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Flipping back to school night

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Flipping back to school night

Back-to-school night is not fun. There is just too much information to cover in 30 minutes. I am expected to explain the grade level, what material will be covering, and how the homework works. Typically, there is a PowerPoint presentation that teachers run through. And that doesn’t even cover little kids playing in the corner of the room.

So, this year I flipped my back-to-school night. I recorded a video beforehand, and send a flyer home asking parents to watch it before back-to-school night. I took the material from a 30 minute presentation and crammed it into a five minute video. The great part about a video is that you can speak as fast as you want because people can rewind you. To my amazement, every parent actually watch the video before we met together. I embedded video on my classroom website mrselak.com, along with the following:

Please watch this video prior to our Back to School Night meeting on September 12 at 7:15 pm.

Here is the presentation I showed in my classroom during our 30 minutes together. I used it mostly for talking points.


Created with Haiku Deck, the free presentation app for iPad

I loved having this time to talk with parents for so many reasons. I felt like I was able to actually talk with them, as opposed to talk at them. They had time for them to ask questions, so they felt valued. I was able talk about general educational stuff that I felt was important, like reading with your child and reading in front of your child. I had time to explain my behavior management, Class Dojo, and how they can stay connected with my class via Remind 101. It was a good use of our time, and parents actually enjoyed Back to School Night.

language arts

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A Mobile Movie Studio: Create Classroom Videos with the iPad

The addition of an HD camera to the iPad 2 has fundamentally changed the way we can create video. Every part of the creation process–writing, recording, editing, and distributing–is possible on the iPad. EduAwesome!

A video is created three times: when you write it, when you shoot it, and when you edit it. There are several formats that can be used to write a script for the classroom: a google doc, a dedicated app (ex: Storyboards), a google form, or a production organization document. Whichever format is used, emphasis should be placed on how it will be used in the classroom, and what the goal of the video is.

When recording, it is important to incorporate basic rules of composition, such as the rule of thirds, into your video. Being aware of the environment (basic concepts like lighting and room tone) makes it easier to edit. According to current best practices, teachers can rely on fair use and download videos using iCab Mobile to incorporate current events into their videos and lessons. Finally, in-camera tricks such as forced perspective will be explored to add a big-budget feel to videos.

iMovie contains movie trailer templates and themes that allow for quick, professional-looking videos. iMovie is a non-linear editor, so sequences can be filmed out of order. Participants will film and edit a short video collaboratively using YouTube’s mobile upload, and iCab Mobile’s video download feature. Projects in iMovie can easily add graphics and soundtracks to create a polished product.

iMovie projects can be published directly to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, and CNN iReport. Use AirPlay to stream video to your HDTV using an Apple TV. Embed videos into classroom websites, or video channels on websites such as SchoolTube. Leverage teacher-created videos with the flipped classroom model to maximize class time.

1. Writing

2. Recording

3. Editing

4. Distributing

ipad video title