Helping the Chronically Absent
Students who are chronically absent are sensitive when they come back to class. They’re afraid their teachers will be mad or disappointed and they get frustrated trying to catch up and bring their grade up. One way to ease the transition and create a more welcoming classroom environment is to create daily video recaps.
For a year or two I kept saying to myself that I should make short 3-5 minute videos for my students to help them remember what we did in class, go over the homework, give any announcements, and clarify scientific concepts.
But….I was so shy about making videos and there are so many other things to get done during the day that I would always let it slip to the bottom of the to do list and then run out of time.
Prioritizing the Videos
This past spring I finally sat myself done and made myself prioritize this project because I had a lot of student absences and it was really hectic trying to explain to each student individually what we did in class while they were gone.
I gave myself 30 minutes to create and upload the video to Google Classroom. The tight time frame was to make sure I didn’t obsess over perfecting the video and then never get it posted.
I used my computer’s Snagit software to record the video. With Snagit you can toggle back and forth between your face and what’s on your computer.
Basics of the Daily Video Recaps
At first my videos only had three parts: the day’s agenda, feedback on their exit tickets, and reminders about homework and upcoming due dates. I would then post the video on Google Classroom with any corresponding documents.
I was so uncomfortable and shy in my first video, but I did it!
Next I created a YouTube channel and uploaded the videos and added closed captions. Closed captions especially help students who are English Language Learners.
After a little while I started adding motivational quotes for the students and sometimes I could even match the quote to the topic we were studying. I would look at each block and see what was going well and include that in the video.
Results & Benefits
Students who were often absent watched the videos a lot and came in with less questions about what was going on.
An unintended result of making video was the reflective power of sitting down at the end of every day to recap what happened. This really helped my teaching because I had to have clear daily objectives and this was 30 minutes at the end of the day where I reflected on students’ learning and where we needed to make adjustments.
I would play the videos back the next class to remind everyone what was going on. It is a good warm up for everyone because I am talking about their exit ticket information from the previous class.
What are the benefits?
Making daily video recaps forces you to
- have a clear objective for the class,
- reflect on the day,
- review the students’ learning at the end of the day,
- improve your public speaking skills, and
- provides a record of objectives and student misconceptions from throughout the year that you can refer back to the next year.
Tips for Making Your Own Videos
What are my tips?
- Just start! Make yourself start because there’s always going to be a reason to put it off to the next day.
- Try to keep your video under 3 minutes.
- Write out a script at first, or at least an outline of what you’re going to say.
- Use the pause button…don’t try to say everything in one take.
- Use a mix of yourself talking and pictures/diagrams to explain concepts.
- Keep a slide deck with your daily objective/agenda. Update it throughout the day so you don’t end up doing it all at the end of the day.
What applications can you use to create videos?
Will it take too long?
- No! It’ll take 30 minutes at the end of the day and included in that time is reviewing formative data and reflection. In addition to being good practice, documenting these things can also be used for your end of the evaluation.
How to get over the stage fright?
- I decided that I needed to do what I was asking my students to do….which is to try new things and put yourself out there even if it isn’t perfect.
Videos in Your Classroom
How are you using videos in your classroom? Have you ever done something similar? I would love to hear what you are trying out. Leave a comment below.