Tag Archives: padlet

Scaffolding students with Padlet and Flipgrid

Collaboration is not just fun for students, it’s also a crucial skill they will need to be successful in life. Yet with our need to stay home these days, students are desperately missing the social connections a classroom provides, and many are seeking other channels to maintain these connections.

We know our students thrive when they can connect socially with each other. Yet we are all still figuring out how to help them work together safely, effectively, and most of all in a way that meets their needs for fun.

Good news! Properly scaffolded, we can continue to foster opportunities for our students to connect and create meaningful work together.

#BetterTogether: Padlet & Flipgrid

Heidi Ringer, a 6th-grade teacher at Warren Elementary, searched for ways to support student collaboration in this remote learning environment. She chose to invite students into a collaborative Padlet board. And, planned intentionally to start with something familiar to introduce them to the tool.

Learning how to use Padlet

“Students created a One Pager as a culminating activity for their independent reading book. They posted the One Pager and then students commented on their work. This was the first attempt at commenting as a way to collaborate. Students are learning to use the same guidelines they use for peer conference in writing. It was a great way to present students’ work and gather comments. Finally, they are reflecting on the kind of feedback they received and what that told them about their work.”

The importance of scaffolding collaboration

Next, Heidi launched a Discussion Questions Padlet. Students had four questions about the class novel and jotted down an idea for each question. Later, they used their notes in actual virtual discussions.
Tips for peer feedback

Often students need help knowing how to comment effectively on others’ work in shared spaces. Here are some prompts from Kathy King-Dickman from her post Mini-lessons that Support Effective Bookclubs:

  • Using Center for the Collaborative Classroom prompts “I agree with______ because…., I disagree with _____ because…, or I agree, but I would like to add….”
  • Questioning another’s ideas or thinking: use prompts such as “Why are you thinking…, Can you explain why you think…, Where in the novel did you find that…?”

Taking it to the next level with Padlet: Literature Circles & Project Planning

Finally, now that her students have experienced collaborating via Padlet, Heidi is planning Padlet-based Literature Circle Discussions. This collaborative discussion process, with the very clear roles and tasks, can take place asynchronously, especially when students have had experience using the tool. Lee Araoz’s Lightning Thief padlet will give you a good idea of Literature Circle Roles in practice.
Another great way to use Padlet for asynchronous collaboration is project planning. Rachelle Dene Poth shares this idea:

“Taking all of these themes into consideration, I decided that one student in Spanish IV would be the ‘Team leader,’ and their ‘mission’ would be finding a job and moving to a Spanish speaking country. They had to create a collaborative space, could be using Padlet or Google Slides or another format, and share it with the their ‘team.’ Team leaders had to write a list of requirements to their “Travel Agent,” “Community Specialist” and “Realtor” (students from Spanish I, II, and III) to let them know their travel needs and preferences for moving abroad. The team members would use this information to plan the travel, a tour of the new neighborhood, and find a house.” Tips and Tools to Encourage Classroom Participation

Asynchronous video exchanges for collaborative remote learning with Flipgrid

We’ve written about Flipgrid before and are big fans because of the way it creates a virtual video-driven discussion space. Consider the asynchronous possibilities for your students; they can video record their responses to a prompt and then engage in a threaded video commenting stream.

An easy entry point to scaffold a Flipgrid experience for students is to ask a fairly straightforward question and give students a short time span in which to answer. Here’s an example of the folks at Tarrant Institute sharing one quick idea for a back-to-school get-to-know-you activity.

Courtney Elliot, a teacher at Proctor Elementary, starts her daily communications with her students making good use of Flipgrid for asynchronous collaboration. This week’s prompt: Tell us about a book you are reading!


In addition, Courtney uses Flipgrid video responses for Number Talks. Students post an answer to a math question and then respond to each other, just like they did when together in their classroom. Check out how she does it here.


Kick it up a notch

Once students are familiar with the post and response routine in Flipgrid, you can bump up the level of collaboration. Just like how Literature Circles can be run using Padlet, Flipgrid also provides a similar collaborative space. Lee Araoz describes in her post how to set up Flipgrid for Literature Circles. The prompt: state your name, your book title & chapter, the name of the Literature Circle job you are discussing, and what you did. Simple as that. But so powerful when students can see and hear each other from a distance as they collaboratively share.

Matthew Frattali, a middle school teacher who advocates for using Flipgrid with students to teach the Sustainable Development Goals advises “Asynchronous video is training wheels for synchronous video, which in turn is training wheels for video production and citizen journalism.” Think of the possibilities!

Updates to Flipgrid now include the ability for educators and learners to record their screen right inside a Flipgrid video post. That’s right!

Now it’s your turn:

How are you facilitating student-to-student collaboration in a virtual environment?

