How do we pick the stories we cover in the Week in Rap and Week in Rap Junior?
We cover 4-8 stories each week. When searching for stories to cover, we look for stories that:
- Spark meaningful discussion and critical thought
Will a story provide an opportunity for a rich classroom discussion that involves critical thinking?
- Relate to learning standards
Does a story relate to something a student is already learning, or will learn about, in school?
- Relate to students’ lives
Is the story either about young people or about school? Can students relate to or react to the story? Could it have some effect on their lives or the lives of their family or peers?
- Are major news items
Is this story a major news item that most students are expected to know about or understand?
- Offer a glimpse at the wider world
Does the story offer students an understanding of something different about the world that they may not know about? Does it help us provide a mix of stories in these areas: international, national, science and technology, youth-related, sports and art, and feel good / human interest?
There are other types of news stories that we never cover in the Week in Rap Junior, and that we only occasionally cover in the Week in Rap, if the story is big enough. These are topics that relate to violence or sex. When we do cover them in The Week in Rap, we exercise extreme caution: Making sure we cover it in an age-appropriate way.
How do we cover the stories we pick in the Week in Rap and Week in Rap Junior?
Our goal with the Week in Rap is to help turn students into global citizens with a curiosity not only for what is going on in the world, but why things happen the way they do, and what they can do to take part. We take seriously the responsibility of doing that in an unbiased and grade-appropriate way. When we cover stories, we make sure that we:
- Provide background information
We make sure to provide students with enough info to understand the topic, even if they’re not already familiar with it.
- Avoid bias and opinion
We stick to verifiable facts and scientific evidence.
When we quote opinions, we present multiple points of view on topics where people disagree.
- Get at the “why?”
We dig deeper than the surface layer of the story.
- Get students thinking
We ask students challenging questions to get them thinking critically.
- Use humor when appropriate
We are Flocabulary after all.
Obviously it’s never possible for us to fully cover any story in the song itself, which is why we provide Lyric Notes (and assignable Read & Respond) for students to learn more about any given story.