This post is part of this year’s Walk This Way series, designed to share The Walking Classroom experiences of teachers and students across the United States. This post provides a glimpse into Dawn Rensel’s class.
I always like to do a follow up with my class after we complete a Walking Classroom podcast. Depending on our schedules for the day, I do an extended project, an activity, or just a quick check for comprehension of the podcast. On a day when we just do not have enough time, I love to rely on Flip Grid!
Flip Grid is an app that allows individuals to record up to a three-minute video. I have utilized this app in conjunction with The Walking Classroom, with overwhelming success. I enjoy posing open ended questions for my students and checking their understanding of the podcast to which we have just listened.
My students absolutely LOVE Flip Grid! They can use drawing tools and emoji’s as they explain their thinking. They take ownership of their learning to a whole new level. This is also another way to differentiate in the classroom and to reach my ESL students.
If you have not checked it out, please do so. Flip Grid WILL NOT disappoint! It allows students to engage in a different way of learning through verbal assessment and empowers them.
Working with Weather, Inventors, and More!
One time, we listened to the several weather-related podcasts:
- Meteorology (5-#11, STEM-#11, Complete-#147)
- Tornadoes (4-#31, STEM-#14, Complete-#149)
- Hurricanes (4-#28, STEM-#13, Complete-#150)
My students’ task was to take the information that they learned and to make a video as if they were a meteorologist recording from the natural disaster. They had to give facts and what precautions were needed to survive the disasters.
Recently we were discussing inventions and the engineering and design process. We learned about Alexander Graham Bell as part of our invention unit. The students completed a body biography report about him and all his amazing accomplishments. Students then recorded a Flip Grid video discussing their own possible inventions. The videos were like the “brainstorming” part of the writing process, except it was verbal brainstorming!
This app is my new “go to”! The ideas, creativity, and producing of videos is endless and goes hand-in-hand with any of The Walking Classroom’s podcasts! After listening to the podcast about similes and metaphors, for example, the students had to make a short video explaining the differences and they had to change up their voices as they were recording their video.
Fun for Kids . . . and Freeing for Teachers!
I’m going to be honest, I do not LOVE grading papers, I actually procrastinate when it comes to grading. However, I can watch, assess, and give feedback on my kids’ videos all day long! This app allows me to assess the kids’ learning from a different platform. The personalities of the quiet students come out as they record their own videos. Students who lack self-confidence really learn to gain that confidence with every video. They now have a voice and personality that shows through in the three-minute videos they record.
Publishing Students’ Work
The recorded videos have become part of my classroom Flip Grid, in which the students can give positive feedback to each other in real time on their posted videos. I am so glad I stumbled upon Flip Grid, and my students are “over the moon”! It has given my own “walking classroom” another extension to utilize after listening to the educational content based podcasts.
While I started off having my students summarize the weekly podcast that I assigned, now have to be more creative with my video assignments! My students have suggested that they record their own Walking Classroom podcasts based on topics of their choice, and then have them all end with “Happy Trails!”
Think Beyond the Earbuds!
I hope this post inspires some of the newer users of The Walking Classroom to think beyond the earbuds and to think “outside” the box when it comes to integrating all content areas and extending the learning within their classroom after the podcasts have ended! My focus this year was (and still is) to create interdisciplinary units around and within the Walking Classroom content!
Happy Trails from me (and my fourth graders)!
Fourth Grade Teacher