Recently I got the opportunity to explore a whole new way to reach kids with Shakespeare. This came in the form of “Flocabulary”. What the heck is flocabulary? Well, I’m glad you asked. I had an opportunity to talk with Aliza, the editorial director of Flocabulary, and this is what she said:
What exactly is “Flocabulary”?
Flocabulary makes educational hip-hop music. Our songs and lessons are designed for grades K-12. We tackle lots of different subject areas: everything from vocabulary to social studies to math to Shakespeare. You can listen to songs and view some of our videos at flocabulary.com.
How did Flocabulary get started?
The idea came to co-founder Blake Harrison in high school. He wondered why it was so easy to remember lines to his favorite rap songs but so difficult to memorize academic information. When he presented this idea to musician Alex Rappaport, years later, they decided to give it a try. A month later they had a demo recorded. Six years later, Flocabulary’s programs are being used in more than 15,000 schools.
You have done Shakespeare this way, right?
We have indeed. We created an album called Shakespeare is Hip-Hop, which features 17 songs covering Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Julius Caesar, A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Othello. And the album was co-produced by Grammy Award-winning artist 9th Wonder! The Shakespeare is Hip-Hop CD includes original Shakespearean lyrics rapped, as well as modern interpretations and classically performed monologues. And we have a teacher resource book with full curriculum to accompany the songs. You can listen to a song from “Shakespeare is Hip-Hop” or watch our Macbeth rap video. And recently, we created a new song for Much Ado About Nothing. In the hook, you’ll get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see Shakespeare rapping.
Can you Flo us down some Shakespeare?
Absolutely. This is part of our Much Ado About Nothing song, where we rap about the two couples: So Beatrice and Benedick, that’s two B’s, And these two B’s always seem to disagree, So Beatrice and Benedick, that’s two B’s, And these two B’s always seem to disagree, Always buzzing ’bout something, but it’s never sweet, No honey, their insults sting, it’s never peace. But what if we set them a trap, you heard? And have them fall in love like the bees and the birds? “That’s not bad sir but … ”—if you please, I’ve got another idea that’s the bee’s knees. For Hero and Claudio it’ll be love at first sight, Like they don’t even need the audio. They don’t talk, they just sigh a lot, So they figure they’ll tie the knot.
What is your overall goal of Flocabulary?
We believe that a motivated student is a more successful student. We work hard to make songs and curriculum that will get students excited. The goal is to make learning fun and accessible without making it less rigorous. Students of all backgrounds deserve to be engaged. This is such a great avenue to approach kids with, that it almost seems silly not to try it. Flocabulary is great, check it out! Also, you can find a ton of other Flocabulary educational items on Amazon, from SAT to History to Math – what a great way to “study” 😉 !!!