Teaching Tip – Using Video in the Classroom

There are some amazing videos that you can bring into the classroom to further your students’ knowledge or reinforce what was taught during a unit of study.

I limit the amount of video that I use in class, however. I believe that students are over-exposed to video as is, and that if we decide to use video in the classroom, we should do so sparingly. 
One of the best ways I have found to use video is at the end of a science unit. 
The public library has quite a few educational DVDs and many of them come with a teacher guide as well. 
I use this video as part of my Grade 4 science unit on light. I show it to them at the end of the three week unit. 
Before I show it to the students, I write down 20 questions on the board from the Teacher’s Guide. The guides are very informative. They give you background information, pre-viewing questions, and questions to answer during and after the film. 
I read the questions to the students and instruct them to take jot notes as they watch the film. I expect them to answer at least 3 of the questions during the film. I tell them that they can get bonus points for answering more than 3 as well. This keeps the students actively involved in the process. Many of them are excited to answer as many questions as they can.
At the end of the video, I ask if anyone in the class got the answer to question # 1. Someone always seems to be able to answer each question and the student who does so, takes pride in the fact that he or she was able to. 
We continue in this way until we answer all 20 questions. I then discuss how we were only able to do this as a group. Working together, we accomplished more than we could have alone.
I have found this a very effective way to use video in the classroom. You can find many useful DVDs from the Library Video website. They also have worksheets and teacher guides that are very informative.  Of course, this is only one company that offers educational videos. 
The first time I do this with the class, I pause the film when the answer to the first question appears. I model how to take a jot note on the board and allow students time to copy it down before restarting the video.
So far, I haven’t had to buy any videos for my teaching so this really won’t cost you a cent. Your school or fellow teachers probably already have some that you can use. And of course, the public library is a great resource. 
Well, I hope you’ve found this Teaching Tip useful. There are over 70 in the archives right now and there will be another one here next week. If you’d like to share a tip, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you. Teachers helping teachers is what this is all about. 
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