English Essay Writing: YouTube Series

I have been out of the classroom 3/5 days this term and I will continue to be out of the classroom 3/5 days next term. It’s been an interesting experience so far. My classes have happily continued with their projects (OK, except for Year 8 who just wanna have me there to clown around with them) and are communicating with me via edmodo frequently. One of the things I have found difficult is not being their for my ‘I am the expert’ lessons – you know, where I spend part of a lesson being a ‘teacher’ at the front of the room and doing some whole class interactive instruction. This stuff is important when you set extended writing tasks, like writing an English essay.

It’s taken me a few weeks but I’ve finally managed to get the time to create some videos to help my students to write English essays. This is my mini-take on the ‘flipped classroom’ method. Here was the process I used to create the videos:

1. I brainstormed what I wanted my students to know and created a super rough outline of the structure and content of each video. I decided that five shorter videos was heaps better than a 20 minute video. I divided them up loosley on the main components of an essay, that way students can pick a video for their weakness.

2. I used the screen-casting tool Jing Pro to record my computer screen as I typed on Bubbl.us (the online mind-mapping tool) and on MS Word docs. I heard via twitter that Jing Pro is dead and gone, but I paid for Pro a year ago and it still seems to work on my Mac just fine – I chose pro because it automatically converts the videos to mP4 – a much more user-friendly format. At this stage I didn’t record any audio – I needed to plan that a bit more.

3. I imported the Jing videos into iMovie and added audio. I thought that I would have to run through these a couple of times to get it right but in the end I just did them off the cuff and I was happy with the final product. There are a couple of silly things I say or awkward pauses but I think that’s fine. Gives the kids something to laugh at. Adding audio to a video is really easy in iMovie.

4. I exported the videos to my desktop and then uploaded them to my school’s YouTube channel (DavoHSEnglish Channel). I made sure that in the description of each video I told the students what was featured in each clip to help them make the best selection. I also added extra information about each element where necessary.

And here is the finished product:


21 thoughts on “English Essay Writing: YouTube Series

  1. Great videos! Thanks for posting them Bianca. I’ve been trying to get Jing going on my computer too.
    I feel like a product like this could actually form a good project for students. DQ: How can I write the most persuasive piece of writing ever? or similar…


    • Hi David :0)
      That is a great idea for a project – I hope to get my students to create their own series of ‘how to’ vids soon but right now it’s hard not being in class full-time.

  2. This is sublime…kudos!
    How much do you wish our teachers did this when we were at school?

    Perfect motivation for me to get moving on my AV learning materials, thanks XD

    • I know!! So many more students with great ideas about texts would have been able to feel successful in English because they would have been able to work in their OWN TIME to master the ‘rules’ of essay-writing for English.
      Can’t wait to see what you make!!

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  4. You are my god!!! And I have immediately downloaded a screen casting lesson – so that I can use this to help my kiddies! Thanks for another formidable idea!

    • Haha – no I’m not. If you watch all the vids you’ll probably find you disagree with the essay-writing approach in some parts. Very formulaic but it’s meant to form as an intro and to help the strugglers :o)
      Good luck with your vids!

  5. Hi Bianca!
    Thanks so much for these videos, they are fantastic! It shows you’re such a committed professional in all you do. Regarding Jing, I have used screen-o-matic in the past and it’s quite straight-forward, I really enjoy it. I hope you’re having a great time when you’re out of the classroom and enjoying/learning heaps as well.

  6. I think this is fantastic and is inspiring me to create feedback through JING. I showed it to my students and they were so impressed by these videos (they looked over at me unimpressed because i havent done something like that for them).

    You are an inspiring teacher who gives her all to a job that doesn’t always give back.
    Well done

    • Hey Lauren! How did you find this post? lolz … glad I can still help you with essay-writing even if I’m not teaching you this year!
      Good luck with it!
      Ms H πŸ™‚

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