Using Flipgrid to Improve Speaking Skills

This Fall, I have been using a video response tool called Flipgrid to help improve my students’ speaking skills. Flipgrid is a video platform used by over 30,000 teachers to ignite classroom discussions and promote social learning. In Flipgrid, teachers post discussion topics to which students respond with videos, providing every student an equal voice, increasing retention, and encouraging peer-led learning. Full Disclosure: Flipgrid asked me to join their Ambassador program and bribed me with stickers, t-shirts, and love. This program rocks and I have fallen in love with Flipgrid.

Since September, my students have created 304 video responses to 10 topics on 5 grids. They have viewed each others’ videos 6,324 times resulting in 1 year and 139 days of total viewing time. After some trial and error, I primarily use two grids: US History and World History for the majority of my assignments. I can add new topics and keep the majority of my student work organized. I am trying to use Flipgrid once or twice a month to check for understanding and see how well students can verbalize their thought process. Part of the impetus for using Flipgrid came from my principal who is fond of asking “How do you know if they have learned from your instruction?”  With Flipgrid, I can just click and let my students speak for themselves.

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In the above example, I asked my students to play a “Who Am I?” game with their individual Enlightenment Philosophes. The students had 90 seconds to tell us everything about their philosophe except their name, then we would use the videos to review for the final exam on the Enlightenment. Because Flipgrid allows you to download the individual videos, I was able to upload the best to YouTube (unlisted) and then create a video Kahoot for the students to use as a review game. This was a big hit.

So far, I have asked my World History students to explain differences between Roman and US checks and balances in government, paraphrase three stories from The Adventures of Ulysses, and elaborate on historical details from the French Revolution. My US History students have had to conduct to a say, mean, matter on the Preamble to the constitution, justify eliminating four Amendments from the Bill of Rights, demonstrate an Academic Conversation about Imperialism, tell the story of the Panama Canal, and preview three arguments for an essay about civil disobedience. I am at the beginning of my Flipgrid adventure. This tool will help me show growth in student speaking skills. I can see using Flipgrid this spring to fine tune the work I am doing with my ASCD Teacher Impact Grant colleagues as we participate in a video lesson study on student speaking skills. Further, by sharing Flipgrid with the 300 Social Studies teachers participating in the Constitutional Rights Foundation’s Teacher 2 Teacher Collaborative, this important tool can dramatically increase the amount of student speaking assignments in classrooms. Try Flipgrid One for free and share how you used it in the comments section.

4 thoughts on “Using Flipgrid to Improve Speaking Skills”

  1. I have just started using Flipgrid in my 2nd grade classroom. They are telling me where they see forces in the world (physical science forces….gravity/friction ect…not forces of good and evil). It’s a nice way for them to own academic language. I am looking forward to learning more about flipgrid and your TIG grant. What tips do you have for us newbies?

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    1. Thanks for the comment, fellow #ASCDTIG grantee. I recommend the work of Nonie Lesaux https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJCn3cn-gGo and giving your students as many opportunities to use their academic vocabulary as you can. Lesaux found that deliberate, sustained instruction to develop students’ academic vocabulary knowledge occurs infrequently in most classrooms. Estimates suggest that in kindergarten through second grade classrooms, only between 10-28% of academic time focused on vocabulary instruction. http://ngl.cengage.com/assets/downloads/ngreach_pro0000000005/am_lesaux_rch_focus_deeply.pdf I think too many teachers are reticent to let their students talk, but it turns out it is one of the best things we can do.

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  2. Hi there! I am also jumping into using Flip Grid with my middle school students as well as college students. I find many students are unsure of themselves and the speaking part is the most challenging. I would love to see hear how else you are using Flip Grid (i.e., types of questions).

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