Thursday, August 10, 2017

Meet the All NEW Flipgrid! 10+ Must Try Ideas for Using These Updates With Your Class

The edtech world has caught a serious case of #FlipgridFever 🔥 On August 10th Flipgrid Founder Charlie Miller announced that more than 100,000 educators and more than 5,000,000 students use Flipgrid across 141 countries (watch the live stream of the launch event). In addition, a new Flipgrid video was shared every .48 seconds of every minute of every day since Jan 1 of 2017. Today more than 1.2 billion seconds of video have been shared by students and educators on Flipgrid, representing more than 38 years of student voice.

Flipgrid knows what kids and teachers love and they have added some awesome features to take the best parts of other apps like Instagram and Snapchat and added them in a safe environment (you can control all of these options in the admin console) while keeping all of the fun! There is a sleeker and even MORE user friendly admin side. Check it out for yourself! The admin console has gotten a major makeover. In true Flipgrid form emojis have been added for extra fun and engagement. You are going to FLIP out over these updates and what’s even more incredible is that ALL of these features are available to the FREE Flipgrid One account users!

I know you have been kept in suspense long enough so I won’t make you wait any longer. So let me introduce you to the all NEW Flipgrid! Check out these incredible updates and ideas for using them in your classroom!

1. Who doesn’t love stickers? Students (and adults) will love the new ability to express themselves by adding a stickers to their selfie. Have your students use stickers to  label their videos into genres or even express mood with emoji stickers.

2. What!!! You can DRAW on your selfie too? In addition to adding stickers kids can also draw on their snapped selfie to add a little creativity to give a sneak peek into what their video might be about.

3. Videos can now have titles added which not only gives the viewer an idea of what the video is about but also gives students the opportunity to use their creative writing skills to come up with a good title that will hook the viewer in and get them watching their video! You can also add hashtags to videos to make them searchable.

4. Camera flip! You can now flip your camera around while recording. Think of all the possibilities for students to show their work or art or model or ??? while they are explaining and sharing their thinking.

5. OK get ready for this one. Are you ready??? Are you sure, because this is HUGE. FILE LINKS! Nope, you aren’t dreaming. Students can now now add files links to your videos which give students the opportunity to share their thoughts about a project. Incredibly engaging digital portfolios. CHECK!

6. Supercharged stimulation! You thought it was amazing before to be able to add your own video file or YouTube video? Well check THIS out! You can still upload or record your own video but now you can add Vimeo (and YouTube), upload and image, add a GIF or even and emoji to engage your students. Use an emoji to teach concepts like mood and tone. Check out Edutopia’s article Using Emojis to Teach Critical Reading Skills for more ideas.

7. Holy HyperDocs integration! Prompts can pack an even bigger punch with the ability to attach any file, document or website in your topic. Attach a HyperDoc and allow students to reflect at different parts of a lesson or unit. Check out Flipgrid and HyperDocs! Amplifying student voice in purposeful lesson design for more ideas.

8. You asked for it and they delivered, BIG TIME. Flipgrid now give ALL users (even Flipgrid One accounts) the option to provide PERSONALIZED FEEDBACK for your students. Right from the teacher admin you can click next to your students videos and provide written feedback and even give them a score on a performance and ideas rubric.ALL Flipgrid educators can now provide feedback to their students. Flipgrid Classroom users can even upload their own custom scoring rubric!

9. Click on your Dashboard to see your total engagement time across all of your grids and Flipgrid will give you an Engagement Fun Fact to go with it. Have a flipgrid account you only use with your class? Share this with your student to put their response time into context. You might just sneak a little extra learning in too 😉  A little fun fact of my own, you can even Tweet it right from your dashboard!
10. Student privacy is important and so is family communication and that’s why can now generate a private link to share a video with your students’ families or even the community without linking back to the topic and grid it was recorded in. Create a hidden topic and use the new feature to generate a private link to share with your parents to communicate with families while ensuring that other students and parents can’t access the videos from your grid.

