Spotlight on Strategy

Using Videos in the Classroom - "STOP and JOT"


According to Thirteen Ed Online (2011) “Teachers who use instructional video report that their students retain more information, understand concepts more rapidly and are more enthusiastic about what they are learning. With video as one component in a thoughtful lesson plan, students often make new connections." Many of our students are visual learners. Videos are a powerful tool in today's classroom. Having students view videos brings the content of learning alive, it makes the content real. When students view a video, meaning comes alive, bringing the outside world into the classroom and provides a sense of reality to the content being taught. There are so many effective instructional strategies to use when students are to view a video.

Because my students use the Discovery Education Techbook on a daily basis, videos are used often and it’s important that students use the videos as a learning tool and take information from the videos to form opinions, decisions, and answers to content that is to be mastered.

I use the "Stop and Jot" method when students are viewing videos so that students are engaged in the content by thinking about the "big ideas" or the "essential questions" of the lesson. There are times I feel that students go through the motion of watching a required video, "Because my teacher told me to." without really stopping and thinking about the video unless a teacher provides a purpose for viewing. This strategy requires students to stop to think and respond on a higher level when viewing a video.


  • Chromebooks and ear buds
  • Video segment that matches curriculum and big idea
  • "Stop and Jot" worksheet - can be posted online or copied
  • Pencil (if writing on worksheet)
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STOP and JOT example

Students were to answer the essential question, “How did the British profit from the establishment of colonies?” There is a video in the techbook called “The Business of Colonization” that discussed how the British made a profit from the colonists. I knew that if students just viewed the video on their own, they wouldn’t get much from the video, so I created a “Stop and Jot” Board I learned from a Discovery Education representative that visited our school.

The purpose of this activity is for students to stop and think about the video they are required to view. Each box as a key idea on the top and a stopping time on the bottom. The middle of each box is empty for students to "Stop and Jot" key ideas and details about that section of the video. Students are to pause the video at the times indicated in each box. When they stop the video they are to think about the key ideas and details and jot them down, continuing in this matter until the video is done. After, they are to go back and look at what they jotted down in each box and circle or underline the details that link to the essential questions of the lesson. This will help students answer the essential question.

Step 1: View the entire video (3.1-page/tab 3) “The Business of Colonization”. Get a basic idea of the information presented in this video.

Step 2: View the video a second time to determine key ideas and details using the flowchart below. Remember to stop the video by the appropriate times to jot the information you thought was important.

Step 3: Circle or underline the details you wrote in the chart above that link British profit from the establishment of colonies.

Step 4: Using the details in Step 3 as your evidence, answer the essential question on the back of this paper; use TRACES format. How did the British profit from the establishment of colonies?

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  • Select a video that matches your curriculum and try it out with your students!
  • Use higher-level questions in each box.
  • Have students view the video with no sound, stop and jot what they think is happening. View with sound and discuss what they wrote to what they heard.
  • Have the students listen to the video, no images, and have them draw illustrations that go along with the commentary they hear, see if it matches up.
  • Let me know how it works, how you used this activity or what changes you made.

Jeanine Weinreb