Monday, April 24, 2017

Free'ish Test Review Idea (it's Good!)

Our district just purchased a subscription to Flocabulary this school year. Flocabulary is a website that creates educational rap and material for teachers to use in the classroom across a variety of subject areas.

I jumped on the Ambassador band wagon this year and signed up to be an Ambassador with Flocabulary (along with Discovery EducationClassFlow and Seesaw...all sites and companies I use and love in the classroom). This is me sporting my Flocabulary Ambassador shirt :)

I love Flocabulary...and so do our's rap...what's not to love! Sadly it is subscription based and I try not to promote anything too subscription based on my blog because I know most of my readers have no control over budgets. However, I feel there is a slight loop hole.

As an Ambassador we are given a 45 day free trial code we can share with teachers at conferences when presenting. I asked if I could share with blog readers and I was given the thumbs up. 

The 45 day free trial includes the ability to make a class and have students join so you can assign work and they can use the resources too (great if you are in a 1:1 environment but even if you are not you can use it for whole class review).

While 45 days does not seem like a lot IT IS enough to get you through any end-of-year testing you are reviewing for (see where the loop hole is helpful?). 

They have a ton of resources that support their raps so it isn't just showing them a cool educational music video. I use the "lyrics" first to make sure the song supports instruction (or to see if I need to fill in any instructional gaps). I then play it for students using the "fill in the blanks" activity. By doing this first I know they have at least heard the song and have followed along with the lyrics (I print out this activity so it is in their science notebook). Then I show the video and do the quick review (and have students make connections to our learning). Since I do work with 1:1 devices I then assign the students the rap and quiz and have them listen to the song on their own and take the quiz (for a grade!). 

My favorite feature is the Lyric Lab where students can create their own content specific rap. The system gives them keywords to choose from and will provide students with a list of rhyming words based on the last word they type. Once they are done they can choose from a ton of different beats to perform to (my favorite is "Climbing Trees"). 

Obviously the intent is that you will love Flocabulary so much that you will want to purchase a subscription (even if you can't purchase it you can still use the 45 day free trial). 

Here are your purchasing options and some tips to pay for it:

- There is an individual classroom plan (only for front of the classroom use) for $96/year. Our State Department gives teachers a $250 stipend at the beginning of the school year to use in the classroom at their discretion. If your state does that you can use the money toward a subscription. In my last school our grade level was given money and we have used that money before to purchase subscriptions as well. 
- You can talk to your principal about getting a school subscription (which they can call and get pricing is listed as $2,000/year for every teacher and student in the school...which is a pretty good deal). This is the time of year principals have to USE UP THEIR BUDGET MONEY so if anytime was good to approach a principal now would be it. 
- If you teach in a Title 1 school you can approach the district's Title 1 Coordinator (they have me!). He (or she) usually has money and if you make a compelling case they can release funds for a subscription purpose. To make the case...highlight that Flocabulary is across all grade levels and subject areas so there is a lot of bang for your buck (it isn't "just" for math or "just" for ELA). You can add that rap music is more likely to engage children and help them remember content. 

If you have any questions about Flocabulary feel free to leave a comment. 

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