Carrie Toth’s students use their iPads to record themselves speaking

What is FlipGrid One?

FlipGrid One is the basic, free FlipGrid service. “With Flipgrid One, you now have access to a free version of Flipgrid that never expires. You are allowed one grid with limited features. Add as many topics and record as many responses as you like.”- FlipGrid Team With only one grid to work with, Carrie found herself wanting the ability to create a separate space for each class! The basic package was great but it quickly left her wanting more!

In FlipGrid One, students can respond to a prompt but can not respond to another student’s video. For me, it was important to get the paid subscription so that my students could interact with each other and with other Spanish speakers.

Why buy in? Why buy in as a school?

Arianne’s school will not purchase FlipGrid Classroom but in her opinion it is worth the money because of the possibilities. Her favorite part of FlipGrid Classroom is the ability to have asynchronous communication. With Google Hangouts or Skype you need to collaborate with the schedule of someone else. You both must be available at the same time to engage in interpersonal communication. With FlipGrid Classroom if you want to talk with another class or with the author of a novel, you can record when your class has the time and the experts you want to communicate can answer when they have time, which can be in a day, week or month. It makes global communication so effortless. Another factor that makes FlipGrid Classroom a little easier than a Google Hangout is that when you do find an expert to invite into your classroom, it is difficult to ask them to come back for each section of that class you have (especially if you are a middle school or high school teacher). Therefore the expert can look at the class grids and decide which questions to respond to so that they do not have to give up double or triple of their precious time.

Do you HAVE to have 1:1 to make it work?

Carrie: Having started a new job this year in a 1:1 school, I can see how FlipGrid is MUCH easier here. Every one of my students has the iPad app so recording is a breeze! But I came to this technological wonderland from the deepest deserts of tech drought… and even there, we were able to bypass most tech challenges with a little creativity! For example, with FlipGrid paid subscription students can record up to 3 minutes. Let two students record on the same square! Share a phone or if you have just a few classroom devices, share those! If it is a definite one man recording, have them do the recording on their phone then pass it to a friend who is without! Or share a class device of yours! Worst case scenario, MAJOR tech vacuum, let those who have zero access to tech present live or just offer that as an option to everyone!

Arianne: My district is not 1:1, instead it is BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Most students have their own devices and are able to use it it record. If they do not, they can use the computer in the classroom or my personal Chromebook. My district also has the option to sign out a Chrome Cart for the day so that all students can have access. As Carrie mentioned, many students are also very comfortable sharing a device with their friend and recording there. In the end, there is always a way for them to record.

How does FlipGrid complement Fluency Matters Novel Studies?

  • Carrie: I find that I end up with a lot of written evidence of where my students are on their path to proficiency but I don’t ever have as much spoken evidence. FlipGrid is a way to preserve these pieces AND to take very little time while still hearing every student!
  • Arianne: I completely agree with Carrie. I often have students write essays to target the presentational mode. Most spoken evidence would be in assessments such as Discussion Day, Literature Circles or Socratic Seminars. These are too long to record. However with FlipGrid Classroom you can have samples of interpersonal communication. You and your students can watch it evolve throughout the year! It is almost like a digital portfolio of progress.


How can FlipGrid work in a novice level class?

  • One of the most obvious uses of FlipGrid at the novice levels is a story retell. As an exit ticket, as a brain break, or even as the summative evaluation at the end of a story unit, the teacher can ask the student to record all (or even part) of the class story in the grid.
  • At the end of a novel study, even novice level students can show comprehension and acquisition by recording a short description of their favorite part of the novel! Even novices could play two truths and a lie with a novel and FlipGrid. Students would simply create three statements from the chapter, one of which is a lie. Classmates will choose three videos to listen to find the lie. They can comment on the video and then the original poster can tell them if they are correct or not.
  • Arianne: I will be teaching novices next year. I intend to have them use FlipGrid to play game such as Guess Who. They can describe a character on video and their peers can choose 3-5 videos to comment on. They can guess who the character is. I also plan to assign students a vocab word or chunk that they can act out on video. Their peers will guess what it is. Novice High level students can also use FlipGrid to ask the authors of Fluency Matters about the novel. After we read the novel, “Bianca Nieves y los siete toritos” by Carrie, she was kind enough to comment on our class grid. Students prepared questions for about her novel and she chose a few to answer to. The students loved this experience! It was one of their highlights of the year! There is nothing better than reaching beyond the four walls of your classroom. Another idea is to reach out to the authors of the authentic resources that you use while supplementing the novel. For example, Kara Jacobs reached out to the author of an article she read with her class. The author agreed to answer any questions her students had about the article!


How can FlipGrid work in an Intermediate class?