Bonus material

Finally, don’t forget that Morning Meeting is a powerful way for students to connect socially – with you and each other – during these days apart. Just like Courtney, you could run Morning Meeting asynchronously using Flipgrid. This post has some great ideas for connecting with each other, and you may even want to consider doing a morning meeting with your housemates as well!

However you go about it, let’s keep maintaining those connections that sustain us!

How to use data to inform progress

Involve learners with actionable data

Wondering how to use data to inform progress for users in proficiency-based education? Assessment provides both learners and educators with data. One of CAST’s Top Ten Universal Design for Learning Tips for Assessment  is involving learners in their learning progress through assessment data:

“Communicate with learners about their progress towards the intended learning goals through formative assessment data, mastery-oriented feedback, and providing guidance for possible adjustments or new strategies that may support the intended skill. This allows learners to become active advocates and take ownership their learning.”

These questions provide an effective guide for educators:

  • Have I offered timely, goal-related feedback on the assessment?
  • Have I offered learners the opportunity to assess individual learning progress and process (for example, through regular check-ins)?
  • What about sharing options, strategies, and background knowledge needed to build the necessary skills and expertise for achieving the targeted learning goals?

How can we involve students in formative assessment so they can be empowered to take next steps?

Technology allows us to build assessment opportunities with our students. And those opportunities generate data. Students can then make informed decisions about how to move forward. Let’s look at some ways technology can help us answer the CAST questions.

Have I offered timely, goal-related feedback on the assessment?

Consider Google Forms. A form can become a self-grading quiz providing instant feedback that allows for review, reflection, and retakes.

My colleague Scott Thompson walks you through how to set up a Google Form quiz so students get both immediate feedback and resources to learn from on each answer they select.

Have I offered learners the opportunity to assess individual learning progress and process (for example, through regular check-ins)?

Padlet is a versatile tool for assessment purposes, especially when learners use the KWL template  (Know, Want to Know, Learn) to track their growth. Ask students to create a Padlet during a project or unit. Build in routine times for them to update it as a means of tracking progress.


Check out this how-to create a KWL chart video to create your own.

And, Common Sense Media provides some sound advice about how to make formative assessment more student centered.  “To unlock formative assessment’s full potential, go beyond the bar chart and get students to reflect on their own progress, areas for growth, and next steps. In the end, it’s not the quiz that counts but the thinking that happens after.”


Have I shared options, strategies, and background knowledge needed to build the necessary skills and expertise for achieving the targeted learning goals?

I’ve written about one of my favorite edtech tools Nearpod in the past. Nearpod invites learners into active participation with content. The power of this tool lies in the ability to easily include formative check-in activities in content delivery directly. And, the results are easily shared with students – data that then the class can act on. 

Want another example in practice? Consider using Nearpod to introduce peer instruction as a collaborative learning strategy so students can receive immediate feedback on developing concepts.  Interested in more?  Pedagogue Padawan offers other similar technology tools for peer instruction and peer critique . He shares his search for tools that allow sharing student responses with all students in the class.

Consider where you are on the continuum

The folks over at Ed Elements share a helpful continuum on how teachers can move toward adopting effective formative assessment and data-driven decision practices:

  • Getting Started: “Teacher uses formative assessments to check for student understanding”
  • Going Deeper: “Teacher shares data with students on a periodic basis; students review their data individually.”
  • All In: “Teacher uses data to provide immediate feedback to students; teacher and students consistently review data together to identify needs and teacher adjusts instruction accordingly.’

Teachers can harness the power of technology to generate easily shared data to help all learners grow. Want to know more? Visit our Formative Assessment Toolkit. And check out these 75 Digital Tools and Apps Teachers Can Use to Support Formative Assessment in the Classroom

3 ways to use virtual bulletin boards

Padlet, Google Keep and Corkulous — oh my!


Padlet’s been a go-to for a number of our educators for a while now, based on both its easy drag-and-drop interface and the ability to add photos and video to individual boards. We’ve seen it used

Corey Smith, at Proctor Elementary School, uses Padlet to organize roles and responsibilities in group work. Check out how she organized this Padlet board so that students can clearly see and reference the responsibilities that go along with each role.

Made with Padlet

Additional resources:

2. Google Keep

For Google schools, Google Keep can be invaluable as a collaborative project management tool. Each Google account automatically has access to a virtual space where they can create post-its for data management. These post-its can be shared with other Google users, can include HTML and links, as well as images and — get this –drawings!


3. Corkulous

Meet Corkulous: a free iOS app and browser-based corkboard tool.

Sixth grade educator Joe Speers is using the tool for vocabulary development. The drag-and-drop format allows students to create one post on the board showing the word itself and a definition. Next they can bring in a picture that illustrates the definition of the word and physically link them together.


