Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Giving Students A Voice

I hopped on the #flipgridfever train last year, seeing such value for various learners when using it as a tool to enhance instruction. This year I have gone on a Flipgrid Odyssey, trying new ways of doing things. Students left notes for parents on a Flipgrid for curriculum night, and their parents were asked to give a message to their child. Our math specialist happened to come into the room as parents were filming themselves and shortly left, commenting how actively engaged the parents were in the process.

Students have discussed theme of stories, held a book talk for the Global Read Aloud with a fifth grade class in Michigan, and discussed teams and challenges of baseball players after reading Satchel Paige. I can easily tell who understands concepts and who needs more support based on listening to a student’s Flipgrid.

Bright Sunshine - This also provides a voice for all students  when some might feel like  THEY DO NOT HAVE ONE.

Creating authentic learning experiences for students where they can break down the walls of the classroom is something I strive to do. The other day on Twitter I was sharing student thinking about our most recent read aloud book, The Insignificant Life of a Cactus and the movie we saw on a field trip. If you have loved Wonder, Fish in a Tree or those cult classic movies The Goonies or Heavyweights then this book will sweep you into a world where life lessons rule the roost.

Students are brought into a story of someone who is different from them, teaching compassion and empathy for others. We see the protagonist build her confidence and develop friendships when many might have written her off. There is mystery, excitement, and humor written throughout the pages. The author of the book, Dusti Bowling, liked many of the student tweets. She then asked if we would be interested in a Skype class visit, and of course I jumped at the chance to organize this for our students.

I asked students to create a Flipgrid in preparation for our talk with Dusti Bowling. Students were asked to talk about life lessons they learned through the pages of the book. Watching the short clips tonight made me realize the power of connecting with others. Students talked directly to the author, and they were proud to share their thinking. They had a purpose, sharing their thinking with the writer. 

Two years ago I could not image this to be possible. I am glad I discovered Flipgrid as a way for students to collaborate and communicate globally. I hope our students realize the possibilities they have growing up in the generation they are in. Imagine if we could have used a Flipgrid when we were in elementary school. 

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