Lights, Camera! – School Videos in Your Lesson Plan – Playing & Producing

Are you puzzled about technology in the classroom and want to try to incorporate more modern techniques and tools into your lesson plans? Relax. School videos are still excellent tools and once you’ve got the knack of using these, you can easily apply the same techniques to more sophisticated multimedia channels.

School videos have two aspects. The most obvious aspect is watching and listening to the videos. The other aspect is making videos using a digital video camera. Both have their uses in the modern classroom and bring a bit of fun and variety to the class.

First off, the ways that you view school videos go beyond just sitting your class down in front of the screen and watching a documentary or the film of a work of literature. Used like this, with no preparation or focus, your class isn’t likely to get as much from the video as you would like them to. And you don’t have to play a whole video for the whole lesson – you can use little bits here and there as starters, one-off explanations of concepts, “visual texts” to analyse, and so forth. You don’t even have to watch the video – you can also just use the soundtrack (or just use the visual part with the sound off).

Using videos from one subject area in another is a creative and thrifty way of using your video library. For example, a life science video on habitats could be a valuable visual resource for your students in developing a setting for a story in a writing project. Taking the extra time while lesson planning by considering your curriculum for the school year and what’s available in your video library can help you make really interesting lessons and fully utilizing available education resources.

The second aspect is using a digital video camera as a tool in your classroom for you to use and for your students to use. Making your own videos is a fun class exercise that helps your students learn many skills. A good video project involves making an “episode” of the news (complete with ad breaks, if you like). This allows your students to learn many skills, and it is an exercise that can be tried at nearly every level of schooling.

How does making your own edition of the “news” help your students, for example? Here’s some ways that these class-made school videos help across the curriculum:

  • Drama: Some of your student will have to act the roles of TV anchors, reporters and the like (you can get even more creative, depending on the news story that you try to film).
  • Language arts: Your students will probably want to write the scripts so they don’t stammer and ad-lib during the filming. This gives you a chance to work on vocabulary and news-style writing. If you are creating ad breaks, your students will also get to investigate the persuasive language techniques used by advertisers.
  • Public speaking: The students who are playing the roles of anchors, interviewees and reporters will have to use many public speaking techniques such as eye contact, clear speaking and use of tone of voice.
  • Science: If you create a weather report, studying weather systems and weather charts is vital.
  • Maths: Possibly, one of your news items could include a survey (which will need to be presented as a graph) or else the weather report could include statistics about rainfall or temperature over a week.
  • Physical education: All news reports include a sports report, don’t they? A game of football or baseball can be filmed and “presented” – complete with an interview with the star players or the captains.

The possibilities of making your own school videos are endless. And if you have the software to do it, these videos can also be edited digitally – another useful skill. Don’t forget to post any digitally recorded “news reports” online on a school or class website.