Flipgrid Explorer Series: Fossils


We are excited to kick-off this school year with a brand new edition of our Flipgrid Explorer series, this time with an explorer from Midland, Texas who excavates fossils… in a murky river!

Starting Monday, September 18th, Explorer Jason Osborne will explain how oceanic fossils ended up in riverbeds, discuss his gear and excavation tools, and share discovery videos. He'll also have several discussion topics for your students:

  • September 5th: Pre-knowledge - What do you know about fossils? What can fossils tell us?
  • September 18th: Topic One - If you were an explorer, what would you study and why?
  • September 25: Topic Two - Why do people study fossils? Why is it important?
  • October 2: Topic Three - Fossil Challenge! As Jason has shown us, fossils can tell us a lot about the history of species on this earth. Likewise, antiques offer insight into the more recent past of our human lives. Find an old artifact in your home or school and explain what the piece says about the time it came from. Jason has dug up a 6 million year old whale fossil, which will be awarded to a lucky class that participates in this challenge.*
  • October 6: Reflection - What did you learn? What was most interesting?

*To officially enter this competition, the class must participate in all three weeks of the Explorer Series including Topic 1, 2, 3, and the Reflection Topic. Jason and his team will select the winning classroom.

In addition to these discussion topics, Jason will host a Q&A Topic for your curious students to pick his brain. Have your students check into this Topic throughout the Series as we'll feature Responses with Jason's Replies.

Classes can participate in this three-week program in any way. Some combine in-person lessons with the series, others catch up on Jason's videos and respond to the discussion topic once per week. 

Join the discussion starting September 18th at: Flipgrid.com/fossils

Jason is our third Flipgrid Explorer, following the likes of Marine Biologist Laura in Antartica and Raptor Expert Mike from the University of Minnesota. We are excited for your students to join us on this adventure!

BONUS: Will you be participating? Shoot us an email and let us know: fossils@flipgrid.com. One lucky class will have the opportunity to Skype with Jason during the last week of the series! 

If you're interested in expanding you're students' involvement with this Explorer Series, check out these awesome videos from Jason's previous experience:

See the Ancient Whale Skull Recovered From a Virginia Swamp (National Geographic)

A 300-Pound Fossil Skull in a Swamp? (Google Science Fair)

About Jason

Jason is the President and CoFounder of Paleo Quest, a non-profit organization whose mission is to advance the sciences of paleontology and geology through material contributions to museum collections, field exploration, publication and the advancement of science education. Jason’s work in science, education, communication and engineering has been recognized and featured in publications and media outlets such as Nature, Science, Scientific American, Popular Science, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, MSNBC, CBS,CNN, and NPR. In June 2013, the White House Executive Office of The President honored Jason as a Champion of Change for his dedication to increasing public engagement in science and science literacy. We were put in touch with Jason from one of our awesome Ambassadors, Heather Lamb - thank you Heather!

International Dot Day

The following is a guest post from Lisa Scumpieru, a 10th grade English teacher at North Hagerstown High School in Hagerstown, Md. She is a Flipgrid Ambassador, Formative Educator, and Common Lit Advisory Board Member. She loves trying new things in the classroom and learning and growing as a teacher.  

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The premise of International Dot Day is simple: “start with a dot and see where it will take you.” Students create a dot with arts and crafts supplies and then discuss the impact of their work. It is a simple yet powerful lesson that provides a beautiful venue for students to explain how they will leave their mark on the world.

By the fourth week of school, I was able to see a different layer from my students. I was able to see the students who would take risks, the more reserved students, the artistic students, and the “outside the box” thinkers. I observed smiles, laughter, and compliments because everyone had a way of making their dot work for them in their own way. There were no rules or directions, just time to express one’s self.

I displayed my students’ work and referenced their masterpieces throughout the year when highlighting concepts such as “thinking outside the box” or “delving deeper into figurative language” because we all had started at a place that we understood and appreciated.

This year I’m excited to introduce International Dot Day with Flipgrid. To get started, sign up for International Dot Day on their website. You can also check out my resources, which I’ve gathered over the year from people who have shared ideas. Once your students have completed their artwork, have them share their piece and experience International Dot Day 2017 with other students all around the world. As you will see, there are a variety of topics on the grid, for you or your students to choose from. I hope this opportunity will be a chance for students to share their authentic voice, creations, and ideas with an authentic audience at a larger scale than just the classroom.