  • Carrie: In my Spanish 3 classroom, students presented works of art created from symbols that represented who they were. Each student recorded a presentation and then peers watched 3-5 and asked a question of each presenter. The original presenter returned to the questions and answered at least 3. It allowed me to see/hear each presentation without spending a lot of class time. It also put students in a position to ask and answer questions in a meaningful context.
  • Students can also present ideas for an extended chapter in the novel or a sequel. Students again can listen to their peer’s ideas, give feedback and ultimately vote on which they like best with a platform such as Dotstorming.
  • Or using the idea above, students can create a new novel ending together through collaboration. Give each student a number and they need to listen to the previous pieces of what their peers created before adding on. One student tells the first part, and each student keeps commenting until the final student gives the conclusion. Then they can all listen to their final creation and sketch it out. I love the collaboration piece that FlipGrid Classroom provides!
  • I really love this idea that Kristy Placido gave me this year! Invite students to make a video of their booksnap annotation or any of their artistic creations. Then have students analyze other students’ work. For example, each student will upload their artwork to FlipGrid. Next peers will choose 3 pieces of art to analyze. Finally the original artist can give feedback on if their peer got it correct or not.
  • When you finish reading the novel you can have students upload shrinking summaries without mentioning which chapter. Their classmates will then need to listen and guess what chapter it applies to. Now students are using the presentational and interpretive modes of communication.


How can FlipGrid promote interpretive/interpersonal/presentational all in one task?

  • Carrie: One of my favorite ways to cultivate the ability to ask for and defend an opinion is to begin as early as level one teaching students the key structures: In my opinion, you’re right, you’re wrong, I agree, and I disagree. Armed with these building blocks, even a level one can give an opinion on a character, a cultural theme, or a story chapter. From this recording, classmates can state whether they agree or disagree adding a supporting detail!
  • Literature circles get a real “techy twist” with FlipGrid Classroom. In a Literature Circle all students are assigned a different category or novel to discuss. For example: What makes the protagonist in this novel a strong character? or What was the major conflict in this chapter? Students record their responses and then watch their peer’s replies before reporting to the Literature Circle. The activity incorporates a presentational speaking element as students present their ideas to connect to their assigned topic of the Literature Circle and an interpretive element as they analyze the messages of their peers. The interpersonal mode is incorporated as students return to their groups and present their ideas as well as those of their peers in a group discussion.
  • Students can present a “Wax Museum” project in a non traditional way! (Especially to accompany a non fiction novel from Fluency Matters such as Frida or Felipe Alou or a novel that references history like Vector.) In a Wax Museum, students choose historical figures to research. Each will upload a video of him/herself in costume, presenting a short speech on FlipGrid. Classmates can choose which historical figures they would like to learn more about and then watch those videos. After watching, ask students to reply by either asking a question or asking for another interesting facts. This project would be a combination of presentational, interpretive and interpersonal We can’t wait to try it out in the fall! A fun twist would be to have two different classes communicate with each other! (Even classes from different schools!)
  • Debating topics with FlipGrid can be a really fun way to mix it up! Imagine how much fun students would have choosing a topic from a novel and debating with a class from another school! One example is for the novel “Esperanza”. Have them lead a debate on whether or not the main character Esperanza should leave her children to go to the USA. They could even give advice to the characters in the novel!
  • Teachers can use FlipGrid as a tool to find out what students did not grasp well. Don’t hesitate for a moment to use this tool in their native language! While it is an awesome way to cultivate use of L2, it also gives them a powerful voice that can help the teacher see where students are in need of more input. In the case of students who have mastered the material, why not allow them to answer classmates’ questions!?
  • Groups of 2-3 could record a prediction about next chapter. The next day after the class has read, together watch the flipgrid videos and determine who got it right and who was way off!


How does FlipGrid make speaking tasks more realistic and easier for students (especially the shy ones)?

  • They still have to present! They still get no notes! They still are completely off the cuff speaking… just one-on-one with their camera person.
  • Everyone can still see these presentations! Students are responsible for watching other presentations then asking and answering questions (interpretive AND interpersonal)

Flip Grid is a versatile tool for evaluating students! Whether you need formative or summative assessment grades, FlipGrid could serve as an exit ticket (tell me 3 things that happened to X today in chapter X) or even an elaborate final project!

Create class community:

  • FlipGrid teaches digital citizenship and how to post to social media appropriately.
  • Since teaching with novels, I have found that students have a much greater sense of class community. The TGs give you many opportunities to personalize the novel and connect it to your students. Therefore students get to know each other very well. So why not use FlipGrid once a month in order to nominate a student of the month? This will get students to use the target language and the class will be happy to receive kind messages about themselves.


Carrie Toth is a Spanish teacher from Illinois with over 20 years of teaching experience. She was the 2014 Central States Teacher of the Year. Carrie has authored La Calaca AlegreLa hija del sastreBianca Nieves y los 7 toritos, and Vector. She blogs at and can be found on Twitter @senoraCMT.

Arianne Dowd is a Spanish Teacher at South Brunswick High School. She is passionate about making the switch in her classroom to using TPRS and Comprehensible Input in order to engage all learners. Collaborating with colleagues through social media to create compelling and comprehensible units comprised of cultural knowledge is her favorite hobby. She blogs here.  



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