Monday, September 22, 2014

Creating Videos to Keep in Touch with Students While Away

So this is nothing revolutionary (pun intended, please read on) but I have used video a couple of times this year to touch base with my students while out of the classroom a couple of times and it has really helped.  Early in the school year I was out of state for a couple of days as my wife and I attended a funeral and last week I was at Mount Vernon for a couple of days attending the 2014 Mount Vernon Missouri Teachers Workshop.  

I have a great sub who consistently covers my classes while I am away so I feel fortunate to have someone who knows the content (retired 8th grade American history teacher) and is great with the students but I also want to help keep them updated on the assignment, give a little extra instruction while I am gone, etc.

I have two examples below of videos that I used while gone last week.  

The first is an example of the video that I posted and shared as a sort of "introduction, here is what I would like you to accomplish today" video.  I try to keep these short, informational and have a little fun so that students will them interesting.  A laundry list of things to do while I am gone is not exciting.  I have used props or put on sunglasses in the past to make them more fun. This first video was for last Friday when I was attending the Mount Vernon workshop.

The second video is one that I created on Thursday night at Mount Vernon, posted on my classroom site and then had the students watch in class on Friday.  We arrived at Mount Vernon on Wednesday afternoon and attended a couple of lectures and did some guided tours of the outer buildings at Mount Vernon so I decided to share a little about "rustication" - the type of wooden siding that is on the exterior of many buildings at Mount Vernon.  

I used my own pictures taken just a couple of hours before and used ScreenCast-O-Matic and my MacBook Air to record a quick video.  It was one take, I didn't worry about stumbling over my words a couple of times and I knew it was not going to be nominated for an Oscar.  The purpose of the video was to touch base with my students, tell them about what I was learning while away from class and sharing a story.  The sub showed it to my class on Friday and said that the students did respond when I asked the question and they were engaged.

Again, nothing about these two videos were revolutionary - you record a video, post it to YouTube and share it - but it did create a connection and helped the students understand that I was thinking of them and wanted them to stay on point for the sub.

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