Keyword [music, technology, digital curriculum, first two weeks, Flipgrid]
Author: Katherine LaRose
Due Date: 8/17
Publish Date: 8/24
Targeted Audience: Elementary Music Distance Learning Teachers
Flipgrid is a digital tool and application used on iPads and laptops. While not geared towards music, it has many applications within the music classroom. It’s simple interface make it user friendly, easy to access, and provides opportunities for many interactions regardless of how you set it up. In this blog, you will learn to:
· Login/Join Flipgrid
· Create a Grid
· Create a Topic
· Record a video
What is Flipgrid?
Flipgrid is an online application. The website and application may be run on any number of devices. In order to access it, one must either download the application on their device or head to the website, Flipgrid.com. Please note that the application is the only way to use it on some devices, such as an iPad. This is a function on their end and is not something that we can change or forcibly make it work on our end. If you are in a situation with iPads and you wish to use FlipGrid, the iPads MUST have the application downloaded in order for it to be useable. Thankfully, the Flipgrid Team is fantastic and quick to respond if you have any issues or queries. If there is a problem accessing it or downloading the application, they will be able to help in any way you need.
Using Flipgrid, you can record brief videos of yourself for lessons. Students can record themselves as well in response to teacher given prompts. Don’t stress out over these and how much effort is required. It seems complicated but this step by step guide will give you everything you need to be successful. If this is your first time with Flipgrid, there are plenty of detailed directions and resources. If you’ve used it before, call this a refresher and reminder to prepare you for using it in the classroom again.
First, you need to have your own account. If you’re in a district like mine, hopefully it is already set up for you to access and you have one click login. If you register for your own account separate from your district, it is still FREE! You will need either a Google or Microsoft email, but that is not a challenge for us.
Once you have entered the information, Flipgrid will bring you to set up your first Grid. A grid is where videos will be posted by yourself and your students. You can name your Grid anything you wish. Think of it as your classroom within Flipgrid. Any topics within the Grid will be available to the students you make it available to. In the spring, I had a 3rd grade Grid. I created the Grid, then shared it with all of my 3rd grade students. This worked for me as all of my students in 3rd grade were able to post their videos there. This worked against me in that I teach at three different schools and I found myself wishing I had separated them by school, with a 3rd grade Gulf Beaches group that was separate from the other two for my own organization and grading’s sake. You are welcome to organize them as you wish but that is my own personal experience. By grade level or by class is my suggestion.
Grid type makes it so your students can access it.My district has provided all students with a Microsoft school email.If they have an email address, that is the easiest method as you can open it to all of them (@pcsb.org in my case) and you have less work.Student ID is exactly what it sounds like.You enter the student ID or upload a CSV file with the information there.It requires first and last names as well as the IDs themselves.You can download a template, fill it in with the information, then upload it into the Grid.It will be a little bit more time consuming, but does not require an email address for the students to access.Educator Learning Community is as it sounds as well, to make the Grid public for educators like ourselves rather than for your students.
And of course, the Flip Code is how you differentiate this Grid from every other code out there. You can be simple or complicated but this will be the link for students to follow to access this particular Grid. Below, it will show you ‘Available’ in green if the Flip Code is fine. You can keep the original suggested code, but I find it easier to name it the same as the Grid to help students find it easier if something goes wrong on their end. Again, not a requirement and it is entirely up to you what you make the Code. Students will be able to access it through the link or by entering the Code at Flipgrid.com.
Once you have filled out the form, your Grid will be created. You will see the name, how students may access (school email, ID, educators) and a box to the right with Actions. Here, you can edit, add a co-teacher, share, create a duplicate, manage notifications, integrate with Teams, or delete.
· Edit Grid – exactly what it sounds like. You can change the name and Code, the way students access, and Features.
o An active grid is able to be seen by your students. A hidden grid will not.
o You can receive notifications daily, weekly, every time there is a new video, or never.
o Download and share allows students to download their videos and share them with others. I do not allow this for my students, considering media release forms and such.
o Grid followers is useful with older students, but only if they have email addresses and check them.
o Captions auto-generates in the language selected.
o Personalize allows you to upload an image or select from their provided.
· Add a CoPilot gives another teacher access to what you create and allows them to use the same Grid you created. This is great for situations where you might co-teach and both of you are willing to work together to provide content through Flipgrid.
· Share gives you the direct link. You can copy and paste it for your students or you can use the QR Code if your students are able to use it, but this is less applicable in distance learning and more applicable in a face to face situation. Last blog, I gave an example of my 5th grade students’ 2nd week lesson using Flipgrid to record themselves. I would have them use the QR code I post on the board to access the Grid in a face to face situation or share the link in Teams and Canvas for those who are digital.
· Duplicate Grid makes an exact copy.
· Grid Notifications can change how often you get email notifications when a new student video is submitted.
