Review by Marianne Rogowski, Common Sense Education | Updated March 2019

Flocabulary

Delightful hip-hop-based platform teaches vocab across content areas

Subjects & skills
Subjects
  • Social Studies
  • English Language Arts
  • Math
  • Science

Skills
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is based on learning appropriateness and doesn't take into account privacy. It's determined by Common Sense Education, not the product's publisher.
K–12
Common Sense says (See details)
Teachers say (63 Reviews)
Privacy (See details)

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1 video | 6 images

Pros: Smart songs are helpful and catchy; teachers and students will appreciate the variety of engaging activities.

Cons: Some subject areas and standards are lighter on content than others, but new material is added regularly.

Bottom Line: Flocabulary has the goods: It's savvy enough to keep kids focused, and teachers will love the engaging, multi-modal platform.

Whether you want to assign kids a basic review lesson for homework or plan a fully integrated lesson, Flocabulary is flexible enough to use a little or a lot without feeling routine. Delivered through media that kids actually enjoy, the lessons within the songs should sink in quite nicely. Start a unit with a video that introduces the vocabulary kids need for a lesson in geometry, simple machines, student loans, or a Shakespearean sonnet. Play a video for the whole class, then have the kids group up and replay it in discussion mode, giving them the opportunity to explore ideas in more depth and learn from one another. Songs for older kids 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. 

While some teachers may balk at this nontraditional approach to learning, Flocabulary has a ton of legit research behind it, and its in-depth, sound approach to morphing hip-hop beats with lasting learning is sure to have teachers raising the roof.

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Flocabulary is an online platform that delivers educational hip-hop songs, videos, and supplemental activities for kids in grades K-12. Flocabulary covers math, vocabulary, language arts, social studies, science, and life skills and offers a weekly news update, The Week in Rap (or The Week in Rap Junior for younger kids). Lessons contain music videos and clickable lyrics that can be played at three different speeds. After viewing these as a class or independently, kids can complete the accompanying games, quizzes, reading passages, and more.

The individual teacher subscription gives access to the videos, lessons, activities, and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) correlations. 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. There's also a pretty robust community of users and product ambassadors who share ideas and spark inspiration.

Full Disclosure: In the past, Common Sense Education has partnered with Flocabulary. However, Common Sense Education's reviews maintain editorial integrity and independence.

One of Flocabulary's best qualities is that the songs sound like real rap songs, not an embarrassing imitation that's obviously for educational purposes. The backing beats and samples are catchy and memorable, and videos contain a fun combo of stock footage, original animation, and, for The Week in Rap, current news clips. The lyrics don't dumb-down topics but speak directly to a young audience, providing a subtle way for students to learn content.

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, but for full access, teachers and students will need to be on the school plan (which costs $2,000). Also, lyrics are occasionally kind of stilted, but this happens in popular music too. Finally, teachers should know that some songs contain light questionable language. Kids probably won't bat an eye, but it's something to just check on beforehand. 

Overall Rating

Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return?

Often irreverent and funny, these super-entertaining songs and videos will keep kids' attention, and kids will have a blast forming and performing their own lyrics.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer?

Songs are packed with educational info that hits all subject areas, including life skills. As kids learn to listen for details, they can become more focused.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students?

Flocabulary offers a pretty solid support system. Lyrics appear on the screen, and videos can be viewed at three speeds. Objective quizzes, games, and reading and writing activities challenge students at every level.


Common Sense Reviewer
Marianne Rogowski Media specialist/librarian

Teacher Reviews

(See all 63 reviews) (63 reviews) Write a review
Featured review by
Kym M. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
The Urban Assembly School of Music and Art
Brooklyn, United States
Spitting Knowledge through Song!
Overall I really love this program and so do the students. With its Weekly "Week in Rap" selection, Flocabulary helps to keep students informed on what's currently happening in the world. Always working on improvements, a newly added feature now breaks down Current Events into grade levels giving close attention to sensitive subjects matters and developing age appropriate content. Other invaluble tools that come with each video are lesson plans, interactive lyric sheets, student handouts, and ...
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