Photo credit: flickr user chelsea(:
Editor’s Note: Josie Jesser created videos of elementary school students speaking Spanish as part of our COERLL Collaborators program. Here, she explains her process.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth even more. Even just two minutes of “screen time” can engage or re-engage students by pulling them into a world outside their classroom. As soon as the faces appear on the screen, the students’ curiosity is switched on. Who are these people? Where are they? What are they saying? I’ve found the engagement multiplies when the images are of students the same age as mine. With this classroom experience in mind, I set out to create a few more options for my students in the Spanish classroom. I wanted to film kids the same age as my students, speaking Spanish naturally but answering simple questions so the students could understand.
Here is what I learned:
- Our best resources are in our own backyard – see if your school district has any Dual Language Schools and reach out to the administration to set up visits to these schools.
- Be clear about the purpose of the videos (that they will be Open Educational Resources) and ask for names of specific teachers that would be willing to work with you and suggest students that would be comfortable in front of the camera.
- When making appointments to film, request a quiet location in the school, such as an empty classroom or corner of the library at a time it’s not being used.
- Explain to these teachers that you’ll need parents to sign permission slips (Media Release Forms), which you can collect on the day you show up.
- Use a tripod. Whether an iPhone, iPad, or digital camera is used to film, a tripod ensures consistency and steadiness for the viewer.
- Keep the camera at the students’ eye level.
- Have the students look over the questions before you start filming, so they can think about answers.
- Film 2 students at a time, so 1 student can ask questions and the other can answer.
- Good questions are never yes or no questions, but the type that encourage students to talk for a little while. For older kids, asking their opinions, their feelings, and what-if scenarios are always great. For younger kids, asking them to describe their daily world works well.
- Remember to keep it light and fun!
For more information:
Josie Jesser joined the Girls’ School of Austin faculty in 2013. Ms. Jesser completed her Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Dickinson College and her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Jesser has worked as an interpreter and translator (Spanish, Portuguese) and she has lived in Argentina and Brazil. She has also worked in the technology sector, providing client support for Latin American clients. She loves teaching and working with students!