One larger focus this year is to have math mini-lessons before students move into guided math groups. The min-lessons often take place at the beginning of the class.

Many teachers tend to use some type of formative assessment from last class to dictate how in-depth the mini-lesson will go. Over the past few weeks I’ve modified my mini-lesson time. As with any class, students with a variety of skills and mathematical backgrounds are part of the class community. I was finding that my math mini-lessons were benefiting some students more than others. I was also finding that how I began those mini-lessons often set the tone for the rest of the class.

Last week I tried something different and decided to use Educanon for part of my mini-lesson. Educanon allows a teacher to use any Youtube or Vimeo video and insert questions/explanations at set points in the video. I’m using the free version of the Educanon, but there’s a paid version that gives more of a detailed report and records students’ answers.

I’m not a huge fan of math videos, but I do think they have value when used appropriately. Videos, similar to the homework debate, have huge fans and critics. It’s a bit of a gray area and truly depends on how they’re used. Regardless, after having a discussion with a colleague, I decided to create a 1:30 Educreation video on three-digit subtraction for my second grade classes. After creating the video I uploaded it to Youtube. I uploaded two of the same videos to Educanon and renamed them. Each video 1 and 2 (still a work in progress) has questions geared towards a specific math skill. One group was working on subtraction estimation, while the other was working on regrouping strategies.

The videos are meant to be short and recorded without sound. I find the sound to be a bit of a hassle and the videos are less than two minutes in duration and I don’t want students wasting their time with headphones. When the time comes, students scan their respective QR code to automatically visit their Educanon video. The video requires students to use a separate sheet of paper to dictate their answer.

Students then play the video and are asked questions related to the current topic. Some of the questions are similar, but most are geared towards estimation or regrouping.

Once students finish their brief video the class comes back together to discuss a few different examples of three-digit subtraction. I tend to reference the videos throughout the class and even in the small guided math groups.

It takes a bit of time to create the videos, but sharing that responsibility with other teachers can definitely help with the work. I’m looking forward to possibly using more of these brief activities in the future. Currently, I only use one video every couple weeks, so this isn’t a daily activity, but one that seems to be helping my students better understand mathematics. Maybe at some point the students will create their own Educanon presentation.

I struggle with math videos as well. The one thing I do like about Educanon is that it makes the video interactive plus it sets the expectation to focus in order to answer the questions. Another teacher and I have been meeting with the reading specialist to create a unit based on the workshop model. When it’s closer to reality I’ll let you know.

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Hi Mary, I also appreciate the interactive portion of Educanon. Students are a bit more focused since they have to answer questions before proceeding. Two of our second grade math classes have tried it and we’re making adjustments as needed. The workshop model unit sounds like it has potential. I’d be interested to see what your team generates.

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