Friday, April 3, 2009

Reach 'em 2 Teach 'em: Educational Rap

This post comes from Joe Ocando who taught middle school science and math in NYC as part of the Teach for America program. Mr. Ocando now works on developing educational rap music for classroom use. I have personally used educational rap in my US History course this year and my high school students enjoyed it and remembered lessons from it. I even had one student put a Flowcabulary song on his iPod.

Auditory Learning is one way information is mentally processed. The level at which it is combined with the other three learning styles (Visual, Reading and Kinesthetic) directly determines the ability for the brain to recall facts, events, or ideas. As a result we are constantly bombarded by marketers with musical hooks and jingles throughout the day to get us to remember names of products. Are you using the same techniques in your classroom?

Rhythm, Rhymes, Results at produces hip-hop for math, science, language arts and social studies. They sell lyric sheets and various versions of their music (including instrumental-only for karaoke sing along) but offer free full original versions. Try "Don't Be Negative" for an Integer lesson or "Dots and Dashes" to demonstrate punctuation.

Flocabulary at has a similar approach to auditory learning and even teaches Shakespeare through rap ("Love's Desire"). Also check out their remarkable Martin Luther King track "Let Freedom Ring"which details the life of this great American leader. For instructing your class on the phases of solid, liquid and gases don't miss Mr. Duey's "State of Matter" at . Another rap "LatitudeLongitude" tells students how to pinpoint coordinates. Combine audio with visual for two of these artists with videos available at: &

For the greatest introductory biology song ever ;-) be sure to check out a sample of Rhyme 'n Learn's "Made of Cells" at . I wanted to get a promo code for readers of this blog but cdbaby doesn't offer them. Sign up for the free Rhyme 'n Learn email newsletter within the next month at and I will send you a free .mp3 download with .pdf file lyrics. You can unsubscribe from the newsletter whenever you like with one click.