Updated 11/30/19

Today, Flipgrid premiered new tools that were previewed at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference this past June. The new additions to Flipgrid will enhance students’ choices in how they showcase and reflect on their experiences of making and doing music in the elementary music classroom

Currently, I am working on my ISTE certification. This process is very thorough and intensive. It begins with a 2-day workshop, then proceeds to an 8-week online course, followed by a 6-month portfolio. From this process, I have learned that empowering students’ voices means giving them the choice of a tool that will help them feel successful and comfortable.

Empowering Tools

When I present an elementary technology workshop or webinar, I always speak to the fact that I do not use technology every day. I use it when it is the best tool to help the students learn. The ISTE certification process shows me that there are times when I should give the students the opportunity to choose the best tool for them to use to showcase and/or reflect on their progress. There are numerous tools out there. The best ones to use are based on the following:

  • Tools that you feel most comfortable using.
  • School and IT support those tools.
  • Tools that other teachers in your school are using so you have support.
  • Ones that you can find support using through various PLNs.


Here is a list of ways that Flipgrid can be used in an elementary music classroom:

  • Using the new “Shorts”, create a welcome “All About Me” video to introduce yourself to your class. You can share this in various ways from sharing a link to post on a classroom website to a Google classroom.

When using the “Whiteboard Mode” feature, a student can record themselves singing a simple song, an “Ask Me” song, a melody, etc, without having to video themselves.

  • When using the “Whiteboard Mode” feature, a student can record themselves singing a simple song, an “Ask Me” song, a melody, etc, without having to video themselves.
    • By creating a “Grid” (a community), have the students leave videos of themselves singing a simple song. The picture above shows me using the “Whiteboard Mode”, but I turned it black. I then added the emoji and microphone stickers so I could record without having to video myself.
    • You can also use filters to change the way a video appears.
  • The “White Board” also allows you to write and record rhythm patterns.
  • Promote digital citizenship by having students leave video comments on other student’s videos. These videos could be a video of a song, an orffestration, a musical creation (they record the incredibox music creation using the web-based extension of screencastify or the iPad’s screen recording tool and others comment on it), etc. Use the Design Thinking process of “I like…”, “I wonder…” “What if…” to leave a video comment. “I like your song. I wonder if you can sing it twice. What if you sang the song twice, the first time quiet and the second time with full sound?”
    • Edit the settings so that you must approve all videos that are submitted before they are posted.
    • Share the grid with parents, by clicking on the grid’s “Actions” and scrolling down to “Add Topic Guests”. This will allow guests a special code to access that one topic.
    • Then, in guest mode, have parents video themselves singing the “Ask Me Song of the Month” in response to their child’s video. Encourage the child to teach the parent the song.
    • In addition, the “Mix Tapes” allows you to place any videos from any grids into this one “mix tape”. You can give access for others to only view this “mix tape”, which can be your mic dropping video moments from music class.
  • Create a grid with you or students playing or singing parts to a song. The students can access it and practice along at home.
  • As seen in the pictures above, all Flipgrid response videos are now automatically transcribed and close-captioned by Microsoft Azure. The Microsoft Immersive Reader launches on every Flipgrid Topic and video transcript.
  • The close-captioned tool can be shown in other languages than the one you are speaking. However, it is not always accurate. But, I like that I can video myself singing in English and tell the CC show the captions in Spanish (Mexico).
  • There are options to password protect your grid, set the grid to be accessed through the students’ email addresses, or set it up to sign in students through a QR code. The latter is wonderful for students without email addresses.
  • You can search #Gridpals to find that there are currently 139 gridpals who list elementary arts as two of their subject areas. Reach out to a gridpal and have the students in that class respond to your students’ videos and vice versa.
  • Searching the “Disco Library” for elementary music activities for the beginning of the school year will give you two ideas. Disco is short for discovery and helps you find ideas for possible grids

Flipgrid is one of many tools to empower your elementary students’ voices in general music class. With my students using both Flipgrid and Seesaw in my music classroom, then they can choose the tool that makes them feel more comfortable when they perform. With Flipgrid’s video tool and Whiteboard options, as well as Seesaw’s numerous tools from video to drawing to recording to typing and more, my students will have the choice of tools that work best for them. They will feel comfortable and safe in my music classroom, as well as finding the best way for them to be heard.

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