Sing a Dirge to VHS

Sing a Dirge to VHSI’ve written here before about what a shame it is that so many old materials get discarded. This is very true with VHS videos, movies, and teaching material gathered through the years. I’m 45, so I’m not part of the new teacher age (about 25) so my gripes may be vacant to them. However, those about my age will remember all the science, math, and language arts VHS that came to us over the years that are now literally “inaccessible.” Houghton Mifflin had some science VHS tapes that were spectacular. They showed survival in the ocean. This is powerful teaching stuff for any classroom but especially in my demographic where the kids rarely see the ocean. I really do feel video has powerful potential in lessons, especially completely new concepts. Perhaps the only video my kids will see of the ocean is Happy Feet? Video has its place in education and I do mourn the loss of a VHS player in the classroom.

Scott Forseman had a set of VHS tapes for social studies that were out of this world. They showed photos of the first public school and explained the reasoning for starting it as part of a government service to farmers in California. They had authentic Native American footage and a slough of other audio visual excitement that got the kids interested in the subject matter. I consider myself an excellent storyteller, after all I have two blogs I wrote on every day. But having said that, video can add so much more to a story. We hear a lot about flipped teaching these days and I am quite interested in it but I think it’s important to note that you need the teaching of a classroom teacher along with the video component for it to reach its maximum effect. As we have moved away from the VHS player, I wonder how many VHS tapes will sit on shelves only to be discarded bu teachers. Do you still use VHS in your lessons?

Author: Damien Riley

Having been a public school teacher since 1997, I've gained valuable classroom experience. Sometimes a great tool is a dynamite lesson plan. These posts are from a real teaching journey. I hope they inspire you. Thanks for reading!

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