The grid will be open now until September 22, 2017.  If you have any questions or suggestions about the grid and topics, please e-mail me at ficthlis@wcps.k12.md.us. I hope your Dot Day 2017 is a blast and that you get to see how you and your students can get out there and make your marks!  I cannot wait for my students visit the grid and know that other students are out there exploring their world alongside them.

Meet Flipgrid Rockstar Bronwyn Joyce 💫

We are proud to introduce our first #FlipgridRockstar! This is the first in an ongoing series where we will recognize rockstar members of the Flipgrid educator community. 

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Bronwyn Joyce, an educator from Australia, has been rockin' Flipgrid over the past 6 months with her students and thousands more around the world!  She is a Flipgrid Certified Educator and Flipgrid Ambassador.  To Bronwyn, Flipgrid means "opportunities". She shares some #WednesdayWisdom with us below.

I use Flipgrid to connect my students with the world, to give them a voice to share their thoughts and thinking, to build their confidence and show them other student around the world are just like them. We learn with the world. 

Flipgrid has enable my students to share their voice with an authentic global audience. They are learning with students in other countries. I have seen their confidence build with every video they make. They are the leaders of the #Whatif Grid and that makes me so proud. 

Don't restrict yourself to one curriculum area or to use Flipgrid for fun. Take a chance and connect your students with outside of your classroom, whether in your school, your community, country or the world. Let your students voices be heard. 

Check out Bronwyn's Flipgrid Rockstar intro: 

Twitter: @joycebronwyn

Global Grid: "What If" -  flipgrid.com/whatif 

Introducing the All-New Flipgrid 🚀

Editor's Note: As of June 18, 2018, all of Flipgrid (formally our premium "Flipgrid Classroom") is free! Check out the details over here!

We are pretty lucky. The Flipgrid community is made up of innovative and inspiring educators who help us make Flipgrid better every day. We’re listening... and have built the all-new Flipgrid specifically for you, your students, their families, and your communities. 

Here is a livestream archive of our rocking launch event on 8.10.17 at Flipgrid HQ in Minneapolis!

We have three objectives with this update:

  1. Empower you with more capabilities to make the perfect environment for your students. 
  2. Simplify the management of your Flipgrid discussions. 
  3. Keep Flipgrid familiar for you and your students.

So what’s new?

Well, pretty much everything! We redesigned Flipgrid to add power and increase efficiency, all without sacrificing simplicity. 

We built the all-new Flipgrid for the amazing #FlipgridFever community and we’ve only just begun. When you have ideas for us, don’t be a stranger: hello@flipgrid.com

The All-New Flipgrid: For You

You asked for new Flipgrid capabilities. We wanted to make it even easier for you to encourage, engage, and give feedback to your students. So, we did both. More capability. Less effort. What’s not to love?

Sparking a discussion

Topics are now more powerful than ever. Record and upload video prompts. Embed YouTube and Vimeo videos. Upload an image for your students to discuss. Or, add a little fun with a GIF or emoji!

You can also now add links or document attachments to provide extra context.

Let students take the lead and recognize their impact by Sparking a student response into its own topic. 

Bonus Updates: 

  • Scaffold your semester in advance by setting the date when your topic becomes visible and when they freeze. 
  • Challenge your students to be concise with 15 second video limits. Classroom users can tackle more complex topics with the new 5 minute video response limit.

Managing your content

We’ve redesigned the Flipgrid Teacher Admin and Dashboard. Your Dashboard is now the place for you to see your students’ activity at-a-glance, quickly catch up on unviewed videos, and show off all your achievements!

Watching videos from within your Teacher Admin is also easier than ever with QuickView. Provide feedback, watch replies, share, and navigate between videos with a single click. 

Speaking of feedback and assessment: we’ve made standard feedback available to ALL Flipgrid educators while Classroom accounts now have the ability to add custom rubrics!

Sharing with community

We’ve made it easier than ever to share your grids, topics, and responses as well as manage their visibility, right from the main view in your Teacher Admin.

Want to share a student’s video with his/her family without providing access to other students’ videos? Use a private share link. Recipients can download the video, view the topic prompt, and share it with anyone they want, all without sacrificing the privacy of your class discussion!

