Years ago, as a middle school math teacher, I had a dilemma. My 51 minute math classes had been shortened to 43 minutes. As any teacher knows, this is a big deal. After wrestling with a lot of ideas for how to handle here’s what I landed on:
Each day, during my planning period, I pressed record in a screencasting program called Jing, stepped up to the SmartBoard and went over the day’s homework as if my class was there. (I’m sure I looked like I had lost my marbles to any passerby) I did it quickly, forcing myself to keep it under 5 minutes. Any longer would mean 2 things: my assignment was too long and I was using to much class time to explain content that my students had already done.
The next day, I would play that video while taking attendance, checking to see who did their homework and meeting with any students who had been absent. This allowed me to combine two sets of things that I had previously done–going over the homework and doing the beginning of class teacher stuff–at once. It made up for those 8 lost minutes, and then some.
Nowadays, my philosophies about homework and classrooms where all students are doing the same thing at the same time has changed, so I wouldn’t repeat this format. However, I think these recordings would still be valuable in a blended learning setting. When students finish certain assignments, they could view the videos to self-assess and learn more. Learning Management Systems and websites really open up the possibilities on this.
Here’s a sample of one of these videos: