A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post entitled Using Video to Improve Instruction. At the time I had come across an old video of when I was doing an object-based lesson with students in my sixth grade world history class.
Today a friend shot another video of me doing a lesson, using reciprocal reading strategies to read a photograph. I can’t tell you how long I put into planning the lesson, figuring out the perfect source. There were countless iterations of how this lesson was going to go and by today I thought I had it all figured out. Last week I did a little background work to prepare the students for the lesson.
Today I went back in to do the meat of the lesson on the Tallahassee Bus Boycott in which I introduced the students to a source. First, I asked students to focus on what they saw. Next we practiced reading the photo by making connections, asking questions, and coming up with predictions/inferences. The mini-lesson was the ideal sweet spot of 11 minutes total. But, while I was interacting with the students I found myself reflecting and questioning my tactics and then later when I watched the 10 minute video it was all I could do not to jump through the screen and strangle the Jill giving that lesson. Now, granted these are not my students. I haven’t built a relationship with them day in and day out in the classroom. I haven’t tried this strategy with them before. I’m not in the classroom as often as I used to be.
There are about a thousand could have, should have, would haves I considered after the lesson.
- the students needed more background information
- they also needed some additional work on connections
- I didn’t press for observations only as we did our first reading like I normally would
- I forgot to remind the students to only analyze the source in front of them when we split up into groups and not relate their group work back to the engagement portion of the lesson (although that is the point later in the lesson)
- there were vocabulary words I should have front loaded; the kids did a really good job with context clues though
- I didn’t repeat their connections, questions, and predictions as often as I should have
That’s just to name a few. Luckily, tomorrow I go back in to finish the lesson and the final reciprocal strategy of summarizing. I can adjust, take a few steps back and re calibrate, maybe even admit a few of my mistakes to the kids.
I am pretty sure I would have noticed a lot of this without the video. I noticed a lot of it in the moment of the lesson and did what I could to mend it. But, another viewing of the video and then a written reflection on it for National Boards and I will have a really hearty learning experience to think about.
Yes, that lesson that I am criticizing so harshly now will be used for National Boards. It’s real and that’s exactly what I want to show.