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Use video lessons to lessen your load

How can you make your lessons more engaging and more beneficial to your students without overloading your plate? I love the idea of using video for your lessons. This can go so many directions so I need to focus or I'll be off on a tangent.



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First, record your mini-lesson. I say mini-lesson because we talk too much. Teachers, that is. Too much time is spent lecturing or talking to the class. Are they really listening to it all? Psychology and research says we all check out if there's too much stimulus. So, record a mini-lesson, just a couple minutes long. Now, you have a resource you can use once or every time you need to cover that topic. AND, it's always available for your students to re-watch if they need it.


How do you record it? First time? Start small and use your smart device or your webcam on the laptop. The easiest way to get started, use free or low-cost programs like Screencast-O-Matic or Screencastify that will record your laptop screen with a presentation and your webcam. You don't even need to be on screen, you can narrate the lesson if you prefer. The biggest drawback or complaint about this is that teachers want to write on a board. If you have an interactive whiteboard, you can record that screen on your laptop. Another option is to get a slate tablet and use it to write. There are a myriad of inexpensive options out there for this. Save to the cloud and share the link out or embed the video on your blog. Set up station rotations in your physical classroom so students can rotate through. Give them a notes template that they have to complete if you want a guarantee they're paying attention.


Want to step up your game? Implement graphics and overlays with a program like vMix. They have a free option, as well as low cost up to a sweet, but expensive option. Works for streaming really well too (even through Zoom meetings). Add a green screen if you want to be really cool. Green screens can be as cheap as green butcher paper, but I prefer the nicer cloth ones. They're not too expensive. The key is getting good lighting and removing shadows. Nice programs like Adobe's Premiere Pro can make you look like a video pro, but there is a cost there. They offer student/teacher rates or you can look for deals online too. I love it. Apps like Greenscreen by Do Ink allow easy green screen removal for a low cost. It has basic video features and I prefer this for when students are producing videos.


Recording a lesson can even be done on YouTube or Vimeo with your webcam. The editing tools can be limiting, but uploading and sharing the video is easiest with this method.


Build up your library of lessons so you can have students watch them in stations or at home in a flipped classroom environment. With this design, it frees you up to work in small groups or one-on-one and do what energizes you most - working with students. Start small, baby steps into a full library. You'll be happy you did (and so will your students)!



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