11. Now you can do more than just like a video you can react to it! Add these emoji reactions for more fun. You can use them for voting or assign a meaning to each so that students can give each other feedback on their videos in a fun and easy way. Teachers can off the 5 reactions and just keep the likes or turn them on for added engagement.

The BEST thing about the all NEW Flipgrid is that along with all of these amazing new updates they have kept all of the wonderful features you have come to know and love. Students can still respond using ANY device, sharing topics and grids is as simple as a code or link and teachers have full control with moderating features. These are just some of the incredible updates. Visit or to see all of the ways Flipgrid has made their already amazing product even more incredible. And we thought Flipgrid couldn’t get any better!

Ready to get started? If you already have a Flipgrid account your new updates will be there as soon as you log on! Don’t have a Flipgrid account yet? Go to to sign up for your free account. You can use promo code KARLYMOURA to upgrade to Flipgrid Classroom until September 30th.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Flipgrid and HyperDocs: Amplifying student voice in purposeful digital lesson design.

This is a collaborative post written with the incredible Sean Fahey, an amazing 6th grade teacher in Indiana. Be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his blog at  

If you follow either one of us on Twitter, you will quickly find out that we have many things in common. Two of those being our passion for Flipgrid and HyperDocs.  We are avid HyperDocs creators and have created many HyperDocs collaboratively and share them with our PLN on Twitter. We are also both Flipgrid Ambassadors and love sharing this amazing tool with other educators. We believe that powerful digital lesson design infused with the power of amplifying student voice is truly a game changer in the classroom.
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Whoa. Stop the music. You don’t know about Flipgrid or HyperDocs? Well then you have our permission to stop reading and explore any and all of the resources below.

OK now that we are all on the same page with the WHAT, let’s talk about WHY HyperDocs and WHY Flipgrid and HOW we can use them together to amplify student voice in purposeful digital lesson design.In a recent episode of the Cult of Pedagogy podcast those two were brought together.  In the podcast Jennifer Gonzalez is interviewing Lisa Highfill, Kelly Hilton, and Sarah Landis the creators of HyperDocs. Towards the end of the interview they are discussing HyperDocs and having great design and purpose when creating and using HyperDocs. Then Lisa mentions FlipGrid!
HIGHFILL: ...You know when a new web tool comes along, you’re all excited? Like everyone’s excited right now about Flipgrid and whatnot.
HIGHFILL: But then I want to ask them, what are you going to do with it? How are you going to build the pedagogy around that cool tool?
HIGHFILL: And where in the lesson flow would it fit in your HyperDocs? So it’s really saying, “I love flashy new tools. Now let’s think about how you can effectively use them in the classroom, and then link it into your HyperDoc that way.
Lisa makes a great point. How many times have you got caught up in all the hoopla over a new edtech tool or update? Flipgrid is THE hot new edtech tool educators are excited to use. However, like Lisa asks, “What are you going to do with it? How are you going to build the pedagogy around that cool tool?”

We need to make sure that we slow down and think about why are we including the technology we have chosen for our lessons. We shouldn’t just toss in a Flipgrid or any other edtech tool we might like just because we need or want to use technology.  Karly’s friend Nick Zefeldt, advises that when implementing educational technology we need to make sure and ask “Is it meaningful and is it manageable?”


Well we say “Yes!” to Flipgrid being both when used correctly and we want to give some ideas how you can effectively use Flipgrid in the classroom, and then link it into your HyperDoc lessons. The reason being that great HyperDocs are created and taught with purposeful lesson design and pedagogy and Flipgrid being so versatile by allowing for video feedback and increased student voice within your digital lesson design.

While HyperDocs can take many forms (slides, maps, drawing, forms etc), we will be referring to the sections from the basic HyperDoc template for our examples. The basic HyperDoc template has seven parts that students go through as you complete the lesson. This template was created by Sarah Landis to help other get started and gives an excellent description of each part.

There are tons of ways you can incorporate Flipgrid into your HyperDocs, here are just a few ideas for getting started. Note: You can go to “file” then “make a copy” of any of these templates or examples to use with your own class.

