1- Choose the behavior or skill to teach.
Start with one skill at a time. Think about the most pressing need, whether that’s demonstrating cool hands, or using some form of communication to ask for something that is important to them. There may be several skills that stand out as important, and that’s fine. There may be some that are prerequisites to a larger skill, so if time allows, it may be best to address the prerequisite skills through another own Video Story. Sometimes we start with a Video Story that is extra motivating by incorporating something they are interested in, such as the Cars theme in the “Super Tools” Video Story example. Remember we want to focus on the positive demonstration of the skill and showcase how cool they can be.
2- Analyze the simplest steps of that skill.
Once I have chosen the skill, I analyze or distill the skill or concept down to its simplest steps. I think about what that skill would look like scene by scene like in a TV show or step by step like in a recipe. A simple sketch of the story’s outline in a story-board format may be a helpful exercise in visualize what steps need to happen in what sequence. This step is important and takes some actual reflection. We don’t usually think it this way, so it may seem somewhat backwards to us. It helps me to visualize slowly, scene by scene, what needs to happen for this skill to “look” right. After I distill the concept to its simplest form and visualize a general idea of the sequence of scenes, I bring it to the student to incorporate their ideas. I want the student to be personally involved in the planning and take as much ownership of their Video Story as possible. Often they have fabulous ideas for what each person should say in that situation, and weave their own creatie genius into the story. To help the discussion stay focused, we create a story-board sketch of the scenes together.
3- Help your student perform each step, with prompts as necessary.
We do whatever it takes as far as prompting to get them to show each step of the skill. Since we are editing out the prompts, we have some freedom to support the student as much as they need in order to perform this skill to the best of their ability, actually to just beyond their ability, so we are accessing the “zone of proximal development.” Since will be removing all the prompts, so we want to make sure that the prompts we do provide can be edited out. We may have picture prompts, written cues, or verbal prompts for each step. I usually have the steps or script written in words or simple picture sketches on a small white board held off camera just behind the listener’s head, so even though the speaker is glancing at the lines, it seems like he is looking at the right person.
4 – Edit out all the prompting, so the students see themselves as independent and successful.
Editing out all the prompting, down time, and unsuccessful attempts allows the true magic of the Video Story to shine. As the “movie stars” see themselves demonstrating their new skills independently and successfully, the words, actions, and skills become their own powerful visual memory. Student learn by seeing and doing, and they learn an extraordinary amount from seeing themselves doing it right.
5- Watch the Video Story, sharing with home and school, celebrating their success and giving them opportunities to show off their new skill.
I’m often asked, “How many times do they need to see the Video Story before it starts to sink in?” The answer is as varied as the students themselves. Some students only needed to see it one or two times before they started eagerly initiating their new skill. Once they initiate it in real life, each successful experience will help them generalize and internalize the skill. It works wonders to send the Video Story home with the student on a DVD, so that the parents can celebrate the student’s success and perhaps change their vision of the student’s potential for success and learning and growth.