· Teams Integration is great if you are a district using Microsoft Teams. If your district is not, then ignore it completely. If your district IS using Teams (as mine is), you can link the Team to the Flipgrid here or take the link to the Team and add it there.
· Delete will permanently remove the Grid, any topics, and any videos within.
These topics are where students will post their videos. It is a bit like a file folder for particular topics. It is there to organize videos, keep the posted videos together, and help with linking them together. These can be broad topics or very narrow and focused, that is up to you and how much you want to use and organize it. If you wanted to, you can have a broad topic such as Recorder or you could have a narrow topic such as Au Clair de la Lune Recorder for the particular song. This is where they will place their videos so if you plan on using it multiple times with the same class/grade, I suggest you be a bit more narrow rather than ‘Music’ or similar basic ideas. We understand, we know, but it is less helpful with organization in the end.
We begin with the Topic ‘Say Hello on Flipgrid!’ as our pre-created topic provided by the software. Once more, we have the Actions tab. Here we see more options than before.
· Edit Topic – you may rename the topic, change the prompt, adjust the recording time, turn on moderation, add a resource to engage them, give a tip, add attachments and more.
o Topic Status – you can manage when they can upload videos this way. If it is Active, students may record during the dates listed. If it is frozen, students may still view posted videos but cannot post on their own. And if it is hidden, students will no longer be able to see it.
o Topic Features – you can adjust what students can do with their videos. This means adding attachments, liking other videos, add sticky notes, or even reply to another student.
o Feedback – you can leave basic feedback or build your own rubrics. I prefer custom, but basic works well enough on it’s own. Custom is exactly what it sounds like, including assigning point values for specific criteria.
· Record a Response – this is how you and your students will place videos in each topic
· Add Topic Guests – you can allow access to others, such as a guest speaker or performer
· Add to Disco Library – the Discovery Library is for educators to group and share topics as a template. By adding it, others will be able to use the topic but not the videos within.
· Hide Topic – students will not be able to respond
· Share – you can share the direct link to the topic instead of the entire Grid.
· Move Topic – you can add it to another Grid you have created
· Duplicate Topic
· Delete Topic
If you wish, you can create a new topic and type in the new name, prompt (instructions), and adjust things such as the time length as you would in the edit section. Start by naming it and writing a prompt. The recording time can be up to ten minutes or as short as fifteen seconds. I prefer to turn on video moderation as that will automatically make all submissions hidden from others. It provides a bit of security and helps encourage those who are shy to have less fear and worry. The focus is optional, used as a hook to engage students, but it is optional. Under more, you can add a tip to help your students, allow attachments, edit the posting dates, features, and feedback criteria. Not a requirement for you to edit any of this, but you may find it helpful.
You have your topic, now it’s time to get creative! Clicking on the topic will bring you to the page where you can create. If you chose a focus, it will greet you at the top of the page. The name, instructions, and such are all there for the students to see. These are what you would have adjusted in Edit Topic or what you would have created in your new topic. Now for the best part, at least in my opinion. This is what makes it great for any ages as well as non-English speakers.
Flipgrid has an immersive reader. If you are using this with students who do not read well, are better with hearing English than reading it, or need it translated, they will click on that icon. It will read it aloud for your students and tell them exactly what they must do in order to create a video. It is perhaps my favorite part of this as you can make it user friendly for all of your students and it is more accessible immediately. You can make a video explaining what to do as well, meaning students are NOT required to be able to read to be able to use it. Mind, it is challenging enough for your younger students so I would not suggest our 4 and 5 year olds try without a parent to help a lot, but it is entirely useable in second grade and up if you teach them how to do it.
Making the video is fairly simple and straightforward. It will go into selfie mode automatically to record you once you are ready to start, but it will not record until you are ready. Press the green plus to get your video prepared. Don’t panic, it looks much more complicated than it actually is. I promise!
As you can see, I’ve labeled what each is on the page. I used the little paint can to turn it into a white board, then the draw feature to draw the arrows. I did not use any filters or upload a sticker but the rest is fairly self explanatory. You can review the topic the video is supposed to be on, see the timer for how long you have left, and change how everything looks. When my students were using Flipgrid in the spring, I saw many different stickers covering faces and decorating the video. Many of our students are fairly smart and innovative. They will likely know this without you needing to say anything. Don’t be surprised by them doing it unless you specifically ask them not to.
