Saturday, October 4, 2014

Front-Loading Instruction

Last year I used videos to provide an extension of tutoring - short videos that I created or found online that illustrated lessons already taught in the classroom.  Students used those videos to review concepts they found difficult.  And they seemed to appreciate them.

This year I decided to extend the use of video to front load instruction.  I ask students to watch 1 - 2 short videos (usually not more than 10 - 12 minutes) to preteach vocabulary or illustrate a skill.  Students take notes on the video ... but the notes are not checked ... just recommended.  Many students report that watching the video to know what's coming in the next lesson has already been helpful!

Here are examples of videos I've used for frontloading ... 

  1. Before teaching parent functions and basic transformation, students watched this song.  The song introduces the linear, quadratic, and absolute functions with a few key characteristics of each ... all under 4 minutes.
  2. Not every pre-teach activity has been a video.  I used Desmos to give students an opportunity to explore transformations before class.
  3. Before teaching how to solve wind and current problems in our systems unit, I asked students to view this video.  I loved the graphics and thought it would help make the next class go more smoothly.  Most of my students this year did well on the wind/current problem on the test!  Hooray!
  4. The other problems in the unit on systems of equations that give students fits are the mixture problems.  And although some students still struggled with these on the day of the test, I thought this video did a great job introducing the concept.
Finding really good videos that illustrate vocabulary or a skill is the challenge!  I wish I were more skilled (or had more time) to create some of my own!  

There are obviously times were pre-teaching would not be appropriate ... for example, a discovery lesson planned in class.  But most times, front-loading is not only appropriate but primes students to be ready for the lesson planned.

Note, the video front-loading does not replace teaching in the classroom.  This is not a "flipped" model ... not really even partially flipped since I don't ask students to work out any problems based on the video itself.  That is an area worth thinking about ... but right now, it is enough for me to use the video just as a preview of what is to come!

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