Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #7: #FlipgridLIVE 2020 – August 1 updates

Image source: FlipgridLIVE 2020

My brain is on fire. I “attended” the Flipgrid LIVE Broadcast (June 29, 2020) Monday night to hear the year’s recap and upcoming updates that left my mind racing hours later. Flipgrid has been my number one go-to EdTech tool for a few years now. What started out as a simple video platform with basic comment feedback to students has now transformed into truly promoting their mission to promote every voice.

The updates come in response to (teacher) feedback, and abundantly so after this remote learning experience. One stop on Twitter and you will witness an overwhelming use of Flipgrid in innovative ways by old and new users in the past three months. Flipgrid’s newest updates will enhance their mission to promote every voice, its creativity and story. So, let’s get to it, everything coming your way August 1, 2020:

  • Boards: Math teachers, this is for you. There will be graph paper backgrounds and more, as well as split-screen recordings (simultaneous videos and white or blackboards)…yes, please and thank you!
  • Creative fonts: Who doesn’t like to express themself via their font of choice?
  • New filters and frames: People love filters. Flipgrid is giving more color gradient options, a privacy filter (Block mode) and frames that make students look like they’re on the local news, among other choices.
  • Stickers: My students found these fun before but now teachers can take advantage of them, too, with new releases every month. The new stickers will come in a variety, such as math symbols, speech bubbles, and GIFs (yes, GIFs).
  • Redesigned view: Topic prompts will be easier to respond to and view, including more screen space and the ability to see which video will play next.
  • Comments: Students will be able to respond to one another’s videos with text and video, and all can be moderated by the teacher. Teachers will also be able to respond via text or video but can also make Comments private or public.
  • Discovery Library Collections can be shared with any Flipgrid educator.
  • The Topic of the Day and Wonder of the Day will kickstart your daily lessons.
  • Partner Pages: Check out Langston League and Made By Dyslexia, Flipgrid’s newest partners.
  • Miscellaneous:
    • The ability to create stand-alone topics for discussion prompts.
    • You can grant access to specific emails, and not just large domains.
    • Adobe Spark integration (yes, they can now be a part of your Topics).
    • Grids will now be called “Groups,” and can be used to access multiple Topics with a single code. You will also be able to easily add a single Topic to multiple Groups. (No more “Duplicate” then wait, go back, repeat…)
    • Quickview: Flipgrid boasts a new, modern look that will make it even easier to navigate videos.

That was a lot. I’ll give you a minute.

Okay, but there is one more thing.

  • Flipgrid Coach:

Flipgrid Coach, the last update to be featured in #FlipgridLIVE, is like the Speech 101 class everyone wishes they could take. (I can still see the podium I dreaded so much on the second floor of the Communications building.) The Flipgrid Coach feature provides immediate feedback, encouraging better speaking. It makes note of all “umms,” “uhs,” “wells,” and general pauses, also tuning into the presenter’s speed. The speaker will receive a report card with a breakdown of categories (“Filler Words,” “Pace,” etc.), and tear drop markers (think Edpuzzle question markers) to indicate at what point these appeared in the video. Can you imagine the potential of this consistently being used every year over the lifetime of a child’s education?

Image source: FlipgridLIVE 2020

In a reluctantly sappy moment, I cannot begin to tell you the joy I have had for the student who was so incredibly shy to never raise a hand in class but found a voice in the Flipgrid platform. Flipgrid has come a long way with a lot of impressive changes, but one thing has remained constant: students feel comfortable in this platform. I have heard pronunciations they would never iterate in a classroom of peers; real stories of how they miss their sister in Africa, that it was her birthday and they were thinking of her on that day that the assignment was due…I never knew how it would open up their world but also open up mine.

The most admirable part of this all is Flipgrid’s continual awareness and willingness to listen to its users. Marker mic drop to you, Flipgrid, for always trying to provide the best platform for every user’s voice.

Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #10: Flipgrid in the Remote Learning Era: Creativity to the Max

What is Flipgrid?

I would venture to guess that when the words “remote learning” are uttered in these recent weeks, “Flipgrid” quickly follows in the conversation. My favorite EdTech tool has likely been added to the top of many other teachers’ lists, too, during this remote learning time. Flipgrid is an extremely user-friendly EdTech tool that promotes social and emotional learning via a video platform that boosts student engagement. For an overview as well as video tutorial, check out my Flipgrid blog post.

Flipgrid not only increases students’ comfort levels when it comes to speaking, but it also provides a plethora of resources for teachers to collaborate on and boost their own creativity. The Flipgrid Disco Library provides ready-made prompts that you can duplicate and make your own. #Gridpals allows for Flipgrid users to connect while the Flipgrid Explorer Series has series of lessons featuring experts that can be directly added into your own grids. There is no shortage of resources!

