Category Archives: Flipgrid

Snowflake STREAM

I have developed a Snowflake unit to use with my third graders using the STREAM lens.  These lessons will be done over a series of days when they visit my class.  Since I enjoy having our students do STREAM projects in other Special Area classes, I asked our Media Center Teacher to share the story of “Snowflake Bentley” with students and they analyzed the story events with her.  I also asked our Art Teacher about developing a Snowflake themed art project with our third graders so she will be doing this project in January with them. Here is a video of many highlights from the lessons!

In my lessons, the acronym STREAM stands for the following words:

The S stands for Science or Social Studies and Self Directed Learners.  

The T stands for Technology and Thinkers.   

The R stands for Reading, Research and Reflection.  

The E stands for Engineering and Effective Communication.  

The A stands for Art, Adaptability and Academic Risk Takers.  

The M stands for Math, Movement and Music.  

Science and Self Directed Learners:

Study the people who have been Snowflake researchers.  Watch videos about them and be prepared to compare and contrast their work.

Discuss Snowflake Bentley in small groups using the discussion cards found at this Freebie on Snowflake Bentley!  I love the resources found in this Paid Unit on Snowflake Bentley that could be used with your class!

Response:  Create a graphic organizer comparing the work of two scientists who studied snowflakes.  You could use a Venn Diagram or a Double Bubble Thinking Map.

Create a Bubble map to include adjectives that describe snowflakes!

Technology, Thinkers: 

In January, I will place a copy of Build a Snowman in our Google Classroom to have them creatively develop a snowman or snow-woman using their copy/paste skills inside of a great Google Slide Presentation found here then they will create a story about him or her and type it!

Reading, Research and Reflection:

Read this Nonfiction Article from NewsELA about Snowflakes

Read this Smithsonian article to learn about the categories of Snowflakes that exist!

Response:  Create a Tree Map to categorize the types of Snowflakes that have been discovered.

Engineering and Effective Communication: – Become a designer of code which will guide characters from the “Frozen” movie to skate in the shape of various snowflakes.  Try to categorize the type of snowflake shape that you program the character to skate!  Use the Frozen Hour of Code tutorial!

In addition, my students loved using Winter Themed STEM Mats to create Winter Inventions using Legos!

Art and Adaptability: – Use paper and scissors to create a snowflake using these directions.  See if you can categorize it using the categories in the Smithsonian article which are on your Tree Map.

Math, Music, Movement:

Students can conduct a Math investigation by throwing cotton ball “snowballs” or larger cotton snowballs like these that I found at Target.  They can throw it a few times, measure how far the snowball traveled and record it on a sheet.   They can create math word problems with their data and share them in a Flipgrid that the teacher would create then solve each others’ problems!.  They could graph their results on a bar graph or other types of graphs too!

You can view my students’ Flipgrid responses on winter inventions by visiting this guest Flipgrid link.

They could discuss Symmetry in snowflakes and use pattern blocks to create symmetrical snowflake designs!

I really like this Movement lesson involving creative dance as if they are snowflakes falling and music!

There are so many fun snowflake themed lessons that are great to do in winter!  I hope you will enjoy framing your thoughts about snowflakes using the STREAM lens!

Lindsay Petlak’s Scholastic Blog Post is full of awesome snowflake lesson ideas!

Another resource which I’d like to recommend is this Paid Resource from Teachers Pay Teachers for additional lessons to go with “Snowflake Bentley”.

I love to use Sphero robots in my lessons and really like this lesson on going through the engineering design process to have the Sphero act as a snowplow to move “snowballs” to a location in the class.  I have modified this lesson a bit and am doing it with my 5th Graders using the larger cotton snowballs from Target and the Sphero Chariots!

I am excited to implement this Snowflake STREAM unit!  I hope you enjoy it too!  Please let me know your ideas!

Top 10 of NCTIES 2018

I just returned from the NCTIES Conference! I have been going to this conference for five years and find that it always delivers! The Keynote presentations inspired me and the sessions led by teachers from all over my state gave me strategies and technology tips to enhance my teaching. I am going to share some of my favorite Top 10 ideas from the Conference in this blog post!

1. Kristen Ziemke
As the keynote speaker, she shared that 81% of kids ages 6 – 8 use You Tube weekly and love to hear and see stories. We should be explicitly teaching them to tell their stories and how to hear the stories of others. When we present our students with images to view and video to watch, Kristen suggests that we ask them, “What do you see, think and wonder?” The conversation that will occur will be grounded in the “text evidence” within the images allowing students to make inferences, visualize the environment, wonder what is going on and determine important information. Students should be given opportunities to think about how images and videos impact them then do something about it.

2. Microwriting by Kristen Ziemke
Micro writing is the writing of short pieces of text that question, summarize or synthesize and often adopt new literacies to gain feedback form authentic audiences. Kids’ writing could be shared in a Google Classroom, Twitter, a Blog or through the SeeSaw app. When kids are engaged in writing, their effort increases. Today’s tools make it possible to create, publish and share content. Since we all have a story to tell, we must show students how to make their words count so that their voices will be heard. She emphasized that teachers should have students study how Tweets are crafted, what is included in comments to a blog post and write these types of writing often to see if they can get better over time.

