21 Ways to Use Flipgrid in the ELA Classroom
Mini-Peer Revisions: Have students read one paragraph on Flipgrid and have classmates comment on ways to improve it. This exercise will have three major benefits:
The student must read his/her work aloud.
The student can replay the video and make revisions before putting it out for peer comments.
The student can hear their classmates’ work and improve on their own accordingly.
This solves a couple of different problems I have with student writing. Many times my lower students do not go back over their own work. When they read their work out loud to me, it often doesn’t even match what is on the paper. Having them read it out loud on Flipgrid will require them to at least read over it once…and out loud. Also, they will know their peers will be listening and will hopefully be more aware of how it sounds. Finally, they will be able to decipher what an acceptable paragraph sounds like versus one that doesn’t follow the model given by the teacher.
Hyperdocs Meet Flipgrid: If you haven’t heard of Hyperdocs, go here. Then come back and read this: Flipgrid as a formative assessment in a hyperdoc just adds another layer to the awesomeness of both Flipgrid and hyperdocs. I’m actually planning on creating a hyperdoc-type syllabus this year. As part of the syllabus, I will link to a Flipgrid that asks students and parents to share with me two goals they have for the student in English this year. No worries. We will revisit ways to use hyperdocs in a later episode.
Debates: I love a good debate, and I love teaching debate. However, holding full-length debates in class is very time-consuming and can wipe out two weeks of class solely during the live debate part of the unit, leaving teachers and students feeling rushed to get their debates primed for the win. Enter Flipgrid. Students can participate in a formal debate one video at a time. The affirmative has 90 seconds to build an argument. The negative has 90 seconds to ask as many questions as he/she can ask. The affirmative has 90 seconds to answer as many of the questions as possible. The negative has 90 seconds to build his/her argument. Repeat cross-ex process. 90 seconds per rebuttal. See where I’m going with this? Not only do the students get to complete a debate without taking up two weeks of class time, they get to have more time to think before they record. And they can listen to themselves and re-record if they do not like what they hear. When teaching someone to debate, what a gift! Flipgrid gives the teacher and the students the gift of time and thought, and classroom time can be spent working on making the arguments better rather than sitting and listening to classmates debate for two weeks straight.
Theme Discussion: When discussing the theme of a text, have students think of an episode of a TV show, a movie, a video game, another book, etc., shares the same theme, and have them explain the connection in a Flipgrid response. You can also have students choose a quote from the text that best supports the theme and have them explain it.
Spoken Word Poetry/Rap: Have students write a spoken word poem or rap on a certain theme or a text you are reading in class, etc., and have them perform it in a Flipgrid response. The good thing about this format is the shy students can record in the comfort of their own homes. It is so much easier to perform for a computer or a phone than to perform in front of a 25 classmates. By the way, if spoken word isn’t something you have encountered, check out Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye. They are both awesome!
Shakespeare or Poetry Recitations: Here’s the thing: reciting stuff is not in our standards. But, as English teachers, most of us still find value in it. Why not use Flipgrid to have students recite Shakespeare or poetry without spending class time on it? It’s a win for English nerds and a win for administrators who want you to focus on the standards 100% of the time.
The Art of Argument: One of the great things about Flipgrid is the possibility of choice. Argument can be created in many different forms. Let your students use their gifts to make an argument. You may have students who don’t write the best argumentative essay, but they can make an effective argument through a rap or a poem or a monologue or a satiric news story or a painting. Wouldn’t this variety of assessments be so much more interesting to grade! And you would know your students so much better than you ever would from reading an essay.
Sentence Diagram Races: I included this one for the grammar nerd in us all. 🙂 Beat the clock! Oh, how I love some diagramming.
Book Reviews/Movie vs. Book Reviews: This one probably doesn’t need an explanation.
