During e-learning, my stepdaughter had a Flipgrid assignment where she had to record an expository video with three steps. I told her that perhaps she could choose “Doing Your Laundry” as a topic. (Which I thought was HILARIOUS, by the way… and surprisingly not the project she chose…but I digress…) So as I was looking over her shoulder, I became curious to see if I could use it with my first graders. So I’m going to be answering, “What is Flipgrid?” today, and I’m going to unpack the program to see if you might want to use it with your kiddos. This will be my sixth post in the series on the best classroom apps you should use in your classroom.
So What Is Flipgrid?
Flipgrid is a video conversation app that allows you to pose a question to your students, and they respond with a short 90 second video. You can make a free account (more on the paid version later) and students can access Flipgrid through their school email or a code that you send to them.
You will make a “grid” of your classroom first, easily assigning your students to the account. Flipgrid automatically assigns usernames to your students. Your students do not need to create their own account or need a password. They just need the code you give them. You can change the background of your grid too. My classroom is “The Busy Bees”, so I usually choose bees to add to any background, but it might be a nice tough to put pictures of my students as the background of my Flipgrid.
What Can I Add To My Flipgrid?
These are the different ways you can post a topic on Flipgrid. I really like the variety of choices. In first grade, I’ll probably stick to a video that I record, or a YouTube video, but I’m going to experiment with other links to get out of my comfort zone.
I can see lots of uses for a Flipgrid topic. During e-learning, you could do a morning meeting video. Ask your students how they are, what they had for breakfast, or what they’re looking forward to doing today. We do restorative practice circles, so this would be the next best thing.
Post a math problem of the day, and listen to your students reason through their answers. Link to a readaloud (either by you, or one on YouTube) and students respond with the main idea. Or better yet, only read HALF the book and ask students to predict what will happen next. You have up to three minutes with a free account, so this would be perfect. Otherwise, if you’d like a longer video, you’d have to make it with another platform and post the link.
In small groups or in independent literacy stations, posting a flipgrid topic for your students to respond to is a great example of how you can keep them accountable, while checking their critical thinking. We’re moving toward digital classrooms more and more. This is a good app to have to make sure your students are engaged. You can download a guide with 9 Steps To Creating A Digital Classroom for FREE today!
How Can Students Access Flipgrid?
The easiest way for your students to access Flipgrid is with a code. If your students are working independently, a QR Code can be set out at an independent station. If you are using Google Classroom, you can send the Flipgrid code directly to your Google Classroom. Within Google Classroom, I suggest making a topic (category) called Flipgrid, so the students can find it easily. If you need a Google Classroom refresher, you can find it HERE.
How Does It Work?
Once a student logs in, they’ll enter their Flipgrid code, play your video, and push the green button to record their own video. After they’re finished recording, they can review their video and turn it in. Then, (and this is fun) they can take a selfie to use as the thumbnail. This is what you and the rest of your class will see when they view the grid. They also have the choice to add stickers or emojis to their selfie. For first grade, just the thought of an emoji reward at the end is going to provide some quality motivation!
Students see their classmates videos, so you do have a choice of previewing your student’s videos first. This, I would leave at your discretion. You know your class. I believe that if you set up your expectations early and students know that you’re going to insist on making responsible videos, then you may not need to moderate their videos. But we always have that one student, or sometimes that one class that you need to keep tabs on. So this is a good option.
Free vs. Pro Account
Flipgrid is a free program! As with many of the different digital platforms, you can upgrade for extra bells and whistles, like extra grids (classes) and assessment options, but for what I’m going to use it for in first grade, I’m going to stick with the free option. (Free is my favorite price!) With a free Flipgrid account, you get unlimited topics, with unlimited student responses. I’m sold.
I learn technology best by opening two windows side-by-side and watching a tutorial on one side, (the left because I’m a creature of habit) and actually doing the steps on the other side. I found an overview from the Flipgrid help center HERE, and Adam Howard from 2 minute teacher tech has a Flipgrid tutorial that I easily followed and made my first grid.
If you need more information, my friend, Brandi posted this helpful blog on Flipgrid: Read it HERE. I’m looking forward to trying this with my kiddos. I like that the prompt keeps them focused, and each student has a voice. Let me know in the comments below when you try Flipgrid in your classroom!