Sunday, June 11, 2017

10 Ways to Enhance Math Lessons with FlipGrid

“How can this be used for math?” This is a question I often hear and even ask myself when it comes to using technology in the classroom.
In today’s math classrooms, we need students to develop a deeper understanding of the math they are learning. It's no longer about completing computational steps correctly. Math today should involve more reasoning, explaining, and students communicating their understanding of the concepts being learned.

FlipGrid is perfect for this! As described on the website, “Flipgrid is a video discussion community for your classroom that supercharges your students’ voices. You add the topics, your students respond with short videos, and everyone engages!”

Checkout and signup for FlipGrid at!
I learned about FlipGrid in early spring as part of a #DitchBook Twitter Chat that happens on Thursday nights. After I tried it out that night as part of the chat I was hooked. I caught the FlipGrid Fever! The next morning I signed up for a free FlipGrid One account, created my first grid and topic, and used it with my 4th grade class the next day! They loved it!
My students begged for me to include more FlipGrid in the activities that we were doing in class. It was even more exciting when I signed up for a free trial of FlipGrid Classroom which allows for even more functions, the best being able to reply to responses.
Next school year I am moving from teaching 4th grade (all subjects) to teach 6th grade math. I immediately asked the question, “How I could use FlipGrid in my math classroom?”

Well, the possibilities are probably endless, but here are ten ideas I brainstormed to use FlipGrid with math that can help us get started.  
One quick note before you continue. All these ideas include the same basic steps. So I will go ahead and put them here instead of repeating them over and over.
  • Using your FlipGrid account the teacher will create a grid and/or topic with FlipGrid and share this with the students.
  • The students get time to complete the task and add their response, sharing their thought process, work, and final solution.
  • Students can then view and respond to other videos if needed.
Okay, on with the show.
  1. Number Talks. Using FlipGrid helps slow down the pace of the discussion and allows more time for students to think about and respond to the math. Everyone gets to share their voice and add to the conversation.
  2. Weekly Math Problem. This could be done as a review or about the current topic. Mix it up by doing this with another class at your school, district, or across the country! For me, I’ll be teaching five sections of 6th grade math, so this could be a great way for students from other classes to interact with each other.
  3. Student Math Challenge. Put students in control and allow them to provide a math problem for classmates to complete. I like this idea for simple computational practice. My students in the past always loved to challenge each other with different problems. Some healthy organic competition can do wonders in a classroom!
  4. Find the mistake. Post a video or picture of a math problem that was worked out incorrectly and has the wrong answer. Students must then find the error and explain in their response how to solve it correctly.
  5. Would you rather…? Have seen It’s a website put together by Classroom Chef co-author John Stevens. On the site are tons of scenarios posted that challenge the students to think, solve some math, choose a path and justify their reasoning. The best part is that new ones are continuously added and you can search them by categories!
  6. Student created math tutorials. I can see this happening two ways. The first option is to have students add math tutorial responses on a predetermine math skill. Then share the filled FlipGrid Topic as a resource for others to use. The second option is like a “math help hotline”. Provide a topic where students can post questions or calls for help. Other students can respond with a short how-to tutorial. For either one these options, a screencasting app could be used to create the video and then just upload those videos to FlipGrid.
  7. Math Notes. FlipGrid could be a great way to chronicle all of the different math topics and skills that have been taught in your class. Place either student or teacher created responses that students could go back to if they get stuck and need help. Make sure to have student save or bookmark the link to the grid and they can have access 24/7.
  8. Stump the Teacher. Students pose a math question they already know the answer to and teachers respond with the solution and how it was solved.
  9. Use the video transcript. With each FlipGrid response, a transcript is generated. While they are not always perfect, students could go back and read over their explanation to a math problem to see if it makes sense.  If it doesn’t students could copy the text, modify it, and either record a new response using the edited transcript or submit the text via a shared Google Doc or Form. My thinking is this might be helpful for students to see text responses and know what to write for those questions on our standardized tests that want students to explain why or describe how.
  10. Math Curse by Jon Scheszka & Lane Smith
    Photo credit: screenshot,
    Share real world math experiences. Math is all around us! The more and more students can relate the things they are learning in math to their lives the better. Use FlipGrid and have students share their math experiences that happened outside of the classroom. They can share how they figured out if the had enough money to spend. Have them talk about what measurements they used when cooking a recipe. What angles did they notice at the playground? Possibilities are endless! One of my favorite ways to begin the school year is reading the book Math Curse to my students and have them create their own Math Curse stories. If you do this, students could add their Math Curse questions to FlipGrid for their classmates to answer.