Storytelling: The art of storytelling is a life skill and a Common Core standard. Being able to entertain and inform through storytelling is an essential part of human communication and relationships. Have students practice on Flipgrid. Remember the old “pass around the story” lesson” when you had students start a story and then pass it to the next person to add on? Flipgrid could give that lesson just the modern spin it needs! And, let’s face it: we wouldn’t have to read 25 really bad stories at the end of it. 😉
Posing Problems and Pitching Projects: Design Thinking is making its way into the ELA classroom. What better way to pitch an idea than on Flipgrid? Students can pose problems they see in a novel you are reading or a problem they have read about in an article. Then they can go onto each other’s videos and pitch ideas for solving the problems.
Interviews: Get the students out in the community and have them interview people. If you’re reading To Kill a Mockingbird, have them interview older people about what summers were like for them when they were children. If you’re reading Fahrenheit 451, have them talk to people about censorship. If you’re reading Shakespeare, have them challenge people to recite a line from a Shakespearean play. There are so many possibilities, but in this age of technology overload (I realize the irony), any time students are interacting with others face-to-face, it goes in the win column.
Irony: Have them find some and talk about it. You might even assign them to listen to Alanis Morrisette’s song and explain what is NOT ironic about it.
Pen Pal Possibilities: They are endless. You can have students videoing back and forth with people across the world or just down the hall. Let your imagination run wild with this one.
60-Second Summaries: The art of summary is lost on many of our students. After reading a short story, an article, or a novel, have them do a 60-second summary of it. Tell them you will check the time on the video and it can’t go over one minute. This will keep them from rambling and telling you every little detail.
Character Analysis: As a prewriting activity, have students choose 2-3 words that describe a character’s traits. Make sure to have them provide evidence in their explanation. This can lead to a character analysis essay or can be a stand-alone assessment.
Quote Analysis: I love a good quote! I think that may be why I love Criminal Minds so much. Anyway, the standards are all about citing evidence. And my students have no problem throwing a quote down as evidence. The problem is that many times the quote does not really support their assertion OR they fail to explain how the quote does so. So as a prewriting activity or a stand-alone assessment, have students talk it out on Flipgrid.
Shakespearean Insult Battles: Be careful with this one, but the students love it! Click here to see us model the activity!
Commercials: A 90-second video is perfect for students to practice the art of persuasion. Connect the commercials to texts you are reading in class to make it even better. Ex. A commercial for Atticus’s law firm; a commercial for George Wilson’s garage; a commercial for a product to cover up a scarlet A.
Brain Breaks: Learning can be fun, but that doesn’t mean it’s not work. In Episode #110 of the 10-Minute Teacher podcast, Vicki Davis interviews Rob Donatelli, a business and computer science teacher who says teachers need to give students brief moments to step away between or amidst high-intensity activities or tests to do something to refresh and gear back up. What about having your students act out a scene from a favorite movie, sing their favorite pump-up song, show off a hidden talent, tell the meaning of their name and describe whether it fits them, create a commercial for their favorite cafeteria food, write and perform difficult tongue twisters based on the classroom or instructional content, show close-ups of objects around school and have students guess what they are, etc.
Genius Hour: Genius Hour (also see this article from Edutopia) is a loose-structured inquiry-based learning activity usually utilized in an 80/20 environment where 20% of the time students work on projects that interest them. The Flipgrid video could be a presentation of their research or work (e.g., detailing ways a community celebrates a holiday, explaining what is being done to find a cure for a disease, inform an audience about unfamiliar conditions or disabilities), a performance of a task or ability (e.g., playing an instrument, fixing something that has broken, helping someone in need, etc.). Joy Kirr has some really great resources on Genius Hour, so also make sure to check out her Livebinder and blog. You can also join a Genius Hour community on Google+ and listen to this podcast from Every Classroom Matters.
Episode 1: Flipgrid Fever!
Segment 1: Introduction (0:00-1:10)
Segment 2: What is it? Interview with Joey Taralson, head of engagement at Flipgrid (1:10-23:25)
Segment 3: How do we use it? 5 ways to use Flipgrid in the ELA classroom (23:25-40:27)
Segment 4: #thestruggleXtheHall (40:27-42:14)