Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Showing Videos In Class

Showing Videos In The Classroom

The other day I was asked to help get a VCR working. My first response was, "is this video not available in a different format?" It got me thinking about the last time I used a video tape in the classroom, it must have been at least four years!

In the past, the library was my go to resource for videos, as long as someone else didn't have the TV cart signed out! Smartboards, Discovery Education (all EPSB teaching staff have an account), YouTube, Teachers' Domain and occasionally Teacher Tube have changed all that.

Discovery Education

What I like about Discovery Education is that they have video segments as well as full videos easily available.  That makes using videos for a set, for an example or for closure so easy!  I even use video segments for centres. Discovery Education is not exhaustive and it is not Canadian. So the content is limited when it comes to things like social studies. 

If you have an account with Discovery Education, you can save and organize the content that you use every year. EPSB staff and students simply have to log-in to SchoolZone and go to the Resources tab. By accessing Discovery Education this way, you are already logged in!

I also like that Discovery Education makes it easy for me to download the videos I want to use. That way I can plan ahead and not have to worry about Internet problems when it comes time for my lesson. Don't forget to delete them after you are done, or your IT analyst may come to have a chat with you about the amount of server space you take up! :-) 


As is stated in the blog post Effective Uses of Video in the Classroom"Social media has allowed anyone to become a video producer. The result is an explosion of high-quality teaching videos."

What I really like about YouTube is the playlist function. It is worth setting up an account just for that function. Sometimes I find great videos on YouTube that are less than a minute long but they only include part of what I wish to inform my students about. The great thing about a playlist is that you can group a bunch of videos together and they will play immediately one after the other. You can control the order of the videos as well. YouTube has a helpful page on getting you started with playlists.

I've used an Inuit playlist the last two years for a social studies centre. I have three centres. One is a netbook/laptop centre where they research animals in Nunavut. The second centre, students work with me to locate Nunavut on a map and look at some of the features of the territory. At the video centre students watch a playlist on Nunavut on the Smartboard and jot notes about what they observe Nunavut looks like. I keep it on a loop so they see a few times. I tell them the first time it is to just watch.

You can check out some of my playlists if you wish. Some are incomplete as I've started to recreate some playlists as I just activated my school account and previously used my personal account.

Here's one I created for Saskatoon:

But What About The Ads and Recommendations? YouTube Options!

One of the concerns many teachers have about using YouTube with students are the ads and recommended videos that show up. Many of these are potentially inappropriate. If you are using Chrome, there is an extension you can add called YouTube Options. It gets rid of everything BUT the video. Check it out!

Further Reading

If this is something you are interested in, you may want to check out the following 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tipping the Scales!

Inequality Math Centres

Centre One - Smartboard

Prior to centres, students were exposed to Crickweb's Number Balance as a closure to a math lesson on equal and not equal. For centre work, students work as a group to come up with number sentences that use the equal sign using Crickweb's Number Balance. Past experience has taught me students will sometimes just create simple equality sentences such as 8+0=0+8. So I created a sheet for them to fill in their group answers that provides a bit of a push to extend their equations.  Crickweb also has a recording sheet.  As a follow up to centres, students individually complete the back of the sheet I created (as typically they only get the front done in centres)  and then use the Crickweb's Number Balance to correct their own work.

Centre Two - Netbooks

Prior to centres, students were exposed to Poddles as a set activity for a previous lesson. As a set to math centres, I review the other activities students can chose from. 

Centre Three - Writing

For this activity, students need to write an equality word problem. Earlier in the week, students had solved some equality word problems. I work with students at this centre. We discuss some unequal experiences they might have had at home and brainstorm some ideas. Then they write their own word problem. After they are finished their writing, they use a small whiteboard, they then need to show two different ways to solve their own word problem. These problems will be used the follow week during centres, where they will answer their peers' questions. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Putting Presentation Into Presentation

Where We've Been

For anyone who has followed this blog this year, you'll know I've done a lot with Google Presentation with my grade twos. At the beginning of the year the focus was building technology skills: things like how to Make A Copy of a template, how to share a Google Doc and how to create slides. Now we are at the end of the year and my grade twos are presenting their presentations to other classes!

Culture Presentations

In social studies, my students make a culture presentation for each culture they studied: Inuit, Acadian and Ukrainian.


I outlined what we did in our first culture presentation in the post Inuit Culture Lesson Plan.
For that presentation, I shared a template with them. Their facts were presented as lists. It was a very guided experience.


The second presentation was on Acadian culture. For that presentation, I had students write in sentences. They learned how to add a video and they added a resources slide.


Their final culture research project was on Ukrainian Canadians. For this project I wanted them to actually present their presentation in front of an audience. As my students were also working on a science research project that involved presentation during the same time period, I did not require sentences for all slide this time. I still had them do a resources page and we discussed identifying websites in addition to the books we used. I gave them a checklist and they worked on it independently while I worked, as required, with students who needed support.

Once finished their Google Presentation, students then had to fill in a script. They were paired up. One student would click to the next slide (as Smartboards do not interact well with Chrome) as the other student read their script. Then they swapped roles. After practicing in class, they went to other classes in the school! My students were excited and nervous about sharing their presentations. 

You'll notice the student presentations are not perfect. Students received feedback from me, like on any project, and were instructed to revise and/or edit. I hope by sharing the completed, but not perfect, presentations, others will have a real sense of grade two work.