Last night I was cleaning out my Google Drive and I found a video I had done for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in which I demonstrated a quick object-based learning activity. The video was only four minutes. Each day at the beginning of class we began with an object observation activity where students “read” an object. It was one of my favorite parts of every class period. Each object was tied to the curriculum for the day and I got to share my passion for cultural heritage with my students.
Since I hadn’t seen it in a few years I decided to watch the video. We were analyzing a Greek column from the Erechtheum, a temple on the Acropolis. Before the lesson we had talked about the Elgin Marbles and repatriation. I did my usual what do you see, what questions do you have, what do you think it is spiel. Then, I shared with my students what the object actually was and gave some additional context on it.
Although it was a great little introduction and I was a tiny bit impressed at both my students and myself, I immediately began to critique my method in my head. These object-based intro activities are meant to be quick, but did I go to quickly? Did I cut a student off or was that just the microphone? Did I call on the same students too often? I realized I didn’t share the museum label. What did I do after this? I can’t remember the day’s lesson. I am hoping extended their learning. I know we did a museum project on ancient Greece. Where did this lesson fall in the scope of that project?
It’s been a few years. Of course, I don’t remember all the details. It wasn’t like my National Boards where I had to analyze and write about the lesson so I have no more information or background to go on. Just the video.
A few days ago ASCD published this article, Using Video to Coach New Teachers.
I have to say… I think every teacher, at every stage of their career, should be using video on a regular basis to assess their teaching style. It is so revealing and such a great tool for self-reflection.
The key is to use this reflection to guide practice and improve instruction. After watching this, my goal is to improve on my techniques, slow down, and give students additional wait time the next time I do an object-based lesson like this. I have an additional goal of making sure I jot down a few notes every time I video tape myself for any reason from now on so I can review all the circumstances in the future.
Any tips on videotaping yourself in the classroom? I would love to hear them. Comment or connect with me at @JCrossEdu