Effective Use of Videos in the School Library

Effective Use of Videos in the School Library - Videos can introduce complex information and procedures better than any other tool or strategy. Their most effective use is in short, 2-5 minute segments. Here are 5 short videos I've created to use with my students. Feel free to use them with yours! #NoSweatLibraryEveryone loves a good video. It captures students’ attention in a way no other teaching device does. Oh, we do many tech and non-tech hands-on activities with students, but video effectively introduces informational material better than anything else. I find students even prefer narrated slides presented as a video!

Let me clarify that I’ve used video with students for 25 years, from science laserdiscs with at-risk high school students to online streaming as a middle school librarian, but I don’t show a whole movie, TV episode, nor any video that runs more than ~15 minutes—even Bill Nye gets old after 15 minutes!

We can find effective, short videos available FREE of charge from several educational providers. For example, the U.S. Government offers free Online Safety videos on the FTC Consumer Information website. At times, however, the only way to use video to present a concept is by making one ourselves. I offer here a few videos I’ve created for student instruction using desktop and online applications. Feel free to use any of them for your own library instruction!

LIBRARY ORIENTATION VIDEOS

Library Orientation is the first library visit of the school year. Our lowest-grade-level students are new to the school and library, so we need to help them feel at home in this strange new environment. I have a short activity to familiarize them with the Fiction area, then show them a video I created on “How to choose a good book” to read. Students follow along with a small ¼-sheet checklist, which they then take with them to find their first Fiction book to check out. I created this as a narrated Microsoft PPT, then saved as a video.

It’s silly for students to hang on to a book for weeks without finishing it, so I address this at all grade level orientations (2nd visit for newbies, 1st visit for higher grades) using this video. I created “Use the 20-page Guide to Decide” on GoAnimate.

ACADEMIC HONESTY VIDEO

My Academic Honesty lesson uses short videos to great advantage. To meet National School Library Standards for conceptual understanding and CCSS for documentation (bibliographic information, citation, plagiarism), I teach 3 legal concepts—intellectual property, copyright, and fair use—with a flow of videos that imparts these complex concepts in a meaningful way, yet the total of all video time is only 14 minutes.

When teaching intellectual property I discuss bibliographic citation, and I find students (and many adults) are confused by the term “cite,” so the first video I ever created alleviates the confusion between 3 homophones. Here is my “Sight-Site-Cite” video, created with Windows PhotoStory.

AN EXAMPLE VIDEO BOOKTALK

We know it’s important to show students the kind of end product we expect when we assign a project. That’s particularly true for technology products they’ve not done before. To preview an upcoming ELA assignment, I created this “Video Booktalk Example” to show them how easy they are to make. I actually created two. Here’s the first I made by uploading photos to Adobe Spark and adding text and transitions:

Here’s the nearly identical one I created with Google Slides, uploading the photos, adding text, and downloading each slide as an image, then uploading all of them to Kizoa to create the video.

In a short time, videos can introduce procedures, explain complex concepts, or model examples to students. Try these 3 FREE videos (on YouTube & Vimeo) to give your library lessons a boost! | No Sweat LibraryIf you’ve watched these 5 videos, you can see how, in only 9½ minutes, the power of video can be very effective to introduce procedures, explain complex concepts, or model examples to students.

These embedded videos are all from YouTube. You can also find them on my Vimeo page! Better yet, download a FREE PDF linked list of all my media from the FREE Librarian Resources page.

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Create a Differentiated School Library Orientation for ELL Newcomers

Create a Differentiated School Library Orientation for ELL Newcomers - Newcomer English Language Learners need a library orientation using very specific differentiation strategies based on WIDA-ELD Standards and Can-Do Descriptors. Read how I created a set of 3 Read-Aloud Orientation lessons with fun and relevant hands-on follow-up activities that meets their needs. #NoSweatLibraryA school library orientation influences our relationship with students for the entire school year, so it’s important to have an orientation with all students in the school, including our special populations.

Early on I realized that, even with customized grade-level orientations for ELA classes, Newcomer English Language Learners need a customized orientation with very focused differentiation.

So, I created a Read-Aloud Orientation plan using WIDA-ELD Standards and Can-Do Descriptors that met their needs.

3 GREAT READ-ALOUDS FOR ELL NEWCOMERS

A new school is an even more “alien environment” for ELL Newcomers (who also face a new city, state, country, and language), so I spread their library orientation across 3 weekly visits that help them get to know me better and gradually build their understanding of using the School Library.

