Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Filming Yourself

As part of my national board certification, for 2 different entries, I have to tape a 15 minute segment of my class and analyze it to within an inch of its life. Even if you don't need to for any other purpose, I highly recommend taping and watching yourself (though I'm entirely sick of that 15 minutes of my life since I've watched it over and over again and can be like that annoying person at a show, "Oh, here's where she says this. Here's where they do that.")

I noticed things I would not otherwise have noticed. When I question kids of varying abilities, I reword my questions (subconsciously?) based on what I think their skill level is. Like I don't think some kids can handle a question asked some way and may need help. That's obnoxious and robs them of the opportunity to show what they know.

I also notice that when I was helping a student in a small group activity, I was bodily in the way of this other polite girl's desk, and so basically the whole time I was helping this one kid, this other poor little child couldn't do her work because BIG HOVERING teacher was in her space. Of course she was too polite to say anything, so for 5 minutes she just quietly sat there. Then when you see me moving off to help another group, boom, she starts doing stuff.

I think if you can get the right group of nonjudgmental/helpful teachers together and they each tape their own class, maybe others would have insight into questioning technique or wait time or such. People with fresh eyes will pick up on things you may not be aware of.

Of course when I invent a 26 hour day, then I'll have time to get that all organized.


  1. You rock, Ms. Cookie! Thanks for sharing what may seem like everyday, ordinary teacher actions that really do have an impact on student learning. Your point about simplifying questions for kids having the effect of not stretching their thinking is an excellent one--and the kind of analysis and reflection that make National Board Certification powerful.

    When I went through the process years ago, I kept thinking about what my school would be like if every teacher videotaped a lesson and we watched each other, in groups, looking for evidence of student learning. Holy Smokes.

    Great post.

  2. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Thank you. I have found things I did not even think about before I watched myself on video. I do think it would be a phenomenal professional development activity if done right.

    Ms. Cookie

  3. I am a graduate TA at a Uni in TX (horray for TX!) and we have to take a TA class that talks about teaching theory, etc. and one of our professors is obsessed (but who can blame him?) with the idea of what is called a "Japanese Lesson Study".

    What happens is that a group of teachers get together and develop a lesson, then they have 1 teacher teach the lesson and work on improving it. I don't know if they have the same person do the re-teach or not and from my own experience it is worth it to flash ideas by someone else and see what everyone else is doing to play XYZ lesson but it is *so time consuming* :(.

    But it would be amazing if we all had some sort of conference period where we did this sort of thing. Especially where everyone had an open mind and was receptive of new ideas... that would be awesome.

    But yeah, I would google "Japanese Lesson Study" and see what that gave me. I know there are tapes of some of the lessons but don't know if they are YouTube-able yet. I think some of the best stuff (video-wise) comes from the TIMSS stuff but meh, who knows. Maybe there is more.