How to Use Flocabulary for Personalized Learning

I wrote this post for Flocabulary. You can see the post on their blog, here. 

As a technology teacher, students know that I love computers and all things techy. For Teacher Appreciation Week, a first grader gave me a thumb drive. Tech can be so fun and can be great for personalized learning.

That being said, I am actually not a proponent of tech for the sake of tech. I’ve even put up posters like the image below around my school to make the point that technology is not best used as a babysitter. Bottom line: Kiddos at computers are not rotisserie chickens. You can’t “set them and forget them.”

To gauge how well a teacher/school is doing this, we have the SAMR model, a framework that helps teachers, school leaders and districts think about how to use technology.

What does SAMR stand for?

Substitution, Augmentation, Modification and Redefinition.

 personalized learning, samr

It’s possible to use technology as a substitute in a way that actually isn’t very innovative, like I mentioned above. An example would be transitioning from a paper exit ticket to a digital one. This doesn’t dramatically shift how students learn or how teachers teach. While it does make the teacher’s life easier, it doesn’t augment, modify or redefine how students learn in their classroom.

Connecting SAMR to Personalized Learning

Teachers often use the SAMR model to guide personalized learning and also gauge how well those initiatives are going.

For example, if you are setting a goal for students to read more content at their specific current skill level while still giving them a choice about what they’re reading, you might look for an innovative technology solution to help with this. An online library of books is a substitution in place of a physical library, and while it has some potential pluses, it might simply be “technology for the sake of technology.”

Using Flocabulary for Personalized Learning

So, what kind of technology fits into a few different stages of the SAMR model and is actually innovative? Flocabulary. For example, Flocabulary represents the “Augment” phase if you were to use The Week in Rap to teach about current events. It replaces a potentially offline task (learning about the news) and enhances it with video, a Discussion mode and other features.

Word Up for Personalized Vocabulary Instruction

At Heights Academy, we used Flocabulary to provide students with personalized vocabulary instruction using the Word Up video series. Our interventionist noticed that some of her 4th grade students in her pull-out group were still lacking Tier 1 and 2 vocabulary from previous grades. The teacher assigned content from the correct Word Up color for each student, allowing them to access content that was right for them.

Word Up is a research-based, standards-aligned resource that is proven to raise scores on state reading tests.

Assignments for Mastering New Content

Another similar application can be used for math class: you can assign students content based on their fact fluency needs for addition, subtraction, multiplication or division. As they master the content, you can easily assign them new content.

Assignments allow students to engage, master and create Flocabulary content. Assignments can consist of videos, Read & Respond, Quizzes, Lyric Lab and the newly launched Vocab Cards.

Assessment Data to Foster Engagement

With assessment data of where students were currently at, one math teacher used Flocabulary’s Addition & Subtraction units to supplement their differentiated small-group lessons. In addition to the engaging videos, the teachers were able to use the printable worksheets and quiz to give students more practice.

To access assessment data at both individual and class-wide levels, as well as the ability to assign various activities to your students, check our our school-wide subscriptions.

The SAMR approach works well with other assignable or adaptive programs, like Khan Academy or iReady. But, the bonus of a program like Flocabulary is that the content is particularly engaging and sticky. My students beg me to watch the videos again so they can sing along. You won’t find that with just a printed math worksheet.

Have you used Flocabulary to personalize instruction in your classroom? Let us know in the comments below!

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