Earlier this year, students were very into the hurricanes and how they were affecting our nation. By using these real life events, we were able to create an authentic reading response situation. I had two goals during this lesson, to show the students how to use the online news source, Newsela, and the response app, Flipgrid.
This fantastic app allows students to choose the Lexile at which they will read a given article. All students will receive the same main idea and information, but the higher the Lexile, the more details there will be for the reader. The great thing about this is students can choose where they are comfortable reading, without anyone really knowing.
For this lesson, I read the article aloud to the students on the second level given. For most of the lessons I would have them read it independently or with a partner. There are also MANY other options in Newsela to explore.
Students were then given a crash course in Flipgrid. Honestly, the app is SO user-friendly, I just had them figure it out for themselves. I talked through what I wanted their response to be, their response to what we had read.
Flipgrid has the students use a code to get into your Flipgrid board. Then they press to record. From there, they can listen to it and rerecord. I recommend setting guidelines on how many times they can do this, or they will do it over and over again! The screen then allows them to continue through - taking a selfie to post to the board, and then confirming their video. You have the choice on if the students can see or comment on other classmates' boards. There are many options in Flipgrid! (OH, and we had to do an appropriate selfie lesson - helping them find a good angle!)
Here are some other amazing ways to use Flipgrid in your own classroom from Ditch That Textbook!
Okay, first of all, it has been TOO long since I updated, but I am back. The exciting part is that I am now a teaching in a 5th grade classroom that is 1:1 iPads. For the past 3 weeks I have been wrapping my mind around how to utilize 1:1 tech because this is the first time I have had this! In my prior teaching years it has been 2:1 or 3:1 with computers. I am happy to report that I am in heaven. I am going to share my class's tech journey with you all this year. First up, Flipgrid.
What is Flipgrid?
The amazing thing about this app is that students respond with VIDEO instead of typing. I am a firm believer that many children are able to express their thoughts through speech versus writing because they are more likely to use a broad vocabulary when speaking than they are when writing. Students that struggle to write, may feel very confident to talk about their thoughts, too.
When you sign up for an account you can choose from Flipgrid One or Flipgrid Classroom. Flipgrid One is free and Flipgrid Classroom is $65 per educator per year. So here is the bummer about Flipgrid One, you can only have one grid going at a time. In order to do another grid, you have to delete the one going and then do another one. Bonus though, you can download the videos the kids make. I put them in a folder in my Google Drive so I can save it to see growth in their responses through the year.
Once you are signed up you will find that it is so easy to create a grid. It walks you step-by-step through it as you are creating, which was awesome. It took me like 5 minutes the first time to make one.
How I Used It
To introduce it, we read an article on Newsela together and then I showed them Flipgrid. I told them they would create a response that was no longer than 1 minute 30 seconds (that's the limit on the Flipgrid One option) that had their reaction to the article and something they were wondering after reading.
Students went to their respective places in the classroom and started recording. There was concern over many students recording at once, but when I listened to the videos, it wasn't distracting. If anything, I think it would be harder if it were quiet because then everyone would be listening to you record your thoughts, which makes many students self-conscious.
So my students downloaded the Flipgrid app and then they typed in the Pin number to my grid. Voila! they are then in the grid. It's that easy! Then it literally walks them through the whole process. Guess what? Most of my 5th graders could figure it out for themselves! It's that easy!
What I Learned for Next Time
When the idea of digital volunteers was presented at the #gafesummit I attended, I knew that was something I could easily take back to my school. One teacher in third grade really took to the idea. This year Mrs. Westhoff has been using digital volunteers for her students' papers they type in Google.
The first papers they sent out they were nervous for feedback. She sent out an email that identified what the students were working on and then the specifics the people should be editing and revising. These editors have been teachers, administrators, school board members, and community members. It has been great to get different people involved in what our students are doing.
Here is the email she sent out for the last paper they shared...
"Thank you so much for volunteering again to be a Digital Volunteer. My students have been working so very hard on "Animal Reports" and should have received it this morning. A little background: My students brainstormed various animals, chose one, and completed research in four main areas- general animal facts, habitat, interactions, and babies. After the report was written, students then supported their text with appropriate nonfiction text features.
Things to look for / comment on:
- introducing a topic or new information
- nonfiction text features support understanding (and not too many)
- information given are FACTS (not opinions)
- concluding statements
- Grammar: includes but not limited to capitalization, punctuation, use of commas, spelling common words and homophones correctly
- General comments such as areas where the student did well in
You will receive a notification in your inbox notifying that a student shared their document with you. Next, comment away!
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know at any time. If you could have them done by next Friday, March 11th that would be fabulous! Thank you again for your time and enthusiasm. "
Her class just sent out their papers for this second round of digital volunteers. They asked to have their volunteers look at their papers this time because they like getting the outside feedback. It is important to share work outside the 4 walls of their classroom, so they can see that their work matters.
Think about digital volunteers for your classroom! It took me about 10 minutes to look through and comment on 2 papers - not a big time commitment for such a great experience for students.
A few things I learned about third graders this week that I had maybe not given them enough credit for or that I had forgotten since the 6 years ago that I had taught them -- they are profound and have some deep thoughts.
This week we started working on 6 Word Memoirs. This was a project I had heard about from Twitter, with many of the students being middle school or high school that had created them. I wanted to see how I could adapt it with third grade in the 50 minutes I get with each class once every 6 days.
The first thing I started with was showing them "6 Word Memoirs for kids" in a Google search. We talked about what they observed - 6 words, about a person, funny, inspirational. Then I gave some examples to them and talked to them about what a memoir was. Then I showed them how to create and they were off.
Two sites have been used - Canva and Recite. There is a great difference between these sites, and I am so glad I have used both. I can see the pros and cons to both.
Canva is more intricate with more opportunities for creativity and creation. Users can choose their backgrounds, add images, decorative fonts, and other things that personalize their creation. Recite allows the user to type in their words and then pick from a pre-made background. Canva is terrific if you have a lot of time for create or if you want a very customized project. Recite is great if you really just want some text on an interesting background because you can't add anything else to them. It is also great for differentiation in class. If you have students who would be overwhelmed with Canva, they can get good results with Recite.
Finally, they took the link and put it in a shared Google Sheet next to their name. Then classmates could look at each other's work. Very powerful. I then shared a bunch on Twitter. Check out the bottom for some of the awesome creations from these third graders!
#6wordmemoirs Made with Recite
I truly believe in student voice.
#6wordmemoirs Made with Canva
Fifth grade teacher in a 1:1 iPad classroom, sharing my journey with technology in the classroom