Use Flipgrid to engage students at the beginning of a lesson by including a video, image, quote, or another inspirational hook in your topic for student to respond to.

  • Idea 💡  KWL chart gets a video REMIX. Have student respond to a topic sharing what they know. Then have them reply to themselves and classmates sharing what they want to know. After the lesson or unit have students come back to their own video and respond to themselves with what they have learned. Woo! A FlipGrid KWL


Students explore a topic through a collection of resources (articles, videos, infographics, text excerpts, etc.) in the HyperDoc.
  • Idea 💡 Bring in experts and take your students beyond the four walls of your classroom! Flipgrid hosts an amazing opportunity with their Flipgrid Explorer Series. They have done two so far and more are planned! Use the expert videos in the explorer series for your students to learn about new and exciting animals, places and careers. HyperDocs are a perfect accompaniment to this series as you create your digital lessons around these topics and extend the learning in your own classroom .
  • Idea 💡 So Flipgrid’s explore series doesn’t fit into your curriculum? Then create your own! Teachers can do this by creating a ‘virtual field trip’. Go to a place (we’re thinking state parks, historical sites, museums, etc)  that is of value to your lessons and record short videos of the sites to bring the content to your classroom.  Add the videos to a Flipgrid for your students to explore and respond to. Even better collaborate with other teachers across your district, state or even in other countries to create an explorer series for many different classes to connect through.

Apply and Share:
Create an assignment for students to apply what they learn by using web tools to create, collaborate, and/or connect beyond the classroom.  Then collect student work to provide feedback, and/or include a section for students to share work with an authentic audience.
  • Idea 💡 Have students use storytelling web tools to apply their learning. Then appsmash with Flipgrid and get them to share with the class and beyond! Students show what they know using video or digital storytelling in a different app then upload to Flipgrid to share.
  • Idea 💡 You don’t need to appsmash. Students can simply connect with other students across the school, state, country or world! Before , during and/or after a unit have students connect with each other to share what they learned.

Give students an opportunity for digital reflection on their learning journey using Flipgrid to guide students along their learning progression and set new goals.
  • Idea 💡 Have students reflect back on the lesson or unit and share what they have learned. This is a powerful way for students to be thoughtful about their learning process.

This quote from Matt Miller reminds us that we must be intentional in our teaching and integration of technology no matter what tools we decide to use in our lessons. “The bottom line is that pedagogy must drive technology. The mindset that fuels digital learning is good teaching trumps good tools.”

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Getting Started with Scratch and Makey Makey

Makey Makey, an invention kit that turns anything (that conducts electricity of course) into a touch pad and Scratch, a FREE visual programming language developed by MIT, are the perfect combination for bringing computer programming and hands-on project making together. At my school we have found that by teaching the kids how Makey Makey works along with guided lessons in Scratch the kids are putting them together and getting some pretty amazing results.

So how do you set your students up for success as you incorporate computer programming AND making into your lessons? Well, this is definitely a work in progress we found and created some resources we are using to teach computer programming with Scratch and make it hands-on with Makey Makey.

What if I don't know anything about Makey Makey or Scratch???

Guess what?? That's OK! You can learn along WITH your students! That's what we am doing and WOW they sure are teaching us a lot. It's a bit uncomfortable for us teachers at first but it's worth it. If we waited to be the expert in all tech tools before we used it with our students our kids would sure be waiting a while. So check out the resources below and jump in and get creating with your kiddos!

Introducing Makey Makey

Makey Makey is a HUGE favorite at Sun Terrace. This little kit is quite popular with our elementary school kiddos who greatly enjoy playing Flappy Bird with their Play Doh or banana controller.

To guide the students as they explore HOW Makey Makey works I taught a unit on electricity and circuits to our 3-5th graders (you can easily adapt for K-2). Using this "Getting Creative with Makey Makey" HyperDoc, originally created by Cathie Gillner, students explored electricity and how circuits work to discover which materials conduct electricity and which are insulators. The hands-on component of Makey Makey made the engagement level skyrocket and students began using their science vocabulary with one another as they created their models and built their controllers.

