Our 2nd graders just wrapped up a huge research project. During the project, they chose a leader from black history, researched that person, wrote a short persuasive piece about their person, designed a US postage stamp, and recorded a video using Flipgrid. Their videos were pulled together on a Smore which included a Google Form for people to vote on their favorite leader from black history to be featured on a postage stamp. Read more about our project:
Along the way, the students had several connections to an authentic audience. They started the voting portion of the project by sharing at our schoolwide assembly. Students stood in front of the entire school and told about the project as well as shared a video from each question of the grid. The Smore was emailed to every teacher and student in the school.
I also shared the Smore on Twitter and our library Facebook page.
Shawna Ford, librarian in Weatherford Texas, saw my tweet and had her 2nd grade students view the project.
As the project continued, my posts and tweets were shared and retweeted until our Smore had 480 views and counting.
Our project was viewed in 161 locations and counting.
Throughout the project, Charles Miller and Bradford Hosack, our friends at Flipgrid, were following along and sharing our work as well. It has been an incredible experience for students to use a tool, encounter success and frustrations, and be able to offer feedback to developers that respond to that feedback. The Flipgrid team has been so responsive to all of the feedback we have provided to them, and they consistently work on Flipgrid to make it better.
Today, our 2nd graders came together in the library to connect with the Flipgrid team via Skype. The team shared information about how Flipgrid was developed and talked to the kids about coding. All of the 2nd graders had background in this concept because they all participated in the Hour of Code back in December. I loved how the Flipgrid team reiterated what I had told the students many times. You have to work through the frustration. You have to be willing to fail and learn from your failures to make things better. The team said more than one time that they wanted to create a tool that works for users, so they are constantly listening to users of Flipgrid to improve their product. I hope that the students carry these ideas into all area of their lives to be willing to take risks and work hard at what they are passionate about.
Charles and the Flipgrid team then gave us some stats about our videos.
- 1875 people watched the student videos
- 699 people clicked on the heart to like videos that the students made
- students created 1 hr 15 minutes of video all together
During this presentation of facts, Charles reminded students that when they make a project like this and share it with the world it really is giving them a global voice. I loved that he said this because it is something we strive for in our library: giving students a global voice.
One of my favorite parts of our Skype was the awards. We wanted to honor several students during this segment. Because each video was “liked” by viewers of the video, I could easily see which videos had the most likes. This became an award category. We also had specific students who received shout-outs on Twitter because people watched the videos and cared enough to specifically name a student video that they loved. Finally, we had some students who worked really hard to express themselves in their writing and persuade people to vote. I created a certificate to use.
After selecting all of the students, I sent a list of the awards to the Flipgrid team and they announced the winners via Skype. It felt like the Academy Awards as the Flipgrid team cheered for students as I handed out the certificates, and it was amazing to hear the shouts and claps of all of the 2nd graders cheering on their peers.
Mixed in with our connection the kids had a chance to ask the Flipgrid team questions. I loved the moments where one student said “sometimes it doesn’t work” and another student said “I think you need to be able to turn up the volume for people who talk soft”. These weren’t questions, but the Flipgrid team let the students know that because of their videos they were already thinking about volume and that they were working to make sure Flipgrid always worked for users.
During and after our Skype, the Flipgrid team and I shared several pictures from both sides of the Skype: Georgia & Minnesota.
We closed our time together by revealing the results of the overall voting for the favorite leader from black history to be on a postage stamp. The votes were extremely close, but Rosa Parks came in just 1 vote ahead of Jesse Owens. By this point, the kids were so excited about all that had happened with their project that the vote didn’t even seem to matter anymore.
Thank you to Charles Miller, Bradford Hosack, and the entire Flipgrid team for helping us celebrate this project today before we move on to our next adventures in the library. Thank you!