Rachel Mair from Ambleside Primary School, Nottingham, and fellow teacher Max Speed feature online in the first of a new series to share good classroom practice.
Ms Mair told Nursery World she noticed that parents were always drawn to photo displays in the classroom. 'We started using children's photos and making photo stories with captions, and using film became an extension of this.'
She said film was used in a number of ways, for example to record particular projects. For last spring's topic on Africa the children were filmed on 'safari' looking for animals, and 'the children are still talking about it now, instead of it being a fleeting experience.'
Ms Mair said that as part of a big inner-city primary school, 'we had the usual issues, children with poor speaking and listening skills, and we tried lots of different things to get them interested in phonics and stories'. To approach phonics, they made a film about each letter and introduced the letter to the children using actions and activities with objects from around the nursery.
'We used real objects - for example, M for mop and mopping the floor,' said Ms Mair. 'Children joined in the actions and shouted out the words. There was a lot more enthusiasm, particularly from the boys, about writing letters as a result. Photo and video helps to re-visit experiences and consolidate learning.'
Film was also used to engage parents and make links between home and nursery.
Ms Mair said, 'We wanted children to learn nursery rhymes and a lot of parents said they didn't know any. So the nursery children were filmed singing and performing 14 nursery rhymes and the DVD was given to every parent with a child in the Foundation Unit.'
Ms Mair added, 'We didn't have any special equipment or training - just a digital camera and the free software Windows Moviemaker, which we downloaded. Everyone should have a go!'
The video can be seen online at www.teachers.tv/videos/ sharing-your-great-practice-using-video-to-improve-literacy