As teachers, we identify many personalized needs for our students – from coming up with individuals topics where a student needs review to strategies that can improve their performance. But how many times do we remember to allow students to tell us what they *think* they need? I feel this activity is powerful on multiple levels:
- It helps students think about big ideas. By being asked to talk about what *topics* are most difficult, students are required to think of the unit in terms of big ideas versus just particular problems from a textbook that they are solving.
- It helps students learn to be reflective in their studying. Having to identify what is working well and what study skills need improvement forces students to think back on what they are doing.
- It builds awareness of areas that are challenging. To identify specific problem spots, students must synthesize the main ideas in a unit. Again, this activity is much different than students simply circling problems in the textbook they need help with.
- It strengthens relationships because students know their teacher is invested in their learning and seeking their feedback.
As we are currently in our final review for the AP Exam in AP Calculus AB, I asked students to respond to the following prompts in Flipgrid:
- What is the most challenging part of class right now?
- What can I be doing to best support you?
- Are spending 45 minutes on AP Calc homework nightly, or are you having trouble spacing assignments out?
- Do you feel like you are relying too heavily on posted solutions and scoring guidelines?
- What can we do to make you feel most confident going into the AP Exam?
It was great to do this assignment in Flipgrid because it allowed each of my students to “talk” to me without having to reply in front of the class. It felt more honest this way. As well, because it was spoken rather than typed, I felt that students were more conversational and authentic. The feedback they gave will certainly inform both my individual work with students and also the structure of my class in the coming weeks. (Note: for this type of assignment, where you might want the conversation between you and each student to be private, you can choose the “moderate responses” option. This is a topic-level setting.)
In the future, I plan to use Flipgrid more often leading up to assessments or even just as a quick check-in post assessment. We learn so much from letting our students talk to us. Flipgrid is a fantastic and simple way to efficiently do this.