Saturday, March 10, 2012

Lights, Camera...My Gosh I Need Highlights!

Let's face it.

Watching yourself on camera is awkward and uncomfortable.

It doesn't matter who you are, what you sound like, how you look...there is going to be something about seeing yourself on film that you would rather avoid.

But, I highly suggest you stick a video camera onto a tripod and see your classroom from a different view.

I've had to film a few lessons this year for National Boards. I thought it would be pure torture.

And at first it was.

It prompted me to make an appointment to get a haircut.

It inspired me to hit the mall and add a little color to my wardrobe.

But, once I got past wanting somebody to burst through the classroom door and whisk me away for an ambush makeover and turned my focus to my teaching it was really insightful.

Who knew I said, "you guys" so much?

Why didn't anyone ever tell me I talk so fast? Well, actually plenty of people have told me that, but not in the teaching context. :)

I love that I'm able to analyze my own practices.

Video has allowed me to learn so much more about my students.

A tripod is ideal because while it is intrusive at first, the kids quickly stop noticing it. It's just kind of there and runs and nobody pays any attention to it. You don't even need to transfer the video to a computer.

Simply play it back on whichever device you recorded it on, make notes and observations and then delete it. It's so simple, but so powerful.

Some ideas:
  • record a student reading if you have concerns about him - each time you watch it you'll gather new information
  • record the whole class during an activity or transition that you feel they need to work on as a whole group - watch it with them and let them analyze how they could improve
  • use it for assessment purposes - have a small group discussion in place of a written test
  • film yourself modeling a math strategy - allow students who haven't grasped it to watch it a few times for reinforcement

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  1. The wheels in my head are turning at the idea of using video in class. Each week my students read a poem for fluency on Friday. I have been thinking about recording them reading. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. I loved this Jodi. I really do hate seeing myself on camera, but you are so right about everything...definitely something to try soon!

  3. I had the same feelings when I did NB too! I never knew my southern accent was THAT bad or that I talked with my hands THAT much! hahaha! But it's worth it in the end!

  4. You are absolutely right but everytime I consider the thought of videotaping, I scare myself right out of the idea! Ha! You've inspired me to give it some serious thought, though. Thank you!
    Hopelessly Devoted to Teaching

  5. Agreed. My first thought every time I see myself on video is "sheesh, I better get on that weightloss thing!!!" ;)

    But once I stopped focusing on myself as a person and started looking at myself as a teacher....I learned a lot. It also helped me see which kids have trouble focusing. That was a big one for a few of my ELL kids. They are in outer space within a few minutes -- not that I didn't notice before that they're lost, but I never knew how quickly I lost them until I watched our tapes.

    Interestingly enough, I got a flip cam at a math conference awhile back and they asked us to modify and teach a measurement lesson in math, tape it and return to the next meeting with it. I'm sure my video reflection will be much different than everyone else because I've done so much of it this year that I am going to be able to ignore the sticker I forgot to take off my shirt or whatever and focus on the LEARNING that took place.

  6. Oooo, I got one, or two. I hate videoing myself too.

    I recently had some problems with one of my students speech. She did not understand that she was whispering and we could not hear her. We recorded her using the Photobooth app on an iPad and played it back for her. She couldn't hear herself. She still shy and has trouble speaking up but it is much better.

    I also would give the kids a flip cam and have them record what is going on during workstations/ centers. Kind of a Kids-eyes view of the class. This could be done during lessons to see where their eyes go. My only concern is how much of a distraction it would be to the other kids. I think if you do a lot of pre-teaching and the kids are familiar with it the Flip cam wont be too much of a distraction.

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

  7. I haven't thought of videoing myself since college. It would bring such insight to where I need to go & what I need to change. Thanks for putting this back into my brain!!

  8. You're so right, taping yourself and what's going on in your room is a great idea! Thanks for reminding me! :)

  9. Well congratulations on working on the National Boards. I am a National Board Certified Teacher. It is a lot of work, but worth it.

  10. Congratulations on your National Boards work. I went through the program 14 years ago and I learned so much about myself as a teacher. I didn't receive any compensation from my district though, so I didn't renew it after it expired, but it was still a great experience! I would recommend you look into getting college credit for it... wish I had to use towards a doctorate! Oh well... next life!

  11. Great ideas! I think it would be nerve-wracking but also incredibly insightful. What a great way to improve!

  12. I've been wanting to video tape my class all year. It started out because I had a student who was extremely impulsive and disruptive. I wanted to document how often I would have to stop and redirect him. Last week the parents pulled him out for private school. They thanked me for my time and energy but felt everyone would benefit from him being placed n a smaller setting. After reading your post- I think I will still give it a try but after I get my hair done- LOL. Congrats on the National Boards.

  13. That is a great idea - to tape the class doing an activity and show it to them. I think that could be powerful!

    Marvelous Multiagers!


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