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Good Vibes For Vocab

Good Vibes For VocabATufts graduate and a friend have developed an album that aimsto teach college-level vocabulary to high school students throughhip-hop songs.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [04.27.05] Preparing for the verbal portion of the SAT can intimidateeven the most verbose student. But a Tufts graduate and a friendhave developed a way to make erudition come easy – a CDfull of hip-hop songs peppered with college-level vocabulary words.

"In alot of classrooms, vocabulary is treated like a frozen thing,but it's a living thing," Alex Rappaport (A'02) told TheBoston Globe.

Noting thedifficulty for some students to learn about words in the contextof rote memorization, Rappaport, a producer and recording engineer,and friend Blake Harrison, a tutor, decided to pen songs thatwere both enjoyable and educational.

"Learningwords this way, we're pronouncing the words and you're hearingthe words used. When you look up a word in the dictionary it'soften in some kind of archaic terminology we don't use anymore,"Rappaport told the Globe.

Their album,''Flocabulary, a Dictionary and a Microphone," came out inApril, featuring cuts such as the title track "Flocabulary"and "Quantify."

The songsdon't attempt to preach definitions and Latin roots. Rather, Rappaportand Harrison intend them to function the way any song would.

"Thefirst step is coming up with a cohesive song that works. Afterthat, it's up to the kids how they use it," the Tufts graduateexplained to the Globe. "They can listen and readalong [with the lyrics]. The way it works is the way any songworks. It stimulates the listener in some way, whether emotionallyor from a pretentious standpoint. They're listening and havingfun."

Initial reactionfrom students has been positive.

"There'san after-school program called Be the Music [at Fenway High Schoolin Boston]. Basically, it's a bunch of girls who sing a cappellamusic after school, and we had the opportunity to teach them oneof our hip-hop songs," Rappaport recalled to the newspaper."We were pretty nervous because we thought they would bea little bit more critical of it, but they were really receptiveand supportive. It was very rewarding."

The key, Rappaporttold the Globe, is encouraging the students to use theirown intellect and initiative.

"We encouragestudents to trust their own use of words and understanding ofvocabulary, rather than focusing on what some old dictionary says,"he said.





















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