Classroom Strategies, Technology

Spark learning with a Fliphunt

I first learned about Fliphunts from Natasha Rachell (read her blog here!). It seemed like such a cool idea that I bookmarked it and made a mental note to try it soon. Soon came along just after spring break, and I couldn’t wait to jump in with my students.

A Fliphunt is a scavenger hunt using Flipgrid! Students work in teams to record videos for as many challenges as they can in the alloted time period. At the end, watch the videos and tally up each team’s points to determine a winner.

Setting up a Fliphunt

The setup was super easy — I created this Slide with three levels of challenges (one star, two star, three star) based on difficulty level. A quick Google search or scroll through #Fliphunt on Twitter will lead you to lots of examples and fun ideas. I also created a student handout they could take with them when they went outside to record and check off challenges as they go. At the bottom of the student handout is the class scorecard; I printed one per period, then recorded scores as we watched the Flipgrid videos together as a class.

I created one grid on Flipgrid for the assignment, and separate topics for each class period. This is where “duplicate topic” comes in very handy!

Fliphunt directions

Running the FlipHunt in class

I used this Fliphunt as an introduction to a new unit, so each topic was something new they needed to search up and explore.

Students worked in teams of 3-4 to complete as many challenges as they could in about 30 minutes. I released them for 10 minutes to record at least one video, then had them come back in to watch what had been submitted, record scores, and quickly debrief the recording process. They went back out for the remaining 20 minutes, then came back in to watch and record final scores.

Students recording a video for our Fliphunt

Some groups weren’t as into the Fliphunt as others, and other groups struggled with effective teamwork; breaking up the work time helped keep these groups on track. Next time, I’ll add our lab group roles as an additional teamwork scaffold. Even with all the progress we’ve made with Mastery-Based Grading, some still struggle with motivation if they know there isn’t a grade attached–we’re working on it.

Using one iPad to research, and another to record.

On the bright side, the groups that were participating and excited made this a lot of fun for all of us! Some groups were extremely competitive and worked super hard. Many students let their personalities and sense of humor shine in the videos. It will be helpful to look back on these videos as learning tools as we learn more about the Earth.

Additionally, my teacher next-door neighbor is interested in trying a Fliphunt at some point, so we may create another one for an end of the semester review!

I’ll definitely do another Fliphunt with my class. We had a great time, and it was fun to watch students explore a new topic, navigate effective teamwork, and share their creativity with the class.

What are your tips for running Fliphunts with your students or staff?
Comment below so we can all learn from you!

 

GSuite

Choose Your Own Adventures with Google Forms

Technology can take us on adventures, far and wide! Where will you go?

I love working with teachers from all over the country, and helping them find meaningful ways to integrate technology into their classroom. So often, I come in for a day or a couple hours and hope something sticks. Occasionally, I’ll receive an email or tweet from someone in a workshop, sometimes months or even a year later, sharing what they tried and how it went.

Back in November, I received this happy email from Norm Peckham, an edtech trainer in Mesa, AZ: “I already had a teacher at one of my junior highs call me and he’s changed his whole lesson plan about migration in science so that his students are creating a [Choose Your Own Adventure] story in the Google Form template you created, and I’m helping him and his students out on Monday!!…” He went on to share some resources and example Forms he created as models for his teachers.

Seriously, how cool is that! It’s the kind of email that puts a smile on my face for days!

Student-created example, CYOA to USC

You’ve probably already figured out that Google Forms is my go-to tool for just about everything in my classroom. However, I haven’t talked much about student-created Forms. These Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) stories are a perfect way to get students comfortable with building Forms, since the template is already done.

Last fall, I had my 8th grade AVID students create Choose Your Own Adventure stories to take us on a tour of a university. This required a lot of background research to create interesting and compelling CYOA campus tours.

Here’s how we did it:

1. Students first researched the university, including history, average freshman profiles, campus features, and interesting facts.

2. Students planned out their journeys using this CYOA Google Doc. This took a little bit of explaining on my part, to help them see how the doc would eventually lead to a branching Form.

3. Finally, students made a copy of the CYOA Form to take us through their adventure.

Excellent description with 2 new options to visit next.

Once students were done, they presented their story and allowed us to choose two different adventure paths. Each student received peer feedback using, you guessed it, another Form!

Looking back, I wish I had an example to share with students before hand (I know, rookie move) so they could see the vision for the final product. Luckily, Norm created this awesome tutorial video and an example story, The Online Adventures of Mousey and Mickey. Huge shout out to Norm for allowing me to share these with y’all!!

