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Common Core-aligned curriculum can be fun
WEDNESDAY, JULY 16, 2014 10:12 AM

The Common Core State Standards are a set of goals or benchmarks that guide student education. Contrary to what many people believe, the Common Core is not a curriculum. As such, states, districts and schools that have implemented the Standards need to find new curriculum materials that are aligned to the CCSS. This transitional period in American education presents opportunities for schools. Because they need new curriculum that upholds the Common Core anyway, they might as well discover material that is fun and engaging. Curriculum creators have been vying for attention in the last few years, in some cases, by designing options that are more out of the box.

Music brings rhythm to the classroom
Hip-hop and rap music are popular among many students thanks to their engaging rhythms and clever lyrics. In the past, educators have put classroom content to the tune of a strumming guitar (remember "School House Rock?"), but in modern times, hip-hop is more well-received. At least, that's the logic behind Flocabulary's work. The company writes and creates educational videos and songs using rap music. The lyrics all revolve around a specific lesson. For instance, Flocabulary's song about the order of operations (commonly referred to as PEMDAS) is one of the company's most popular.

Flocabulary provides schools with Common Core-aligned content in music form for all grade levels and numerous subjects. When creating new beats, the company wants to ensure the kids enjoy the music while the teachers stand behind the lyric content.

"We can't betray the student by making corny music," Alex Rappaport, Flocabulary co?-founder and CEO, told Fast Company. "At the same time, we can't betray the teacher. Pleasing both is the line that we have to walk."

MMO meets the classroom
Gamification is another growing strategy in the world of education. In general, gamification refers to when a person or company applies game mechanics to a medium outside of games. In schools, this could mean numerous things. Subtle gamification has students earn achievement points for answering questions correctly. On the more extreme end, schools may sign up for services in which students actually craft an avatar on the computer and play through educational levels in the virtual world. 

Proponents of gamification note that if children are drawn to entertainment video games, they could also find joy in educational ones. By using game principles in the classroom, educators hope that students will be engaged and motivated, and hopefully, retain information well. Curriculum that uses gamification may become popular in Common Core classrooms.