Teaching Opinion

Fostering a Reading Community With FlipGrid

By Starr Sackstein — March 04, 2018 3 min read
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Independent reading books adorned each desk. A child’s interests and/or personality displayed through the book he/she chose for reading that week. Alongside the books are notes and paper to write a script to prepare to share with the class.

Every student in the sixth-grade classroom watched, as Mrs. Terwilliger shared her model Flipgrid introducing this week’s book group assignment on cause and effect.

After watching, the short video where Mrs. Terwilliger posed as Bud from Bud, Not Buddy, the students were abuzz with questions and “spirit speaking” about what they noticed as they prepared for their own assignment.

Jalynn asked, “Why are we still doing FlipGrid?” She doesn’t dislike reading her books or even sharing what she has read in her lit circle on the weeks that book group takes that form. She said, “I don’t like FlipGrid because I don’t like to talk and have everyone look at me. I have an issue with showing my face.”

“Do you have a suggestion to do something else?” Mrs. Terwilliger asked while holding up a gold suggestion box. “You know I always listen.” She encourages Jalynn to share her ideas for future book group lessons.

Other students in the class don’t have the same objection. Kevin said, “What I like about FlipGrid is everyone can see it in the classroom and we can share it with other classes.”

Regardless of whether or not FlipGrid is a favorite means to share each student’s love of reading, it is clear that Mrs. Terwilliger and Mrs. Walker’s students all love to read and share their thoughts about the characters they are reading about.

“The goal of book group is to let students choose what they’re reading. The book has to be pre-approved, just for the sake of challenging themselves. I like to make sure a student who is reading on the higher end, make a choice to choose a challenge and when I ask them, ‘is this book going to challenge you?’ Most of them want to go for the extra,” Mrs. Terwilliger shared.

This is how book group works:

  • A student director rolls the dice or comes up with their own assignment for the week. (This week’s assignment was a roll of the dice which landed on cause and effect.)
  • Graphic organizers are then posted on Google classroom or handed out to help students prepare as they read their independent reading books
  • Some weeks, students get into book groups of four students and talk about their reading. Other weeks they do a FlipGrid (a short video) and have to share their ideas with the class that way. They also have to comment on at least two other students’ videos.

In preparation for doing the FlipGrid, students prepared an organizer about their character’s cause and effect around a particular problem. After they have their evidence from the text, they write a script to help them film their FlipGrid. They get three tries to get their grid right. Then they share them.

Mrs. Walker, the ENL teacher said, “FlipGrid allows the students to be creative in being able to take on the role of the character. They enjoy doing it. Then they respond to two other students and ask each other questions.”

Additionally, Mrs. Walker shared that this kind of assignment helps ENL students practice using their oral language skills by giving them opportunities to speak English and share their work with their classmates.

Any time you pass by Mrs. Terwillinger’s room, students are always doing something interesting. They are engaged in collaborative discussions and diving deeply into the various texts in their room.

One thing is clear when reading is presenting in a way that students enjoy, the love of the written word is nurtured. The more we give students the opportunity to choose what they are reading and then allow them to be creative in how they share what they’ve read, the more they will persist in their reading.

These students are lucky to have such a dedicated pair of teachers working together to ensure their success as young readers and writers.

How do you awaken the love of reading in your students? Please share

Photo by Jason Wong on Unsplash

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.