The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Close Reading a Video

Teachers frequently talk about the three different ways we read books: read the words, read the pictures, and retell the story. For fourth graders, we mainly focus on reading the words and retelling the story, but we still read pictures, too. A newer emphasis in recent years has been on close reading, or examining what the text actually says. (And yes, Mrs. DeHart, I do know that close reading is more complex than just that. It is late so I am going with a quick and easy definition.) For close reading, students need to read the same text multiple times to really understand what it says and how the author says it.

Today I did something with close reading that I had never done before with a class and, based on my quick Internet searching this afternoon, is not a particularly common practice: close reading a video.

Our new music teacher had shared a video with me a few weeks ago that she thought would be helpful in furthering my classroom’s theme of kindness this year. The video she found was a bit confusing to follow, though, because there were Portuguese voiceovers with English subtitles but Singaporean actors. I looked for a cleaner version and found what I think is the original, or something close to it.

I decided to share the video today as part of our Daily Five literacy activities. I told the students that they would do a quick writing assignment after watching to answer the question of how the characters showed compassion (our character trait for the month) to others. We watched it once, then I repeated the task and let the students watch a second time. Then I released them to their seats to write.

Because I wanted them to have the same access and resources as if they were reading a text closely, I shared the video with them through our Google Drive accounts.  That way the students could pull up the video to find evidence to support their position. It was great watching as they were working, thinking about the video and writing about what they saw. My hope is that the process of repeatedly watching will also have helped the message move into their long term memories! To finish up with this activity, we are going to type up what they wrote and post them on a bulletin board with this key quote from the video:


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