For the past 2 weeks, people from around the world have been viewing and voting on our 2nd graders’ Barrow Peace Prize project. Across the course of the project, students have:
- researched one of 6 people from history using PebbleGo, Encyclopedia Britannica, books, and other resources
- developed criteria for a peace prize
- written a persuasive piece about why someone should vote for their person from history
- created a piece of art to accompany their writing
- recorded their writing using Flipgrid
- skyped with the creators of PebbleGo to learn about how this important research tool was made
All of the student work was pulled together onto a Smore so that it could easily be shared with the world, and people voted for the Barrow Peace Prize via a Google form. Across 2 weeks, the student videos had 3,413 views, 1,161 likes, and visits from over 165 different locations around the world.
A very special ceremony was held at our school to announce the 2016 Barrow Peace Prize winner. We typically Skype with the Flipgrid team to announce he winners, but this year when I called to plan our Skype, I was surprised to learn that the Flipgrid team had much bigger plans for this year’s ceremony. Charlie Miller and Brad Hosack, the creators of Flipgrid, flew down from Minnesota to join the celebration. They wanted the celebration to be like a mini Academy Awards. They rented a red carpet to roll out at the entrance to the library. They also bought enough pizza and drinks for all the kids, teachers, and families. In addition to the Barrow Peace Prize, we handed out special certificates to students which were chosen by teachers. The Flipgrid team also designed their own 3D printed award and gave it to 5 students chose by the entire Flipgrid team.
Ahead of the event, the teachers sent out an RSVP invite to families so that we could get an estimate for chairs and pizza. We didn’t tell the kids very much about the ceremony except that they might want to dress up. The teachers all decided that they would dress for the Academy Awards, so I of course had to pull out my tux and red vest for the event. I printed out all of the certificates to hand to students and shared the doc with the Flipgrid team so that they could announce the winners. The day before the event, Charlie and Brad flew down. They took care of the red carpet, balloons, pizza, and drinks. Mr. Jordan, our student support technician, and I prepped the library. When Charlie and Brad arrived, we setup the red carpet with some spotlights and put out the balloons.
The ceremony was the most special ceremony I’ve ever been a part of. The teachers, students, and families entered the library with movie theme music playing and took time to strike a pose on the red carpet for pictures. We also had many other special guests including Carol Williams for the CCSD Board of Education and Gretchen Thomas from UGA.
We connected with the Flipgrid team in Minnesota via Skype so that they could be a part of the entire ceremony. I gave a quick overview of the project for families to hear, and then we launched into awards. Our awards were presented by two very special Minion guests, since Charlie and Brad weren’t quite ready 🙂
The Flipgrid team gave students all of the statistics of their videos so that they heard the impact that their work was having around the world. Team members took turns announcing student winners in 5 categories, and students came up to receive their awards from the Minions with the help of my wife, Denise Plemmons.
- Outstanding Opener: For creating an opening statement that hooks your audience into your writing. Congratulations to Daly, Makenzie, Penn, Martavius, and Morgan
- Prolific Persuader: For using multiple strategies to persuade your audience to vote for your person from history. Congratulations to Joshua, Ben, Kate, Copeland, and Cara.
- Radical Researcher: For combing through multiple resources to find the most accurate facts to include in your writing. Congratulations to Isobel, KP, Kenderrious, Josie, and Terry
- Dynamic Designer: For creating a dynamic image to represent your person from history and engage your audience. Congratulations to Janae, Julian, Tad, Katherine, and Jeffrey
- Powerful Presenter: For speaking confidently and powerfully as you shared your person from history with the world. Congratulations to Oriana, Ava, JD, Huda, and Blake
The Flipgrid Team handed out their unique 3D printed awards to Eli, Maggie, Iayah, and Zykurea.
The thing that I loved the most is how excited kids were for one another as they received an award. Each winning name brought on a round of cheers and applause almost to the point that we couldn’t hear the next name being read. I love that this project brings students from multiple classrooms together through the common goal of celebrating a person from history. That teamwork that was a part of the entire project, we still evident as we celebrated one another at the ceremony.
Students had a chance to ask the Flipgrid team questions. I always cherish this chance for students to step up to the camera and speak directly to the people who created the tools that they use. Students had such awesome questions such as “How do the videos we record get onto Flipgrid?” and “What are all of the jobs at Flipgrid?” The team took time to fully answer each question in the most personal and age-appropriate way.
Jim Leslie, co-founder of Vidku, talked to the kids about how they were all as much a part of Flipgrid as the people who created it. He stressed the importance of student voice and how much of an impact these students have had on the people who work at Vidku and Flipgrid.
Charlie Miller and Brad Hosack were able to arrive after the Minions left the building. Charlie talked to the kids about how tools like Flipgrid give every person an equal voice. He emphasized to students how many thousands of people had viewed their videos and they are only 7 or 8 years old. He stressed that if you can have that kind of impact at such an early age, then imagine the impact you can have as you grow. The messages shared by Charlie, Brad, Jim, and the whole team are something that I stress to our kids every single day, but it was so powerful for students, teachers, families, board members, and other special guests to be in the same room together hearing this message from a company who truly cares about its users.
At the very end of our ceremony, we announced the 2016 Barrow Peace Prize. We would like to give a big congratulations to Ruby Bridges for winning the 2016 Barrow Peace Prize. The 18 students who researched her received a copy of a 3D printed medal that was designed by 3 second grade students. Each classroom also received a copy of the medal along with Charlie and Brad of Flipgrid.
Afterward, I had several families come up to me and say that they had no idea what to expect at this ceremony, but they were blown away by the generosity of Flipgrid and the work of the students. So many students were celebrated, and families and students couldn’t help but smile and get excited. We enjoyed celebrating the winning videos by eating pizza. Students returned to their classrooms to watch more of the winning videos, which Brad pulled onto one grid for us.
We can’t thank Charlie, Brad, and all of the Flipgrid and Vidku team for making our 2016 Barrow Peace Prize project the most memorable one so far. You are a company who listens to your users, celebrates their stories, and amplifies the impact students have on the world. Thank you.