7 reasons to use Flipgrid with ELLs

Have you been caught by #flipgridfever? No! Well I hope you soon will be. Read on to find out how this technology is truly revolutionizing opportunities for learning in EAL classrooms and amongst English learners around the world.

It’s not very often that a learning technology comes along that truly enhances opportunities for learning that would not have been possible before. Flipgrid is one such technology. For those who don’t know, Flipgrid allows for the virtually seamless sharing of short videos via computer, phone, or tablet. A teacher can create a free account and then invite students by sharing a join code. Topics can be posted in text, picture, or video format, and then students respond. The students can also respond to each others’ posts too. For added security, a password can be set up.

I don’t want to explain all the nitty-gritty of how it works. You can figure that out on your own. What I do want to emphasize is that almost every teacher I know that was introduced to Flipgrid almost immediately put it into regular use in the classroom. For EAL teachers, the opportunities are equally extensive.

Here are a list of ways I’ve used Flipgrid with my ELLs.

1. Speaking practice

We’ve all taught shy kids who are reluctant to speak in the classroom. For ELLs it can be even more difficult getting them to speak. Flipgrid has changed all that, and it’s even changed how we assess students’ proficiency levels at the school. Since using Flipgrid regularly in the classroom, I’ve been very pleasantly surprised to find that some of my quietest students have produced some of the best Flipgrid videos. Without the distractions of the group, many of them will open up with great enthusiasm even though they know that there classmates can watch the videos later.

2. Pronunciation practice via tongue twister

Some of my students have difficulties enunciating words or pronouncing certain sounds. I’ve created a private Flipgrid (separate grids are only available on the paid version) for them where they regularly read out tongue twisters. They get instant feedback when they hear themselves during playback.

3. All Flipgrid videos provide chances for listening practice

Whenever EAL students listen to their teachers and classmates videos and record responses, they’re engaging in a rich learning experience involving listening, meta-cognition, organization, and speaking. Having the chance to listen to a variety of voices, accents, and pronunciations only further serves to strengthen their listening skills.

4. Differentiation in Assessment OF Learning

Some EALs quickly develop BICS competency with writing lagging behind. In subject content areas, Flipgrid enables teachers to assess student knowledge in a convenient manner. Because the video is recorded, the teacher has a record of the assessment that can be referred back to. Flipgrid has been a godsend for one of my students with a learning disability. Whenever she hears she has the chance to present her ideas orally, she’ll take it. And shine in the process.

5. Celebrating progress

Flipgrid videos can be assigned like journals, and students can be assessed formatively through a custom rubric that the teacher can set up ahead of time. These video journals serve as valuable evidence of learning and mementos to the progress students have made. We have had students come to school not knowing their ABCs and within two years are able to have a sit-down interview with a teacher providing advice for new English language learners. I’ve had Flipgrid videos ready to show parents who have been concerned that their son or daughter is not speaking enough. It simply was not possible to do this so easily just a few years ago.

6. Making connections around the world

Flipgrid makes it super easy to partner your class with another teacher’s class somewhere else. Because it lends itself so well to asynchronous communication, it’s easy to accommodate for different time zones. I’ve done Mystery Flipgrid with another teacher, where my students would ask yes/no questions of another class and vis versa.

7. Celebrating linguistic diversity

Sometimes we can forget that our ELLs possess the gift of bilingualism. One of the best things I’ve done is have my students prepare a short video where they teach a phrase or two from their first language. Students in another school, or even another class, then record themselves speaking back what they’ve learned. Read here for a longer description of this activity.

CONCLUSION

I hope I’ve sold you on many of the benefits of Flipgrid for ELLs. Our school has only been using it since September, and I’m sure I’ll find many more applications in the years to come. Send me a message on Twitter or reply below to share how you use Flipgrid in your classroom or with your ELLs.

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