Warren Township teacher uses hip hop lessons increase test scores

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – There’s a local teacher that uses a unique tool that has kids excited to go to school. He’s teaching his students that it’s okay to get our of your seat, as long as they’re rhyming along with the beat.

Inside room 25 at Grassy Creek Elementary School in Warren Township you’ll find a group of enthusiastic fourth graders.

Mr. Dustin Ecker is setting the stage for success, quite literally.

The students put together their desk to create a stage in the middle of the classroom.

“We use it for vocabulary, we use it for science, we use it for reading concepts, for researching historical figures,” said Ecker.

It’s called Flocabulary, lessons taught through education hip hop songs.

“We have a three-minute rap that’s jam packed with information and content, but it’s got a hook so the kids catch it and then six months later we can use it as a call back,” said Ecker.

This method is used in several classrooms in the district.

“If you sing it, you learn stuff that you haven’t learned before,” said fourth grader Zayden Frisby.

“You’re not just sitting in your chair and raising your hand, you’re actually doing things, moving around,” said fourth grader Amari Kinnebrew.

Mr. Ecker learned quickly, that his students connected with the method. Last year, his students went from averaging 68 percent to 91 on testing. According to Ecker, the percentages are from TenMarks math. He also sees improvements on standardized testing.

“They’re working on creating their own businesses as groups and creating an advertisement using persuasive language that tries to show what their business is providing and selling and how they’re giving back to the community,” said Ecker.

“You’ll sometimes hear them repeating the hook or the line or a reading comprehension skill or strategy or a mathematical equation like how to solve it.”

Mr. Ecker says it's all about comprehending skills that will have kids singing outside of the classroom.

“Finding what makes your students excited to be in your classroom," Ecker added.

According to the company, after watching a Flocabulary video 91 percent of students reported that they had a better understanding of what was being taught.

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