Falling into Flipgrid Fever- April 23, 2019

Last year, when I started working in Fairfax County as a 5th grade teacher, one of the first tech tools I learned about was Flipgrid. I have to admit it- when I first heard about it, I was skeptical. My principal @tchrwithatitle asked all teachers at my school to make a introduction video about themselves for the school.

I have to admit- I procrastinated doing this. I did not want to go in front of a camera and talk- I felt so stupid. Plus, I kept messing up. I was definitely not an early adopter on this tool.

As the year went on, one of my colleagues @MrsStephensonVES started using this tool in some of her lessons. I started to see the power of the tool for my students to share their thinking. I started off small using the tool towards the end of the year.

Using a template of a Tic Tac Toe Choice Board from @ShakeUpLearning , I added a square for Flipgrid to allow students to make book reviews. Out of my 26 students, 17 of them chose this square. I found myself loving the ability to:

  • Hear their reflections on their books.

  • Allow other students to hear from each other.

  • Have an archive of favorite books in my fifth grade class.

Well, before I knew it, the school year was over and I was getting ready to start my new job as a technology specialist. Microsoft had just bought Flipgrid and Flipgrid was FREE! I wanted to share with my staff the power of this tool too. To get a baseline, I created a technology integration survey for my staff and added a question about Flipgrid.

At the beginning of the year, over 64% of my staff was not comfortable using this tool. By mid year, that number had dwindled to 35%. What happened to make that change?

My first attempt was Flipgrid and Flapjacks, a breakfast training where I helped staff learn how to use this tool in November and then offered an encore session in December. Staff enjoyed flapjacks while learning about this amazing tool.

Since I had been using this tool with multiple grade levels from the beginning of the year, I had lots of samples and many teachers had already heard of the tool from their students.

One example of how I used Flipgrid earlier in the year was for Project Zero Thinking Routines in my fifth grade classes. After watching Common Sense Media's video on Media Balance, I had my students reflect on your own media balance by:

1. Choosing a color that they think best represents the idea in My Media Balance and include why they chose it.

2. Choosing a symbol that they think best represents the idea in My Media Balance . and include why they chose it.

3. Choosing an image that they think best represents the idea in My Media Balance and include why they chose it.

4. Last, sharing their CSI with the class.

To the right is a link to this topic in the Disco Library.

Another example was my app smash with grade 1 students. We used Wixie to create an animal's habitat and record some facts about the animal in its habitat. Then, we used SnagIt to create videos and uploaded these videos to Flipgrid. The students loved uploading their videos and getting to see each other's work.

Click here to view this topic in the Disco Library.

December came and I was struck by a great idea! What if I could use Flipgrid as a way to engage staff and students in Hour of Code week. So I created an Hour of Code Week grid. I selected a video about computer science for each of the 5 days and created a topic for them.

I posted this challenge in my Thursday Tech Byte and waited to see what would happen.

Days 1 and 2 of this challenge- only 1 teacher participated- But this teacher was one who had not attended any of my trainings so far- a kindergarten teacher. I was struck by how excited her students were to share. This was so amazing! They didn't know anything about coding- but were using my resources to learn. I was thrilled to share their videos on NewsWave, our daily broadcast, and they became my super coders.

On Day 3, something else amazing happened. Engagement grew. Now, multiple classes were participating and more classes got competitive and joined in.

Now, many second grade and fifth grade classes joined in. New teachers were learning this tool and I was thrilled.

As part of HOC week, I also had my students use Flipgrid to create Hour of Code reviews. I wanted to give them an opportunity to share games they had tried with other students. I gave students time to explore and then, at the end of class, they got to record a review of the game they played.

By the end of the week, we had 131 videos in the Topic- wow! Click here to see this topic in the Disco Library.

After all of this excitement, I decided to get Flipgrid Certified. I wanted to share all of my excitement, plus I wanted to model for both my staff and students risk taking. As I said at the beginning, I do not like recording myself, but some times, you need to take a chance. Below is me "taking a chance."

That done- I got ambitious. Could I get my Level 2 Certification for Flipgrid. I created my webinar and added it to Flipgrid. Watch my webinar to learn even more about how I fell for Flipgrid Fever.

What's next? Will I decide to be #GridGuide? Probably. When you can find a tool that has so many ways to engage students and amplify student voice- you should use it! Well, that's it- my fall into #FlipgridFever.