Guest blog post by Claudio Zavala, Learning Ambassador
I have to make a confession. I’m a news junkie! I listen to stay informed and to see what's happening in our country and around the world. To be honest, a lot of what’s on the news radio and talk shows isn’t always upbeat. One group is upset at another group for many reasons. Other parties are not pleased at the progress of others. If I’m not careful, it can make or break my day. On Monday April 10, I decided to change the “channel’ on my drive to work. I switched off the news station and chose to listen to music from my iTunes catalog. My truck was blasting with some hits from Michael Jackson, rock anthems from AC/DC, cool melodies from Steely Dan, funk jams by Earth, Wind, and Fire, and I threw in some recent hits from Bruno Mars. I’m sure I’m not alone in confessing that I do sing at the top of my lungs in the safe confines of my cabin. I bet you're nodding your head at the last sentence. When I got to work, my mood was a lot more upbeat. There was pep in my step all because of a song!
The thought came to me as I got to work. “What would happen if we all broke out in song?” The song Sing A Song by Earth, Wind, and Fire prompted my thoughts. If you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics of the tune, here they are:
So I created the following graphic and tweeted out the following phrase:
Within minutes, one of my #PLN friends suggested I take this idea and make it a Flipgrid. As cliche as it sounds, the rest is history. In a short amount of time, the tweet caught on and now more people are joining in.
Connecting Teachers Through Song
It’s pretty amazing to see the effect one tweet can have! Connecting educators with others, much less sharing with each other is a monumental task for those of us who work at building teacher capacity. This little idea I had was very unique. Teachers can orchestrate a classroom of students, but when it comes to sharing in front of colleagues, that's when the room gets silent. Enter Flipgrid! Flipgrid is a video discussion community for your classrooms. It’s focus is to encourage students’ and educators to share their voices. Add a topic and your audience responds via video. Everyone can engage asynchronously via a website portal or an app. Pretty slick platform!
It has been a great experience watching the videos of all the teachers, their families, and even their children singing a song. Some individuals have shared that they can’t believe they are singing a song and others will be watching. One individual stated, “Here’s me beating my fear factor..” Takes a lot of courage to lower ones guard and become vulnerable. Needless to say, I think that teacher knocked it out of the park!
Another cool outcome of this is being able to meet educators from around the country and the world. It’s a great model of how a great tool can really make this world a smaller place. If students can see that their teachers are willing to overcome their own fears of singing in public, I believe it would make an enormous impact on them. As of writing this blog, 68 individuals have contributed to the Flipgrid. Over 5000 people have viewed the videos. That’s huge!! My hope is to keep this “thing” going. Little did I know that it would ignite engagement all over the country and the world! Through song, people overcame fear. Through song, people reminisced. Through song, we all connected!
Interested in adding your song? Click here to join in on the fun.
References & Credits
Mckay, Al, and Maurice White. Sing A Song. Earth, Wind, and Fire. Rec. 1975. Maurice White, n.d. Vinyl recording.