Susan Riley| August 2018

4 Ways to Use Flipgrid for Back to School

If you haven’t yet experienced the joy of Flipgrid, you’re definitely missing out.  Flipgrid is a simple, web-based tool that allows students and teachers to use video for teaching and learning.  I love its ease of use and the possibilities it opens up for student response and connection.

As a teacher, you can create a video lesson on almost anything.  Want to show students classroom expectations and behaviors?  You can do that with a Flipgrid video.  Want to show the steps to a complex project?  Yep – you can do that too.

But one of the best reasons to use Flipgrid may be the student response tool.  This allows students to respond to any resource/topic through video.  They can quickly record their response on any device and securely share it with either you the teacher, or with the class. 

Students can view the opinions and responses of their peers and continue the conversation during your next class period.  It’s a great way for students to connect and learn how to speak and listen effectively.

With Back to School upon us, it can be a hectic time for welcoming students, getting into routines and starting a new year with new classmates.  Here’s 4 easy ways you can use FlipGrid for Back to School this year:

1. Class welcome message

Building a warm, welcoming environment is important.  Especially since we want all students to feel safe, secure and that they matter.  Developing that relationship right up front is key for social-emotional learning.

You can quickly do this with a class welcome message on FlipGrid.  Just create a class account and record a short introduction.  Share something about yourself as their teacher, what you hope to work on this year with them and that you’re looking forward to getting to know them throughout the year. 

End your Flip with a question.  Something like “what is something you want us to know?” is great because it immediately builds trust and rapport. 

Then, students can respond to your welcome message with their own introduction. This helps them feel connected and helps you to get to know them right from the beginning of the year.

You can either send this out to parents in an email prior to the beginning of the year, or you can share it at the beginning of class.

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2. Teaching Classroom Rules and Expectations

Let’s face it – this is one of those things we all do at the very beginning of the school year.  We take all this time on the first day to go over rules and expectations.  And it’s certainly important!  But it’s so much better to actively learn and create on the first day.  How can you possibly do both?

Flipgrid makes that a no-brainer.  You can record your class rules and expectations and post them to your class Flipgrid.  As a homework assignment on the first day, ask students to view the Flip and respond with either a clarifying question or something they are excited about for the year ahead.

3. Learning Centers

Remember that whole idea of creating on the first day?  A quick way to do that without a lot of stress or time is with centers.  You can have students working on a simple experiment, trying out a variety of arts materials, or viewing a quick introductory STEAM lesson on FlipGrid. 

This works even if you only have one computer or device in your room.  Students can view the Flip at that one center and respond using the same device as a group.  By the end of the class, you’ll have a response from each group that went through each rotation.

4. Student Letters for Back to School Night

Having parents arrive for Back to School night can be a challenge to set up.  There are typically rotations and you might have one group of parents waiting while another are still getting the important information.  Or, you might not have some parents come at all.

FlipGrid can solve both of these issues.  You can have students create a short video sharing what they are most excited to learn this year or something they are already working on.  You can provide that FlipGrid code outside your room for parents to watch while they wait or after they’ve sat through the information session.

And for parents who couldn’t make it to Back to School night, you can create a Flip with the information you shared and attach it to the FlipGrid of student responses.  You can then email that to parents and ask that they view the information there, along with their child’s response.

As video becomes more and more a part of our lives in general, it’s amazing how we can use it to support our learning goals.  Definitely give this tool a try the next time you’re looking for a way to engage your learners – whoever they may be!

About the Author

Susan Riley is the founder and CEO of The Institute for Arts Integration and STEAM. She focuses on teacher professional development in arts integration, STEAM, 21st century learning skills, and technology. She is also a published author and frequent presenter at national conferences on Arts Integration and STEAM education. Susan holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education from the prestigious Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and a Master of Science in Education Administration from McDaniel College in Westminster, MD. She lives in Westminster, MD with her husband and daughter. Email Susan