14 Teachers Share Their Tips for Making Video-Based Lessons Fun, Engaging and Accessible

May 20, 2020

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, teachers have shifted from in-person to online learning over the past few months. Back in March, teachers packed up their classrooms for what most thought would be 2 weeks. But, by the end of April, most states had cancelled in-person learning for the duration of the 2019-2020 school year. Many educators have utilized video conferencing tools to connect and engage with their students during this time, but this new format requires some extra creativity. With questions surrounding the safety and likelihood of returning to a normal school year in the fall, we wanted to share the best tips we’ve seen for making the most of video-based lessons:

 

Screensharing

“I have seen great success with allowing the student to share their screen with me. This allows me to see what they are doing and I can give them better assistance on what to do. I worked with a student for two hours, catching up on math assignments he had been hesitant to complete. All he needed was my one-on-one support. If he needed to see something, he would change the tab on his screen to watch a demonstration, then could flip right back to his screen to try it on his own.”  – Jennifer Cain, Edison Elementary School

“I share my screen during lessons to help students understand calculus. It makes for the most personable experience where I can still continue to grow my relationship with my students each week.”  – Davana Silva, Kell High School

 

Utilizing Features

 My 5th graders love using breakout rooms!”  – Tonya Wilkerson, Cheatham Hill Elementary School

Having a digital presenter attached to your sessions is imperative. I’ve also been giving my students a ‘real world Wednesday’ assignment each week where they do a new chore like make a meal or fold the laundry. The parents really appreciate that!”  – Stefanie Stoltz, Hightower Trail Middle School

The best tip for video lessons is using the screenshare and whiteboard features—my students absolutely love it!”  – Celeste Jouanet, Kemp Elementary School

 

Engaging Students

Animate online lessons as much as possible! Starting call with “pump up” music, dancing, and costume/themed lessons has increased attendance and engagement!”  – Heather Prochaska, Kell High School

The best trick I’ve learned is to use video conferencing as a way to make myself available to my students, whether it be daily office hours or a daily morning informational video. Communication and engagement from me is crucial. It offers help, hope, compassion and companionship to all my students.”  – Yvonne Kander, Dance Director, South Cobb High School

The best tip I would share is to be ALL IN- creative and engaging!! Each day, I wear a different mask, hat or costume. This keeps my 5th and 6th graders wondering–“what is that crazy lady going to do next?” It’s how we open our lesson, with a smile and then onto the lesson. Taking the extra time lets them know how important they are to me!”  – Elizabeth Painter, River’s Edge Montessori

“I do my best to pretend I am in the classroom when I video myself. I have also used my blog to give hidden clues to assignment answers, but they will only discover them if they watch the entire video.” – Paulette Mukoro, Cobb County School District

 

Asynchronous Learning

I use my district’s secure video streaming platform to record video lessons, which allows me to create a link that I can share with my students. That way I don’t need to worry about not being able to send giant files through email.”  – Julie Wacker, Still Elementary School

The best trick I have learned is to record all sessions and post them in my online classroom. This way, every student has a chance to review the lesson at their pace.”  – Brian Knostman, River’s Edge Montessori

 

Audio & Visual

The trick that I found useful to working with my special education kiddos during this time was to prepare a visual schedule of what we’ll be doing over the video lesson. This gives them a visual outline for the lesson so that we can see what has been completed and what’s next. I send a copy to the parents and print one off for myself so that we are all on the same page and can be prepared for what’s to come.” –  Elizabeth Parham, Hollydale Elementary School

Using the flashlight on my iPhone to get the attention of my deaf student during a video lesson.”  – Tracy Rudder, Kennesaw Mountain High School

Mute your kindergarteners as they log into the chat!”  – Heather Henslee, Ford Elementary School

 

As we adapt to our new normal, we are inspired by the educators who have stepped up and found ways to connect with students and radiate positivity. It’s unclear what the 2020-2021 school year will look like, but chances are virtual learning will be a part of it. What has been your favorite way to use video conferencing tools in your “classroom?”