ELA Raps 2016

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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!

Digital Storytelling with StoryboardThat

This is our first year truly living with the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards in ELA.  Add that to a new reading textbook, and you’ve got some hard-working, frustrated kiddos.  I knew I needed to give my students another avenue to show what they know!  We read an awesome nonfiction passage in our textbook about how scientists measure animal intelligence and the difficulties associated with it.  Then I popped my students on the Chromebooks to use an awesome digital tool:

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The kids were crazy about this program.  It is so customizable!  There are tons of terrific backgrounds, people, animals, and objects to manipulate.  I had the students create paper template retellings first, and it was so easy to transfer them to StoryboardThat!  Check out Erigan’s storyboard – complete with audio too!

 

 

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You will absolutely love StoryboardThat for its easy of use and simple ability to utilize it in ANY classroom.  Try a FREE teacher trial for two weeks.  After that, it is very affordable.  You can create folders for each class or assignment, leave comments, and browse lesson plans.  I highly recommend this program!