How have you used Choose Your Own Adventure activities in your classroom? Share your best tips in the comments!

 

 

 

 

Reflections

One Word 2019: Reclaim

This post has been a long time coming. It’s taken me two months to sit down and finish it. In fact, I’ve hardly blogged or tweeted at all in the last two months. There have been so many changes in my life, most of which have been positive.

In the last two months, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and reflecting. I’ve known my 2019 word since December, though I’ve only shared it privately with a few friends. I’m now ready to share it with the rest of my friends:

My word for 2019 is RECLAIM.

As I shared in my 2018 in Review post, I ended a 10 year relationship last fall. While picking up the pieces hasn’t been terribly difficult, I’ve realized how much I need to reclaim myself as a human and as an adult. I’m feeling very positive about the new direction of my life, even through the tougher moments.

On top of it all, we lost our resource positions due to district budget cuts, so I gained another class, plus a 6th class to cover for someone on leave–that’s 6 classes and 3 preps (4 science, 1 science elective, 1 AVID). Included in all of this is my 0 period, so my school day is 7:19 – 3:15, pretty much nonstop. I have a “prep” period on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but that’s the 7th class period. It’s exhausting. I love my kids so much, and they’re worth it.

Oh, and I turned 30 in February!

So, I’ve taken a step back and spent time focusing on myself. I’ve enjoyed making lots of plans with friends, taking a solo trip to NYC, and spending time with my doggie.

New York City solo trip in February 2019! 

Part of reclaiming for me is learning who I am. There have been a lot of opportunities to explore what I truly like and how I fit into this world. I’ve spent time thinking about both my short-term and long-term goals, while not allowing the future to create unneeded anxiety. It’s much easier said than done!

I’m grateful for so many phenomenal friends who have stood with me on this journey. Throughout the past few months, I’ve had so many insightful conversations with friends that have challenged me to think deeper and step out of my comfort zone. Thank you all!

Additionally, I’ve been reclaiming my physical space, which has taken a lot of time and energy. I’m in the process of re-doing my 3rd bedroom, which I’m turning into my office with an awesome navy blue gallery wall (I’ll post pics when it’s all done). I bought new bedroom furniture and lamps, which instantly made me feel calm and happy. It’s amazing how much making some updates and changes to my physical space has made me feel like a new person.

So, here’s to new possibilities and new opportunities as I reclaim in 2019!

Books, Reflections

What I read in 2018

I love reading and talking about books! It brings me so much joy to share this love with my friends and students. Last year I shared “What I read in 2017” to highlight my favorite books of the year.

2018 Reading Data

It’s crazy to say I achieved my 2018 reading goal of 100 books. Of these books, 42 were audiobooks and 58 were books (24 physical & 34 ebooks). I always try to read more than I listen. I read a total of 19388 pages, and listened to approximately 191.35 hours of books (rounded to nearest 15 minute, and divided by 2 since I listen on 2x speed). If I had been paying a little more attention to page data, I would have pushed myself to hit 20k pages.

One of my favorite parts is that I keep fairly extensive reading data. I used to use Goodreads, but found that I like entering and analyzing my own data. Make a copy of my book spreadsheet. Each year, I add a new tab and track the same data. It’s fun to see my trends and graphs as the year progresses. And yes, Harry Potter has its own category–do the math, 100 total books and 7% Harry Potter–yes, I did a full series re-read in November and December!!

There are a couple books that I technically read more than once this year, but only counted once. For example, 3 of my classes and I did a read-aloud with We Are All Made of Molecules (Susin Nielsen), but I only counted it once. And, all the edits and such of Fueled by Coffee and Love: The Refill probably equate to reading it at least 5x all the way through.

chart (3).png

As you can see from my graph, I read a ton of YA. I truly enjoy this genre, and I appreciate the complexities of the stories as well as the self-discovery. Plus, there are so many talented authors out there writing for my students, and I want to pass along these recommendations.

Some of my favorite books from 2018 are: 

  • Love, Hate, & Other Filters (Samira Ahmed)
  • Rebel Seoul (Axie Oh)
  • Dear Martin (Nic Stone)
  • Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Becky Albertalli)
  • Americanah (Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)
  • At the Edge of the Universe (Shaun David Hutchinson)
  • The Porcupine of Truth (Bill Konigsberg)
  • I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (Erika Sánchez)
  • Children of Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi)
  • The Poet X (Elizabeth Acevedo)
  • Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit (Jaye Robin Brown)
  • March, Book One (Andrew Aydin and John Lewis)

Even though I don’t blog about every book I read and I’m super far behind on blogging, I do enjoy sharing about some of my book highlights on my “What is Mari Reading” blog. It’s all just for fun, and a great distraction from chores and such.

