How exciting can one teacher make the basic mechanics of writing seem to 7th graders with literary challenges?
I recently created a screencast called How to Create a Great Topic Sentence for my 7th grade Special Education RSP English intervention class. I said to myself, “Self! This is some boring subject matter by itself. Especially, because the kids have had it over and over again but still aren’t getting the concept for numerous reasons. How can I make these instructions digestible? What do I have to offer?
I answered myself with, visuals! I can draw! Illustrated instructions are what I need to offer. IKEA instructions rule over all text- based instructions every time.
I realized I wasn’t using my biggest asset and was relying on text and audio instructions. Big mistake when you have 10 kids with good cases of anxiety, ADHD, and/ or learning difficulties. So I created this visually enhanced version of a lesson that I had done before with just text. The response was overwhelmingly positive. The kids actually clapped in one class! One kid with major wiggle issues even asked to see it again!
I followed up the lesson by helping the kids create a picture of a Martian alien in a flying saucer in their journals by using Doceri Desktop to step them through the drawing. One kid said, “Wait you’re going too fast!” So, I backed up the drawing and replayed it on the slow setting a few times.
Try that with an analogue whiteboard! It helps to have an image that the kids create themselves to use as inspiration for writing. Once the picture was complete we created a topic sentence on- screen together. They took the writing from there and finished a paragraph story describing the illustration.
To recap, I spiced up a drab subject for my students with an illustrated screencast that I created. The kids loved the fact that their teacher created a video that was on YouTube.
The screencast offered a visual and auditory prep for a kinesthetic activity to cement the concept. Even the hardened struggling learners softened a bit at this educational offering.
Yes – screencasts can be used for an English class. Doceri allows me to integrate my artistic talents into my academic lessons which in turn allows me to connect with my struggling students in ways I would never have imagined possible.
Hopefully, this will be the last time my students will have to suffer through the dreaded topic sentence lesson.