The Wampus third grade students are doing flips over the extremely hands-on technology that brings classes and cohorts together as a community. Flipgrid is a website that allows teachers to create grids to facilitate video discussions. Each grid is similar to a message board where teachers can pose questions and students can post video responses. The Flipgrid website helps amplify students’ voices and allows learners to engage and share through the power of video.
“In third grade, we value the classroom community, and we empower everyone to have a voice,” said Ms. Suzanne Milano. “The pandemic somewhat hindered our opportunities to connect, so we looked for ways to help acclimate students - Flipgrid seemed like the perfect solution.”
In August 2020, the teachers produced a video of themselves so students and parents could meet them virtually and introduce the technology. In the next video, students participated in “Behind the Mask” where they had a chance to see each other without face covers, as the videos are created at home. “I like Flipgrid because you can see your friends, and it is fun to watch their videos,” said third grader, Jenna Kaplan.
Students have the opportunity to bring their home into the school setting. Viewers get a glimpse of siblings, their home, and even family pets. “I like that they take time to plan, record, edit, and then present their video,” said Ms. Milano. “It is so nice for classmates to discover new things about each other in this way.”
October’s theme was Halloween, which allowed students to share their costumes, decorations, favorite candy, and activities. “I liked the October Flipgrid best because I told everyone about my Halloween witch that lights up,” said third grader, Joseph Lentz.
“Flipgrid brought everything alive in the classroom,” said third grade teacher, Ms. Paula Arietta. “Students love to exchange information at this age and they grasp the technology so quickly.” The theme for December was the holidays. Students shared decorations, gifts, family customs, and various holiday plans and received enthusiastic responses from their classmates. “My December Flipgrid was my favorite so far,” said third grader, Colette Weiss. “I showed my Elf on a shelf, and I loved seeing the comments people made about my video.” Other students showed Christmas trees, menorahs, holiday lights, and even homemade cookies.
“For my class, which is two classrooms, it brings the cohorts together,” explained Ms. Arietta. “It ignited a spark between the two rooms and generated great discussions. Flipgrid is a definite keeper after Covid.” Through Flipgrid videos, students are confident, relaxed, and can be themselves.
This type of communicative technology is a window into students’ lives that might not be seen otherwise. “When you give children a voice, it boosts their self-esteem,” said Ms. Milano. “They feel more valued because they are part of a classroom community where they feel comfortable enough to take risks academically and socially.”