This year I don’t have any big reading goals, other than to finish at least 52 books and read more than I listen. I’m also intentionally reading more diverse books, specifically LGBTQ+ YA novels and novels written by authors of color. I didn’t track this data in 2018, though skimming my list it’s over 50% of the books I finished.

As always, I’d love your book recommendations!

Reflections

2018 in Review

I’ve been putting off writing this post for the past week. I usually love writing these reflective blogs (past year’s posts: 2017, 2016, 2015), but this year, not so much. Out loud, I’m blaming the busyness of ending school on December 21st, then immediately diving into all the holiday crazy. However, internally I’ve been finding plenty of other things to do instead because I want 2018 to be a thing of the past and I don’t want to dig back into the less great things of 2018. It’s necessary to reflect and learn, so, here goes!

Where I was (December 2017)

  • A year ago, I was very intentionally navigating the never ending challenge of work-life balance. It wasn’t easy, and thankfully I have amazing friends around me who constantly check in.
  • Professionally, I was coming off of a fulfilling year. And personally, I was having a bit more of a rough time. But, I was hopeful things would get better (spoiler: they didn’t get any better until the very end of 2018).

Where I am (January – December 2018)

  • I was so fortunate to participate in our district’s Teacher Leadership Academy, led by the amazing Amy duo, Amy Hunt and Amy Illingworth! I learned a lot about being an effective teacher-leader, working with Difficult People, and how to say “I’m not going to take that on.”
  • Fueled by Coffee and Love: The Refill was published in July 2018, and I had the opportunity to share a bit about it on KUSI’s Good Morning San Diego and host a release party at Project Reo Collective.
  • I had the opportunity to share my love of teaching and technology all over the US at various summits and professional development opportunities. Some highlights include Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, Chicago, and Greenville, SC.
  • “Dark times lie ahead of us and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right.” – Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I did a full re-read of the Harry Potter series in November and December, and I loved immersing myself in the magic again. It was so helpful to escape reality and the stress of life. I had to make a big choice this fall, and ultimately decided to end a 10 year relationship; though there are moments of sadness, overwhelmingly I feel happier and healthier. Along the way this year, I’ve had so many friends encouraging me and sitting down to have heart-to-heart chats about relationships and life. Thank you, friends.
  • I ended 2018 at a freezing cold New Year’s Eve party, surrounded by friends! I couldn’t ask for more (except maybe a heated blanket).

Where I’m going (January 2019 and beyond!)

  • New year, new me, right? For once, it really feels that way. After the stress of 2018, it’s as if a huge burden has been lifted. I’m ready for new opportunities and adventures! In the fall, someone asked me what 1 year in the future Mari would want for current Mari; that helped me put a lot of my life into perspective, and helped me make both hard and fun decisions.
  • In February, I turn 30, a gigantic adulting milestone. As my gift to myself, I planned a fun trip to New York City! I’ve never been, and it’s time I do something awesome just for myself.

As I planned out this post, I scrolled through my entire year on Google Photos. It’s fun to reflect back on the fun adventures I’ve had, and remind myself that, despite some setbacks and dark clouds in 2018, overwhelmingly it was filled with incredible friends. I’m really looking forward to 2019!

Goals, Reflections

#MyRelaxing5 – My Commitment to Take Time for Myself!

I love a good group blogging challenge, so I’m starting this one: let’s all share out 5 ways we commit to relaxing as we close out 2018. Please share out and tag #MyRelaxing5!

Lately I’ve seen a lot of us talking about work-life balance, and how we make sure we spend time to relax away from teacher lives–especially without feeling guilty! Shout out to Brian Costello for writing “Put Yourself First,” which inspired me to write this post. Despite what those on social media and trumpeters of eduspeak say, a good teacher doesn’t equal putting our 24/7 into teaching. Rather, it means putting our whole heart into our work, then stepping away to attend to our heart’s health (physical, social, mental-emotional) outside the classroom.

Each Friday, my teaching neighbor asks me what I am going to do for fun over the weekend. With the [annoyingly pointed and I-really-need-to-listen-to-this] caveat that presenting PD and snuggling my dog don’t count! Cue the total exasperation. But, it’s made me really think about how I spend my non-teaching time. And, I’m more aware that there’s a big distinction between “I’m having fun doing my work” and “I’m doing something fun outside of work.”

