Product Review of Flocabulary
Flocabulary is a website with hundreds of educational hip-hop videos and supplemental activities for learners in grades K–12. Flocabulary covers math, vocabulary, language arts, social studies, science, and SEL and offers a weekly news update, The Week in Rap, which is adjusted for age appropriateness. Lessons contain music videos and clickable lyrics that can be played at three different speeds. After viewing these as a class or independently, learners can complete the accompanying games, quizzes, reading passages, and more, depending on the plan purchased.
The individual educator subscription (which is required after a 30-day free trial) gives access to the videos, lessons, activities, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) correlations, and the videos present content through a diverse, equitable, and inclusive lens. The full whole-school plan includes quite a bit more, including a educator dashboard and assignable, automatically scored quizzes. Created by pros committed to education, all Flocabulary content is standards-based and even goes above and beyond traditional standards to incorporate current events and SEL content. There’s also a pretty robust community of users and product ambassadors who share ideas and spark inspiration.
Whether you want to assign learners a basic review lesson for homework or plan a fully integrated lesson, the Flocabulary platform is flexible enough to use a little or a lot without feeling routine. The lessons within the videos are relatable and fun enough to get concepts to sink in. Start a unit with a video that introduces the vocabulary that learners need for a lesson in geometry, simple machines, learner loans, or a Shakespearean sonnet. Play a video for the whole class, and then have the learners group up and replay it in discussion mode, giving them the opportunity to explore ideas in more depth and learn from one another. Videos for older learners are more dense, with nearly every rhyme containing some hard facts that they can review afterward through a variety of activities, including writing their own lyrics.
The Week in Rap video lessons help build background knowledge through the lens of current events, and their focus on equity and social justice will spark discussions and help learners develop empathy. Educators should put in some extra time to prepare since some of the topics may lead to in-depth conversations.
One of Flocabulary’s best qualities is that the videos feel authentic, not awkward imitations that are obviously for educational purposes. The backing beats and samples are catchy and memorable, and videos contain a fun combo of stock footage, discussion points, original animation, and, for The Week in Rap, current news clips. The lyrics don’t diminish topics; rather, they speak directly to a K–12 audience, providing an accessible and subtle way for learners to learn content. Accompanying activities, done independently or as a whole class, help learners learn key vocabulary and concepts, increase background knowledge, and review learning with access to quick feedback. Opportunities to create their own hip-hop lyrics empower learners to be creative and allow educators to assess how well their learners are grasping larger concepts.
The downsides to Flocabulary are pretty limited. For one, the cost may be an issue. The Educator Lite plan gives access to all of the lessons and some activities, but for full access, educators and learners will need to be on the school plan, which may be out of their price range. Also, lyrics are occasionally kind of stilted, but this happens in popular music, too. Finally, educators should know that some videos contain light questionable language. While learners probably won’t bat an eye, it’s something educators should just check on beforehand. Turning on the Elementary Filter might be useful for K–6 educators to ensure learners don’t have access to videos that contain violent or disturbing images.
Overall User Consensus About the App
Often irreverent and funny, these super-entertaining hip-hop videos will keep learners‘ attention, and they’ll have a blast forming and performing their own lyrics.
Curriculum and Instruction
Videos are packed with educational info that hits all subject areas, including SEL skills. As learners learn to listen for details, they can become more focused.
Flocabulary offers a solid support system. Videos and lyrics can be viewed at three speeds, and there’s a beta immersive reader feature. Objective quizzes, games, and reading and writing activities challenge learners at every level.