Short, Explicit, & Robust … but Recorded
Do you remember a time when you listened to a teacher drone on and on about a subject? Have you ever (unwittingly) been that teacher yourself? Mini-lessons used to be a good answer to that struggle. However, this year especially, with our hybrid and remote school settings, we are adapting our practice to make our mini-lessons more clear and concise and as engaging as possible. So, like many teachers we know, we are making our mini-lessons — MICRO!
If you’ve ever heard us talk about mini-lessons before you’ll recognize these three words as keys to making a mini-lesson engaging and effective:
With micro-lessons, these same three principles still apply.
Short: When we were live in the classroom short meant 10-12 minutes, but with our micro lessons we are aiming for 5-6 minutes of a recorded video.
Explicit: This is the I DO portion of any lesson, so it’s the time for the teacher to be as clear as possible. Tell the students what you want them to know and understand. Explain for students what that looks like and sounds like. Then model for students with your own thinking.
Robust: Just because the lesson is micro doesn’t mean you need to water-down your instruction. In fact, you can be precise and purposeful in the standards you address. Choose to record strategies that have high leverage in your students learning.
So what does this look like: Watch the video below of a micro lesson only 3 minutes and 53 seconds long. What do you notice?
Did you see how the teacher keeps the student engaged with brief changes in the video formatting? Simple techniques like cutting back and forth from videos of her face, to showing the text, and then embedding some still images help keep the viewer engaged while keeping the content of the lesson front and center.
The video was created in about 10 minutes with a simple iPhone App called “Clips”. Shout out to Jennifer Serravallo and her newest book “Connecting with Readers Online“. This app was recommended in a chapter on microlessons and we have found it so very intuitive to learn and use.
Whether you use the app or record your lessons with your computer or another digital platform, we hope that you will try out recording micro-lessons for your students. Keep it simple, laugh a little as you try, and let us know how it goes!