ELA Raps 2016


Have you heard of Flocabulary?  It is a terrific teaching resource!  Flocabulary features “hip-hop videos to teach standards-based skills and content.”  Raps cover ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Current Events and more! There are loads of activities and assessments that are built right in, and they even have lessons on how your students can write and perform their own educational raps.

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Challenge Accepted.  [It didn’t hurt that my teaching partner and I are products of the late 90s and early 2000s and have a soft spot for hip-hop from this era.]

We began by analyzing a few of Flocabulary’s raps/lyrics.  We looked at rhythm and rhyme, and highlighted content.  We circled hooks and talked about repetition.  Sounds a lot like a poetry lesson, doesn’t it?

We introduced students to a short list of original Flocabulary beats.  There were just too many to choose from!  Student groups were assigned topics such as the different reading genres and types of writing.  They drafted lyrics and practiced by placing them to the beat of their choice.

Then came the tricky part:  recording the raps.  Once they performed for a teacher, we allowed them to move into a “recording studio” or empty classroom equipped with a tri-fold presentation board.  They downloaded their beat from Flocabulary into their Google Drive, uploaded it to SoundCloud, and started their recording.  Note:  SoundCloud does not allow for editing.  Some of the groups became frustrated when they made mistakes while recording.  However, we decided that this was an important lesson in perseverance.  They had already invested so much time and energy that not one student wanted to give up!

The most ambitious groups reached a new height when they were able to move their recorded raps to the iPads and use the Video Star app to film in an original video.  View some of our top performances below.  What an amazing experience!

Click here to view a free sample of Flocabulary’s product. Learn about the “Rock Stars: Igneous, Sedimentary and Metamorphic.” We’ve enjoyed using Flocabulary and just know you will too!


  1. Mari Venturino says:

    I love Flocabulary, but I always forget about it. Your post has reminded me to go back and check out all the resources. Great idea for having students make their own–thanks for sharing. Do the tri-fold boards work fairly well for recording? My students will need to record audio for a video project next week, and I have some extras lying around.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As a music teacher, I love the connection to music that runs throughout these videos! Did you use any special microphone to record?

  3. I have heard some fabulous things about Flocabulary. Your project though is a fantastic way of taking the the learning deeper…beyond content. Way to help kids see themselves as creators and not just consumers!

  4. Oh! I loved these raps…so creative – the kids did a great job! I’ve never used Flocabulary and want to check it out now. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  5. gillianjud says:

    HI Susie. Loving your posts! I’ve already retweeted the first one I read. I’m intrigued by the flocabulary–new to me! So aligned with the imagination-focused approach I live and love! #sunchatbloggersrnDM me if you’d be interested in sharing one of your inspiring lessons with our readers from #imaginED http://www.educationthatinspires.ca The “cognitive tools” approach we research/write/talk about is really aligned with your passionate approach 🙂

    • Thank you! I will message you in the morning but would definitely love to share on your blog. We are on the same wavelength for sure!