Illustration by Edpuzzle Staff
In this week’s #remotelearningdiaries, ENL teacher Claudia Leon explains how she uses Edpuzzle for differentiation with English Language Learners. Read more and get tips on how to recreate the lesson for your students!
When our school closed in mid-March, I wanted to introduce my English Language Learners to the concept of the immune system and how scientists are constantly researching new ways to help people fight illness.
My hope was multilayered. I wanted to help them better comprehend the coronavirus and how viruses and bacteria can spread within our bodies. But most importantly I wanted to give them hope during the battle against the coronavirus.
Scholastic had just put out its March 2020 issue of Action Magazine and in it I found articles that met the above-mentioned criteria. But, how would I help my ELLs activate knowledge about this topic? Easy! I decided to create an Edpuzzle.
Introducing the topic
The articles that were the foundation for this week-long remote lesson required some specific background knowledge about bacteria and viruses that I was concerned my ELLs did not have.
Normally, I create Anticipation Guides or hold collaborative gallery walks to introduce a new unit to my students. But being out of the classroom makes these sort of background-building activities difficult.
Edpuzzle allowed me to provide my ELLs with a dynamic way to learn about our upcoming topic. With this background knowledge in their back pocket, I knew they were going to be more successful comprehending both articles.
Creating the video lesson
I began by reading the Scholastic articles through the eyes of an ELL and pulled out vocabulary and concepts that would require some discussion and elaboration. Before I could start creating my video lesson, I got permission from Scholastic to use one of their Action Magazine videos in Edpuzzle.
Edpuzzle provided me with many options to customize my video. My favorite is the “Prevent Skipping” option. I needed my ELLs to watch every second of the video and this feature made it possible.
I added open-ended and multiple-choice questions to help my students process the material at hand, and to give me insight into what they understood and what they needed to work on.
I also added “Notes” with color images, diagrams, and clip art to support the vocabulary and content presented in the video. These features allowed me to make the information in the video more comprehensible for my ELLs, which in turn would make both articles easier to understand.
After editing, I was able to directly assign my Edpuzzle videos to Google Classroom with one click! Finally, since it was the first time my ELLs used Edpuzzle, I created a Screencastify of myself navigating the Edpuzzle site (note: now you can screen record with Edpuzzle!). I uploaded this video to Google Classroom right beside the Edpuzzle assignment.
All students were required to complete this activity prior to reading the Scholastic articles. The video and accompanying questions activated my ELLs prior knowledge, provided them with the prior knowledge if they lacked it, and created curiosity about the topic at hand.
I was so nervous about introducing another tech tool to my students. In prior weeks, I had assigned tasks that required logging into some brand-new platforms that my ELLs had never used before, and I received so many emails with the subject “I don’t know how to log-in” and “What do I need to click on?” This didn’t happen with Edpuzzle.
I had a 95% participation rate. This was HUGE! Students messaged me on Google Classroom that they really liked watching a video using Edpuzzle and that it was so easy to use. I began using Edpuzzle during my third week of remote learning, and before this, I hadn’t received positive messages or achieved 95% participation in an online activity.
The fact that I was able to review my ELLs’ answers made it possible to see what my ELLs were able to master and where they were confused. It was a “one-stop shopping” experience for me. I posted my content, provided assessment and reviewed student responses to help guide me on my next steps.
Plus, I was able to leave comments for each question! This truly helped me individualize my teaching even though my students weren’t in front of me.
Using Edpuzzle to differentiate instruction
Edpuzzle can help you differentiate your lessons in a way that will help you even out the playing field. Oftentimes, English Language Learners lack the necessary background knowledge to understand what they read. This doesn’t imply a lack of intelligence. It often stems from the fact that ELLs come from a different country, culture, and educational system which provided that student with a different plate of background knowledge.
Content teachers can address a student’s unfamiliarity with a certain topic by assigning a motivating Edpuzzle video that will provide that student with information to better understand the material that is being taught.
Differentiation doesn’t have to be as labor-intensive as it has been in the past. Edpuzzle makes it easy to reach all students.
Edpuzzle is now a staple in my teaching and I use it to introduce each unit. In the future, I plan on having my ELLs create their own video lessons on Edpuzzle to share with each other. The best assessment of learning is asking a student to explain their learning to another person and Edpuzzle is a tool that will help my students demonstrate that.
Want more excellent teacher tips? Check out #remotelearningdiaries on Twitter for more great Edpuzzle lesson plans!