I originally learned about Flocabulary when I attended ISTE last summer in Chicago and went to the Flocabulary concert. Both the energy and message were so inspiring to me. I came back to school in the fall knowing I HAD to get more teachers involved in using this amazing and engaging tool. A great way to do this was by creating a Lyric Lab option for our 10th graders’ yearly personal project.
By definition, the personal project for our 10th graders is a culminating Middle Years Programme (MYP) project to develop the student’s personal interest and to show and apply the skills they develop through the MYP’s Approaches to Learning. This project is based on the student’s interests and talents, resulting in a product or outcome. At Lee, students complete this project in 10th grade, mostly within their English classes.
About the project
Students have a lot of freedom and choice in this project. They can choose their topic as well as how to showcase their learning and present their research. As the tech coach, I work with teachers and students to help them with the tech tools they will use to present their learning. Students often choose videos, slide shows and podcasts, but I always make sure to plug the Flocabulary Lyric Lab as an option.
Many of these students have some familiarity with Flocabulary from using it in other classes. But for this project, it’s a little different since it centered around Lyric Lab.
About the student
This student was a 3rd-year ELL student, so he was in a 10th grade English small group support class.
When this student was considering giving the Lyric Lab a shot, I helped him find a relevant lesson for his topic, computer hacking.
We used the Flocabulary lesson on Internet Safety as inspiration and then Lyric Lab to help put it all together. This really showcases his risk-taking and bravery to use a tool like the Lyric Lab!
This student is working on a rap about computer hacking with the support of @Flocabulary He’s going to record it to add to his @AdobeSpark video on the same topic! #appsmashing for the win!! It’s amazing what students create when given the opportunity and support. #FCPSon pic.twitter.com/5B9ENHqQe0
— Summer Johnson (@scholarcation) April 4, 2019
Honing in on new skills
When it comes to what writing the rap would be like for an ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) student, I don’t think I had any assumptions. This was my first time presenting Flocabulary as an option as well! I was so excited that he was willing to give the Lyric Lab a shot. He’s a very reserved student so I wasn’t expecting it — all he needed was a little push and encouragement.
Because of his research, he brought a lot of background knowledge to the Lyric Lab. This led to him using higher-level vocabulary in the rap-writing process. Writing the lyrics was obviously a good time for him to sharpen his reading and writing skills. However, when we moved on to the actual recording and performing of the song, that’s when I really saw more skill practice than I was expecting. He started to explore the different beats available on the Lyric Lab. He noted which ones would be too fast for him to rap with and what styles he liked best. This student also started making a list of his favorite beats and then crossing them out as he narrowed down his search.
He also started practicing when to take a pause in the song and noticed that he needed to add or remove words or syllables to get the timing and rhyming correct. This was really awesome to watch his creative process develop organically! I didn’t anticipate the multiple layers of literacy he would end up using.
Lyric Lab as a confidence booster
When this student was first considering using the Lyric Lab, he thought Flocabulary would magically make an animated video for his rap. When I told him that **he** would be the one rapping, I saw the fear in his eyes. I assured him he would have support every step of the way. His teacher and our MYP coach helped him with writing his lyrics.
Once he started writing in the Lyric Lab, he saw all the rhyming words, which increased his confidence and propelled him to keep writing.
When it was time to record, the MYP coach and I sat down with him to support the process. We rapped the first lines of the song together to help him gain confidence.
The plan was to record his rap using the tool Audacity. Secretly, I pressed record during his second practice run. After he finished, I let him hear back his first take — I could tell his confidence was improving. He noticed some areas where his pronunciation or timing was off and made adjustments, then nailed it on the second take.
Anybody who has had to learn another language will probably include music as something that helped them in that process. This is exactly what makes Flocabulary such a powerful tool. It’s engaging and catchy and really helps students build their vocabulary.
Since Flocab is a K-12 resource, it also has the potential to be useful for all students regardless of their language skills. It’s great to see the variety of ways this tool can be used with ESOL students. Students just starting their English learning journey can use Flocabulary and so can students who have the fluency and confidence to dive into the Lyric Lab.
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