Teacher Tip – Flippity: On the Fly vs. Planned Groups

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There are many elements to my job that I absolutely love. Today was another reminder! Seeing as though I help support curriculum in the classrooms, I am able to observe great teaching strategies from the high school staff. We all do great things and have great skills that are unique to us as an individual.

Today, I was in Mrs. O’Connor’s (and Mrs. Lynch) Humanities class. Students were tasked with a question, that together in groups, had to come up with sub questions that would help answer the main question. Groups then had to come up with evidence that helped answer the sub questions that then in turn answered the main question. Students have done this before but today Mrs. O’Connor tried it out using the two Jamboards. (To read a previous blog post about Jamboards, click HERE). It was great observing the students walk through this activity. But that is not why I am blogging at this moment.

Screen Shot 2019-02-21 at 8.10.36 PMInstead, I want to focus on the groupings. Many teachers at Bedford High School use Flippity.net to help get students into different arrangements, through teams, groups or ordering. What I hadn’t seen before was how Mrs. O’Connor showcased the teams. Prior to class, she had used the random name picker and arranged the class into 4 teams. (Teams in this case were large due to the fact that at our high school, a humanities class is taught by an English and History teacher. Class sizes can be around 45-50 students.) Mrs. O’Connor then took a screen shot of the groups and placed them in a Google Document.  I thought that this was clever. Students didn’t need to wait for her to get to the spreadsheet where all of the names are located and run it. She saved class time. While students were working in their groups, I made the comment of how I liked that she already determined groups prior to class.

IMG_3524From that, an ‘aha moment’ and ‘why hadn’t I thought of that before moment’ happened. Mrs. O’Connor further explained why she groups students prior to class. Anytime group work exists in class, Mrs. O’Connor will take screenshots of the groups, and put them in a Google Doc. Then, using the correct sharing permissions, she links this doc in with the agenda that is shared with the class. Thus, when students go to the electronic agenda (could be shared through Google Classroom, or linked on a class website), they can click on the link and know who they are working with.

This idea is brilliant for a couple of reasons:

  • It is usually a guarantee that at least one student is going to be absent. But yet, that student will still be responsible for the work for the day. Students know that they can just go to the agenda, click on the link, and know what group they have been assigned. Now they know immediately which students to connect with in class to determine how they can contribute to the group. BRILLIANT
  • In the humanities setting, students might be working on a collaborative task on say Monday, then work on something else on Tuesday, but get back into the collaborative task from the beginning of the week on Wednesday. Both students and teachers know immediately who was assigned to which group based on the link from the agenda on Monday.  BRILLIANT

I know that this might seem like a simple idea. However, for me, I see a simple, efficient, informative idea. Taking the extra two minutes to capture the group parings and putting in a location for everyone to access is such a great idea. With that said, I am not saying that those who don’t use this method are using Flippity wrong. Sometimes, it may make complete sense to create groups based on the task at hand.

Never used Flippity?

You must check it out. You will notice on Flippity.net, for each option, the creator has provided

  • A demo of ‘data’ to explore to see if you will like it
  • Instructions on how to replicate task with your own ‘data’
  • Template for you to make a copy to put your ‘data’ in

All tasks work through a Google Sheet. Flippity.net is a great time saver!

Used Flippity before?

If you have not been to Flippity.net in awhile, you will notice at least one new task – Flippity Scavenger Hunt.

If you have any questions about Flippity, you know where to find me! And that is my Spiel…


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