Connecting During Covid

Halfway through the 2020-2021 academic year, I wanted to reflect on our 3 main goals  to “lead by example’ in the following ways: 

  • Ensuring the Health and Wellness of Students and Staff
  • Reconnecting with our Community
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

I made it a focus of mine to take ownership of my wellness and to actively make it a priority. I look for new and safe ways for students to reconnect with each other, not only within class, but across grade levels. In addition I hope to expand my knowledge and correct misunderstandings of what it means to be diverse, equitable and inclusive. 

Today, I want to share how a simple tweak in how I used Flipgrid allowed my students to foster a deeper connection. 

Connecting Safely I have been wondering how I could help our students connect beyond the classroom in more meaningful ways. During this past grade 2 unit, we started to share learning with others. Something I have missed most about music is the ability to connect and perform for others. With this in mind, I immediately went to my favorite learning platform, Twitter, and started scrolling to find ways for students to share, not just in one class, but across five classes. 

I came across Flipgrid. Having used Flipgrid before, I knew my students were familiar with the platform, but I also wanted to make sure we weren’t just uploading a video for the sake of uploading a video. Students have started to combine their conceptual understanding of rhythm and pitch to explore a new concept of melody. We then explored various dynamics to create more interesting melodies by switching different dynamics, and then discussing the impact changing these dynamics had on the melody. 

Students were asked to post their compositional performances on Flipgrid, sharing their melodies. Going beyond just sharing, students were asked to engage with other melodies listening for rhythms, pitch and different dynamics used. We worked on giving constructive feedback, while also realizing that we all have a perspective of what we want music to sound like. This was done over the course of a few weeks with students listening, commenting, and sharing feedback on what we could all do to improve our own melodic composition.

Gathering feedback could also be done with five different grids, but I found students to be more engaged and eager to explore other melodies when they could connect with students they don’t normally interact with during distance learning. This one engagement allowed students to connect across a grade level, by sharing melodies they took pride in creating. 

Through this engagement students created 91 responses, 5327 Views, 130 comments and 43.5 hours of musical engagement. When I started to see views increase by the thousands each week and each comment became increasingly rich and thoughtful, I realized I needed to continue giving my students a way to reach outside of their individual class. 

When students were brought back on campus during Hybrid Learning, they were increasingly asking if they could work on X’s melody from another class. This created a dialogue between students on individual melodies that highlighted different concepts of rhythm, pitch and dynamics for them to work on. 

am thrilled to have tweaked my use of Flipgrid to give my students a chance to connect and share to friends outside of their classes. If you havn’t given Flipgrid a shot, I highly recommend it as it empowered my students to share, think critically and support one another’s learning.

How are your students connecting during this time? What has been your experience using Flipgrid? Share below! 

Keep Learning, 

 Levi

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