The #MyRelaxing5 are 5 non-work things that we will commit to doing for ourselves before the end of 2018.

Here’s #MyRelaxing5!

1. Crocheting — This keeps my hands busy and brain creative. Usually, I crochet while watching sports or something else on tv. The best part is, I can’t also be playing on my phone or computer while I’m crocheting. And, it’s always rewarding to finish up a project, especially when it’s a gift.

2. Baking & Cooking — I enjoy being in the kitchen and cooking, especially when I can share what I make with my friends! As the holidays approach, I love trying new dessert recipes, and bringing them to work where I always have a captive audience. Last weekend, I successfully made a beautiful lemon meringue pie, entirely from scratch, and brought it to work to share with my friends. .

Beautiful lemon meringue pie I made from scratch. My work friends and I enjoyed it at lunch on Tuesday!

3. San Diego Zoo / Safari Park — I have an annual membership, and it’s easy to go for an hour or two. A bonus of my membership is I have a +1, making it the perfect friend adventure. There’s something so peaceful about walking through the zoo, enjoying the animals and plants, and chatting with a friend.

4. Beach time — I live in San Diego, there’s no excuse for not getting to the beach every so often. The weather will be at least warm enough to walk on the beach, even if it’s not warm enough to lounge.

5. Make it to the gym — I’ve totally fallen off the workout wagon, and I desperately need to climb back on. It always makes me feel better after I go to the gym. So, by adding this to my list, I am officially committing to getting some more exercise. It’s easier to convince myself to go when I know I can get a free hydromassage after.

Ok, now that this post is written, it’s time to make plans to accomplish my relaxing goals. I know that I need to prioritize myself a bit more, especially facing the stress (even if it’s positive and fun) of the holidays and end of the semester.

What 5 things will you commit to as we end 2018? Remember to tag #MyRelaxing5 when you share out yours!

 

 

Classroom Strategies, GSuite, Technology

Getting Started with Applied Digital Skills

Raise your hand if you use any Google Apps (search, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, etc.) in your personal life?

It’s as simple as this blog post, which I drafted on Google Docs, and inserted images and links. Or the spreadsheet I created to compare and contrast different cars to organize my new car search. Even geekier, I use spreadsheets is to keep track of the books I read each year–this one is massive, complete with charts and formulas.

These digital skills, plus collaboration and communication, are essential for our students to learn to prepare them for the working world beyond our classrooms.

Teaching these skills

Student working through an Applied Digital Skills lesson.

This is where Google’s Applied Digital Skills comes into play!

Applied Digital Skills a student-paced “project-based video curriculum” where students create and collaborate on real-world-applicable lessons. And, it’s FREE!

Before you turn up your nose at the word “curriculum,” it’s not strict and boxy. Instead, it provides the skills for students in short video lessons, and allows the teacher to circulate the room and assist students. Additionally, these sample projects can easily be customized to your content class.

Watch Google’s intro video to learn more!

Getting Started with Applied Digital Skills

  1. Sign up for Applied Digital Skills
  2. Create your class
  3. Click “add a lesson” and pick which lesson you’d like to use. I highly recommend “If/Then Adventure Stories” and “Organize College Information in 
    My students use both their iPads and the computers in the lab to maximize their efficiency.

    Google Sheets” for starters.

I made a quick screencast to show you how to get started.

For each lesson, there are sample projects and a rubric too!

My students love Applied Digital skills because it gave them the freedom to create and explore, and work at their own pace. Students who finished their “Organize Information in Google Sheets” early added in additional columns and rows as they researched more universities.

College spreadsheet created by one of my students! They enjoyed coming up with their own research criteria for comparing universities.

Since we are 1:1 iPad, I took my students to the computer lab (you can’t freeze a row/column on the iOS app). Most either watched the videos on their iPad and created on the computer, or split screen their computer monitor to watch and work. I loved watching how each student organized their physical and digital workspace.

Try it out as a student

Join my demo class to see Applied Digital Skills from the learner perspective!

  1. Go to g.co/applieddigitalskills
  2. Click “Sign In,” and sign in with your Google account
  3. Select “I am a student”*
  4. Enter class code T2WZYB

In this demo class, you can get a feel for how students will access their lessons, watch the videos, and begin creating their project.