Remote Learning 2020: Creativity Abounds

The creative uses for Flipgrid surface on a daily basis since remote learning began nationwide. A number of educators are using Flipgrid for the first time and their fresh ideas are Marker Mic Drop worthy. Long-time users are vamping up their normal Flipgrid agenda to reach into students’ homes (aka the new classroom). This post will highlight some ideas that can help you close out the year strong!

Virtual everything: Flipgrid allows for prompts, instructions, rubrics, additional documents needed…almost anything you would need in one centralized area under your topic. The latest Screencastify-like feature captures your screen while recording to more easily flip your lessons. Therefore, you can now virtually have band practice, book talks, show and tell, story retelling, topic presentations…the list goes on. Math and language teachers! Use the whiteboard feature on the bottom row of icons to have students talk out their work as they are completing a problem or writing a sentence.

Emotional check-ins: Many students who find it difficult to speak in class feel comfortable behind the Flipgrid screen. If you want to keep student responses private, check your privacy settings so that only you will see each student’s video and create a weekly check-in topic. I have also been creating check-in videos twice a week. Instead of writing weekly inspirational quotes on my large classroom windows, they are now a part of the selfie at the end of each video. (Insert picture from the row of icons at the bottom of the screen when taking a selfie. Resize and drag it to your liking.)

Weekly inspirational quote: Insert a picture into your selfie at the end of the video.

A new twist on story time: My personal favorite topic is “Confessions of a Fairy Tale Character,” but there is an even more engaging way to hear your students’ imaginations at work. Record an ongoing story by having students respond to each other. This could be in pairs, small groups, or the student could nominate the next student to pick up the story where they left off.

The Masked Singer: This may have been one of the most creative uses I have seen yet. By combining Flipgrid with a HyperDoc, a teacher brought “The Masked Singer” reality t.v. show to the classroom. With the gracious participation of her colleagues, each teacher recorded themselves singing on Flipgrid and placed an emoji over their face. To create the HyperDoc where students place their guesses, grab a screenshot of each singer that is linked to each video. Type “Guess” in each box where students type in a teachers’ names. (Hint: Use the “Make a copy” feature in Google Classroom for each student to have their own answer board.) I have created a sample game board here: “The Masked Singer” (Flipgrid). To make it your own, choose “File –> Make a copy, rename” then replace the images with the screenshots of your teachers’ videos and link their videos to the respective boxes. Voilà!

Just for fun: Whether it is “I Spy” or making your students guess your fib in “Two Truths and a Lie,” incorporate a weekly game that makes students connect in a fun way. I include the “I spy with my little eye” prompt in my video and in written form so that students know how to properly guess in French.

Image source: http://www.twitter.com (@TxTechChick)

“Fliphunts” (aka scavenger hunts): Create a doc that sends your students on a scavenger hunt, whether physically collecting or displaying items alongside a task that displays their knowledge about said item. For example, my students have had to act or draw out and use a sentence with reflexive verbs, correctly corresponding that action to the proper room in the house. (“I brush my teeth in the bathroom.”) Encourage play and creativity with this activity! Check out Kathi K’s Fliphunt guidelines and examples for more ideas.

Image source: http://www.flipgrid.com (Kathi K)

Talent show: Have students showcase their talents from their homes! Students and judges (perhaps other teachers?) can respond to videos with encouraging comments and feedback.

Physical Education class: Many P.E. teachers are using this to display proper ways to perform an exercise or as much as recording a full class students can follow along for their daily workout.

Advice to next year’s class: I am curious to know the advice current students will give to underclassmen. Create a Mixtape of responses and save it for the fall, showcasing your former students’ advice to their peers.

With a matter of a few short weeks of remote learning left in spring 2020, will you join the #FlipgridFever?

Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments, Tech Tools

Marker Mic Drop #5: Karen Knight, Spanish Teacher and LOTE Department Chair

Image created on Canva.com

My department chair, Karen Knight, and I were discussing assignments for our remote learning experience that could potentially extend through the end of the year. “I want to give them a memory, Padrah. I don’t want to assign them 150 questions that won’t mean anything to them later.”

Exactly.

Karen proposed an idea that I absolutely love and will adopt for my classes in the coming weeks. Her students will be creating a scrapbook about their lives and the world during this global pandemic. The project builds upon itself with new themes or chapters for each week, with flexible expectations of responses written in the target language. Here is a breakdown of themes we brainstormed:

Week 1 – Current events headlines: Students gather current events articles and explain and summarize COVID-19, how it started and has evolved over the weeks. Students could elaborate on how it has specifically affected their community.

Week 2 – Family, activities, and the “New Normal”: Ask students to gather pictures and tell about their family. What are their ages? Jobs? Do they no longer work or work from home because of the pandemic? Most importantly, have your students discuss what their lives are from day-to-day now that they are at home. Have they been on more walks or spent more time with family?

