Write Your Own Rhymes

Thanks to innovations in computer software, it's fairly easy to create decent audio recordings in your classroom. The best part is that many of your students will know more about this than you do, and this is a great opportunity to let them be the experts.

All you really need is a microphone and some basic recording software. Most newer computers come with a built-in microphone, though there are numerous microphones available online if your computer doesn't have one. You'll also need some simple recording software to interpret and display the sounds that the mic is recording. There are many programs available. Two free programs work fine. The first, which comes on all new Macs, is called GarageBand and will have all of the basic functions that you need to make a good recording. If you have a PC or an older Mac, another free program that works on both PC and Mac is Audacity, which can be downloaded right here. For a beat to rap over, check out our free instrumental rap beats.

NOTE: The Audacity website offers clear, step-by-step instructions on downloading, installing and using the free software. Be sure to read carefully and install the right version for your computer and operating system. Should questions or the need for technical support arise, the Audacity Wiki pages offer detailed, extensive tutorials, FAQs, and forums to help you out.

Here are the steps to create an audio recording:

Step 1. Launch your recording software.

Step 2. Make sure your microphone is working.

Step 3. Press Record and rap!

Step 4. Edit the audio as necessary.

Step 5. Export the file as an MP3.

Recording Video

Shooting a brief video is easy from a technological standpoint, but it can be harder when it comes to getting a final product. Most students know how to shoot a video on a basic video camera, but editing can be tricky. You can create a video of your students' songwriting projects by simply taping them performing in the classroom or auditorium and then save that movie as is, without edits. Of course, it can help to have some lights to make it look a little more professional.

If you want to create a "music video" with different camera angles, costume changes, and pyrotechnics, etc., it might be best to consult your school's technology or media experts. A movie that involves these kinds of things will need editing, which means that you'll need some editing software. New Macs come with iMovie, and most PCs come with Windows Movie Maker. If those programs aren't available to you, you'll have to search for something online.

Making Them Famous

Once you have a video of your students, there are several great sites where you can post them. This can be an exciting finale to the program and allow students to easily share their work with friends and relatives. On most sites, you must create an account in order to post.

Note: In order to post a student's work, name or likeness online, you'll need to obtain permission from the student, his or her parents and, in some cases, your principal or district. Laws vary from state to state, so the responsibility is on you to make sure you are being ethical and lawful when posting student work to the internet. In some cases, it may be as simple as a letter you can send home to parents at the beginning of the year explaining the types of projects that the students will be working on and asking their permission to post images/videos/audio of these projects online. In other cases, you may need to get written approval from a school administrator in addition. Bottom line: be aware that students' images and copyrights are protected. This is especially true for children under the age of 13. For more information, refer to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

The Flocabulary blog occasionally features student lyrics, recordings and video. After you complete any lesson in this book, you can upload the files by clicking Submit on the site or by emailing them to us at info @ flocabulary.com. We'd be glad to share them with the world.

If you or your students have created videos and would like to upload them, you'll need to find a good video-hosting service (whether the video ends up on our blog or not). Options include YouTube, Vimeo, and Teachertube.