Enter Into a Bold New Frontier!

Enter Into a Bold New Frontier!

My friends, often I am asked about the latest things I see in the educational field as I travel the nation and indeed the world.

Normally I share things I’ve done or things that schools I’ve worked with have done for long periods of time. I have to tell you that what I will share now is new to me. It’s a tremendous idea that only a few teachers are using nationwide.

You must have some courage to do this, but I believe it will be the wave of the future. I also believe that it will be very helpful to students, including those at both ends of the achievement spectrum. I believe that gifted students will be able to take this idea and fly even higher, but it is with the struggling, at-risk students that I believe this strategy can have the greatest impact.

If you’re a teacher who likes to be at the forefront and interested in a dynamic, small project you can work on from now until the end of the year, and especially over the summer, read on and come fly with me!

Make a Video to Teach Students

First, for many reasons I advise you to get permission from your school administrator to do this project. I would love to give credit to the teacher who gave me the idea, but for the life of me I cannot remember where I was when the person mentioned this technique.

The idea is to video record yourself conducting a lesson regarding a standard that you really want the kids to get. Record the lesson keeping it under seven minutes, as though you were speaking one-on-one with the student. At the beginning of the video, clearly state your objective and what you expect the student to not only learn but to do after you finish the video lesson.

Show on screen the standard upon which you’re basing the lesson. Show the standard in writing the way the state has written it and then paraphrase the standard and objective in everyday language. Use charts and graphs to clearly make your points. When you come to an important word, stop and repeat the word, and then show the word on the screen with the definition beside it. Once you have finished the lesson, do a summary of the important parts of the lesson. Use chart paper of some sort as a part of your summary. This will allow you to go step-by-step through the summary.

Giving the lesson and then summarizing the lesson is important. However, the next part of the lesson is the most critical. Give at least one question regarding the lesson you just taught. Instruct the student to turn off the video and work out the problem. When they finish, they are to turn the video back on. When they turn the video back on, welcome them back and explain what the correct answer should be.  Whether you teach science, math, language arts, history or whatever subject, the most important thing is to walk them through the process by which you got the correct answer. Finally—and this part is very important too—ask the student to write down at least two questions or observations to turn into you the next day about the problem that you and they just when over. Thank them for their time and tell them you will see them next class.

Benefits of Video Lessons

I realize that for those school districts that offer virtual studies this may be similar to how some of those classes are conducted. However, I’ve not seen this kind of learning tool being used for students not registered for virtual classes. Video lessons are an additional way to review important information.

You can, in effect, create a YouTube channel with your top lessons and explanations on it. There are many reasons I’m extremely excited about the possibilities video lessons offer because they allow students to:

Replay parts of the lesson. First, many students, teachers, and parents already use YouTube to find the answers to almost every problem they face. This activity will give struggling and slow learners the opportunity to replay important parts of your lesson over and over again until they get it.

Get parental guidance for emphasis. A parent can sit down with the child and watch the lesson with them and have a better chance to help the student understand the process because they’re hearing it along with the child. It will give the parent the opportunity to stop the video at various stages and stress particular points that they see the child overlooking. As time passes, if a student wants to review difficult assignments, they always have a video post to go back to.

Not miss out just because they were absent. Consider the advantages of having a video post of the 10 or 15 most difficult standards available on your webpage or YouTube channel all year. If a child is absent for an extended period, she or he could watch the video and see at least the most important information delivered with the focus you want the student to have.  This would also be helpful for studying for semester exams and end-of-year state exams.

Have a greater access to a range of materials. Now imagine if your colleagues, who teach the same subject as you, posted their own version of these most difficult standards also. Think of the library of materials available to students and parents that would help them master material at home.

By working with other teachers who teach the same subject or grade level the workload could be divided up so that there could be videos on more of the standards. Imagine also, what a help these videos would be if you live in an area where they are many school closings throughout the year!

Have You Used Videos in Your Classroom?

Have you ever made a video to teach students or know of a colleague that puts this idea into practice? I would love feedback from any of you out there who may already be using this idea, as well as feedback from all others. Best of luck and enjoy this great strategy!

About the Author

Larry Bell, a Citadel graduate, is a 30+ year veteran in education. Fifteen of those years were spent as a classroom teacher where he was nominated for the National Agnes Meyer Outstanding Teacher Award. As a teacher at Gar-field High School, a school with over 3,000 students speaking 36 different languages, Larry was recognized for his innovative classroom strategies that allowed his so called “Tough Kids” as well as his “Gifted and Talented” to excel!