Kids Are Rapping Their Way to Better Test Scores

Teaching kids valuable lessons through music

By Lynn Berry
|  Tuesday, Nov 24, 2009  |  Updated 3:45 PM EDT
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Flocabulary Teaching Kids Reading, Writing and Rhythm

One of the students at PS 315

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Flocabulary Teaching Kids Reading, Writing and Rhythm

A new curriculum is bringing harmony to the classroom
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Hey kids, put down your books and grab a mic!

That's what 4th graders are doing at P.S. 315 in Flatbush, Brooklyn, where vocabulary class turns into a beat boxing, free styling and grooving time as  these 9-year-olds learn through hip hop music.

Flocabulary is a mnemonics based curriculum created by musicians Alex Rappaport and Blake Harrison. The program teaches everything from, math to science through rhythm and rhyme.

"Kids find it easy to memorize song lyrics so we found if we put the definition of words right in the song lyrics, then the lyrics themselves would be enough," said Rappaport.

The musicians turned educators have cut tracks to make the words or lessons into rhymes, which they say allows kids to learn and have fun. 

"I'm doing the two things I like at the same time" one student said.

The guys say it's like a spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down. According to a new study from the Educational Research Institute of America the program, now in 10,000 schools across the country, appears to be working. Test scores rose an average of 25 percent per student nationwide and 16 percent in New York.

"Sometimes it takes someone outside of an educational system to say here's some new energy here's some new ideas lets try this stuff" Harrison said.

Harrison and Rappaport use hip-hop music, not only because that's what kids like, but to show them there's a more positive side to the music.

In one of the songs, "The chorus is 'We're gonna make it if we all just try' -- they're singing that and they're not saying, 'This is really corny,'" Harrison said.

When you talk to some of the students you can tell, there's nothing corny about rapping your way to better grades.

"You can express yourself in the way you feel or in the way you want to feel" one student said.

To learn more about Flocabulary and the Word Up curriculum go to flocabulary.com
 

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