A High School Teacher’s Experience with Keeping the Pace after Snow Days

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With February break approaching and the school days dwindling due to the onslaught of snow, I had to figure out how to get to a natural stopping point on the Friday before break. I do hate to end for an extended period of time on a cliffhanger.  I debated speaking at twice my normal rate and cutting out a few activities, but that seemed rather tedious and dreadfully boring.  “There’s got to be a way,” I thought as I watched the snow continue to drop out of the sky.

As I continued to ponder, I came across a video that I had made two years prior when I had to miss class for a Student Council meeting. To ensure that all of my classes were around the same point, I recorded a brief lecture that my students watched and responded to in class. The video began with a “Do Now” to get the students thinking and had a series of questions throughout the presentation. When I returned to class, we discussed their material they had just covered. I decided that I was going utilize the idea of this video lesson to help me find my natural stopping point prior to vacation.

Flipped Classroom is when students listen to lectures outside of class and complete activities based upon those lectures in class. It is an interesting concept of which a few of my colleagues are advocates. As I am in the Social Studies realm, I have heard of Massachusetts middle school teacher Elizabeth Miller’s experience flipping her classroom and I wanted to try it out. By flipping one of my lectures, I would be able to complete the week with an active lesson!

To do this, I tried out both Explain Everything , an iPad app, and Snagit, a Chrome extension and app. With Explain Everything, explain everything was relatively easy to use. I converted a presentation to PowerPoint and loaded it to Explain Everything. I then recorded and sent the video directly to Youtube. While I was going to do this for the next lecture, it could not play videos from Youtube. I sought out suggestions from my education friends on Twitter and a fellow high school history teacher recommended Snagit (Snagit is also a free Google Chrome App and Extension – you need both). Snagit works on my desktop and could record Youtube videos. It also allowed me to use Google Slides similarly to the way I use them in class. (I’ve also utilized QuickTime for Screencasts, but wanted to try out some new toys for this.)

Today, I assigned one of the lectures to my students to have completed by Friday. This way, they have plenty of time to watch them at school if they would like.

In the future, I am going to keep this in mind as an option and possibly may use these vides to help students who were not in class.

Want to see a Screencast in action? Watch the video below!

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Post written by New Member Committee Member Michael Milton

You can follow Michael on Twitter: @42ThinkDeep

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