If you look at the HyperDoc you can see that the majority of programs the students are working with are created in Scratch. The kids LOVED playing games with their Makey Makey controller. Also many of the awesome projects that Makey Makey has on their site either have a program already created in scratch for the students to use or they ask students to remix an existing project. While we found that some students can easily remix a project given the directions on the site most of us (including me) need some experience in coding with Scratch in order to successfully write a program that will work with Makey Makey.

Getting Started with Scratch

At Sun Terrace we code all year. Students use in their classrooms, they use Blockly to code the Dash robots, an unplugged favorite game is Robot Turtles and of course we go big during the Hour of Code in December. But we knew we needed to do more so this spring we began taking it to the next level with a more focused approach to teaching computer science.

To teach the students computer programming with Scratch our Technology committee decided on using the Creative Computing Curriculum Guide from Harvard Graduate School of Education as a starting point. It's a BIG hit with the kids and once the kids get rolling with programming the possibilities for using Scratch across the curriculum are pretty much endless. The guide is very easy to follow and if you are ok with learning with your class and quite possibly ending up having them teach you then you can definitely get started with this guide.

We created challenge cards with additional directions and links to the handouts for each activity to gamifying the curriculum and to make as it easy to implement as possible for our teachers to use with our classes. This makes it simple for students to go back to previous lessons and review what they missed or may have forgotten.

To gamify the curriculum we used Alice Keeler's Gamify Your PD: Badges and Level Up template and created a Scratch Ninja Badge spreadsheet. Each lesson (with a few modifications) has a badge. Students earn stars as they work toward their Scratch belts. We made a copy of the badge spreadsheet for each student and assigned in Google Classroom so they could keep track of their achievements. So far they are loving it! All of the lesson cards are linked in the template too for easy access to lesson resources.

Click on the link below to get make a copy of the badge template with links to the lesson cards too! So far only units 0-2 have been badged and gamified so check back after the summer when I should have them all done 👍  The idea to make Scratch Ninja badges came from Lisa Guardino a wonderful computer science teacher mentor of mine who used the belt system with her kids when teaching Scratch, thanks Lisa!

Scratch Ninja Badges Template
Once our students were rockin and rollin with coding they could easily make the jump to using Makey Makey to control their Scratch programs. NOW comes the fun part and the possibilities for incorporating these projects into math, science, social studies and ELA are endless. We are already starting and have lots of resources to share but that's another blog post 😉

So that's how we are got started combining computer programming with making at Sun Terrace Elementary. We are just beginning to dive into all of the ways we can get students exploring, discovering, thinking and creating with Scratch and Makey Makey but are as excited as the students are to see where this takes us. What have you tried? Have tips, ideas, resources for beginners? Please add them to the comments below!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Catch the Flipgrid fever! 15+ ways to use Flipgrid in your class.

If you haven't heard of Flipgrid yet then you will soon be seeing it everywhere. I had my first experience with Flipgrid on March 2nd in a #Ditchbook chat. I was hesitant to try it out and almost skipped the chat because I wasn't sure about trying to learn how to use yet another tool at 7pm on a Thursday night. However, Matt Miller and my Ditchbook pals Sandy Otto and Craig Klement assured me it was easy peasy and I decided to try it out. Boy am I sure glad I did! 

Flipgrid is a video response platform where educators can have online video discussions with students or other educators. Teachers can provide feedback to students AND better yet students can provide feedback to one another. With Flipgrid One (Free) you get one grid with unlimited topics. So if you have multiple classes or subject areas you can just create a different topic for each and share that topic code. With Flipgrid Classroom ($65 per year) you get unlimited grids, topics, responses and replies to responses. You can definitely do a TON with the free version so check that out first and if you decide to take it further then you can look into getting a classroom account. Check out more info on the differences and how to get started here.

