Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Even Young Students Can Learn From Videos of Lessons!

On Tuesdays, the writing community at Two Writing Teachers hosts the Slice of Life. Everyone is welcome to join in by writing, commenting, or just reading slices from around the world! 

Whenever I begin a coaching cycle with a teacher, we begin with data and student work. That way, we work together with the mutual goal of student growth. Recently, when I met with a second-grade teacher, she shook her head as we talked about the students who we should target.

"They definitely need help," she said. "But you'll have a hard time working with them because they are pulled for intervention during writing workshop all the time."

Together, we thought about what we could do for these students. After some more conversation, we came up with the idea of videoing minilessons, and letting the students watch them.

Full disclaimer: Second-graders do not watch and learn from a video without a significant amount of coaching into the concept.  It took 4-5 sessions of coaching the students to watch and pay attention to a video. They were all pretty sure that they should sit back and relax as soon as they hit play until I emphasized that they had some specific tasks to do. That being said, today, three of them watched the lesson before they left for their reading intervention, and two of them watched when they came back from it. Their comments? So far so good.

No doubt that the novelty of using the iPad may wear out, and no doubt that these students aren't having the same experience that their classmates are in a whole-group lesson. However, at least there is some access to instruction, and I am developing a growing collection on my Google Drive of three to five minute videos of lessons to accompany units. If second-grade students can be successful with this sort of flipped learning, I am sure that it could work for upper elementary students as well who head off for music lessons in addition to interventions.

Happy writing!


  1. You are so inspiring!! I love your problem-solving!!

  2. I have this same problem (kids being pulled during writing workshop). I would love to do this for them. But when do they watch it? At home? Mine are busy with other work during the school day. Thanks Melanie for making me think!

  3. I am intrigued by the concept of video lessons. I haven't tried it yet. I do so much independent work with kids that it hasn't been necessary, but I have started using videos for writing prompts. They seem to enjoy that.

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