Moderation allows you to privately review a video before it is posted. We moved moderation from the Grid to Topic level, so you can have both moderated and unmoderated content within every Flipgrid community.

The All-New Flipgrid: For Your Community

We’ve made Flipgrid more powerful and fun for your learning community without sacrificing your control.

Sharing their voice

Students can now add a title with searchable hashtags to their video response, add a link to an article, website, PDF, etc, or express their creativity by adding stickers and drawing on their selfie!

Learning together

Use an expanded set of Reactions including several new emojis, from the standard Flipgrid Like to the Ambassador-requested Mic Drop!

Bonus: Access Grids using QR codes. Flipgrid mobile apps now have a built in QR reader, making it easier than ever for students to participate.

The All-New Flipgrid: Integrations

Flipgrid works great on its own, and now brings amplified student voice to your Microsoft and Canvas classes too. 


  • Embed fully-functional Grids and Topics into MS Teams
  • Allow students to showcase all their work by embedding Flipgrid Responses in OneNote.
  • Educators can also embed Grid and Topic cards for a quick and easy reference to Flipgrid from OneNote! 


  • Control access to your Grids and Topics through your Canvas student roster.
  • Assign Flipgrid participation within Canvas.
  • Coming soon: SpeedGrader integration and custom Flipgrid editor buttons for Canvas pages, discussions, and announcements.

The All-New Flipgrid: Better Together

The all-new Flipgrid was built to reflect the goals of our amazing global educator community. This is just the beginning. Thank you for your support, advice, and friendship.

-Team Flipgrid

Back-to-School Intro Challenge 🎓

Editor's Note: As of June 18, 2018, all of Flipgrid (formally our premium "Flipgrid Classroom") is free! Check out the details over here!

How does your school engage the parents and families in your community? If you’re Spring Lake Park school district in Minnesota, you use Flipgrid!

Spring Lake Park created a grid for their district and a topic for each school. Within those topics, they had every teacher, admin, and staff member post an intro video which they then shared with their community. It required only a few minutes for each teacher to post and it allowed the community as a whole to see their passion for educating students.

 See the Spring Lake Park grid here: flipgrid.com/slp2016

See the Spring Lake Park grid here: flipgrid.com/slp2016

This year we're challenging you to take part in the #FlipgridBack2School challenge. Here's what you'll need to do.

1. Get your administration on board with the project. Show them the SLP grid!

2. Create a grid for your district and post a topic for each school. Or, create a grid for your school and post a topic for each department or grade level!

3. Ask each teacher to post a video introduction. Feature your principal’s video as an introduction to the school! (If you are a Flipgrid Classroom user, turn on Replies and let your students' families and the community say 'hello').

4. Email us at hello@flipgrid.com once every educator has recorded to let us know!

Once you create a grid for your school and get every teacher to post, we’ll hook you up with a free one-year Flipgrid Classroom subscription ($65 value). Already have Flipgrid Classroom? We’ll extend your subscription a year. If you create a grid for your district* and get every teacher to post, you’ll get a free 5-pack of Flipgrid Classroom subscriptions to share with your colleagues or PLN ($200 value)!


*To qualify for the free 5-pack of Flipgrid Classroom subscriptions, we as that your district have at least 75 educators. If your district has fewer, we'll still gladly reward you with the single one-year Flipgrid Classroom subscription.

Building Community on the First Day of School

The following is a guest post from Flipgrid Ambassador Kristin Merrill. Kristin works as a fourth grade language arts teacher with the Collier County school district in Naples, Florida. Over the past ten years she has worked on developing her teaching into a model that fits all learners as she strives to digitally differentiate. Connect with her on Twitter @FriendsinFourth.

I was recently asked why there is so much #FlipgridFever and if I really thought it was going to “burn” for awhile. How can it truly be integrated in an academic way? Did I really see myself using this tool daily in the classroom? The answer was an immediate — YES!

What makes this platform so appealing is its versatility and simplicity. It is applicable in almost every grade and subject area and can be used by students of all ages. Flipgrid can be utilized in a 1:1 classroom or in a room with one lone teacher device. This tool gives students the opportunity to share their voice and once they see how easy it is they aren’t going to want to stop!

Since becoming an ambassador, one of the most frequently asked questions I hear is how can Flipgrid be introduced to students and what is the best way to do so. I say unleash the student voice on the first day of school!