(Want to try Flipgrid Classroom for FREE? Sign up and use promo code KARLYMOURA for free access until Sept. 30, when it will revert to a free Flipgrid One account.)

My first few experiences with Flipgrid were in a educational chat setting where a group of educators from all over the country shared ideas and inspired one another online. I have become so excited about using it with students and other educators that I have become a Flipgrid Ambassador. But don't take my word for it, check it out and try it yourself!

It really IS as easy as 1-2-3 to get started using Flipgrid with your class.
1. Create a discussion board and share the link with your class. (With the classroom account you can embed fully functional Flipgrid cards or a grid in Google Classroom, Haiku, Blackboard, Canvas, Schoology along many other sites or in an LMS)
2. Students record their video (Flipgrid can be used on ANY device)
3. You and your students reply to one another and take the discussions further.

So how can you use the Flipgrid with your class? Here are 15 ideas for using this video platform in your classroom. 

1.  Reading response goes digital. After your class reads an article, chapter or book have them respond to a question about their reading. Take the conversation further by having students comment on each other's responses.
2. End of year (semester) reflection. What better way to say goodbye than to have your students record a video reflecting on their learning over the course of your class? (I'm pretty sure many of these would require a box of tissues for those tear jerker posts!)
3. Advice to next year's class.  How cool is it to have a Flipgrid of advice videos from your current students to show next year's class? Check out this End of Year Reflection HyperDoc and link a Flipgrid in the share section.
4. Debate a topic! Add a Flipgrid to the share section of this "Great Debate" HyperDoc by Rayna Freedman to get your students debating.
5. Show what you know! Choice and voice are so important for getting students to share their knowledge with us. What better way to do that then to add Flipgrid as an option in a Show What You Know BINGO board?
6. Reflect on a lesson or unit. Seems simple but having your students reflect on a lesson is great feedback for us as teachers. How did it go? What changes would you make? What was your favorite part? Take a look at their responses for planning next year.
7. 30 second book talk challenge. Have your students share about their favorite book in 30 seconds or less. Check out this example.
8. Exit tickets get a makeover. Post the question "What did you learn today?" or better yet ask your students "What did you create today?" for the students to answer before leaving class.
9. Number talks. Have students explain their thinking and critique the reasoning of others as they work through a math problem.
10. Brainstorming in the Engineering Design Process. Students can jump very quickly to planning or even building before they get out their ideas in a brainstorming session. Slow them down a bit and capture their thinking as they throw out their ideas on Flipgrid. Add a Flipgrid to the brainstorm portion of this Intro to Engineering Design Process HyperDoc.
11. Put a spin on student of the week. Have each student record a video sharing why that student of the week is special. Students will enjoy watching video messages from their classmates sharing why they are a valued member of their classroom community.
12. Reboot your standard biography report. My friend Sean Fahey had the fabulous idea to use Nadine Gilkison's amazing Biography Inquiry HyperDoc to teach students all about biographies. Finally have students dress up as the person they are researching and record short presentation video.
13. Welcome back to school Flipgrid style. Have all staff record a welcome back message for your students at the beginning of the year. Ask a local (or national) celebrity to join in and give a shout out to your students.
14. Appreciation/Thank you card. After a field trip, on your admin's birthday or during Teacher or Classified Staff appreciation week have your class record their own video thank you cards.
15. Appsmash! OK, I'm kinda cheating here since this is really WAY more than one idea but it's just too good to leave out. I have had the opportunity to connect with an incredible educator and Flipgrid Ambassador, Jornea Erwin. In this episode of Flipgrid Unplugged Jornea shares SO many ideas for how to appsmash with Flipgrid to kick it up another notch. Once you have a few Flipgrids under your belt you REALLY need to check this out!

Want to check out even MORE ideas for using Flipgrid inside and outside of the classroom?  These amazing posts by Sean Fahey and Jen Giffen are FULL of great ideas.

The opportunities to utilize this platform with your class are endless. The best way to get started? Try it out yourself! Share how YOU have used or will use Flipgrid with your students below!