The pandemic has thrown us into a whole new world of distance learning/teaching and required us to search for the best, most effective technological platforms and resources for staying connected with our students. We need these platforms to be easy to use. I am a fan of Flipgrid and want to share step-by-step instructions for setting it up so that you may use it for any aspect of your music curriculum. I have also had great success with the Be A Recorder Star Online Curriculum and will offer you suggestions for using the program with Flipgrid.
Flipgrid, found at https://flipgrid.com, is a FREE program for educators which allows teachers and students to record and upload videos. One of the nice things about Flipgrid is its flexibility. You can use it to comprehensively share materials and lessons with your students while tailoring your desired amount of student response and interaction. I like to take full advantage of the student video capabilities but you can decide what is best for your teaching situation.
Flipgrids can be set to be private or public (the default is private) and can only be used by students who have your district’s email extension. In my district, teacher emails are firstname.lastname@example.org and students have email@example.com, so I added @gapps…etc. to the allowed emails list. You can set the videos to have them viewable to only you, to you and your students only, or anyone with the link, and you can have different settings for every video! Students don’t need to input any personal information (besides their name) to use it!
What are some features of Flipgrid?
With Flipgrid, you can:
- Create a grid (page) for each class, grade level, or your whole school.
- Create “topics” for each class or song.
Students record or upload their video into the appropriate “topic”. Note: It’s easy to move a video into a different “topic” if one is ever uploaded in the wrong place.
- Create a “prompt” video showing yourself playing the song and giving hints/tips/tricks or areas of focus for a piece of recorder music.
- Set each “topic” to “Video Moderation” making it so that only the teacher can view the uploaded videos.
You can also set specific videos to be viewed by all your students if you want to share a student’s work (I always ask the student if I can use their video before I do this).
- Design rubrics for any skill you are assessing.
- Type your feedback or make a video recording demonstrating a needed skill and have it emailed to the student with the click of a button – no extra steps needed!
- Copy the Flipgrid “Flip Code” and paste it on your google classroom or other teaching platform. Now your students have full access to uploading videos without having to go to another site.
- Use “view as student” to see exactly what your students see when they go to the page, upload a video etc.
With Flipgrid, your students can:
- Record themselves right on Flipgrid or upload a video they recorded separately. (In my district students are already comfortable with Flipgrid because all of their classes utilize the program).
- See feedback/scores in their email.
- Have fun using “stickers” and filters while creating videos (you can tell them what’s allowed – for example – no stickers covering your fingers or face, or no filters/stickers at all).
- See videos from classmates that you have chosen to share.
- Record/upload up to 10 minute videos (you set the time limit anywhere from 15 seconds to 10 minutes) – no more worries about file sizes being too large or taking up too much hard drive space.
For more information on how Flipgrid works, and how to set up an account, check out the “Educator’s Guide to Flipgrid” https://static.flipgrid.com/docs/Flipgrid_eBook_2nd_edition.pdf
I find that the 50 Be A Recorder Star Play Along Accompaniments with tempo controls get my students excited to play and provide a lot of material for home practice and, if you wish, for video feedback. (See how to get a free review code below). They can also send you videos of them clapping, singing or playing with the “follow the bouncing star” rhythm charts.
How to use Flipgrid for Be a Recorder Star Assessment so that you can see the videos, but your students can’t watch each other (unless you allow it):
- Click Add New Grid then fill out the title and prompt. Click “Add New Topic”. I create a different topic for each testing song.
- Very important: turn on Video Moderation. This makes all videos “hidden” unless you make it “active”. Only the teacher can view hidden videos. Set your recording time as well. You can set it up to 10 minutes in length.
- Record your prompt using the red circle (you can see half of it above). You have 10 minutes to demo a lesson or just review the content. You can really demonstrate playing techniques or go over your rubric in these “prompt” videos.
- Set the video features. I turn off student-to-student replies, likes, and view count so when I make a video “active” students don’t worry about someone writing something inappropriate. You can change these settings if you want to run a lesson on critique or after you talk to your students about appropriate responses.
- Create your grading rubric: click custom add criteria. I give the details in the feedback comments and/or create a feedback video to show them what they should work on. Important – click “Update Topic” at the bottom of the page or nothing will be saved. I’m hoping Flipgrid adds space to write in the “Custom Feedback” section, for now, it’s just a quick overview with the breakdown specifically addressed in individual comments.
- Here’s the grid I created – I clicked “Share” then turned on “Topic Guest Mode” on the “topic” itself, which allows outside viewership of the grid. I only have one “active” video on the grid, the others are still hidden. https://flipgrid.com/b93eac1a
- All you have to do is “Share” either the entire grid (if your students are at different places) or “Share” the topic flipcode for them to test on the song of choice! Post the Flipcode to your “classroom” whatever form that may take, and you are all set!
Whether or not we are using digital classrooms in the future, using Flipgrid for recorder assessment will remain part of my regular routine! You can get a free 30 day trial of Be A Recorder Star for you and your students by calling 888-697-1333 or emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reach out to me through Macie Publishing if you have questions! I’ll be happy to help! Be safe and take care!
Hamilton Primary School
Bridgewater-Raritan Regional School District