Today’s Contributor: Lauren Hollander
She is in her 10th year teaching, and 1st year as a CIC. Lauren has taught 1st-3rd grades and currently in 2nd at Baldwin Elementary School.
One of the most important things I believe I can teach my students is to be culturally-aware and to value learning from, and sharing with, people around the world. I’ve played around with different ways to do this in the past 3 years and have found Flipgrid and Seesaw to be useful and simple to implement.
Flipgrid or Seesaw or Both?
I get this question all the time. I honestly use both in my classroom. There are some similarities, but the biggest difference is that Seesaw is more of a place for students to share their creations with others- not just their voice. The Seesaw posts get approved by me and sent directly to their parents to view and comment on. Flipgrid is a video response platform with ways to add links to documents/apps that students want to share. Students have a choice most times as to which platform to use in my class.
To help you see the difference between the two tools, let’s break down how I use them in my classroom for connections.
Tool #1: Seesaw Class Blog
I’ve used Seesaw in my classrooms for the past 3 years- when I started realizing that I needed to do a better job making real-world connections with my students. I brought it into the fold of my classroom after Christmas break when teaching 3rd graders and never have gone back! Seesaw is used EXCLUSIVELY by my students daily to show their thinking and learning during stations and partner work. Sometimes Seesaw posts are requirements, other times students decide when they have something they are proud of and want to post. This past week we were working on counting collections of coins and my students were working on a coin counting station. They asked me (seriously) to create an activity in Seesaw for them to post their coin counting skills! So naturally, I obliged and here are a few of the examples of their work:
When I get submissions like these (no faces), I post them to my Seesaw class blog so my students get a more global audience. The nice thing about a Seesaw blog is that it is locked down. Students can’t add to the blog and viewers can’t post comments without you approving the post and people can’t find your blog without the URL and password if you choose to use one. Last year, my students were connected to classrooms in Japan, China, Russia, and Canada. A Seesaw class blog is an easy way to dip your toe into the global connections water.
If you are interested in learning more about using Seesaw, visit my livebinder here: https://www.livebinders.com/b/2490924 (key is: Bowie)
Tool #2- Flipgrid
I’ve used Flipgrid in my classroom for about a year now and have fallen in love with its versatility. I started out with their Explorer Series, where experts in various fields would post videos about their work and leave thoughtful questions for students to respond to in video comments (much like a pre-recorded virtual field trip). Since I wasn’t comfortable having my students record videos and replying back on such a global platform, I used it more for the expert videos and then had class discussions ourselves. Here is a link to a Padlet with more information.
My favorite part about Flipgrid is the ability to Copilot another classroom’s grid- 2 (or more) teachers sharing one grid with their students! My students are currently connected with classrooms from Tel Aviv, Washington, New Zealand, New Jersey, Alabama, Hawaii, San Angelo, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Singapore, Chicago, Kansas, AND Minnesota. Phew. Typing that out makes me realize how connected my students really are! All of the classrooms listed above are on one grid together, discussing topics like the weather, favorite foods, time, and favorite colors. This grid was started by the teacher in Tel Aviv whose students are learning english. I am so lucky to have been added to this grid and love it when my students have a moment during the day to listen to videos from others and post their own in the global grid. I sent home a Flipgrid consent form and only the students with permission (all but 2) are posting here.
I highly suggest following @flipgrid and #flipgridfever on twitter. Here is a link to a free Educator’s Guide to Fligrid written by two of my favorite people to follow on Twitter.