Here are some ideas for using video cameras in your program to record classroom activities:

  • Be a Classroom Historian. Keep a dedicated camera charged and ready for action to film students during special activities. It's a great way to document important classroom events throughout the year. You can edit the footage to play back highlights on the last day of school or during any parents meeting.
  • Help Children Reflect. "We love the small cameras with the fold-out viewfinder that can serve as a monitor for looking at a video tape of the child in action immediately after the action," says George Forman, who teaches 3 to 5 year olds at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. "I call this 'instant video revisiting.' We are finding that children are more reflective about what they have done when they explain what they are doing when watching themselves on videotape. They are much more reflective with the video than when they are trying to remember what they did."
  • Reach Out to Community TV. First, make sure you are familiar with your school's policies around sharing or posting student videos. Once you have your video, contact your local community-access channel for submission guidelines. Cablecasting is great PR for your school and lets your community know what's going on in your program.
  • Work Toward Self-Improvement. Set up a camera in the corner of the room and record yourself teaching. At the end of the day, watch the footage. You'll be amazed at how much you discover about your teaching strengths — and about your weaknesses. Watching the video can help you pinpoint ways to take better advantage of teaching opportunities or to improve your daily routine.
  • Do a Classroom Checkup. Here's a great way to examine how children use your classroom space. Position a camera so that you can see the room in action. Record an entire freeplay period. Afterwards, watch the video to see how children move around the room. What areas get the most traffic? Which children go unnoticed? Which toys are used the most?
  • Relive Field Trips. "I use my video camera at least two times a week," says Linda Looper, who teaches preschool special education for the Dalton Public Schools in Dalton, Georgia. "I videotape the children during activities or when we go on field trips, and I play the footage immediately when we get back to the classroom. It helps to reinforce what we learned from the activities."