Today’s Contributor: My name is Alex Vasquez and I am the ELA Instructional Coach and an English 2 Advanced Teacher at Akins High School.
Metacognitive Thinking for Students
Metacognitive thinking is a skill that all teachers strive to reach with each student in their classroom. When we get kids to begin “thinking about their thinking,” we are equipping them with real-world skills to find their learning path in the classroom, explore how the content relates to their interests, and connect this to themselves for the ultimate learning experience! More so, we are creating ways for students to utilize blended learning opportunities that now include the type of technology students use in everyday life– video blogging!
What is Flipgrid?
Flipgrid is an accessible tool for teachers and students to use to capture thoughts and ideas at any given time during or outside of class via video recordings. The best part of this nifty platform is that it can be edited, customized, and embedded by each user for many different purposes, especially for reflection!
You can create a prompt that allows students to explore their ideas and then customize them to match their expressions and keeps in mind all types of personalities! Your most creative or extroverted students can create movie-like interviews of themselves, while also giving introverted students the option to speak with no cameras or to utilize filters to make this as fun and immersive as they need. Teachers can also choose to have students view and comment on each other’s posts or keep them private for just the teacher to see, which always makes students feel safe and motivated to contribute more to their videos.
In my class, my goal was to have this be an outlet for students to “think about their thinking.” I launched Flipgrid in my class as an exit ticket after every reading to get students used to thinking this way and to provide a low-stakes experience for students initially. I found that having a simple structure to begin this process allowed students to dig deep, thus, the 3-2-1 reflection came to be a staple for these activities. 3-2-1 reflections are simply about 3 things they learned, 2 things they were surprised about, and 1 question they still might have. Students always left thoughtful videos due to this straightforward prompt and allowed me to informally check for understanding in multiple domains – recall/analysis, reflection, comprehension, and questions that still need clarification or reteach.
In time all students could maneuver Flipgrid on their own and started to develop skills to reflect on their learning outcomes. My intention with this was to always equip students with strategies that will follow them outside of the classroom so that they can use metacognition as a way to see the world from a well-rounded perspective and make critical thinking a way of life.
In my experience, my students have been very positive and brave about thinking about their thinking and started using metacognitive strategies in other areas, like sharing thoughtful and well-rounded ideas in discussions and writing. Over time, I believe students enjoyed reflecting on topics and seeing what their peers had to say. At first discussion responses were “I agree “ or “This is a great idea,” but eventually these turned into 3-5 minute videos of deep reflections on their experiences, opinions, and connections to their learning. I have learned so much about each student and adding this connection only developed a deeper relationship with my students.
Flipgrid is an essential part of my classroom and I can now use it for different purposes for more innovative ways of learning in the 21st-century classroom. The resource page for Flipgrid is easy to follow and set up for your students and is customizable to fit any of your classroom needs. Teachers can use these opportunities to also reflect on these experiences to ensure students continue to internalize their learning and utilize it as they interact with the real world in their daily lives.