Take a look inside 1 video | 9 images
Pros: Smart, catchy videos feature diverse representation and a variety of teacher- and student-friendly activities.
Cons: Some videos contain language that some teachers will find inappropriate for younger viewers. The individual teacher version lacks easy differentiation and progress tracking.
Bottom Line: This site's content is savvy enough to keep students focused, and teachers will love the flexible options for deepening learning.
Whether you want to assign students 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 students need for a lesson in geometry, simple machines, student loans, or a Shakespearean sonnet. Play a video for the whole class, and then have the students 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 students 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 students develop empathy. Teachers should put in some extra time to prepare since some of the topics may lead to in-depth conversations.
Flocabulary is a website with hundreds of educational hip-hop videos and supplemental activities for students 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, students can complete the accompanying games, quizzes, reading passages, and more, depending on the plan purchased.
The individual teacher 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 teacher 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.
Disclosure: Common Sense Education has partnered with Flocabulary in the past; however, our initial review was completed before this partnership was established.
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 students to learn content. Accompanying activities, done independently or as a whole class, help students 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 students to be creative and allow teachers to assess how well their students are grasping larger concepts.
The downsides to Flocabulary are pretty limited. For one, the cost may be an issue. The Teacher Lite plan gives access to all of the lessons and some activities, but for full access, teachers and students 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, teachers should know that some videos contain light questionable language. While students probably won't bat an eye, it's something teachers should just check on beforehand. Turning on the Elementary Filter might be useful for K–6 teachers to ensure students don't have access to videos that contain violent or disturbing images.