So there you have it. Again these are just merely possible ways I’ve brainstormed to use FlipGrid to enhance the mathematical discussion and learning in my classroom next year. As of right now, I'm not sure which ones I’ll want to try first, but I do know that…

FlipGrid + Math = Amazing Potential
Do you want to see more ideas on how to use FlipGrid in your classroom? Check out this amazing blog post by my friend Karly Moura on 15 ways to use FlipGrid in your Class. Also be sure to look up the #FlipGridFever hashtag on Twitter. Teachers from all over are sharing the incredible ways they are using FlipGrid in their classrooms.

What are your thoughts on this? Which idea would you want to try first? How have you used FlipGrid in a math lesson before? Leave me a comment below or connect with me on Twitter @SEANJFAHEY.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lovin' Summer in Indiana

I would say by now most teachers around the country are officially on summer break and those that are not, it's quickly approaching. 

Here in Indiana, I am working on my third week of summer break! We were fortunate this year not to have any makeup days added to our calendar. (However, the downside of that is we go back August 1st.)

Image result for indiana summer of elearning conference
As a teacher myself, summer break is probably like many others. It's a time to rest, refresh, and recharge. There is a little more sleeping in, reading books, being outside, going on vacations, and spending time with family and friends.  

While all that is great, the one thing that I have also enjoyed about being an educator and living in Indiana is the Summer of eLearning Conferences sponsored by the Indiana DOE. 

These conferences are held all over the state at local schools. It is an initiative that is in its sixth year. The schools that host them have received grants to help cover many costs of putting on the conference which allows them to bring in some of the best and top notch keynote speakers & presenters from all around the country. 

On top of that, the grants also help reduce registration costs. The highest I've seen is $30-$40 for a two-day conference. And whatever cost it may be, in my experiences, it has always included a small breakfast during registration time (donuts, fruit, coffee, etc) and lunch. If you are not sold yet, local teachers sign up to present sessions on topics they are passionate about and experts on. Definitely, a huge bang for your bucks in my opinion.

Don't believe me? Just check out this year's conference list. I am sure you will probably find one nearby that is intriguing to you. All this happens to better equip educators on the uses of technology in the classroom and other areas to make our teaching better for students.

This year's conferences have already begun. I was able to attend PowerED Up at Perry Central for two days where I heard keynotes and from Matt Miller and Eric Sheninger and attended a session to experience my first BreakoutEDU. I went to the second day of Making a Splash in Digital Learning at Batesville High School where I presented sessions on Creating and Teaching with HyperDocs and enjoyed a keynote and a session by John Spencer. Check out some of my highlights in the embedded Slides below!

And I'm not done yet! On June 22nd, I'm attending the SuiteLife Conference at Washington High School where Kasey Bell will be keynoting. While there, I will be presenting HyperDocs again along with FlipGrid too. 

I'd like to encourage any educator in Indiana or surrounding states (Yep, you don't have to be a from Indiana!) to take the time and attend one of these conferences. I guarantee it will be worth your time and investment. 

Have you attended one Summer of eLearning conferences? Would love to hear what your experience has been like. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, @SEANJFAHEY.

Finally, thanks to the all that work on putting these conferences together all over our state! 

Enjoy your summer everyone!