Sixth grade students in Ken Newton’s class at Fair Oaks Ranch Community School learned how to bust a move when they turned classroom curriculum into original rap lyrics.
Using an educational program called Flocabulary, students watched a compilation of videos in subjects like language arts, math, science, social studies, life skills, vocabulary and current events before making up their own creative rhyme in the program’s Lyric Lab.
“I really like to think, now that it’s the end of the year, that Flocabulary is a great way to teach them poise and confidence and skills they can use,” Newton said.
After spending six or seven weeks using the program, Newton decided to take the educational, hip-hop program up a notch by encouraging his students to create their own raps and then perform them in a classroom rap battle.
“The stigma of rap is squashed where these kids make these awesome, academic-based raps… it’s turned into a very positive learning experience,” Newton said.
In groups and individually, students rapped about everything from basic mathematics and PEMDAS to money counting and study habits. Ultimately, sixth grade student Meri Muro took home the coveted Flocabulary Rap Champion Tropy.
However, all the students felt like they learned something from the program.
“I think Flocabulary is awesome because you can learn new things and new subjects and make your own music and rap about it, which is a fun thing to do,” sixth grade student Danellie said. “It gives us an opportunity to learn new things so we can get ready for our future.”
Other students said the program helped them get out of their shells, speak confidently and think creatively about academic subjects they normally learn in textbooks. Students also liked how the Flocabulary program allowed them to watch videos and use technology.
“Mr. Newton introduces us to new things that probably other schools might not do,” sixth grade student Kumashi said. “I enjoy technology more than just paper and pencil. It gives you more things to do than just sitting at your desk all the time.”
Newton said it makes him happy that not only his students, but also his school district, Sulphur Springs, positively welcomed technology in the classroom.
“I like to think in my class I have 21st century students,” Newton said. “Our school district has been incredibly supportive and I have fun just finding new programs and apps to introduce to the kids like Flocabulary. It makes my teacher heart happy when they embrace it like they did.”
In the future, Newton plans on continuing the Flocabulary rap battles and introducing the program to fellow teachers who want to implement the program in their classrooms.
“The great thing is any grade can do this and whatever grade level they’re in,” he said.
As his students move on the junior high school, Newton has a few words of advice for his imaginative students:
“Dream big, have a positive attitude, don’t let anybody get in your way, be passionate, be creative and keep your nose to the ground and keep moving forward,” he said.
On Twitter as @_ChristinaCox_