I discovered Flipgrid over the summer during some online PD I was participating in and it was pretty much love at first sight! Throughout the summer I used it professionally for book chats and discussions with other teachers and it was great. Flipgrid is best described as a video response platform that gives every student a voice. I love using it in my instrumental music classes!
The first grid I created was not for school, but for my family reunion! Our family is spread out around the country and the last full reunion was twenty years ago. I created a grid and asked everyone to record a video prior to the reunion, telling the group where they were, what they have been up to, and things like that. It was amazing! My 88-year old grandfather recorded a video, along with my 3-year old nephew, a service dog (obviously both with help!) and everyone in between. It was so much fun watching the videos and even better, at the reunion seeing people spark conversations based on what they had watched. Apparently, my grandfather is still, months later, going back to watch videos 🙂
The family reunion experience proved that Flipgrid is a powerful tool. I began using it with my 4th and 5th-grade band and orchestra classes and they LOVE it! They ask almost daily if we can use Flipgrid. Here are a couple of the ways that I have been using Flipgrid in instrumental music
This was one of the first things I did with Flipgrid, and it may be one of my favorites. The students simply have to create how-to videos based on a specific skill. I had my 5th-grade orchestra students work with partners (during class) to record bow hold tutorial videos. My 4th-grade band students created videos (at home) describing how to properly assemble and hold their instruments. The benefits to this: the students have to really think through the process in order to make an accurate video, and I get to see who understands the process and who needs more clarification.
There are many times where I will have students work with a partner in class to practice de-coding rhythms, come up with a do-re-mi pattern, or something similar. At the conclusion of the activity, a small number of pairs would share what they did with the full group. By using Flipgrid, every pair could record their video, giving everyone the opportunity to share-out to the group.
While I haven’t exactly used Flipgrid for playing assessments, it is definitely an option especially using the rubric tool. Instead, I’ve used it just to encourage students to play their instruments at home! For example, in October I set up a topic for Halloween Music and handed out a sheet with 4 different Halloween songs. We worked on one of the songs in class, and the others were optional. The students were then encouraged to add videos to the topic, playing the various Halloween songs. At first, most students recorded the one we had practiced. But as soon as one student played an optional song, more of them wanted to! The next thing you know, most students had learned additional Halloween songs, meaning they had practiced their instruments on their own. And, it gave me the opportunity to hear students playing individually. I call that a teacher-win 🙂
This year I wanted to experiment with year-long student portfolios. I had some various technology restrictions so Flipgrid seemed like a good option. Right now I have a grid set up for each student. At the beginning of each marking period, students recorded a goal video and then responded to that video at the end of the marking period. Students also added a video containing a song of their choosing at the end of each marking period and were encouraged to add other videos throughout the year. So far it’s working well, and I think it will be fun in June to go back and watch their progress. My next step is to find an easy way to share these portfolios with parents, which I hope to do in the next few weeks. My one suggestion if anyone tries this: use the “Duplicate Grid” feature – I discovered that about halfway through the process!
Collaboration might be one of the greatest things about Flipgrid so far; the ability to collaborate with others outside of our school. After the success of the Halloween Music grid, I decided to create one for Holiday Music. Again I distributed a packet of holiday songs and encouraged the students to practice them. Within the grid, I set up topics for
Another collaboration I am very excited about starts in a few weeks. We will be working with another elementary school in Chicago. My 5th-grade students will be creating videos in Flipgrid to explain basic techniques in playing an instrument, such as posture, playing
I have set-up a “Recording Studio” in my classroom, to give students a somewhat private and quieter space to record videos. Using a corner in my closet this is what I came up with. While it’s not perfect, it is nice for my shy students to have a private place to record their goal videos, and it also helps eliminate some of the background noise when 7 students are practicing different things and one wants to record a video. You can check out the blog post that inspired me here: “How to Build a Recording Studio.”
While there are many other uses for Flipgrid in instrumental music, this is what I’ve done so far. The students really enjoy it, and the benefits for me are huge: I get to hear from every student and it’s encouraging them to play their instruments outside of class. I’d love to hear from anyone else with great ideas for using Flipgrid in band and orchestra!
September 2018 – Check out this more recent blog post to learn about new Flipgrid features and ideas on how to use them in the music classroom! Flipgrid – What’s New?
March 2018 – Students all over the world participated in the first ever Flipgrid Explorer Series to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month! Check out this MixedTape to view the various “musician explorer” videos: https://flipgrid.com/+musicians
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