Teaching Reinforces Learning: how Common Craft Video Enhances Subject Knowledge

Digital storytelling  allows students to tell a story that usually revolves around a specific theme or topic.   It is channeled through medium such a video, text, pictures, music or recorded audio.  Digital storytelling is a great way to have students make sense of what they have learned, and re-present their knowledge in a personal and creative way.

In my current Unit of Inquiry, I wanted my students to demonstrate their understanding of natural disasters, and be able to articulate how they work as one of their lines of inquiry.  Students researched on their chosen natural disaster, and after a few mini-lessons on note-taking strategies, they hand wrote their research notes, and then turned them into sentences and paragraphs onto Google Slides.

julia's notes1

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Now, just because my students have read books and articles, and then took notes on their topic, does NOT necessarily mean they understand how natural disasters happen! I knew at this point that if I give students the opportunity to “teach”, they will deepen their own understanding of the key concepts. There is where I decided to have them create common craft videos.

In a nutshell, common craft videos look like this:

Common craft videos are effective in offering students a different way to present their work.  Students do not have to worry about traditional forms of presentation skills such as making eye contacts, worrying about good posture, and memorizing their lines.  Rather, they can rely on other factors such as art, technology, teamwork and communication!   Common craft videos provide learners ample time to articulate their ideas and thoughts:  They can practice their content over and over again until they are completely satisfied.

Other benefits of common craft videos are listed below:

– allows students to make sense of their notes and TEACH others

– gives opportunities for students to EXPLAIN a difficult concept

– provides room for CREATIVITY in the way they draw and manipulate their props

– requires only basic apps like Camera and iMovie

The whole process of creating common craft videos is simple and straight forward if students have already prepared their “script”. This could very much be their research notes!

My students were very excited after I introduced common craft videos to them.  We watched different examples of common craft videos, and together developed a simple criteria for an effective common craft video.

Criteria for Common Craft Videos

Following this criteria, students observed as I created a common craft video on the spot using picture props that I prepared in advance.


Then, students were off to work individually or in groups to plan their own videos!

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Students were very engaged during the process. They referred frequently to their notes for reference.

Here a my student’s explanation on drought:

Here is another common craft video on avalanche:

One last one on hurricane:

They were so focused that by the time they completed their videos, I could tell they were much more familiar with their topics.  They have not only successfully taught others about their natural disaster, but also, deepened their own understanding through the process.

Would love to connect if you have any questions!

Published by Ms Claudia L. Kimura

Apple Distinguished Educator, Class of 2015 Primary school teacher, technology coordinator Not just a regular mom, but a teacher-mom Mom of 2 boys, stepmom of 3 boys

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