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Aug 2, 2023

Back to School: How Teachers Can Start the Year Right!

Olivia Nelson
PD Specialist

It’s back-to-school season again!

This time of year always brings an energy of excitement to meet a classroom full of new students. There’s no doubt, though, that not only is this time of year the must exciting, but it is also one of the busiest.

With so much to do and accomplish in the beginning of the school year, video can be a helpful tool to make teachers’ jobs easier. 

To get you started, we’ve put together a list of four of our favorite tips and tricks for using video as part of your back-to-school plans!

Formative assessment with video 🤔

In the beginning of the year, many teachers are getting to know a whole new group of students. We spend a lot of time building strong relationships with students while also learning to understand their academic strengths and growth areas. Video can be a powerful tool for collecting formative assessment data.

Start by creating videos reviewing any prerequisite material from the previous grade. Use the Browser Tab or Desktop Recording options to create screen recordings of Google Slides, various infographics, or any other visual materials that will be helpful to students. Embed your webcam to make the video more personal. Finally, add Interactive Questions to your videos to assess student engagement and understanding of the content. 

Once students view the videos and answer the questions, teachers will have real-time access to data. Check out the aggregate data to see how the whole class did overall, or look more closely at each individual student and question to determine patterns that can inform instructional choices.

Teach video routines 📝

Video is an incredible way to meet the needs of all students by creating on-demand learning opportunities. Video allows students the flexibility of pace and place, meaning they can access instructional content in the place and at the pace that makes the most sense for them.

In the beginning of the year, teachers spend a lot of time teaching routines. Students practice routines around everything from passing out papers to getting a new pencil. The same is true of video. To make video a meaningful and consistent part of your instructional practice, students must have strong routines around how to watch videos.

Teach students how they should access instructional videos—will they be scanning a QR code with a tablet or other device, or can they find the Watch Page link on their Google Classroom? Next, teacher students how to watch the videos. For example, students should learn to pause a video if they are taking notes so that they don’t miss what the teacher says next. Feel free to create your own routines, too. Hide a hidden hand gesture somewhere in each video and ask students to record the time stamp. This will keep students engaged and encourage them to watch every second of each video rather than skipping around.


Parent communication with video 💻

Throughout the year, it is important that parents and teachers maintain strong communication. In the beginning of the year, this is arguably even more true. As teachers are meeting a whole new group of parents and parents are learning a whole new set of expectations, clear communication is foundational to strong student outcomes.

Create videos about some of the most frequently asked questions from parents in previous years. Use a webcam recording to talk directly to the camera and answer parents’ questions personally. Then, put all the videos in a folder and share the link on a class website or in a newsletter. Now parents can always go back to the videos and re-watch to get clear and consistent answers.

Using Screencastify Submit, you can create an assignment that will generate video submissions rather than written work. Use Submit to set up virtual office hours so that parents will always have access to share a question or concern. Start by creating a new assignment using the option to Generate a Link. Some questions or concerns may be technology-related.

By using a Screen and Webcam Recording for this, parents will be able to troubleshoot tech issues by recording their screen. Allow access to anyone with the link. 

Since this will be a space where parents and families may ask sensitive questions, select the option that students can only view their own videos. This will disallow parents and families from seeing one another’s submissions. Title the assignment “Virtual Office Hours” and use the instructions field to explain of questions and concerns should be submitted.

Establish a routine of checking your Google Drive folder for submissions each morning or weekly so that you can respond to parents in a timely manner.

Work smarter, not harder💡

Using video to communicate with parents and families as well as assess student learning from previous years should save teachers some time and energy during the back-to-school season. BONUS: Teachers can work collaboratively by creating their own videos and sharing them with one another.

Start your journey with video 🎬

Install Screencastify now to discover the ways that you can improve learning outcomes with video!

Olivia Nelson
PD Specialist

Former elementary school teacher helping educators use video to enhance the learning experience.