Week 3 – A little humor: The memes, the GIFs, the videos of what people are doing to pass their time during stay-at-home orders are all pulling everyone through this with a smile. Have students recreate their favorites in the target language.

Week 4 – Twenty years from now…: What do students think the world will look like post-pandemic? Will we be more prepared and learn from this experience? Many schools and businesses have had to alter their ways. Will there be an overhaul to how we operate?

Week 5 – Reflection: Give your students an opportunity to express how they are feeling during this time and how it has impacted their lives. I would strongly encourage different mediums in which the students could present. Some are more comfortable with written or spoken words. For others, a drawn picture alleviates the pressure of speaking. Give an outline of reflection questions that can guide the students.

Presentation styles: There are various presentation options that a student can choose from for his or her final product. While we are living by the motto of “Keep it simple” in this teaching era, I believe that the more options you present, the better. Students only need to choose one, but by giving them alternatives, it accounts for their learning style preference as well as resources available to them. I could not possibly list all the resources available but here is a start:

Paper is always an option. Karen Knight proposed to the other Spanish teachers to accept this project at the beginning of next school year for a grade or extra credit.

Flipgrid presents a user-friendly video option. Even if students have a hard copy of their scrapbook, they could bring it to life by narrating it in a video.

Wakelet allows for beautiful digital storytelling, easily allowing students to add current events headlines as well as paragraphs with their own commentary and reflections.

Book Creator, Storyboard That, StoryJumper, Adobe Spark are other creative outlets for digital storytelling.

Google Slides can include text, pictures, videos, and be customized to the student’s taste.

Handwritten, recorded on video, collected into a digital format…no matter which option your student chooses, you gave them choice. Most importantly, though, you gave them a memory.

Marker Mic Drop, Marker Mic Drop Moments

Marker Mic Drop #4: How can I choose?

Created on wordclouds.com

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a Marker Mic Drop (MMD), and now seems no better a moment to do so in light of the COVID-19 global pandemic. In short, a Marker Mic Drop is an opportunity to recognize others for their amazing talents, thoughts – you name it – that they bring to the table.

I hopped on Twitter this past week for the first time in weeks post-baby number two. I had already received an email from Matt at Ditch That Textbook on an abundance of resources. I considered devoting my MMD post to the amazing amount of resources he and his team had displayed for teachers and parents homeschooling during this remote learning time. However, when I continued to scroll through Twitter, I realized I could no longer choose just one person or group to highlight. I was proud to see the first responder-like reaction from teachers in support of their communities. Teachers to teachers or teachers to parents, the outpouring of resources, the sharing of Flipgrid activities, the building of each other up with powerfully supportive comments…we all share one mutual goal: support our students and each other in this new endeavor.

Helpful Resources

While there are a number of resources out there, do not overwhelm yourself. Here are a few of the most concise sites that have surfaced in these early days:

Start with a (simple) plan

  • Plan learning experiences:
    • Project-Based Learning will enrich student learning. Check out PBL Works for an overview.
    • Backward Design (UbD): The concept is simple but often overlooked when lesson planning spirals into the minutiae of required content. Identify your end goal and plan learning experiences.
    • Challenge your students but let them choose: Give your learners an opportunity to explore a topic that matters to them. Is there a community issue that interests them? Charge them with developing a solution. This is a time of flexibility in education, which also means that you may not be working against the same time constraints. Let them choose. Let them explore. Let them dig deeper and make their own (cross-curricular) connections.
  • Ease your load with online assessments: If you aren’t already familiar with EdTech platforms that will grade your assessments for you, it’s time to start exploring. Start with Edpuzzle and Quizizz (Link to my overview: Edpuzzle (The Curious Creator Blog))
  • Easily record your lessons: Use a Google Chrome Extension, such as Screencastify, to post video lessons. Take it a step further and create an assessment with Edpuzzle based on your video.
  • Schools – consider rolling out in phases: This is an overwhelming experience for all parties involved. In light of the day-to-day unknown and the sudden leap into remote learning, consider gently easing into it with a modified schedule that transitions into your school’s norm.
  • Is online learning not an option? Many school districts are in less than ideal situations to ease into a remote learning plan due to lack of resources. While some are handing out curbside lunches every day at schools, they are also loaning devices and coordinating with local internet companies to furnish free internet for the near future. If worksheets and textbooks are your only option, consider Choice Boards and Project-Based Learning to still enrich students with a deeper learning experience.
Image source: https://i.pinimg.com

In short, this is uncharted waters for many. Take a step back to breathe, create, and embrace your inner learner. Whether you are a teacher or a parent-now-educator, just remember: You’ve got this.

Tech Tools

Tech Tool Highlight #1: Flipgrid and all its tricks!

