How This Lyon County Teacher Leader Uses Video for ‘Instant Improvement’ in the Classroom

“We want everybody teaching their best, and I really do think, if video coaching is something that was implemented within every classroom, we could have a really strong foundation,” said Dena Degolyer, a second-grade teacher and learning strategist at Lyon County School District in Nevada.

Dena uses Edthena to support teachers with reading strategies across the district and also as a self-reflective tool for her own practice as a literacy teacher.

How have you used the platform on the instructional coaching side of things as a learning strategist for your district?

“As a learning strategist, what we do is really try to have a model classroom. I use Edthena to model specific components of balanced literacy in my classroom.  We use these videos to help support teachers. If they’re struggling in a certain area, we can use video to show them, and then have a side-by-side sit-down conversation,” she said.

Her job as a learning strategist centers around ensuring improved literacy at the district level. Video-coaching has been a pivotal professional development tool to aid her teachers.

The balanced literacy approach to teaching incorporates a variety of teaching styles for student learning, such as guided reading and writers’ workshops. Having the video evidence ensures that multiple components of literacy are successfully incorporated in her teachers’ reading blocks.

“After recording different components of the balanced literacy block, we are able to use timestamped comments to either ask questions or make suggestions focused on improved literacy,” she said.

What are some of the benefits of using Edthena in your own classroom to support balanced literacy?

Teacher Dena Degolyer from Lyon County uses Edthena for video coaching
Dena shared how using video was originally challenging, but she emphasized how it defied her expectations to allow for instantaneous improvement.

“At first, it’s a little nerve-racking. Videotaping yourself isn’t always easy, and you’re your own worst critic,” she said. “But once I started using it, it was super beneficial. It’s instant. You can look at it immediately. Then, on the next day, you either replicate something that you liked that you did really well, or revise.”

Dena highlighted how video can lead to differentiated instruction for students in future lessons.

“I can analyze the video to see which students are engaged and which students need a little bit more support. I think that this can help us create more purposeful and focused lessons that advance the implementation of the curriculum,” said Dena.

What new things are you looking to try with video coaching and video reflection for this upcoming year?

Dena’s hopes that this year that she can use the data in the Edthena platform to further impact her literacy coaching.

“My goal is to incorporate Edthena into helping our teachers with their goal setting. Then, I can use this data to drive instruction.”

Dena is looking forward to utilizing the Edthena goal-setting tools called Commitments, which turn any comment inside the platform into a next-step professional goal. At the end of the year, teachers have a personalized action plan which details their professional learning.

Dena’s interview was the latest in our Teacher Voices series. To watch the previous Teacher Voices installments, click here.