Dec 31, 2013

Some Excellent Reasons College-bound Students should give Thanks in 2013

At year’s end, it’s traditional to give thanks for all the many blessings received during the previous twelve months and to look forward to the coming year with a renewed sense of optimism. 

The following are a few very excellent reasons college-bound students should be giving thanks this year: 
And most important of all:

Family and friends who support and love you!

Best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year!

2013 in Rap

Every December, the super smart rappers at Flocabulary call off the Week in Rap to pull it all together and celebrate the preceding 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days, 8,760 hours and 525,600 minutes in rhyme. 

And the annual Year in Rap is born.

If you’re not familiar with the weekly current events program promoted and brilliantly executed by the hip hop poets behind Flocabulary, check it out.

It’s part of larger project targeted to a community of educators who proved struggling high school students can be reached with rap songs covering everything from U.S. History to SAT vocabulary words.

And once again, the rappers are looking for a few good collaborators.

In partnership with the education page of The New York Times, Flocabulary is offering students an opportunity to get their rhymes published by two very prestigious news organizations.

Super creative rappers can choose at least four important New York Times stories and write their own Year in Rap following NYT’s Learning Network commenting standards—no profanity or vulgar language.

Get ideas from last year’s winners:

Obama re-elected for second term,
this time he’s promising to be more firm.
He’s still devoted to his plan for health care,
while Republicans exclaim, “It’s just not fair!”
  (Sarah C.)


Sandy’s winds and rain hit the east coast.
The beaches were destroyed, the boardwalk was toast.
Coasters in the water, sand was everywhere,
we donated time and money to show that we care.

Or think about what’s been on your mind this year:

High school seniors wanted a vacation
From problems they were having

Lyrics should be submitted to the Flocabulary-New York Times Learning Network Year in Rap contest as a comment to an article inviting Year in Rap submissions by 5 p.m. Eastern time on January 7, 2014.

The top five raps, as judged by The Times and Flocabulary staff using a posted rubric, will be featured on both the NYT’s Learning Network and

You can work in a team or by yourself.  But the rules allow only one submission per student and no videos or links to videos.

It’s been a crazy year.  Lots of ups and downs and a whole lot of change.  But life goes on.  Just ask Flocabulary.

Dec 30, 2013

2014 Summer Internships for High School Students

Internships provide incredible opportunities for high school students to gain significant work experience while exploring long-term career options.  And winter break is a great time to begin forming plans for next summer.

Although college students are usually first in line for internships, businesses and nonprofit organizations are increasingly holding opportunities open for students currently in high school or those transitioning to college.

It may take a little persistence, but opportunities are out there.
Why intern?
Going through the internship application process will teach you much-needed job search and employment skills. Preparing a resumé, asking for recommendations, landing an interview, and understanding what it means to be a responsible employee are all skills that will give you a big advantage in college and beyond. 

And it’s no secret that internships strengthen college applications, as these opportunities introduce students to career fields or potential majors and strengthen valuable research or lab skills. 

An internship will help you understand how a professional organization functions in the real world. While learning and working, you have the opportunity to refine career goals. In fact, you’ll find that a summer internship can serve as a “trial period” to test ideas about professions and industries—entertainment, nonprofit, technology, health—without making you commit more than a few months.

And these opportunities can lead to award-winning science fair projects, journal articles, or patents.

Where are the internships?
Businesses and organizations sometimes have formal internship programs designed specifically for high school students. For the most part, these programs do not offer housing and are usually limited to students in the region. 

For example, here a few of the many organizations making internships available to high school students in the Washington, DC area:
For a great list of opportunities outside of the DC area, check the webpage maintained by the Rochester Institute of Technology for high school students.

Note that some of these are “salaried” positions, some have stipends, and some are strictly volunteer. They are all highly competitive, and some deadlines may already be past.  So make note for next year.

Be aware that many organizations don’t advertise the availability of summer internships. This is when you have to do a little investigative work on the internet and through newspaper listings. Use your networks—parents, relatives, family friends, teachers—anyone who may have contacts in businesses or organizations of interest to you.

It’s not too early to begin thinking about next summer. An internship, particularly for students at least 16 years of age, is a great way to get to know yourself a little better while building skills that will make you competitive for the future.