3. #Innovate4Littles: Using Tech for Inquiry Based Project

These teachers shared Project Based Learning through the Cycle of Inquiry.
The Cycle of Inquiry can have the following steps:
Wonder (They post what they want to know on Post It notes on a wall or on a Padlet space.)
Start Over

I love the idea of classroom teachers having a “Soft Start” to each day to allow kids to go through the inquiry cycle and be able to interact with materials at a Maker Space station in their classes. STREAM Centers during Soft Start include:
Art supplies
Kinetic sand

Allowing kids to regularly play with items as they investigate a topic and create a visual representation can then be extended to digital work. Their pictures of their work or digital projects that they make can be shared in SeeSaw . Students will sometimes record their thinking about their projects using Flipgrid. I was so impressed with the ideas of this session that I shared the presentation with my K-2 mini team leaders at my school which will enable us to further discuss:

4. Technology and Media
A Media Specialist and Technology Teacher collaborate to read various stories then have students create a digital product. Their resources are found here:

App Smashing with Literature presentation:

5. Green Screening the School Newscast
The presentation with all the details of how the tech facilitators work with students and classroom teachers to produce a school newscast that is shown on the following week is found here:

6. Jack of All Trades, Master of None presentation
An animated teacher librarian from Chatham County schools developed an amazing website with tremendous resources on Digital Citizenship, coding, Digital Literacy and many other important topics. I will use her resources with my students:

7. Getting Started with Green Screen
The presentation that was provided allows us to see how these teachers use the DoInk app on iPads to have students create digital stories with Green Screening:

This link provides a Google Sheet with Green Screen lesson ideas tied to Standards:

Legos and Green Screen presentation:

8. STREAM Session
These teachers showed us many books that they read to students and STREAM Design challenges tied to the science standards. I loved everything that they shared and the format of their presentation:
Google link:

9. Making Makerspaces Work
The “Making Makerspaces Work For Elementary” session provided great suggestions on what could be included in an Elementary Maker Space in the Library Media Center and many management tips on how to have students come to the Media Center to use the Maker space:

10. Closing Keynote by Kevin Carroll
Wow! This man inspired me! My head was spinning with the amazing sessions which I had been a part of then he got me thinking about how to head home to inspire my students to tell their stories. Here are some of his words that will continue to resonate with me:
“Play gives resilience and sustained effort to hang in there.

Play is a catalyst.

Don’t talk about it. Be about it.

How you do the little things is how you do all things.

The opposite of play and fun is depression. Have joy all the time.

Play is something we all have in common.

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. – Plato

Inspire others to be a collective community of confidence. Be the storytellers which will inspire.

Our ideas and actions matter.

Set goals.
Believe in yourself

It is possible. Surround yourself with catalysts.

Challenge and lovingly shove them toward the future.

Replenish my energy.
There are 86,400 seconds in a day to achieve better than I was yesterday.

Be better than I was yesterday.

Build community, make friends.

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.

Be where I am. Show up.

Positivity will be reciprocated.

DREAM stands for:

Doubt is success testing you.
Greatness awaits you.

If your dream doesn’t scare you it is not big enough.

# gsd (get stuff done)”

This Conference had a shared Google Slides presentation which was also crowd sourced for many other incredible resources:

Flipgrid Zoo

Recently, I consulted with a team of third grade teachers at my school to develop a topic for students to write about once they had researched animals. We decided that students could provide an opinion and supporting reasons as to why the animal that they researched should or should not be kept in a zoo. Students would use the facts that they had gathered to inform their writing. Once they had completed their writing, I visited their classrooms and introduced them to a tech tool known as Flipgrid. I made a free teacher account and set up an assignment where students would record themselves reading aloud their writing on their Chromebooks.

Students enthusiastically participated and self assessed their videos. They enjoyed watching the videos that their peers had created too! I disabled their ability in Flipgrid to type a comment about the videos until a future assignment. We discussed the importance of stating respectful comments to others verbally to practice the skills of a digital citizen. I shared an Emoji Reflection Guide which they used to self assess. In the future, I plan to enable their ability to give Emoji reactions in Flipgrid.

Overall, using Flipgrid engaged my third grade students and gave every student a voice! One student who is rather shy chose to record her video in an area away from others. I told her that shy students can record their video and share it without having to stand and deliver the message in front of others. She seemed relieved to be able to record her words without any pressure.

Many students felt like “You Tubers” and loved this experience. They see videos on social media which provide entertainment and information at home. Using Flipgrid to respond to a topic that they had researched allowed incredible opportunities to communicate, listen and be heard!

I have included images from this lesson below and a link to the actual Flipgrid where over 100 of my third graders shared their opinions and supporting reasons as to why animals should or should not be kept in a zoo.