Friday, April 5, 2013

Tip for Sub Days and Beyond...

Hello everyone!  I hope everyone had a great Easter.  I did!  Our son who is in the Air Force was able to spend some time at home before he deploys to Oman this Saturday.  He drove home so we could store his car, and then we drove him back this week.  Two days off for me!  I'm going to share my sub plans for those two days because it worked so well.  I've recently been introduced to screen casts.  This is probably not new to anyone else, but it is to me. 

I am so in love with this idea that I'm afraid I will overdo it and screen cast everything! I was in the middle of a writing unit, teaching my students to write using the text structures.  I didn't want to stop and do fluff work for two days, so I made a screen cast of my lesson for both days.  The sub reported that students paid attention because they weren't sure if I was "live" on the internet or not.  I loved it because when I got back, all the work was done up to my expectations.

Making a screen cast is easy and free.  I used "screencast o matic", but I know there are others you can use for free as well.  All you do is make your powerpoint or other presentation, open the screencast o matic, and push record.  I went through the powerpoint just as I would as if I were teaching to a live class.  I saved the file to my desktop and labeled it "Monday's screencast".  All the sub had to do was push play and monitor the kids. 

Students follow along with their copy of the article and the interactive notebook pages for writing with text structures. 

Here comes the "beyond" part. When I returned on Wednesday, I admit, I was not prepared for the day.  I wanted to look through the writing they had done instead of teaching.  I had one of those "great idea" moments!  I told the students they would choose one of the text structure paragraphs they had written to make their own screen cast.  They were to "be the teacher" and explain the text structure as if they were teaching to a younger student.  I told them I would pick the top screen cast lesson and send it to a first grade teacher to show their students.  This turned out very well.  They were busy creating their powerpoints the whole period while I looked over their work. 

The quality of their projects were surprisingly awesome!  Remember, I teach the struggling readers.  I was hearing great things from their conversations as they worked.  They were consulting their interactive notebooks to make sure they had used the right definition of the text structure, gearing the language toward first grade, checking their spelling, and worrying if their content was appropriate.  I love it when those "seat of your pants" ideas turn out to be some of the best ideas!

This is a screen cast by one of my students. 


  1. What a great tool, Shari!
    I can see my kids looking around, under tables and out the window, certain I was hiding somewhere!
    I'm glad to be a new follower-and SO GLAD to find another sixth grade teacher. There are, alas, not very many of us in BlogLand.
    I'm off to try screen casting... Sounds FUN!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  2. I love the idea! However, I teach Deaf kids and we use a visual method (ASL) to communicate; do you know if screencasts would be able to incorporate the person speaking?

    1. The screencast could be used with a document camera if you have one. They could do ASL under the document camera. I don't know if that's exactly what you mean, but it's a possibility.

    2. The screencast could be used with a document camera if you have one. They could do ASL under the document camera. I don't know if that's exactly what you mean, but it's a possibility.

  3. My Screen Recorder Pro will work better for you. It is an excellent screencasting tool. Records your screen and audio from the speakers or your voice from the microphone - or both simultaneously. The recordings are clear and look great when played back on your PC or uploaded to YouTube. It will record directly to AVI, WMV, MP4, or FLV. Just perfect for creating tutorials, demos, and presentations. Plus, java is not required and there are no limits on recording length. Also, the recordings play back on any device.