I believe ELL Newcomers need to hear English spoken fluidly—not ‘fluently’, but ‘fluidly’—so the pacing and tone of the language becomes ingrained in their minds. For that reason I read aloud a picture book about the library at each of their 3 library visits:

  • Visit #1: Tomás & the Library Lady shares the Newcomers’ situation because Tomás and his family move from his home in Texas to Iowa. The local librarian helps him find wonderful books to read to his family, and this encourages our Newcomers to take their books home and practice learning English by reading to their own family.
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  • Visit #2: The Librarian from the Black Lagoon addresses Newcomers’ fear of things they’ve not yet experienced and helps reduce that worry through humor, as well as preparing them to learn the do’s and don’t’s of the school library.
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  • Visit #3: The Library Dragon highlights the joy and power of a library read-aloud. The words & phrases related to ‘fire’ preview synonyms & idioms for ELA and where students can locate different books in the library.
image of Tomas and the Library Lady picture book image of Librarian from the Black Lagoon book image of The Library Dragon book

ATTAINABLE HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES

Yes, students, especially ELL Newcomers, love read-alouds, but ALL library visits must be purposeful if we want teachers to use valuable class time to support our library program. I use follow-up hands-on activities that help ELLs meet English Language Arts objectives for ELL Level 1 students:

  • WIDA-ELD topic & academic language – word/phrase level Vocabulary Usage, sentence level Language Forms & Conventions, and discourse level Linguistic Complexity.
  • Can-Do Descriptors for performance tasks in Listening, Speaking, Writing, and Reading.
  • Differentiation strategies that offer sensory, graphic, and interactive support.

I chose these 3 stories because they naturally lead into activities that support classroom learning and help ELLs develop useful library skills. After the read-aloud, my modeling & guided practice activity has ELLs associate concrete visual stimuli with English language terms:

  • Visit #1 supports ELA concepts of story plot and compare/contrast
    • I Have, Who Has roundabout game begins with a student reading aloud the first plot question. I prompt “Who has the answer?” A student says “I have it,” reads their event, then their Who Has question. The game continues through the story, ending with the student who began.
    • Tomás and Me Venn diagram helps each student recall details of the story using compare/contrast by entering how they and Tomás are the same as or different from each other.Hands-On Activities for ELLs That Support Standards - These hands-on activities for my differentiated ELL Newcomer Library Orientations help English Learners meet English Language Arts Standards, ELD Standards, and Can-Do Descriptors, yet they're fun and easily attainable by students. And you can do them, too! #NoSweatLibrary
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  • Visit #2 presents library expectations with a concept attainment task allowing table groups to collaborate on sorting 12 pictorial cards into YES or NO categories for actions that are OK or unacceptable. (It’s the same activity as the one for 6g, but with fewer and simpler cards.)
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  • Visit #3 supports ELA recall of story details and similarities using a simple word search grid of story words related to fire, and supports ELD learning about idioms with fire-related phrases from the story.

The Venn diagram and the word search/idioms worksheets
can both be used as daily grades for the ELL teacher.

ELLS USE WHAT THEY’VE LEARNED

Next, Independent practice gives students an opportunity to use what they’ve learned.

  • Visit #1: Rather than confuse ELLs with navigating an unfamiliar environment, I hand-pick and lay out on tables a variety of picture books for students to browse, just as Tomás’s librarian chose books for him.
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    We have quite a diverse language population, so I display our bilingual picture books (in Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Japanese, Khmer, Vietnamese, Arabic, Persian, Tagalog) along with a selection of English picture books with stories from or about other countries and cultures. This helps ELLs feel more at home in our school library, and I encourage them to choose a book to check out and take home to read to their families, as Tomás did.
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  • Visit #2 also gives students time to browse for books. I still have books laid out on tables, which some prefer, but now that the library isn’t such a scary place, I show them the adjoining bookshelf sections of bilingual books, picture books, and graphic novels. Students choose at least 1 book, and at checkout they receive a special ELL bookmark of library information of their learned policies & expectations.
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  • Visit #3 reinforces ELA compare/contrast and helps ELLS have pride in learning a new language, while retaining pride in their home language and culture. Students use English word/picture card prompts for things and events in the library and write the terms in their home language on the reverse side of the card. Then they affix tape and take the card to the proper location in the library and tape the card up to share their home language with the rest of the school.
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    Other students love seeing these cards and it gives them a conversation starter with ELL Newcomers in their classes. Plus I love having the “Welcome” and “Hello” cards in several languages (and alphabets!) displayed on my library doors every year!

A FINE BEGINNING…

The 2 Library Dragons!This set of library lessons is a positive and productive library orientation for ELL Level 1 Newcomers. They especially like Visit #3 about The Library Dragon because I have a huge stuffed dragon that students can sit with during the read-aloud.

After these lessons students feel very comfortable talking to me and using the library, so ensuing library visits are every other week like other ELA classes. Although we’ve had different ELL teachers through the years, they all look forward to beginning the school year with their Newcomers in this way.

If this set of lessons appeals to you, the full package of the ELL Level 1 Newcomers Library Orientation lesson plan, printouts, and worksheets are available at No Sweat Library, my TPT store. ELL Level 1 Newcomer Library Orientation pin image

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