There has rarely been a time where I thought paid web tools were worth their price tag, which just makes Flocabulary extra special. I remember hearing about Flocabulary for the first time at ISTE 2011 in Philadelphia. It was love at first sight and listen, but there was no application into my Spanish curriculum. Fast forward two years, to the spring of 2013 at EdCamp Philly. Coach Pane (whose first name I forget, sorry) explained how he incorporated the Week in Rap into his Social Studies classroom. The stars aligned and I won the raffle for a subscription to Flocabulary.
The students love the Week in Rap videos. They pay attention to the lyrics and are inquisitive about the news stories. I’ve been impressed with the thought provoking questions they have about the news stories. I am willing to admit I do not know all the answers, but we look them up together. Generally I have them start the period by brainstorming and listing current events from the past week. We listen to the rap once and check which events they shared with the rap and add additional events. They sometimes ask questions probing the details of a story. Those are easy to find since Flocabulary provides hyperlinked lyrics written at the level of the students. We listen to the rap a second time with no specific task required. The students mentioned that they use their log in to check out a wide variety of the raps in other subject areas from home.
This week I want to change up the procedure a little bit. I am going to start by showing the students the lyrics. The current events embedded in the lyrics will be divided amongst each of the table groups. They will be responsible for finding out more details and reporting out to the group. After that has been accomplished, we can enjoy just listening to the Week in Rap.
Current Event Fridays have quickly become an anticipated part of class. The Week in Rap is extremely useful and catchy. The students are willing to listen to the rap multiple times. This Friday the Flocabulary video fell at the end of the class period. The video went past the official end of the day and the majority of the students stayed the extra minute to watch it to the end. That first minute of weekend freedom speaks volumes. The students want to hear the Week in Rap. Just as significant, the raps are intellectually pleasant. It does not irritate me even after I hear it 8 or more times in a day.
The value in the return on the investment makes Flocabulary worth the cost. It will be the only resource I see myself budgeting for next school year. Honestly, in 15 years what will it matter if the students remember the 5 themes of geography? Probably not. What will make them more valuable members of society is their interest in local and global events with an understanding of how both have far reaching ramifications. Making the students aware of the world and eager global citizens is priceless.