Video is an effective tool for learning, particularly for English language learners. Videos increase student motivation and make a lesson more memorable while providing context to the language and bringing the subject to life. Additionally, English language learners respond well to the combination of visual and audio stimuli. However, using video in the classroom is more effective when the students engage with it and the proper language supports are in place.
Explore ideas for integrating videos into the classroom as well as some effective strategies from our SOS Instructional Strategies collection.
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When designing learning experience, it is important to preview the videos and plan for the language and content support ELLs might need. This may include designing a warm-up activity to the video giving students a hint about what they are going to see. Additionally, it is important to identify the complexity of the language in the video and determine how appropriate the clip is to students based on their level of English language proficiency.
In order to support the development of social and academic vocabulary, keywords often need to be taught prior to students interacting with a video and its associated tasks. Explore some SOS Instructional Strategies to support this:
- Pause & Play: Provides structure to help students apply comprehension strategies to make sense of digital material they are viewing. Video | PDF
- Read My Mind: Encourages students to build a robust vocabulary through participation in a fun and engaging game, and it helps students focus on key words within the context of instructional media. Video | PDF
- Concept Circles: Helps students analyze the relationships between content words by using a circle organizer to determine the concept of study. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
- Vocabulary Scavenger Hunt: Introduces students to vocabulary related to a particular topic. Video | PDF
- Switcheroo: Requires students to consider the same material and create flashcards for comparison and review. Video | PDF
Students are able to understand key academic vocabulary by viewing shorter video clips. With the use of Discovery Education media, students develop and deepen their understanding of specific vocabulary words and their relationship to the current unit of study. The strategy, Vocabulary Quadrants, provides multiple opportunities for students to grapple with meaning and exercise higher-level thinking skills. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
As a part of your planning, it is important to preview the video and make note of Tier One, Tier Two, and Tier Three vocabulary words which your ELLs will need to know to support their comprehension of the content within the video. Additionally, when showing the video to students - play it once from beginning to end and then, play a second time, pausing when students encounter the notable vocabulary.
Activating prior knowledge is a key part of learning new content. When designing lessons, it's important to identify any background knowledge that may need to be developed to support ELLs. These gaps in knowledge can be filled using Discovery Education resources, as needed.
The variety of Discovery Education videos, including videos in other languages, allow you to personalize learning by assigning students different videos based on their levels of English proficiency.
Finally, Discovery Education's assign feature allows you to assign videos to students. With your ELLs, this feature can be used to have students watch the video prior to using it in the lesson. This allows the students to be able to pause and rewind the video as needed and activate their prior knowledge.
To scaffold learning, graphic organizers can play an integral role in ELLs to work on their comprehension of a topic. Many of our SOS Instructional Strategies include graphic organizers to scaffold learning of a topic:
- Z Chart: Helps students summarize information using linguistic and nonlinguistic representations. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
- Sketchnotes: Strengthens students' comprehension and analysis of new information by asking them to visually represent lectures and other presentations by drawing their notes, or sketch-noting. Video | PDF
- PMI: Helps students weigh the pros and cons and evaluate ideas to make a decision. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
- AEIOU: Asks students to interpret information from images or videos they have viewed and write down their thoughts next to five descriptive categories. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
- Things That Make You Go Hmmm: Focuses on descriptive words to compare and contrast two texts. Video | PDF | Graphic Organizer
When available, use the transcript to the video to allow ELLs to read along. This increases student’s ability to comprehend the content as they can listen to the story and see the words at the same time. With the Get a Clue strategy, students review transcripts to three videos before they watch those videos out of order and without sound. Then, based on clues in the transcripts and videos, students identify the correct matches. Video | PDF
To deepen comprehension, have the students watch the same video clip twice. The strategy Silence is Golden has students watch a video without sound the first time. Using what they see and incorporating prior knowledge, students work with a partner to construct a summary about the content. Then, students watch the video a second time with audio to deepen their understanding of the imagery. This strategy focuses students' attention on imagery. Educators will gain insight into what students understand, need to master, and want to know more about by redirecting students’ attention from the audio to the imagery, and having them discuss aloud what they are seeing. Video | PDF
As mentioned earlier, pausing the video at strategic points to check for understanding is a great way to give students thinking time around the content they are learning. When combined with a strategy like Make It Concrete where students view a piece of media and create an image to represent the content and information they learned from the media, they have a creative way to take notes and process their learning. Video | PDF
Whenever combining video and strategies, it is important to provide native language support as much as possible. Our resources in other languages as well as the ability to translate transcripts using the Google Translate feature are an important piece of comprehension.