*You can switch back to teacher mode by clicking on your email on the top right > join a class > I am a teacher.

Have fun!

Applied Digital Skills is a whole lot of fun! K-12 and adult learners love the self-paced engaging curriculum.

Have you tried Applied Digital Skills? What are your favorite activities and how have you customized it for your classroom? 

 

 

AVID, Classroom Strategies

Metacognition Hyperdoc

This year I’m doing something entirely crazy with my AVID class–I’m going (mostly) gradeless! It’s a bit scary, seeing as I have to report grades each six weeks. So, my solution is to have students keep a portfolio, then reflect on their progress and effort each six weeks. It’s not perfect, but we’re all in it together.

That leads me to ask, how do I get a group of squirrely and wonderful 8th graders, and teach them how to reflect on and assess their own learning?

Teach them about metacognition!

I started the school year by having my students learn about their learning through this Metacognition Hyperdoc. Huge shoutout to Hyperdocs for the rad template! I appreciate these templates; they’re a great starting point to plan our learning journey.

I guided my students through the Hyperdoc, and scaffolded quite a bit of work, especially their time management.

Learning to Think about our Thinking

Metacognition Hyperdoc

During the Explore phase, I put up a timer for 15 minutes, just for exploring the linked resources. Then, I put up another timer for 5 minutes to allow them to synthesize what they learned into their own definition.

Together, we moved onto the Explain phase, and read the article Metacognition: The Gift That Keeps Giving together. Before we read, we brainstormed strategies that good readers do, then used those strategies when working. Students came up with things like: skim the text to see the structure, including headings and pictures; highlight main ideas; write notes in the margins.

When we read the article, we “talked to the text” (learn more here), as it seemed like our best strategy for practicing metacognition. It felt very natural for us to practice this as we read! I modeled the first few paragraphs, students worked in partners for a couple more paragraphs, then finished by talking to the text on their own, and sharing their notes with another partner.

Go, Learn a Thing!

Finally, we introduced their project in the Apply phase. Students committed to spend a few days learning something completely new to them, and reflecting on their learning process. I borrowed this idea from my friend, Doug Robertson, who does a lengthy Learn a Thing project with his students (scroll through his Twitter & Instagram for pics and info). Together, we created the rubric and set of criteria they would use evaluate their peers’ project.

Students had a blast finding something new to learn! A couple chose to learn magic tricks, one wanted to learn different knot types, and many chose to learn a new language. Our goal wasn’t mastery, but more to feel the feelings of trying something brand-new, and how our brains react to the excitement and challenge.

We all agreed this could be a much longer project! After our short two days, students presented their learning journey (not final result) to a group of 3 peers. Their small audience filled out a peer evaluation (read more here) after the presentation.

I’m grateful we started our school year off talking about metacognition, as it has been an anchor for many of our discussions, goals, and projects throughout the semester!

[And, we were having SO much fun with this, I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of us in action!]

 

 

 

Classroom Strategies

Be an Ally!

September 24-28, 2018 was an incredibly important week, and I didn’t see much in the EduTwitter world about it — it was GLSEN’s Ally Week!

According to GLSEN, “an ally is a member of a privileged group who advocates against oppression. An ally works to create social change rather than participate in oppressive actions.”

Being an ally

Part of being an ally means speaking up and standing with the oppressed group, but not speaking for them. We recognize that each individual’s experience is unique, and part of a complex web of intersecting identities (including age, race, religion, culture, region of the world/country, etc.).

As a cisgendered heterosexual individual, I have not experienced oppression based on my gender expression and sexual orientation. (Cisgendered = my biological sex and gender identity match; heterosexual = attraction to opposite gender)

How can we, as educators, be allies to our LGBTQ+ students?

  1. Use inclusive language. Examples: “y’all” “friends” “students” (instead of “you guys” “girls” “boys”)
  2. Respect preferred gender pronouns (read more about pronouns here)
  3. Confront anti-LGBTQ+ behavior, bullying, and language. For example, if a student says “that’s so gay,” respond by asking them what exactly is bothering them, and help them pick a different description word, such as “that’s so boring.”
  4. Post a safe space sticker and/or poster in your classroom, office, or workspace. Download yours here!
Screen Shot 2018-09-12 at 6.19.56 PM
Inclusive question on a recent school-wide form. Categories brainstormed by our GSA members.

Awareness is our first step, and is always a growth process. Little things, such as making inclusive and non-gender-binary questions on forms go a long way for supporting our students!

