Jennifer Brandon: Technology Liaison
I was somewhat concerned that my rap savvy middle school students might not take to Flocabulary but apparently that's just WHACK! When I started using Flocabulary for vocabulary building (Wordy Wednesday), it was an instant hit. My students like to pick out the synonyms and match them with the new vocab, but most of all they love the stories. It just so happened that we hit two videos in a row where the theme was kids home without supervision. They all had a lot to say about that and now they had new vocabulary to use.
Then I started using Week in Rap. I introduce it each week by asking if anyone can predict what will be covered (Flocab Fridays). At first, there were no answers. Very few of my students watch any news at all and their parents don't either. As we have progressed, I have noticed that students have been paying more attention to the various news stories and are more aware of what Week in Rap presents. Whenever we predict, unfortunately, someone always suggests "Syria" as one of the topics and is usually correct, but they have also been able to provide more information that shows they have begun to pay attention to the wide world around them. We live in a small, rural, impoverished West Tennessee community. The Week in Rap allows my students to realize that there are things happening across the globe that affect them and their families. While they are all somewhat connected to media, their usual choices have more to do with fashion and sports than world news events. Flocabulary's Week in Rap has made an impression on them that will hopefully broaden their perspective.
I teach Technology which involves keyboarding practice as well. Our usual routine was to test on Friday and once the test was finished they would finish any other work and then get to play some ed games. NOW, we have to see the Week in Rap — they insist! One week ended on Thursday due to professional development and the kids were really irritated that they couldn't see the Week in Rap before going on to games. When they were back on Monday, the first thing that had to be attended to was catching up on Flocab.
I'm sure you're aware of what a big impact you make on struggling learners — the themes help them so much with getting into the raps and they are better able to make connections with the simple definitions and the new vocabulary.