Math Video Practice

I hate monotony. I hate doing boring work. I hate workbooks. However, sometimes the simple fact is that kids need to do some of that boring work to get the process down. We have been working on multiplying decimals for a week now. They are getting it, but need more practice. If I suggested doing more work from their math books, I might have had a mutiny on my hands.  So I tricked them!

I made copies of some of their math book pages. They were given partners and one problem to solve. In the end, they were to record their process. This was a great exercise for everyone. A few groups used physical manipulatives to show their thoughts while others chose to use the algorithm. I think my favorite was this group who tried to subtract before multiplying. During their group work, I was able to sit with them and help guide them after listening to their reasoning


Today was a GREAT day! I began my day by videotaping a 1st grade classroom. They each wrote a word on their white boards, stood in a single file line, and showed their word. They did all this without saying the words. Why? A fun way for this teacher to help her students practice their high frequency words.

It began yesterday at lunch when another 1st grade teacher made the comment that her students practiced their words on the computer (using a game). That got me thinking about what the students can do to be producers instead of consumers. My initial idea wasn’t great. It involved making a Google Slide then using TechSmith’s Snagit Chrome Extension (you also need the App), have the students read and record the words. Well, it was the best I had at the time, and sent an email to the Kinder and 1st grade teachers. I offered to help (my schedule gives me a bit of time to help on Wednesdays).

I was so pleased that one of the 1st grade teachers like the idea and wanted to take me up on it. So after school we met up and began brainstorming. This is where we came up with the idea of taping the students.

So this morning I walked into the classroom and the students were ready to go! We ended up taking 2 different videos, and will do more next week. The idea was to switch around the words so a different student held the word ‘horse’. Another teacher was inspired and approached me today. She would like to do this in her Kinder room; only she will write out the words for the students so that they are legible.

The beauty of this is that the students can have fun practicing words. We posted this on our Facebook Page and School Website. This way, parents can access the videos at home and practice the words with their child.

The best part? The two teachers who want to do this, are self-proclaimed non-techies. Neither of them are too comfortable with using technology in the classroom. This was a great way to get the ball rolling for them! I’m so excited about this, and for the teachers and their students.

Create Videos for Your Class

This post is created for Professional Development for KCUSD, October 24, 2012.

In this 40 minute session attendees will:

  • Familiarize themselves with quick and easy video techniques.
  • Be able to leave this session and enter your classroom ready to go.
  • Be able to use videos for assessment purposes.

Video taping doesn’t have to be difficult. You just need to remember what your focus is: the content of the video, not the quality.

This first video was created and shot by a student.

I was looking to see if the student understood the concept of place value. The video was shaky and there were several pauses. I didn’t care. This video can be shown as a review in class or used by students to review on their own. I also used this video as an assessment tool. It’s time we start assessing ways other than paper/pencil, fill in the blanks!

What do you need? Any of the following will do:

  • FlipCam (no longer made, but can probably find on ebay, Craigslist, or other such sites. This one is my favorite!
  • Sony Bloggie
  • iPod
  • Smart phone
  • White board or paper for student to write on
  • Writing tool

Where to start?

  • Give students a specific task (i.e. show me how to add 4 + 3)
  • Tell them the video must be done in one shot, no editing!
  • If there are mistakes, it’s okay (unless they’re huge then have them redo!)
  • A quiet setting is more favorable (just outside your classroom, or in the corner)

Okay, so they’ve done the video…Now what???

You will want to upload your video somewhere. I suggest Vimeo. Since we do not have access to Youtube (education); this is the next best thing. If you don’t have a Vimeo account, sign up. It’s all FREE! Once you have uploaded your video to Vimeo, you will have to wait approximately 1/2 hour for you to be able to view it. Make sure you set the privacy settings to ‘anyone’.

To set your video to ‘anyone’.

Personally, I like to put all videos on my website. This makes it easy for students and parents to find. If you don’t have your website set up yet, you can direct people to your Vimeo URL. You can find yours by going to the Profile section of the Settings.

That’s great Lisa, but I teach Kinder. How can I use it?

  • Have students stand in a single file line with a shape, number, or high frequency word on a paper. You hold the camera. Have students walk up to you one at a time and say what’s on their paper.
  • Have students draw a story (retell or their own), with an older student recording the younger student can verbalize the story.
  • Record a silly song they like to sing.

5 Video Projects to Try With Your Students Written by Richard Byrne

Some tips: 

  • If students are recording, give very specific directions. Now is not the time to get creative. Tell them to just record the paper they are working on.
  • If students are to be in the shot, as for interviews, tell them where to stand.
  • Focus on the content, not the video quality.
  • Have fun!

If you’d like to see other videos my students have created, check them out here.