Remember, if a student shares information with you, it’s confidential. I know I have students who are more open about one or more of their identities at school, but cannot safely tell their families outside of school.

Celebrating Ally Week at school

My school was on Fall Break for Ally Week this year, so our GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) had our Ally Week celebration early, during our weekly lunch meeting. Thanks to the support of a GLSEN San Diego friend and recent grad of our local high school, we had some teacher resources, stickers, buttons, and ideas to plan our party. Students brought an ally friend, and my co-advisor and I brought snacks. We defined allies and how we can be upstanders at our school, then enjoyed spending time together!

Our Ally Week celebration!

The next day, with teachers we hosted a similar lunch club with snacks! After discussing how to be an ally, we went through some gender and sexual orientation vocabulary, including playing a vocab matching game from the GLSEN teacher guide. Overwhelmingly, our teachers appreciated this learning opportunity, and are already asking when we’ll host the next one!

For both groups, we used these slides to share some basics and lead our discussion.

This is one of those times where I know I’m not the expert in the room, yet I’m not going to let that hold me back from supporting my students, colleagues, and friends. Because that’s what an ally does: we advocate, support, listen, ask questions, and unconditionally love. I am constantly going back to the GLSEN Teacher Resources to make sure I’m using the correct language, and making my classroom an inclusive and safe space.

If you are a GSA advisor or work with LGBTQ+ youth, I’d love to connect via Twitter & email!

 

 

Classroom Strategies, Technology

Class Introductions with Flipgrid

One of the biggest lessons I learned in EDS 250, one of the first education courses I took as part of my Masters/Credential program, was the value of names. Our professor, Dr. Luz Chung, read us a poem called “T-shirt” from a selection called My Name is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River. The lesson in this poem is that George finally stands up for himself, and tells his teacher that is name is Jorge (Spanish, pronounced HORhey).

My Name is Jorge: On Both Sides of the River by Jane Medina

That distinct moment imprinted on my heart, always reminding me just how essential it is to pronounce a student’s name correctly.

The beginning of the year can be stressful for teachers, with many new names to learn, and not all of them are familiar to us. However, each name is special to the student and their family, and deserves time and respect to say it right.

As I go slowly go through my roll on the first few days of school, I try my best to pronounce everyone’s name correctly. I’m often asking, “say it again for me, please,” because “close enough” isn’t good enough for me. Other times, I push a little and ask a student, “how does your family say it?” because that will tell me if they truly are a George or a Jorge, an Angel or an Ángel, or an Andrea or an Andrea (ahn-Dray-uh).

Class Introductions on Flipgrid

As soon as my students received their iPads, one of their first assignments was to complete a class introduction on Flipgrid. I created the class on Flipgrid, and the default first assignment is called “Introductions!” The prompt says, “Welcome to our classroom Grid! This is a space where we will learn together and share our ideas. Introduce yourself in 90 seconds or less and share something that makes you smile.” I changed our time limit to 30 seconds, and gave my students the space to record. Some stayed inside, and some went outside. Most of my students were nervous in front of the camera, but were up for the challenge.

Students recording their Flipgrid class introduction videos outside.

I appreciated going through and listening to my students’ responses! Not only did this help me attach names to faces, but also it was review in how to pronounce their names. There were a few I had to rewind a couple times, just to hear them say it again.

If you work with adults as either an administrator, TOSA, librarian, etc, it would be useful to do this with our staff. I know there are a handful of teachers at my own school whose names are unintentionally mispronounced! Model Flipgrid at a staff meeting by having teachers introduce themselves and share a success, happy moment, something they’re especially proud of, or goal for the year.

Future Iterations

In the future, I would adapt this topic to be more name-centric, such as “Introduce yourself, and tell us the story of your name.” (was it “engraved in a passing ship on the day your family came?” In the Heights reference, for my fellow musical nerds.)

And, I’d love to teach students how to appropriately respond to each other on Flipgrid. I’d love to do an “It’s nice to meet you, _____, I’m _____. [Add in a question or comment or other prompt.]” in preparation for connecting with other classes in the future.

I know I’m not perfect, and I always wonder if there are other students whose names I am not saying right, but they’ve resigned themselves to “good enough.”

PS. It’s useful to tell you that my name, Mari, is neither Mary or Marie or Madi (as in, non-Spanish-speakers trying to roll their r’s). It rhymes with “sorry” and “safari” — my best friend calls me Calamari, and she is Squidney. And, Ven-tur-eee-no (Italian).