Distance Learning: Using Zoom to Record Writing Lessons


My first experience recording writing lessons was during a “flipped classroom” trial. It didn’t quite work out having students watch lessons at home then, but I found that it was very powerful to continue recording my lessons in class. It allowed me to provide my absent students with a full lesson when they returned. In addition to absences, I had a lot of students pulled for services during part of my writing block, so having recorded lessons was an amazing help with that issue.

Then, COVID-19 happened and remote teaching became a reality for most teachers overnight. Recording short writing mini-lessons became an instant necessity. Most parents and caregivers aren’t equipped with the time or training to do the teaching part, and so many are relieved to get video lessons!

Below are two trainings I did on pre-recording lessons with Zoom.

Video 1: Shows how to record lessons with Zoom and a document camera. Even if you don’t have a camera, watch this training to learn how to record your lesson with Zoom.

Video 2: Shows how to record lessons with Zoom and a graphics tablet. At the end, I show you how to record lessons by modeling in Google Slides with no tools necessary (no document camera or tablet).

This post contains affiliate links.

Writing Lesson Plans

Both videos feature resources from the Simplify Writing program. The program provides the lesson plans, graphic organizers, and exactly what to say during your mini-lesson. It truly is no-prep for both classroom & distance learning lessons.

Method 1: Using a Document Camera

My document camera of choice is Hue PRO USB Document Camera. It’s reasonably priced and plugs into the usb of any computer. The software is easy to download and use. You’ll see me use it in this tutorial. Another option is to use your phone as a document camera in Zoom.

Method 2: Writing Directly on PowerPoint/Keynote File OR Typing Into Pre-Made Google Slides

I absolutely love my Huion drawing tablet. It allows me to draw on PowerPoints and basically anything else that has a drawing tool. This tutorial shows how I use it. At the end, I also show you how you can model in Google without any tablet or document camera needed.

Even after schools reopen, I expect for digital learning and recorded lessons to be a big part of many classrooms. It’s a wonderful strategy to allow students to watch and rewatch your videos!

Try one (or all) of my methods, and choose which one fits your teaching style the best. For me, it’s the document camera. There’s just something about handwriting when I model my writing lessons.

If you love the Simplify Writing lessons linked above, don’t forget to join the waitlist for more information on when we open to our next group of teachers!


April Smith

Curriculum Writer and Online Professional Development Coach. 


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