Story From The Field

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Professional Learning Videos

Create an experience that lets viewers determine their own paths.

How To Guide

Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Professional Learning Videos

Implemented by
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Fred E

Based on Ideas by

Heidi G, Zack, Angelique , Tonya W

Inspired by the Experiences of

Aaron G, Jackie G, Courtney S, Anthony S

Create an experience that lets viewers determine their own paths.

What You'll Need

Effort Hours Days Weeks Months

Video recorder, like a smartphone; Tripod (optional); YouTube Account (Free); A computer

How To


Decide what practice you want to share, and why. What aspect of your teaching would help others if they better understood it? This might be how you teach a certain skill, how you work with small groups, or how you check for student understanding. Meghan Everette, a third grade teacher in Daphne, Alabama, used Ende’s recipe to share how she teaches paragraph writing with her nine-person grade-level team, many of whom are new. “They all said ‘come teach this in my class.’ But that’s not really practical.” By creating a set of linked video segments she could let each team member explore her practice in their own way.


Plan what scenes you need to film. Ask yourself: If I were another teacher, what would I need to see and hear to really understand this practice? That may include how you plan a lesson, how you introduce it to students, and how you set students up for guided practice. Everette decided to film four kinds of scenes: her explanations of the teaching strategy; her explanations to students; students working on their own; and her narrated review of student work. Says Everette: “I think if you only see the finished piece, you don’t know how they got there. You’re left thinking: ‘Oh, so your class can write. Why can’t mine?”


Record your scenes. All you need is a smart phone, though a tripod can help. Make sure you have permissions if student faces are shown. Keep each scene short, less than two minutes if possible, and no more than five. To record her explanation of how she teaches writing, Everette set her smartphone over a pad of paper on which she illustrated how she explains paragraph writing to students, while at the same time she narrated the process. To film her actual explanations to students, she set the phone over her overhead projector while she introduced the lesson. She filmed students working by holding the phone over their shoulders, capturing her back-and-fourth with individual students. She also narrated a scene in which she walks viewers through examples of students work.


Upload your scenes to YouTube. If you can send an email, you can upload video. Ende created a short tutorial on how:


Annotate your scenes with embedded links. Think about the different paths viewers might want to follow through your scenes. Some might only need your narrated explanations of each activity in your lesson plan, while others want to see what each activity looks like in the classroom. With YouTube’s annotation feature you can insert pop-up “click here” comments at different parts of a segment to lead viewers to other segments. Ende created a short video tutorial on how: . With the links Everette added to her segments, viewers can learn her entire approach to teaching paragraph writing, or they can focus on “topic sentences” or “conclusions.” They can also choose whether or not to see what each activity looks like in the classroom.


Share your work! Consider ways to enhance your videos’ usefulness. This might include adding pop-up prompts asking viewers to reflect on what’s observed, or suggested activities to complete at the end of each segment. Everette says the teacher on her team who’s made the most use of her videos actually completed the learning tasks as though she were a student (e.g. she wrote her own topic sentences based on Everette’s instruction). Says Everette: “I don’t think you can really teach something to somebody if you haven’t tried it on your own.”


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