TOP 10 Secrets for Creating AWESOME Teaching Videos at Home (...even if you don't feel like a YouTube star!)

Well, here we are teacher friends!  Who would've ever IMAGINED so many of us would be transforming corners of our homes into video conferencing and recording studios?!  We did NOT sign up for this!  However- I know us, and we will do ANYTHING for our students.... even if it means becoming YouTubers. :) 

So in honor of our new adventure, here are the top 10 secrets for creating awesome teaching videos at home (...even if you don't feel like a YouTube Star!). 

1. Find some good, natural lighting:  Sit yourself in front of a window with the light coming in towards your face.  Don't put a window directly BEHIND you or you'll probably look dark and hard to see.  Take out your phone and spin around and see how the light changes your appearance.  If it's late in the day or you don't have access to a window, think about shining a light towards yourself.

2. Consider your camera angle and orientation: You don't want to have kids looking up your nose, etc. so you may want to prop your computer or phone up on some books or boxes or get a cheap phone holder to help you out.  If you're using your phone, also be sure to have it going landscape (the long way) because that's what works best for sharing videos.

3. Simple lists can be your friend: If you're nervous about forgetting everything you want to cover, jotting down a little list of highlights can be a great way to keep on track.  You can even put the paper (or typed list or script on your computer) where no one will see it!   They'll think you're such a pro.  ;)

4. Be thoughtful about your background:  Keep it simple and clean and/or maybe even school related.  Without a doubt- even if you're working from a spare bedroom or sitting in front of your couch, your kids are going to love seeing you no matter what.  Just make sure everything they're seeing is something you'd be okay with the whole world seeing (my Principal keeps half-joking about things like, "Don't film with your home bar in the background."  :)

If you have a chance to still get into school, grab a few things from your classroom (or maybe you have something like this around home) : a lamp, globe, student artwork, a sign, class picture, plant, etc.  Here's my set up, complete with the "Pop Art Heart Directed Drawings" in the background!):  
Special shout out to my husband and ALL the family members out there who are letting the teachers they love take over and TRANSFORM corners of our homes into virtual classrooms! We appreciate you!

5. Don't be TOOOOO much of a perfectionist:  This is me.  I like to do things really, really well.  A few of my teacher friends have encouraged me though to NOT re-watch and re-record my videos over and over.  I needed that.  Is it worth me taking hours and hours of my day to make the perfect 3 minute video my students will watch ONCE?  Probably not.  Do it well, but don't worry about being PERFECT.  Be yourself. If you make a little mistake (just like you might in the real classroom!  You might cough or your dog might bark, someone from your family may wander into the shot...), it's okay to laugh about it and keep going. Our video skills will improve with time and no one should expect us to be flawless, including ourselves.  

6. Relax, look at the camera, and be confident:  It might help you to tape a little photo of someone you love by your computer or phone's camera (see example below).  You can remember to look at them and feel calm and confident as you're teaching. Take a deep breath and dive in!
Now let's get into the actual video creation:

7. Find a good way to record:  I am using Screencast-O-Matic (another good, similar one I’ve heard of is Screencastify).  It lets you show yourself, your computer screen, or even BOTH at the same time (like your face can be in a smaller rectangle in the corner, still visible to the kids while you’re looking at my computer screen together!).  You can also flip through those 3 options over the course of a single video.  Once the video is recorded, you can upload it straight to YouTube from Screencast-O-Matic.

8. Decide exactly how famous you want to be: (I'm kidding...) I recommend saving your video in YouTube as an UNLISTED video.  If it’s private, no one can see it besides you.  If it’s public, the whole world can see it and it can show up in Google searches, etc.  If it’s unlisted, only people with the link can see it ...so I think that’s PERFECT for our purpose.  
9. Filter Out The Junk: ONE MORE STEP! You probably know that after you watch a YouTube video, the screen fills with suggestions for videos to watch next.  I didn’t want my kids to see all of that and be responsible for them potentially clicking on some inappropriate garbage so I recommend filtering your video through another site like “Safe YouTube,” safeshare.tv, or viewpure.  It’s VERY EASY.  You just grab the address of your YouTube video and then paste it into the site you want to use and they’ll give you a NEW link to give to your kids.  Your video will still be on Youtube, but now when kids watch it, they won’t have any risky pop ups. 

10. Beware of Blockers: Some servers may block certain video sites so this might take a little troubleshooting, but it shouldn’t be too bad.  For example, I had to put it a request to our tech department to please unblock “safe youtube” on any devices kids are borrowing from the school.  Some families may also have filtering software set up at home that they will need to adjust so their child can view YouTube or whatever site you used to filter the videos with.  It’s an easy fix, but I just wanted you to be prepared. 

Got it!  Now how do I SHARE my videos with students?
Do you want a SIMPLE, BEAUTIFUL format for sharing your lessons and videos?
Would you like to learn helpful tricks like how to easily turn a picture into a clickable link that zips kids right to your video or site?
This is what I'm using and loving:


Best of luck, teacher friends!  You've got this!  I believe in you and I'm in this with you!

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