Virtually there for my students…video sub instruction!


I’m sitting at the San Antonio Airport – but it’s a Friday! Don’t worry – my kids will still have me as their teacher thanks to a little thinking ahead and the beautiful power of video instruction.

I’m a (slightly obsessed) runner and Disney fan so this weekend is one that I look forward to every year – Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in Florida! Running is what keeps me sane (and healthy!) so I try really hard to not feel guilty about taking a day every now and then to go run a race or two. Saturday morning I’ll run a 10k and Sunday I’ll run the half so I’m pumped and have my tutu ready!

Today my kids are in the capable and present hands of a few other band directors to run rehearsals and obviously monitor behavior, but in two of my beginner classes I am trying an experiment that I have thought about for a long time – video sub plans. These are less of a plan and more of simple video instruction. In fact, I really just expanded a “ninja challenge” into today’s lesson.

Thinking about how to do this, I wanted to keep class running as smoothly and normally as possible so I have them doing our normal routine of things – a normal warm up, some scale review, and then, as if I were there, a new concept that they have been prepared for in class by me. This is where the video comes in. It is about 6 minutes and teaches them about key signatures and why their order is important (basically order of flats and sharps). This is the normal ideal amount of time I would spend on a lesson like this in class, but I would have normal class distractions so it might take longer in person. Not to mention, I have everything in this video worded precisely as I want – the detail is what makes video instruction so great!

Here is the fun part for students: during class today they will work in small a groups in practice rooms and watch this video on one of their devices. I am excited! I told them that I would be virtually with them – creepy!

Yesterday, I explained to them how it would work and put them in groups with students who have access to the Internet on their device. I also gave them an instruction page that has a QR code to the specific part of our website that they need to visit in order to view the video – scanning a QR code is fun! This way, if a student is absent today, they can still complete their assignment at home over the weekend.

I make QR codes for free using this website. It’s so easy!

Sometimes QR codes don’t work as smoothly as we might like, so I also included tinyurl addresses. Tinyurl.com will transform a long URL into a short one with a keyword of your choice so if you type in http://www.tinyurl.com/bassoonninja it will take you to my bassoon page. Another fun tool for you to use!

Here is a link to the key to key signatures video that students will watch today.

I’ll let you know how it goes! I am thinking positive about it!

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