Often, when I’m preparing for the start of a new unit or important section, I turn to videos as a means of engaging my students. Videos are a wonderful visual for English Language Learners, they captivate reluctant learners, and they incite the curiosity of all. Many of my students come to school with different backgrounds and experiences and videos have the opportunity to reach all students.
In our classroom, videos lend themselves particularly well to science, social studies, and reading. If we are about to begin a nonfiction unit in reading, I start with a read aloud on an animal like the hummingbird (we all know students love learning about animals!). However, many of my students have never heard of or seen a hummingbird. Beginning the lesson, with a video of a hummingbird up close drinking nectar from a flower, allows my students exposure to new and important information. The video sparks their imagination, generates questions, and encourages critical thinking.
Videos do not need to be lengthy to be effective! My most engaging lessons begin with videos that are under a minute long. Quick questions you should ask when searching for a video to introduce a topic:
- Is this video appropriate to the grade level?
- Will this video spark questions in students?
- While watching this, will it provide all students with similar background knowledge?
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