genre, Hip Hop, to support literacy (read) and academic success (succeed), to address student needs and foster social emotional learning skills (need), and to create a culturally responsive classroom where student interests are at the forefront and students are motivated to trust and follow their teachers (lead).
As a school administrator, have you ever noticed the challenges that some teachers face when trying to engage their students? With so many things competing for students’ attention, and with so many variables impacting and influencing our students, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why student engagement is hard to achieve: videos games, social media, cell phones, hormones, outdated curriculum, lack of incorporating student voice, challenges at home, lack of parent engagement, previous poor school experiences, peer pressure, and so forth.
This challenge brings us to the first, and main reason we, and other principals love Flocabulary!
1. Regardless of class, language, and ages, Hip-Hop engages
Flocabulary is uniquely equipped to level the playing field and help all teachers engage students around the content and standards. Music itself is a universal language, but Hip Hop and R&B combined are the most popular genres among young people (see blue and black bars in the chart below, © Statista 2021). Flocabulary gives all teachers a powerful entry point for introducing, teaching, and reviewing academic content in a fun, catchy, and engaging way that is rooted in something that many, if not most students already like. Groccia (2018) discussed works by researchers (e.g. Belmont and Skinner) showing how student engagement has led to sustained behavioral involvement in learning. This behavior was determined to have resulted in an overall positive emotional tone which lends itself to students challenging themselves, showing initiative, and expressing curiosity and enthusiasm during learning.
Any of us who have stood in front of a classroom know that it all starts with student engagement, but there are several other reasons why principals love Flocabulary.
2. Check the fine print for alignment
Flocabulary lessons are aligned to both State and Common Core standards. Teachers can easily search for videos and full lessons by standard: https://www.flocabulary.com/standards/all/
3. Make sure students are well with SEL
Flocabulary features over 40 lessons in their Social and Emotional Learning section. Teachers now have an engaging video and multiple activities to create learning experiences around topics like: Diversity, Effective Communication, Growth Mindset, and more.
4. Increase vocabulary with Flocabulary
Although Flocabulary is not “just a vocabulary program”, there is focused intent on ensuring that each Flocabulary video and lesson teaches and reinforces both Tier 3 academic (think subject specific, like “homogenous mixture”) and Tier 2 interdisciplinary vocabulary (think vocabulary only our higher level readers normally have, like “perceive”). Bigger vocabulary equals better comprehension and access to content.
5. It’s all about literacy, even in Math, Science, and History
Flocabulary supports literacy across the curriculum. What does that even mean, you ask? Well, Flocabulary is much more than just videos. Each video includes a suite of interactive activities. Combined, the music videos and activities provide students with multiple opportunities to sharpen their literacy skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. Whether it’s listening to the song and reading along with the captions, reading the passages in Read and Respond and completing the comprehension questions, or writing their own lyrics in Lyric Lab, Flocabulary helps students build their literacy skills while mastering standards from across the content areas: Math, Science, ELA, Social Studies, and more.
One study (Lee, 2014) showed that students had higher reading scores when they showed more effort and perseverance in learning and also felt that they were part of the school community.
In conclusion, school administrators want to know that they are providing their teams with access to resources that will help them increase their students’ academic performance. We possess a talent, creating hip-hop music, that easily engages the youth! Many educators often ask us, “what if I’m not a rapper?” Our response, you don’t have to be. If you’re open to letting your students explore this genre that they already know and love, and provide your knowledge of content for them to create, therein lies the magic!
“Capture their hearts and students minds will follow,
Capture the magic preparing them for tomorrow
So many relevant strategies you can borrow,
Helping them master their universe, so they can have the POWER!”