Although many of us are excited by the warmer weather and the thought of summer closing in, many of our students will start to feel the anxiety and loss of the school year coming to a close. Many children rely on the consistent schedule, the dependable meals, the strong relationships and the peer connections that school provides.
As you are planning lessons, no matter the age, consider incorporating books or read aloud times that revolve around the end of the school year. This can give students time to reflect on the year and process the emotion of closing a new chapter in life and opening a new one. If there are unresolved issues and thoughts of anxiety, it gives you the opportunity to connect with your students and better prepare them for how to have a successful summer.
Remember, the end of summer is exciting for many students but for many others it brings about sad emotions and anxiety. Consider ways to prepare your students and allow them time to process and discuss their fears with you before that final day of school!
This post brought to you by Kate Palmquist, POSA overseeing Elementary Curriculum and Instructional Coaching
Minnesota standards require us to teach about the indigenous people to our state. From that point, it is our responsibility to ensure that what we are teaching is accurate. Minnesota state standards require that our students encounter different teachings about Dakota and Ojibwe people throughout their K-12 experience. Learning about Indigenous People and the history of our area before America’s colonization is fundamental to understanding the relationships between people and place. We cannot truly understand the dynamics of our area if we do not include a long and multi-perspective history. Teaching accurately about Indigenous People benefits not just our Native students, but also all students.
In my short time working for the school district, I have noticed there is never enough time in a day to teach all the things that need to be taught and there is an ever-present desire to find new resources. I have also noted the increasing number of blogs and information hubs, such as Pinterest, that have easy ready to use ideas.
Unfortunately, by using these resources, what ends up happening is an overload of information that often times isn’t well researched or vetted through any credible sources. Inadvertently, this can lead to activities that perpetuate stereotypes, keep Native Americans in the past, and demote native culture to cute crafts.
Something we want to work to avoid is only exposing students to historical views of Native Americans. Today there are 572 federally recognized tribes, 11 of which are located in our state. We want students to understand the sacrifice these tribes have made at the benefit of our country, as well as learn about tribes that have called Minnesota home for 100s and thousands of years to help build well-rounded learners.
An example of how we can begin to do that is to help students make connections and understand the differences between the various Native tribes. Many people know southwest Indians use adobe dwellings to stay cool, but let’s not stop there. We should build on understanding that each tribe has its own traditions, clothing, types of dwellings, etc. dependent on the region they inhabited. It is important to learn about tribes from around the country, but Minnesota state standards require us to place an emphasis on learning about our tribes here in Minnesota.
As educators, we can be better equipped to teach our students about Indigenous people by taking advantage of events and professional learning opportunities provided by various education associations and societies. Here are some of the great upcoming opportunities, most of which happen on an annual or even more frequent basis.
As we approach summer and think about professional development in our upcoming year, I encourage everyone to consider one of these amazing opportunities. Let us all strive to teach Native American content in the humanizing manner with which we teach all other subjects. As always, I am here to help in whatever way I can.
Originally posted on the Secondary C&I website on 3/1/2018
Finding a video on YouTube and inserting it into a lesson often feels like a no-brainer.
Want to introduce a concept in 10 minutes or fewer? Find a video!
Want an activity any substitute teacher could easily facilitate? Have her show a video!
Want a way for students to review an idea outside of class? Link a video to class website!
Unfortunately, although videos are often easy to find and play, they’re not always what is best for student learning. Time and time again, educational best practices show us that if students are really learning the material it’s because they are reading, writing, and/or speaking about their thinking.
Does that mean video has no place in the classroom? That’s not at all what I’m saying. Rather, we need to be intentional about why and how we use video as an instructional tool. We need to ensure that our students are thinking about what they are watching.
With each video you show in your classroom, there are some key things to consider (1) before, (2) during, and (3) after you hit play.
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Before the Video
Establish its purpose
Students are more engaged with a video’s content when they know why they’re watching it.
The first year I showed the first fifteen minutes of the video Grand Isle (the film version of the novel The Awakening by Kate Chopin), my students who had already thoroughly read the opening chapters of the book tuned out: feeling as if they were getting the same material in video form as they had just read, they disconnected from the video. Whereas the next year, I took a few moments to explain that the Creole culture of Louisiana is hard to understand on the page, but hearing the way the characters shift from speaking in French to English and then back again is critical to understanding why the main character—who only speaks English—feels isolated. Suddenly, with just a sudden explanation of why the video mattered, almost all students leaned in, took notes, and stayed engaged.
Many students need to know the purpose of an activity before they will devote their full attention to it.
Use an Anchor Activity
Grounding students in the topic of the video before you begin will often increase student understanding of and engagement in the video’s content.
Consider trying the following anchor activities with your own students:
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During the Video
Use Closed Captioning
When a narrator or character talks too fast, in an accent, or uses words that are new to the viewers, Closed Captioning can be a lifesaver. Especially for our EL and DHH students, Closed Captioning is a must for any video watched in class.
Stop, Rewind, and Re-watch
Some videos are fast-paced, introduce complex ideas, or have a lot going on visually. As adults, we know we can always pause, backup, and watch a section over again; however, this is not intuitive to many of our students. This is a skill we must model and teach.
In all of my English classes, I commonly used various Crash Course Literature videos. The students found John Green, the narrator of this YouTube Channel, to be funny and enduring; but, his delivery is so fast that students often missed key pieces of what he was saying. For this reason, we often stopped the video, skipped back to each of those key moments, and re-watched them. Sometimes, we even watched an entire video twice. Knowing this would be my approach, I would always tell students ahead of time that we would stop, rewind, and re-watch as needed: this helped reduce students’ anxiety levels, because knowing that all key ideas would come around again, they did not panic whenever they missed pieces the first time around.
Monitor Student Understanding
It is critical to stop a video from time to time to ensure student understanding, especially with videos that are longer than a few minutes, quickly narrated, or that contain new information. If students do not understand the information, they most certainly will not retain it.
Consider trying the following activities with your own students to ensure understanding during video viewing:
To see the above example of PlayPosIt:you may need to create a free PlayPosIt account or select a class (choose IA Institute).
The video in not optimized for playing on a small device, such as a cellphone.
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After the Video
Provide a way to re-watch
It’s a simple thing, but when a video is available online why not link it somewhere so students can re-watch it later? Linking videos used in class to your class website or Google Classroom, means that students then have a way to re-watch the material if they are still struggling with the content, to watch it if they were absent, or to review the material later prior to an end-of-unit assessment.
Connect to future learning
Just because the video is over, does not mean the learning is. As you teach future lessons, connect them back to the material watched in the video. This increases the importance of the material learned, which will not only help students build connections but will also help them pay closer attention to future videos, as they will now understand what an important role each video plays in your classroom.
So, while video commonly seems like an easy lesson enhancer, remember that while a video used well is wonderful, a video used without purpose and planning can end up being a waste of class time. For each video used, there are things to consider before, during, and after we share it with our students.
If you would like to tweak how you use video in your classroom, consider reaching out to your instructional coach or one of us on the C&I team; we would love to help you enrich your lessons with video. Or, consider diving in to some of the additional reading suggestions noted below.
This post brought to you by Heather Lyke, Secondary Implementation Associate
Suggestions for future reading on this topic:
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