How do you use virtual bulletin boards with your students?


Setting behavioral expectations in a makerspace


2 ways to bring in transferable skills

makerspaces and project-based learningMakerspaces are amazing. They’re a big carnival of lights and sounds and glue and lasers, arduinos, controllers and 3D, oh my. They’re a beloved opportunity for students to get hands-on with their learning, a place where they can get up out of theirs seats and go make all the wondrous machines and capers in their imaginations come to life.

And that makes them both shiny possibilities and potential pitfalls.

Just like the proverbial kid in a candy store, students in a makerspace need guidance and boundaries, so no one gives themselves an upset stomach from eating all the papercrafts.

(You know what I mean).

Giving students boundaries and setting up behavioral expectations for using the makerspace not only keeps students safe, it empowers them in developing self-direction and agency. So here are two strategies I’ve seen work in setting behavioral expectations in a makerspace.

1. Project Roles

Group work can feel a little awkward in the middle grades, as everyone brims with ideas but no one knows what exactly to do with their hands. Introducing roles for project work gives students specific direction for how to contribute effectively.

One educator I know created specific well-defined roles for groups as they undertook project-based learning. There were roles such as:

  • Project Lead
  • Note-taker
  • Norms-checker
  • Documentary Filmmaker

The responsibilities of each role were clearly laid out in rubrics made available via Google Docs. And each time a new project began, students were encouraged to take on a different role from their previous one.

But even before determining project roles:

I would have the class come up with a list of guidelines they should follow when working collaboratively, as well as some behavior expectation regarding working in the makerspace.

setting behavioral expectations in a makerspace

More about Team Roles

Here’s a Padlet Proctor Elementary School’s Courtney Smith created regarding the team roles. Sometimes there are groups of just three, but I wouldn’t do more than four per group though. This one has four roles, but I think that Task Manager and Recorder/Reporter can be combined.

Made with Padlet


2. Project Planning & Review

Another educator produced project planning documents that students filled out before jumping into the hands-on portion of making. Students wrote about:

  • what they hoped to build;
  • which materials they needed;
  • the steps they were planning to take, and
  • how they would know their project was successful.

The planning rubrics were again given to students as Google Docs, and they turned their finished drafts in to the educator as part of their Google Classroom work. The educator, in turn, reviewed each plan and provided valuable feedback, as well as encouraging students to examine additional considerations. As students worked through the making process, they had that planning rubric — a type of contract between maker and educator — to refer to for guidance.

This approach had the added bonus of giving students who had completed a round of projects the opportunity to provide guidance to new makers, based on their experience.

Check out this document for how we approached the first couple of days with 7th and 8th graders in a Genius block.

setting behavioral expectations in a makerspace


How have you set behavioral expectations in your makerspace?

6 ways teachers are using Padlet

Virtual bulletin boards to go!

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsStaying organized as a teacher can be a major challenge. Between student work, teacher plans, sticky notes, school supplies it’s easy to get buried and overwhelmed! This can especially be hard in a personalized learning environment, where students are often working at different paces, with different resources.
But whether you’re leading project-based learning, genius hours, or makerspaces, Padlet is a great online tool for teachers. Think: organized digital sticky notes in a colorful, shareable fashion.

Continue reading 6 ways teachers are using Padlet

4 more ways to help middle schoolers get organized

Helping students get organized

help middle schoolers get organizedMiddle schoolers’ lives are multi-faceted, dynamic and dramatic. And while we talk about how to grow self-directed, engaged and motivated students, that growth can’t take place while students are overwhelmed and anxious about managing their daily lives.

Last time, we looked at how to organize the tech itself. Now let’s look at how to use powerful tech tools (shiny!) to help make middle school manageable.

Continue reading 4 more ways to help middle schoolers get organized

Revolutionize student research with Padlet

Organize research materials digitally and collaboratively

Tarrant Institute tool tutoriallsTiffany Michael, from Crossett Brook Middle School in Waterbury, Vermont, describes how her use of Padlet evolved to eventually revolutionize the way that she teaches students to conduct research.

I love her story because it has something for everybody. In addition to practical and actionable advice for teachers who want to try to use Padlet, Michael also describes her journey in a way that is informative for coaches, tech integrationists, and administrators.

Continue reading Revolutionize student research with Padlet

Collaborative digital tools for faculty meetings

Go beyond back-channeling and unlock creative communication

collaborative digital tools for faculty meetingsThis summer, look for ways to liven up your faculty meetings and delve a little deeper with technology. Try something new or take a new look at a tool you’re already using. Here are 3 ways of using collaborative digital tools for faculty meetings.

Continue reading Collaborative digital tools for faculty meetings