16 Ways to Use Flipgrid On the First Day of School.

  1. Favorite Summer Memory: Talking about what you did over the summer is a perfect way to get students talking. Students can share what they did, then watch videos from fellow classmates and comment with personal connections they have.

  2. Admin Introductions:  On the first day of school the day seems to fly by and there is little time for meeting others outside of the classroom. For students new to the school, the more familiar faces are the more comfortable they become. Create a grid and allow teachers, cafeteria staff, librarians, art, music and PE teachers to all introduce themselves. You could watch it while students come in, during transitions or at the end of the day after you pack up. Take it even further, and you could have your students record replies to them explaining what they are looking forward to learning or doing with them in the upcoming year. **

  3. Goal Setting:  Students come in to a new class excited about the year ahead. Some have big plans and allowing students the time to set goals is a meaningful way to get them thinking about what they want to accomplish. It is also a topic that can be revisited throughout the year with “updates” recorded by the students in regards to the goals they set and if they have any new ones! As you have students update their goals you can send home to parents as an update.

  4. Guess Who All About Me: If you work with older students, allow them to have some fun on the first day with a little #appsmashing. Students record introduction videos using apps like Snapchat, Chatterpix, Apple Clips, etc. where they do not show their face or use their voice. They can even identify themselves to their video with a #nickname instead of using their own name.  Classmates then try and guess who made each video. This a nice way to introduce each other without making those camera shy kids nervous on day one.

  5. Two Truths and a Lie: Put those surveys down and hide the BINGO boards — get students sharing and talking on the first day with this fun game. Students brainstorm a list of three facts about themselves and record the video. Two of the facts are true and one is made up. Classmates can respond to their peers’ videos and try to guess which of the three “facts” is the made up one!

  6. Summer Reading Talk: Hopefully students read over the summer and you could have them respond with books they read while out of the classroom. Some districts (like mine!) require certain students to all read the same book over the summer. This would be an easy way to get them talking while integrating a core subject area.

  7. Question of the Day: Start what could be a daily or weekly routine in class by posing a question to the class and allowing them time to record and respond after reflecting.

  8. Classroom Rules: As teachers we often spend time during the first days and weeks setting up a classroom environment where students feel safe and included. But, It's important for our students to have a say in their learning environment as well. With Flipgrid, students could respond with rules or criteria they want that can later be discussed or voted on.

  9. I Wish You Knew: This spin on the ordinary introductions gives students the chance to express something that they wish the teacher/classmate knew about them. This is an easy way to have students share something special or positive about themselves.

  10. One Word Summary: Give students times to brainstorm and then they give one word they would when describing how they learn. They can explain their choice while introducing themselves in the process.  

  11. Show and Tell:  Students get a chance to record something that they want to share with the class. This can be an object from home, a special talent, memory, story or simply something fun and unique about themselves. This can extend to home or throughout the week.

  12. Family introductions: If you are looking for a way to get parents involved, send students home with the job of introducing their family to the class. “Family” can include pets, extended family, whomever the child is living with at home. Parents can see their child engaged and get to participate themselves while classmates can learn a little more about their peers!

  13. Phone a Friend: Students record videos asking questions to the classmates from last year. (Eg. New fourth graders asking now fifth graders questions) Students ask the outgoing class questions about the teacher, expectations and content covered. Great way to get more classes in the building familiar with Flipgrid and also helps build familiarity within the student body. **

  14. Find Someone Who... : Students pose a question and other students respond if they fall into that category. This is an easy way for students to start making connections to others while learning about each other. **

  15. Global Goals: There are many organizations teachers can connect with in regards to thinking globally. Maybe start off the year asking students to reflect on some global issues that are important to them while brainstorming ways to help. Considering joining classrooms around the world on flipgrid.com/whatif and/or flipgrid.com/globalvoice!

  16. Special Talents: Have students showcase a special talent or interest that they have. This could be done in the classroom or at home that night. Some examples could include singing a song, reciting a poem, demonstrating flexibility, showing a painting, demonstrating a sport, etc.

**You can do more with some of these ideas by using Flipgrid Classroom - feel free to use my promo code KRISTINMERRILL for a free trial!

Do you have another idea? Tweet it out and use the hashtag #FlipgridFever!  Looking forward to hearing from you.