Now it is time to finally record. That big red button will let you record away. You can redo it as many times as you want, so don’t worry about having to be perfect on your first try. You can also record video outside of the application and upload it as well. In the breadcrumbs (another word for the three dots that you can see next to the red camera icon), you can check to make sure your sound is turned on as well. Now, everything that you’ve seen so far on this page is exactly what your students will see. It will make it easier as you can record yourself making the video to show them or show them in person if you are face to face. Remind them (and yourself) that this is not to be stressful, they don’t need to show their faces in most cases, keep to the topic, school appropriate (for your older ones), and PLEASE wear shirts and pants. We think we’re funny joking about ‘no pants’ days, but for our students? Some of them have been taking that seriously or going without shirts. Fine in their own homes, not as fine in school settings. We laugh but there’s always that one student.
You’ve recorded your first Flipgrid video! Awesome! The next steps are fairly simple in comparison. The set up and recording was the hardest part. The rest is easy. You’ve gotten this far and you’ve definitely got the rest, no problem. Click NEXT to review the video. You can add more or press next again. You can snap a selfie, draw an image, etc just as you did before. Press next once more, name the video, press submit, and you’re done! Awesome! Completed with no issues. When you look back at the screen, you’ll see your video is now there, with the green Active button. It is now visible to everyone who has the link to the Topic. If you push it to Hidden, it will be only for you. In the Actions section, you’ll see options to Download Video or Download Selfie. You can if you want, but again, not a requirement.
Here’s where fun can begin. Add to Mixtapes. You can create a mixtape of student videos in a larger movie format. It does not stack them on top of one another so they all play at the same time but plays one after the other. Say you had your 5th graders in teams and each team had to teach something about a music topic. One had rhythm, the next melody, form, tempo, and the last group had dynamics. Each student would make their own video on the topic and you would mix them together using Mixtapes. You can name it after the particular topic they were assigned and find the videos under your Mixtapes section located at the top of the page.
Mixtapes are useful to show off your students as well as create group projects. You can put things together for your school as well, such as a 5th grade presentation at the end of the school year. These mixtapes can also be used for performances, concerts, assessments and so on. Our district requires fifth graders to sing either a major scale or America. Using mixtapes can show your students good examples, make it easier for you to assess what they should sound like, etc. Remember, this is all about keeping things EASY. Don’t over complicate things. If you don’t know what you would use Mixtapes for, don’t use them. We aren’t making you use them nor do we expect you to use them either.
You’ve done everything well so far. You’ve posted everything for your students and are starting to get video responses. You can provide feedback in a few ways. The first way is to create a video response. You would record yourself in response to their video, giving feedback in that positive way we all know to do. You can score using the rubric provided or your own and assign the numerical values. And you can leave written feedback. You can see in the image below how it appears for you. The student’s name has been blacked out but you can still see all of the other information. The students will see the feedback you provide, if any. Remember to keep your feedback kind and positive. It is challenging for us to record ourselves for people to see. It’s even harder for a lot of our students.
Once you’ve added the feedback, you can send it directly to the student using the link or email, or they can find it in their video. You can always edit the feedback, have them submit new videos, and so on. And guess what? You’ve done it. You’ve successfully used Flipgrid with your students!
Disclaimer and Extra Resources
You might need to teach your students how to use Flipgrid. You might need to teach them what their ID and password is, how to submit a video, and how to see feedback. I do not claim this is simple or easy to do as every child is different. Some may find it easy and some will find it harder. Be patient and help those who need it. Be kind as they work through it with you. They will get it just as you did. You can incorporate it in Canvas, Teams, Nearpod, any method of digital teaching as well on its own.
Feel free to watch any of the videos that show you step by step everything listed above. Don’t be afraid of not knowing something or needing reminders. Use all the resources that are out there! It’s there for you to use and the fact that you think to use them means that you are willing and ready to learn. Remember, even the professionals have to Google things at some point. No one expects you to have all the answers and we’re certainly looking for ways to make things easier all the time. Even with being at a digital school with one to one technology, I still go to Google, YouTube, and other resources for help when I get stuck. Don’t be ashamed. Be proud that you know how to search for even more resources to support you!
Here are the basic steps to making everything you need for Flipgrid and incorporating it in your teaching. Remember, this is a tool. This is NOT to replace your lesson but act to enhance it.
· Login/Join Flipgrid using your Google or Microsoft email
· Create a Grid for your class/section/group
· Create a narrower Topic for videos to go
· Press the green + to record your video
· Remember to click Next through the steps to title your video
· Teach your students how to use Flipgrid with their own camera
· Share the Topic with your students
· Review their videos and leave feedback
· Add their videos to a Mixtape if you want
Feel free to experiment on my own Flipgrid here. I made this Topic and I will not be doing anything with it, so feel free to experiment with creating a video to your heart’s content. I have a brief video showing how I created it there as well.
I hope this overview of Flipgrid is helpful to you and your digital adventures. Take things one day at a time, step by step. You are not expected to be throwing this at your students the first day of teaching, much less the first month. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification if you need it. There are resources out there, including this blog. We are here to help you and we want you to be successful.
Gulf Beaches Elementary Magnet School