Our 2nd graders have been working on an interdisciplinary project since the beginning of January. The Barrow Peace Prize has become one of our favorite projects each year in 2nd grade. Students select 1 of 6 people from history to research through online & print resources such as Capstone’s Pebble Go, write a persuasive piece about why that person represents various character traits, create art to accompany their writing, and record their work using Flipgrid. For the past two weeks, we have been inviting people to view the students’ work and vote on a winner.
Part of our tradition in announcing the winner of the Barrow Peace Prize is to connect with our friends at Flipgrid via Skype. Last year, we even had the great fortune of having Charlie Miller and Brad Hosack join us at our school for a red carpet event.
Each year, Flipgrid enhances their product and it makes our Barrow Peace Prize videos even more powerful. Ahead of the connection, the teachers and I select some student award winners.
Dynamic Designers are students who create powerful art work to accompany their persuasive essays. Outstanding Openers are students who created opening lines in their persuasive essay to hook their audience. Prolific Persuaders are students who create the complete package of persuading their audience to vote for their person from history. I print certificates for these students and send the list of names to the Flipgrid team to announce during our Skype.
Also in advance of the Skype, I 3d print enough student-designed medals so that every student who researched the winner of the peace prize gets a medal. Each classroom also gets a medal to display and the teachers create plans for how each student will have a chance to wear the medal.
When the Skype begins, the Flipgrid team gives the students a greeting and our students take time to explain the project to them. We also take some time to look at some statistics. I share the analytics map from Smore so that students can see on a map where people have viewed their work.
The Flipgrid team also share some statistics like how many seconds of engagement students have and how many views. Then, we launch into awards.
With 100 students, it is hard to individually recognize each student during the Skype, but we encourage students to consider the Skype and winner announcement to be a celebration of our collective work. Even if you don’t hear your name called, you should be proud to know that your voice was heard by people around the world and made an impact on individual viewers of the project. Your voice came together with all of the other 2nd graders to create a project that inspires.
Joey Taralson at Flipgrid organized different members of the team to announce student winners. Each person told a bit about what they do at Flipgrid and slowly announced each winner. We had to take our time because of the roaring cheers and applause for each student. This was a powerful moment for us all because students really were cheering for and supporting their classmates even when they didn’t win themselves.
After individual students were announced, I introduced our student designers of the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize.
Then, it was the moment of anticipation. For the 2nd year in a row, the winner of the 2017 Barrow Peace Prize is…
We passed out 3d-printed medals to all Ruby Bridges researchers and then attempted to get a photograph of the winners from our perspective and Flipgrid’s perspective.
After the connection ended, the excitement continued as congratulations and pictures poured in from Flipgrid and Capstone, creator of PebbleGo.
These are the kinds of projects that I hope to continue to inspire in our school. There are so many parts of this experience that I love. Every student is involved. Every student has a voice in the collective project. Every student gets to showcase an area of talent whether it’s writing, research, art, stage presence, design, and more. Every student’s voice reaches beyond our school walls to inspire projects in other schools around the world. Multiple teachers are involved in the success of the project from the classroom teachers to the librarian to the art teacher to the many support teachers in our school. Finally, the company that gives us the tool that propels our voices into the world takes time to learn about, celebrate, and amplify our project. Thank you, Flipgrid, for always supporting our work and for constantly thinking about how to empower the voices of students in bigger ways. We look forward to next year’s project and the many projects that will develop in the future.