I don’t mind trying out new technology in the classroom, but it has to be dead easy to navigate, both for me and for my students. Nothing frustrates me more than when I try out something new tech-wise in my classroom, and the lesson ends up being 10% about speaking French and 90% about the technology.
Out our first Face to Face session, I was chatting with a fellow French teacher, @mneale, and she showed me FlipGrid. FlipGrid is an easy to use website/app where students can make videos of themselves speaking about a topic. Students can also take a quick selfie at the end of their video, as well as “like” or reply to each other’s videos giving it a very social media-esque feel.
I knew immediately that my students would be excited about this platform, so last week I gave it a go with my Grade 6 classes! To make room for all of the technological bumps I was sure would happen, I planned nothing else for our 50-minute lesson except “Make a FlipGrid video.”
We’re using D’un océan à l’autre as our jumping off point for our current module, so we’ve been brainstorming and practising a lot of vocabulary about festivals. I set up the task with these instructions and a sample video:
Without any other real instruction (because I honestly didn’t have any to give), I told my students to go make their own videos. They found the big green record button, used the anchor charts of vocabulary we’d previously brainstormed, and away they went!
The engagement level for this activity was off the charts! My students were so excited about their videos and especially about the selfies and stickers they could add at the end.
They were so quick making their initial videos that we had time to go into listening and video replying to each other’s videos en français. Some students even asked me if they could reply to the replies they were given! In their replies, I encouraged my students to give feedback about the video or find something they had in common. Ex. “Tu aimes manger la barbe de papa? J’aime manger la barbe de papa aussi!”
After class, I quickly went though the videos myself and deleted any that were either in English or just students being silly (and we had a quick chat about that the following class.) I was then able to send a link to our FlipGrid to the parent community so they could see the videos and even add their own if they were interested.
I love this activity because there was so much spontaneous speech happening and they were having so much fun at the same time. Every single class since then, my students have asked me if we’re doing this activity again which is the best feeling as a teacher!
Notes I’ll remember for next time:
- Now that we are all familiar with how FlipGrid works, I’m going to encourage them to make longer initial videos.
- I need to remind students that their reply videos must be in French.
FlipGrid has so much more included in it with assessment as well. I will look into this moving forward. For now, I’m simply excited to hear my students speaking French and having fun.
@sthompson – maybe you can try this with your storytelling? I picture a student making a video starting a story and then each reply is the story growing and growing and growing.