Watching videos does not fit the traditional model for homework, but it is part of a relatively new approach some Pearl River teachers are trying known as flipping the classroom.
The more familiar method involves a teacher presenting a lesson in class, then having the students apply the new information in their homework.
In a flipped classroom, the teacher prepares a video lesson that students watch for homework, then they apply the lesson the next day in the classroom, asking questions and doing assignments based on their home studies.
Pearl River Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Sue Wheeler explained the flipped classroom at Tuesday's board of education meeting, pointing out that it may not work for every lesson, but it can be useful.
"With increased access to the internet and video, teachers are able to make video part of the process," Wheeler said. "The children watch the video of the lecture at home. They take notes. They formulate questions. They can watch and re-watch the video.
"When they come to class, they do the traditional homework with the teacher as an expert helper. It works well in a lot of content areas."
One advantage is the students have the help of the teacher when they are applying the lesson, which is when many questions can arise, rather than having to turn to other students or parents for help.
"Teachers can give more individualized and personalized attention to students," Wheeler said. "They can work more on a one-to-one basis."
Students also have the option to watch the video as many times as necessary, which can be helpful when a student is struggling to grasp a new concept.
Teachers can either create their own videos or find existing lessons online. There are many examples of flipped classroom lessons on YouTube.
Wheeler said this type of instruction does not fit for every type of lesson and it is normally used at the middle school and high school level. The method also helps students catch up if they are absent.
See the attached video clips for more of Wheeler's explanation of flipped classrooms, examples of the video lessons and introductions to the teaching method.