Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Flipped for Flipgrid

Have you tried Flipgrid yet? Based on the activity and love they are getting on Twitter, it seems like just about everyone is trying Flipgrid! My students and I tried out this tool in a lesson this month.

Flipgrid allows users to create and submit a short video in response to a prompt. The tool works on laptops and also as an iOS app. Videos can be recorded within the webtool or app, but they can also be made with a different tool and uploaded to Flipgrid. That feature has some great app smashing potential! Once videos are made, they can be watched by the teacher or by other people who have the address of the "grid" or topic. Viewers can "like" videos too.

I wanted to give my students practice interpreting scenarios in terms of some basic gas laws. Flipgrid was perfect for that. In groups, my students completed one of six experiments. Then they did the experiment a second time but they explained and recorded it in response to my prompt. Here are a couple of samples:

After recording their own videos, I provided descriptions of all the experiments so that students could try to provide explanations for each other's experiments. Then they watched the other videos to see if what they thought matched each group's ideas. They liked the videos of groups that they thought had explained the scenarios correctly. Overall, it was a fun lesson and a nice change of pace as a formative assessment.

Flipgrid just recently rolled out Flipgrid One, the free version of their tool, which is what I used for this lesson. Flipgrid One gives teachers one "grid" to use for free. A grid is like a classroom. Within that grid, you can create topics, or prompts, that students respond to. The more robust version is called Flipgrid Classroom ($65/year) and has some added features, including providing video responses or emailed feedback within the tool, downloading videos, and exporting data to gradebooks. For what I needed, Flipgrid One was enough, but there are excellent benefits to Flipgrid Classroom.

If you're interested in giving FlipGrid a try, it's intuitive enough to sign up and get started. If you want more of a guided tour, they have an Support Center to walk you through and give you some ideas. They even have a way to connect with educators across the globe. It's loads of fun. I recommend it!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Keeping our Chemistry PBL Relevant: Week 4

I wrote three posts in January about the PBL that my PLC is trying out this year. Students are creating infographics about any topic in chemistry that interests them. Read more about the project here and here and here.

With half of our PBL-designated time behind us, we revved into high gear with Week 4. Week 4 was primarily designated as work time for groups. However, in an effort to provide a checkpoint for students, we wanted to design an opportunity for targeted feedback by the students. 

We took our project rubric which is broken into four categories and we created a feedback column. We assigned one category of the rubric to each person's role in the group and sliced the rubric into four strips. We placed the strips into baskets on each group's table.

Following a class period work session, each group displayed the rough draft of the infographic on their laptop. All the students moved around and viewed the work of their peers but only through the lens of their particular group role. In other words, the Graphic Designers critiqued only the Layout and Design, while the Researchers looked at the Chemistry Content. The students left the feedback forms at the group tables and returned to their home table receive their own feedback.

I didn't see any of the feedback that the students left for each other, but I did hear a lot of interesting comments while they completed this rotation. Some students were wow-ed by the work of their peers. Others were very underwhelmed by content or design. One student commented: "I have to be honest. I don't see anything visually interesting about this one."

I liked that we adapted the rubric for this purpose so that students had a chance to give and receive feedback with the rubric before the infographics are due in Week 5. I think it focused the process on the expectations of the task but also chunked this process so that a 10-15 minute gallery walk was doable and productive.

Coming up in Week 5: Finished infographics displayed on our website! Very excited to share the work on this project!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

My Most Popular Posts of 2016

Here they are:

Thanks for reading!

I used elink to make the page I embedded above. It looks pretty cool, doesn't it?

PS I know I need to update some of these comparison posts. That is on my to-do list!

Provide Web Resources with

Last night I tried out elink, a tool that allows users to curate web resources and share them as a newsletter, a web page, a link, or embedded in a page. It's VERY easy to use. Ten minutes after I signed up, I had created my first elink.

Here are the steps to creating one:

1. Click Create New and choose a layout. Some layouts are only included in the PRO version but there are several in the free version that appealed to me. 

2. Paste in a link.

3. Edit the link or upload a different image if you want.

4. When you have all the links you want, click done. Then you can add a header and publish your page. It couldn't be easier.

Today I used elink and my blog analytics to create a summary of my most popular blog posts from last year. I have embedded it below:

What I like about creating elinks is that this visual representation of weblinks is much more interesting than a boring bunch of links written as text. Have a project for your students? Providing resources? Why not do it like this? Perhaps the visual will draw students into a particular resource. It would also be great to have kids find resources and present them like this. I think elinks would also be useful as a landing page, especially for young students, to organize all of the webtools that are used in a class. In an increasingly visual society, is a great way to share resources.