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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