Image source: http://static.flipgrid.com/twitter_cards/flipgridcard.jpg

My weekly Wednesday posts will typically feature a tech tool that you can immediately start implementing into your lessons. I will highlight what it is, how to use it, and my personal experience with some classroom ideas.

Video tutorial link: Flipgrid Tutorial

You’re busy. Let’s get right down to it:

What is Flipgrid? FlipGrid describes itself as a social and emotional learning (SEL) tool used from Pre-K to PhD. The video discussion platform has a user-friendly interface that makes this one of my all-time favorite EdTech tools.

How it works (the basics):

  • Once you’ve created an account, create a new Grid by clicking on the blue button.
  • Click the blue button “+ New Topic” to add a discussion topic within that grid.
  • Invite your students via link, QR code, or Flip Code that they can enter into the app.

Flipgrid features:

  • Cost: If you’re joining now, all functionalities of Flipgrid are FREE! (This wasn’t always the case but the upgrade was worth it.)
  • Privacy and security: You can limit your grids to your school email domain.
  • Time limits: You can set the discussion to time out after 15 seconds up to 5 minutes.
  • Title and description: Add your topic title and insert your prompt with any requirements within the description box. My prompt typically includes specific topic question(s) as well as required grammar and vocabulary elements.
  • Launch and Freeze Dates: This can open and close the topic at certain times. Check your time zone!
  • Topic resources and attachments:
    • Record a video
    • Upload a video
    • Add a video from YouTube or Vimeo
    • Upload an image
    • Add a Giphy
    • Add an emoji
    • Attachments: Up to 9 external links (i.e., attach a Google Doc students should reflect upon awhile responding to the topic)
  • Student-to-student replies
  • Text and/or video feedback emailed directly to student
  • Video reactions and selfie decorations (more on that below)

Why I love it:

  • Self-confidence booster and engagement: Speaking is one of the biggest hurdles for World Language students. Students who would barely speak in front of their peers would bare their souls on Flipgrid. Not only will you see your students grow in their speaking, but they will come out of their shells if they tend to be more on the shy side. For that Chatty Cathy in class? Well, Flipgrid has time limits, too, that will help him or her be more concise.
  • Easy to use: The interface is incredibly user-friendly with clear menus.
  • Frequency of presentations without the presentation: Speaking in a World Language classroom is a must but how do you require every student to frequently speak without blocking off a week for major presentations? Flipgrid was the answer. Impromptu or weekly required prompts force the speaking and free up class time for other activities.
  • Feedback: I can leave feedback for students in a text box on the right-hand side of the window. I typically leave pronunciation suggestions and provide the translation of the English word spoken when it was outside of their French vocabulary.
  • New and improved options: You can add i.e., a Google Doc if your prompt is already written out in detail elsewhere or want to provide an additional resource.

Why students love it:

  • Take a selfie as a part of your assignment? Nothing pleases my teenagers more. On top of that, they can decorate their selfie with stickers (for example, a crown or a top hat). They can even write messages, such as, “Please grade nice. Je t’aime. :-)” (True story.)
  • Students can view each other’s videos and like a classmate’s video by giving them an emoji. When I hear my student’s walk into class saying, “Sophie, you’re video was SO GOOD,” that tells me that they are learning from and supporting each other.

Suggested activities: Always clearly outline your requirements (length, reflection questions, grammar to be included, etc.) in the topic description!

  • Sub plans: It’s often more work to be away from your classroom. Even if you don’t expect students to respond within the topic, this is an easy way for you to explain your lesson plans with little room for confusion.
  • Weekly video reflections: My students are required to watch and reflect upon 30 minutes of French video per week. I give them the choice to summarize, express whether or not they enjoyed the program, reflect on specific characters, or even make up an alternative ending to the show.
  • Video diary (vlog): Students take on a character from our common reading or can insert a new character into the story. I create topics for each vlog entry, typically reactions to events in the story and always at least one free choice topic. You will truly see your students’ creativity shine with this assignment!
  • Confessions of a fairy tale character: Similar to the above reading activity, this can be a stand-alone assignment that is a great change of pace, especially on lessons that fall around the holidays when you need a little extra in your teacher toolbox.
  • Mixtapes: This new feature could be a fun way to the end the year and show students their progress. Create a mix tape for each class with a video from each student. Better yet, have students create a mixtape of their top five from throughout the year. Applaud how far they’ve come!
  • Flipgrid + WeVideo: Jennifer Eggert, Instruction Technology Coach, had her students #appsmash, using FlipGrid, WeVideo, and Math Learning Center to share their learning around place value. Imagine how beneficial it could be to hear a student’s thought process when showing his or her work. This could help both the teacher and student to better understand how they came to the answer.

Now it’s your turn!