Teaching Art from Home – creating fun art videos for FCSN

By Natalie Hsia, FCSN Youth Volunteer

For many years, I attended FCSN events such as the art classes and galas, tagging along with my father and sister, who were volunteers for FCSN. I watched how my sister prepared materials and projects for the art class she taught for FCSN, sometimes even helping her with her classes. Finally, I am old enough to be a volunteer myself, and now I am responsible for teaching the art class of South Bay Family Gathering program. To choose projects with the right difficulty, I search for ideas that are simple but fun at the same time. I also try to find projects that are meaningful for special holidays or occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Halloween, and Mother’s Day. Not only is constructing the crafts and watching the overall progress of the projects fun, it also brings me great joy to see the kids following along and enjoying the different crafts that I show them.

When FCSN Youth Volunteer Coordinator, Mannching Wang, first emailed me with the idea of recording arts and crafts projects so students could follow along at home, I was extremely intrigued even though I had no previous experience recording video lessons. I appreciated her suggestion as it allowed me to continue teaching students while also learning how to present information clearly through recordings. To prepare these lessons, I first make sure the project can be completed using basic materials that are available in most households. After choosing a suitable idea, I film myself completing the steps on a smartphone, making sure the camera is capturing small details such as cutting specific shapes. When I first started off, I constructed the project myself before filming to determine which parts needed changes to make it easier for students to follow. However, this required me to repeat the construction multiple times, so I started to record myself completing the entire project, then going back and rerecording the parts that needed changes.

One of Natalie’s students with her artwork

The most difficult part of preparing video lessons is editing the recordings to make them straightforward and easy for students to follow along. Because I often make changes to the project during filming and the footage can run as long as fifty minutes, I had to identify segments I could omit without leaving out critical steps. I also take time to record voice overs and insert subtitles or reminders throughout the video to emphasize or clarify important steps. Finally, I always try to leave room for students to be creative about their artwork and make it their own by encouraging them to use colors they like or giving them choices when building their projects. After sharing my first video lesson, seeing students post their wonderful artwork inspired me to continue making lessons and improve the quality of my videos.

I look forward to seeing everyone once regular classes start again, and I would love to hear if anyone has any questions or suggestions about projects I can incorporate into future lessons!

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