Monday, February 3, 2014

Video Mini-lessons {Keeping Parents Involved}

Parent communication has been a huge learning curve for me this year. Being departmentalized, parents have five different teachers sharing about their classrooms and expectations for students. Finally, in February, I feel like I have really hit my communication groove, and parents have become very responsive- yay! :)

So, how do I communicate with parents? Of course I utilize and love the basics - emails, phone calls, conferences, Infinite Campus, and weekly newsletters. I've also spiced it up this year with a class blog that focuses on what we are learning in the classroom, as well as, showing exemplary student work. I use a class Twitter page to share small moments or victories from the day, and Remind 101 to share after-school reminders with parents. Today, though, I want to share with you my newest venture...video mini-lessons!
So many times when meeting and talking with parents I've heard "We never did this when I was in school." Families that are genuinely interested in helping their students with homework or to review for a test just do not have the 'content knowledge' that we expect in our Common-Core world. Hoping to bridge that gap, I've started creating weekly content videos that I add to our class blog and email home.

Before this week, I had been uploading the video from my iPad directly into the class blog/email, but with today's Snow Day (#9, by the way), I opened my own YouTube channel. Over time, I'll go back and add my older videos, but for right now, my latest video - Point of View is up and running!
What do I like about these videos?
  • If students get home and need a re-teach, they have immediate and easy access to me
  • Parents always have the opportunity to learn with their child. 
  • Families know the 'language' we are using in the classroom. 
  • Eventually, these videos will become student-centered as students will take the responsibility for creating them! I am so excited as we transition to this step and students can show what they know!
How do I create these videos? Great question!
  1. Mapping - I make a list of the most important things for my students to know about the topic. If they went home to share about Point of View, what would I want them to share? I make a list of the learning targets, vocabulary words, and any anchor charts I want to share. 
  2. Visuals - What do I want families to see? Honestly, NOT my face - ha. :) I take pictures of any anchor charts, printables, or student work I want to showcase. In the video above, you saw some mini-posters I created in A Beautiful Mess and a class anchor chart. 
  3. Script - I make a brief outline of what I want included in my video. I actually do write the entire thing out, but you definitely could!
  4. iMovie - Then, I add in my visuals to iMovie, and record my voice. 
  5. Upload to YouTube
The first few definitely took longer (i.e. 90 minutes or so), but as I have done more, it takes me somewhere around 40ish minutes a video. Although a definite time commitment, for me it is worth it. Plus, I have received some awesome feedback from parents about the videos!

So, there you go!  Do you use video mini-lessons in your classroom? What are your favorite ways to communicate with parents?

16 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Absolutely, Kristen! Plus, I can see the videos being especially helpful with math. Our kids are learning REALLY different ways to 'prove' their mathematical thinking!

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  2. Wow, this is great!!! I love that we can make a video without it being a video of US! I'm with you- I don't want to be in the video! Is it kinds like a "move" with how you zoomed into the posters? Did you have a site that gave you directions on how to do this? I LOVE it!! Awesome idea!!! And, you'll have them forever! Thanks for sharing Catherine!
    Amanda
    Collaboration Cuties

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    1. kinds=kinda and "move" = "movie"
      oops! I got too excited!

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    2. Hahaha - I LOVE your enthusiasm. Thank you, Amanda! And definitely - no staring in a movie for me -ha! :) I actually did all of it in iMovie. When you upload videos you can choose where to start the focus on the picture and where to end it. I chose my starting and stopping points after I added the audio, so they were mostly synced. It takes a few minutes to fidget with, but after that it is not bad! :)

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  3. I have done this with subtraction to help the parents understand how we are learning certain strategies. Great blog post!

    -Sarah
    A Rocky Top Teacher

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  4. This is a fabulous way to show parents what is going on in the classroom. I think it would be very helpful for students who are or have been out ill as well. Very impressive! Thank you for sharing.
    ♬Kay
    On the Trail of Learning

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  5. Great idea! I'll have to try that, if I have a bit of extra time!

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  6. This is what I was looking for. I want to make a movie now! I'm glad I don't have to be in it!:)
    Barbara
    Fourth and Goal in Fourth Grade

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  7. Looove this idea! How perfect- and I love to think that they could be reused year after year {although we all know that they will most likely get changed again and again to make them even better and differentiated for each class because that's how teachers roll} :)

    XO!
    Kelly Anne

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  8. What an excellent idea!! I love this and will have to experiment around with it!! Thanks for sharing!!
    A Tall Drink of Water

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  9. Great idea! I am sure the parents love you! It might take the time now, but you will have these videos for years to come. I made something with sight words for my struggling readers.

    Amy
    Eclectic Educating

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  10. The directions you provided are so easy to follow...you students and parents are lucky to have you for a teacher! Super innovate and keeps parents in the loop! genius my dear.

    Rock Stars At Work

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  11. Good job! I won't have to make any videos, just follow yours! lol.

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  12. You are amazing! I am so impressed with all of the ways you use technology to keep in contact with parents. Keep up the great work! You definitely give us all something to strive for!
    Michelle
    A New Day of Learning
    Facebook Fan Page

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