Category Archives: Videos

Doing More with Screencastify

Many teachers have become familiar with with screen recording tools, such as Screencastify, in the last 6 months. Of course, the main way Screencastify is being used is to, in essence, flip the classroom – allowing the teacher to record lessons that can be archived for students to view asynchronously. But there are a couple of other neat features of Screencastify that you might want to check out.

First of all, as Jake Miller points out in the embedded Tweet below, Screencastify can be used to make GIFs:

And if you have no idea on why you would need to use GIFs in an educational context, Jake has 19 suggestions for you here.

A relatively new feature of Screencastify is called, “Submit.” To me, this is Screencastify’s answer to Flipgrid. With Submit, you can create an assignment for students to make a video, either with their webcam or by sharing the screen, and submit it with a click to a Google Drive folder that has been automatically created for you. You can decide if you want students to view other videos, just their own, or none of them. For more information on how this free tool works, you can watch this video. (Thanks to @Robert_Kalman for sharing this on Twitter!)

Still have no ideas for using Screencastify outside of flipping lessons? Matt Miller, as always, has you covered. See more ways this versatile tool can support learning here.

Image by janjf93 from Pixabay

Lessons Learned

I watched this animated Storycorps video today, and almost burst into tears. Between the heroic teachers and principal, Mr. Hill, that William Lynn Weaver encountered during his education and the ones who deliberately shut him out because of the color of his skin, I felt all of the emotions that most of us probably have right beneath the surface just surge through me all at once. Mr. Weaver’s story is set in the 1960’s, but I am sad to see that the racism he describes has not disappeared. Fortunately, neither have the wonderful educators who champion children like him.

This is my weekly anti-racist post. For more Storycorps inspiration along the same vein, you may want to read my post, “Eyes on the Stars” about astronaut Ronald McNair.

Here are my previous anti-racism posts in case you have missed them:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.

A World Without Teachers

Knowing that many of my former colleagues returned to work today facing some of the most difficult challenges they have ever encountered in their careers, I looked for something to inspire them. I came across this video that was posted in 2015 by Jubilee Media. Here we are, five years after this video was created, and I think that many of us have a better understanding of what it would be like to have a world without a teachers. If you are an educator, struggling to learn a thousand new skills you never imagined you would need, I hope you will watch this and distill all of the noise and demands being made of you into the only thing that makes a difference – you.

(I will be adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Teachers Pinterest Board, and you can see some of my top favorites here.)

Image by emmaws4s from Pixabay

Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices

As some of you know, I have committed to publishing one post a week dedicated to anti-racism. I want to thank my friend, Callan, for bringing my attention to this week’s resource when she shared it on Facebook. Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices is produced by Netflix. The series of short videos (most of them less than 10 minutes) features Black celebrities reading children’s books by Black authors. According to the site, the twelve books “featured in the series were chosen using a social justice education framework that focused on concepts of Identity, Respect, Justice, and Action.”

Marley Dias, a 15 year old young woman who founded #1000BlackGirlBooks, introduces each segment’s guest reader, and has her own episode reading We March by Shane Evans. Marley is an author, herself, having penned the book, Marley Dias Gets It Done, and So Can You, when she was just 13 years old.

As I watched Anti-Racist Baby being read aloud by Kendrick Sampson and The Day You Begin narrated by Jacqueline Woodson (who is also the author of the book), I felt a sense of peace and inspiration. Instead of the anger I have been feeling about recent injustices, I felt motivated to find more ways to make change through kindness and understanding. At the end of her narration, Woodson asks, “What makes you so fabulously different from everyone else you meet?” and it was as though she had gently wrapped a warm blanket around my heart.

Image by Miroslava Chrienova from Pixabay

Along with the videos on the site, you can find book recommendations for different age groups, as well as suggestions for activities and other resources.

Here are my previous anti-racism posts in case you have missed them:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.

TOM – Teaching Online Masterclass

One of my favorite online resources, iCivics, has joined with Adobe, Participate, and ClickView to offer a series of free professional development videos about online teaching.  TOM (Teaching Online Masterclass) includes short (less than 2 min. each) videos produced by Makematic featuring advice given by staff contributors from all over the world.  The various categories include such themes as “Technology as a Tool,” and “Digital Well-Being.”  The one that I imagine many teachers will jump to is, “Pedagogical Strategies.”

Course overview from the TOM manual

Different people will find different TOM videos to be helpful to them.  For example, I liked the idea for giving video feedback online – using a screen casting program to record as you look at what has been submitted and commenting during the process – but the one on “Think, Pair, Share” did not tell me something I didn’t already know.  The good news is that the videos are so brief, that you can spend 15 minutes on the site and feel like you’ve learned something during that time.

TOM also has a PDF manual that goes into a bit more detail about the backgrounds of the contributors and the videos that are available.  The manual includes a link to a Padlet with more resources, as well as information for how to sign up to receive their research, how to get involved with their blog, and an invitation to join their group on LinkedIn.

Once teachers have a chance to develop reliable routines, and the technology becomes more robust, they will want to learn more about the best pedagogical practices for this medium, and TOM can help them do that.

Systemic Racism Explained

Before I get into this week’s post dedicated to eradicating racism, I want to make note of the moving moment that took place yesterday when teams for both the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees all took a knee at the same time to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.  After this truly awe-inspiring scene, which you can read about here, they all stood for the National Anthem, demonstrating that we can honor our country while still wanting to improve it.

baseball kneeling

As more and more institutions in the United States acknowledge the problem of racism, it is important for young people to understand how embedded prejudice is in the history of our country, and the strength it will take to root it out.  TED Ed has a good animated video that explains systemic racism.  Though a four minute video certainly cannot give the whole picture, it is a simple introduction for students who may have the misguided belief that racism ended when schools were integrated.  If you want to have your class probe further, the “Dig Deeper” section includes a link to a Vox article that incorporates several charts portraying the racial divide that still exists in our country, including one showing the disparity among Native Americans/Blacks and people of other races who have been reported to have died from Covid-19.

This post is part of a weekly Black Lives Matter series that I have vowed to include on this blog.  Here are the previous posts:

Also, for more amazing anti-racism resources, check out the Live Binder curated by Joy Kirr.