How Do We Do This Flipgrid thing? Do we have to? Support for Students and Parents

Hello Families,

How are you all doing? Thank you for all you are doing to take care of each other and get through this hard time. I know these days can be hard for many of us.  It is my hope that as we get our schoolwork up and running, students’ work can be a source of focus, connection, and fulfillment for your child. In the hopes of giving students a friendly and engaging way to connect with each other in learning ways, our classroom is trying out a platform called “FlipGrid.”

FG screenshot

This has some great possibilities for connecting social-emotional learning with academic learning, and I really hope we can use this in many ways.

If making and sharing a video message is hard for you or your student, it’s okay to also respond to my prompts with a Google classroom comment.  Also, there are a lot of ways to use Flipgrid without showing your face.  Students can even hold writing up in front of the camera, to get their message across without face or voice.

No matter what, it would be great for students to at least look at the grid of videos, though, to see what others are thinking and sharing.

Here are some resources for how to join and check it out.

  1. You can find some instructions here from me (below).
  2. Here is also a link to a short tutorial from the Flipgrid site. How to Join a Grid (has video)
  3. Here are links for students and parents to answer some common questions.

Camera Shy? Tips for All Students

Are Student Videos Private?

Flipgrid Help Center for Students and Parents

Instructions from Ms. Jeni on How to Do Flipgrid – Use if these are helpful to you.

First, students go into Google classroom. Each day there will be something for students to do.  This is the assignment from April 1. 

FG intro 1

Then, students watch the introduction video I made.  

FG Intro 2

After that, students click the link to go to FlipGrid. 

FG intro 3

It will show you a page like this.  Choose “Log in with Google.”

FG intro 4

Then you’ll be in.  It looks like this. You can watch my short launch video. 

FG intro 5

You’ll also see videos your classmates put up on the platform.Fg intro 7

You can click the green plus to start recording your own video response. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect!  If you don’t want to show your face yet, you can cover your camera with a sticky note and then create a podcast message, instead.  See the link Camera Shy? Tips for All Students

FG intro 6

Here is my favorite part! You can respond to each other’s videos! After you watch someone’s video, click on the little green speech bubble at the bottom.  Then you can record a response! 

FG intro 8

Message from Mrs. Jordan

Dear Families,

Sharing with you a message Mrs. Jordan posted on our Google classroom last night:

Your student probably already knows how to get into Google classroom. Our mission this week will be for students to get in the habit of checking it each day for work.  There will be short, fun assignments each day to get students comfortable with the platform.  Keep me posted on how it’s going! Thank you for all the hard work you all are doing, and stay well.

Ms. Jeni and Bad Poetry: Our First Morning Meeting Online!

Hello Families,

We have made it through two weeks of social distancing.  It has meant so much to connect with you during this time, and you are doing an amazing job, even though this is not an easy time. Moving forward, it will be important for students to go to Google classroom each day to find their work for the day.

Here is a video about our first official learning assignment for tomorrow. (Sharing with families a preview tonight).  Students’ first expectation will be for everyone to:

  1. Get onto my Google classroom.
  2. Watch this video.
  3. Make a comment on Google classroom about what they have been up to these past 2 weeks.

This will be a virtual version of our morning meeting.  We need to re-connect as a classroom community, the best we can, even though we are online.

Email me if your student has any trouble getting onto Google classroom.  I will be here to help tomorrow!  Thank you again for all your support and for all you are doing to keep your family healthy, safe, and well. Keep in touch!

reaching out

Hello, Families!


This has been quite a week and a half! Last Monday hit me hard… the reality was setting in that things are going to be different for a while now.  I am trying to reach out to every family. If I haven’t gotten to you yet, know I haven’t forgotten about you. This time has been hard for me, as well, and I will keep reaching out to you. Also, I welcome emails and updates on how you are doing! Are you healthy?  How are you managing the stress?

I can only imagine the challenges of those of you trying to care for family and somehow keep the learning going, or worrying about working (or not working) and caring for family, all while trying to stay healthy and not get too stressed about the news… this is such a strange time.

Thank you for all you are doing in this confusing situation.

Teachers and administrators are meeting right now to pull together a clearer idea of what learning will look like going forward. We will be in touch with you as soon as we know more.

