Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Choosing and Using Video for the Classroom

   As I've been working on putting together texts for the Frolyc Activity Spot app, I've been watching lots and lots of online videos--the good, the bad, and the ugly. These kinds of videos have amazing potential as classroom resources. As I watched, I thought back to how I started out with adding video to the classroom and what I am thinking now.

The Highly Produced
I must admit that when I first started looking for videos for my classroom (back in 2011, when I first had access to wireless), I was drawn to highly produced video clips. I wanted to be very careful about what I wanted to show in the classroom and I gravitated toward video clips created by familiar companies.

Small Scale Productions
But as I've combed through more videos, I've come to value the smaller scale productions by museums, labs, and other groups. While these videos don't always have the fancy music or clever titles, they do feature experts in the field. They also can spark great discussions with students about credibility--how do we know that these people are good sources? I can't wait to share some of the videos from Jefferson Labs with my students.

Raw footage and time lapse
This year I experimented more with showing raw footage to students. We all loved the Cornell Nest Cams during the spring. Students also enjoyed seeing time lapse footage during our Earth cycles unit--watching the day/night cycle and the cycle of the seasons in time lapse is lots of fun. To help students understand the way that ferry boats work, I showed a time lapse of a Vancouver ferry.

What does a time lapse video show? How is it different from a video shown in normal time? Why might someone create a video in time lapse? These are all great questions to consider with students, and these questions are why I value YouTube more and more. (With safety mode always enabled and videos always previewed, of course!) With teaching about firsthand accounts becoming more and more important, it's important to share and talk about firsthand accounts with students.

As I have watched videos this summer, I've been creating some playlists to go along with my units for the school year. This playlist goes along with various texts in my text structure units. (Links to the various units are included at the bottom of the post)

Notes and Updates
Whew! I finally redid the entire Character Traits and Emotions unit. This was one of my last units that was still a single Word document. The revised unit has individual files, a character traits PowerPoint, stories, activities, and lesson plans.

I'm still getting lots of requests for spelling lists. Our homemade lists and activities are in a folder on Google Drive. Send me an email from your Google account (elkissn@gmail.com) and I'll add you to the permissions list. And please do let me know if you use the program! We could have our students share activities or something.

I have found the Lexiles for most of the texts in my Text Structure units, but I haven't yet updated the units to reflect this yet. Let me know if you are interested in this information before the school year begins.

Here are the links to the various text collections:

-Cause and Effect Texts
-Chronological Order Texts
-Description Texts
-Compare and Contrast Texts
-Problem and Solution Texts
-Introduction to Text Structure

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