I don’t like being on camera. That might be the first thing going through your mind. It was and is the first thing on my mind each time I sit in front of a camera. A close second is, I love my students and I need to be there for them no matter what. Third, is that I need to make it available for when kids are ready and not focus on whether I’m getting the views or engagement levels I want. That’s not my goal. My goal is simply to show my kids I’m there for them when they are ready.
DURATION: This is the thought process that led me to create video lessons for my kindergartners. I’m not a pro, but I do know a little about teaching and increasing kindergarten learning. Teaching online is like teaching at the beginning of kindergarten. Lessons should not be longer than about 10-15 minutes in total. They should be quick-paced. Don’t think about lessons like what you teach in the classroom. Think about the beginning portion of the lesson when you model. This is what you should record.
CONTENT/RECORDING: How did I decide on video content and sit in front of a camera? I sat with my desktop computer on a cart, hit record and pretended like I was in a room full of kids. I anticipated responses and questions and pretended like they were answering me. I provided wait time the way I would in class and then responded by answering questions I thought they might have. I hope kids answer the questions in the video during the wait time. And, guess what? When I watched the lessons with my kids on Zoom, they did exactly that! They answered as if we were in class together. So, it worked. Kids like to interact and blurting turned out to be a great thing! Providing wait time and asking the students (ie. a room full of my pets) means that my kids actually felt like they were a part of the lesson with me.
FLEXIBILITY: Maybe I’ve been watching too much Food Network Star…I’m definitely not a television or YouTube personality, but rolling with the punches and recording as if I was talking to an invisible audience worked for me. Once I got over how “difficult,” this was going to be, I only needed to take one or two videos to get them up and going. That’s how it all started.
Also, if you watch my lessons, most include my pets. The main reason for this is that I can’t get rid of them. It was better to roll with the punches, be flexible and just include them instead of trying to record a thousand times without them. In a small house, there’s no getting away from the sounds and noise. They are there and want the attention and in reality, my students thought they were great! They wanted to see them.
MORE ADVICE: I also used my computer as a means to record so I could watch my facial expressions. I know that kids need over-exaggerations and expressions to feel entertained and interested. It’s like the attraction to glitter and shiny, bright objects. Kids need entertainment. I do this naturally in the classroom, but on camera, a little shy and nervous, I wanted to see my facial reactions. I didn’t want to appear cold, calculated and like a robot. So, this helped a lot.
What tips / advice do you have as a teacher or as a parent? I’d love to hear from you! Write a comment below!
Mandy Fyhrie, M.Ed., NBCT