I wanted to share this video with you from Maine’s Education Commissioner Makin.  The video is made for educators, but it has important messages about this time.  I think it speaks to all of us.


schedule and routine ideas

Hello families,

Thank you for understanding about me sending out three messages in one afternoon!  I am honestly not trying to explode your inbox, I just want to front-load students and families with resources in the hopes of helping you have what you might need during this time of social distancing.  This last post is about a schedule suggestion and an idea for writing.

This is also a time for taking care of ourselves and each other.  Hopefully, we all can get a little more sleep, remember to eat well, drink water, and move each day.  It’s also important to stay connected with others, either with phone calls, emails, letters, or other ways of communicating. 

This suggested homeschool schedule was helpful to me in figuring out what my days might look like.  It sounds like some of you already have good routines that work for you.  If so, that’s great!  In case it’s helpful, here is one possible way someone might schedule their days.

Covid-19 Daily Schedule

I also wanted to share this video from author Kate DiCamillo.  She talks a little about the writing routine she is setting for herself during this time of social distancing.  She also is offering a daily writing suggestion.  You can follow her on YouTube, and I am posting her video on Google classroom.  I’m planning to try it out – and maybe it will inspire students – or families – too!

learning resources

Dear Students and Families,

While I miss seeing everyone at school, it’s exciting to think about the ways you can keep learning over the next weeks. I am well, and I have been spending time reading teacher books and books for reading groups, writing about my experiences, and investigating learning resources for you to use.  I have also been doing learning work that our school is asking teachers to do from home.  And it’s always great to hear about the learning that you are doing at home.  Keep the updates coming! 

Here are some resources for keeping the learning going during the school closure.  It would be great to do something for math, reading, writing, and science each day.

Also, students check out our “Fabulous Fifth Graders” page on Google classroom. I will put links there.  Students can also respond, post updates about their work, and ask questions on Google classroom.  Here is how:

  1. Students sign in to google.
  2. They go to google classroom.
  3. Choose the classroom, “Distance Learning – Fabulous Fifth Graders 19-20.” Everyone should already have access, but if you need it, the class code to join is pgqw2yd.
  4. At the top of the page are the most recent posts.
  5. I will keep sharing things that are enriching or enjoyable as I find them.

Snapshot of Google Classroom


Scholastic Learn at Home: You can choose the grade levels that are the right fit for you.  There are great stories to read, with links to related stories and projects. There are also fascinating science and math activities. You can use the link below:

Scholastic Learn at Home

Khan Academy: They have lessons in so many subject areas. You can use the link below to access their main page:

Khan Academy

They also have a link specifically offering schedules responding to Covid-19 school closures.  You can use this link:

Khan Academy Learning Schedules

Pearson Realize: Our math program has a game center with some games that review math concepts.  Students can also access some learning videos called “Visual Learning.” All students who do math with me know how to log in.  Their username is the same id they use to sign in to google.  Every student’s password is “password1”. Here is the link:

Pearson Sign In

Mystery ScienceWe have been exploring this new science resource at our school.  This page lists many recommended science lessons that are easy to do at home.  Use this link:

Mystery Science School Closure Lessons

MobyMax: My students are familiar with MobyMax.  They sign in as a student, and our school code is ME164. Most students know their usernames and passwords, but if you have forgotten yours, just email me and I will let you know what to use.  Here is the link to MobyMax:


And here is a document explaining how to use the website:


NewselaThis site has so many great news stories about current events, history, science, and lots of topics of interest for our students.  I especially love the way students and adults can adjust the reading level of the stories to make it the right level of challenge for all learners.  Go to the link below. Sign in with Google, and then use the code CAGB77 to join my class, if you haven’t yet.


As always, I am here for you! Email me with any questions or ideas.


Food Services During Closings

Eric Haley, our district superintendent, wants all families to know:
The Waterville Food Service Department will be providing breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, during this closure. The program will be modeled after the Summer Meals Program. These meals are available to anyone 18 years or younger and, unlike the summer meals program, may be taken off-site. The meals can be picked up at the following 8 sites between 
9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m:
GJMS – Curbside
WJHS – Curbside
Armory Road Housing
Home Place Housing
Chaplin Street Playground
North Street Playground
Western Avenue Play Area
Southend Teen Center – Curbside