With various media outlets reporting on the current coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), it is important that students who may be exposed to this onslaught of information understand the facts. Educating younger children about the virus may be as simple as reminding them how to wash their hands, and other common methods that can help prevent the spread of many diseases. Older children may benefit from more specific information, and this can also be seen as an opportunity for broader learning as they compare/contrast pandemics throughout history, analyze mathematical models, and develop their own ideas about how to avoid further outbreaks. I’ve curated some resources below that might be useful in the classroom setting. As always, please review materials before using with your class to determine their appropriateness for your particular audience.
In yesterday’s post about a website that archives short video animations for kids I mentioned that I would be writing about another source for videos to use in the classroom. The site is called, “Class Hook,” and I have mentioned it before in a post about using video clips. That post gave information about some tools that you can use to make your own clips if you are trying to use parts of longer films. But Class Hook actually provides clips for you.
I have worked in two different school districts, and one of them blocked Class Hook, so definitely try it out on campus before you choose to rely on it for a lesson. Even if it doesn’t work at school, you can still use it at home to find clips relevant to your content. Most of the clips come from videos already accessible on YouTube, which can be a work-around (if YouTube isn’t also blocked!). Class Hook’s tools will allow you to quickly narrow down the unlimited content that you would find in a Google search to a few suggestions.
Class Hook has a tiered pricing plan, but I can only tell you about my experience with the free version, which was perfectly adequate for my needs. On this plan, you can browse all of the clips, filter by grade strands, clip length, and by series. You can also choose a subject or search for a topic and create playlists.
An example of how I used Class Hook in class was when I was searching for a clip for my Engineering class. I knew there was something in Apollo 13 that I had once thought would be perfect, but I couldn’t remember the exact part of the movie. A quick search on Class Hook revealed, “A Square Peg in a Round Hole,” which was exactly what I was looking for.
For ideas on possible uses for Class Hook, take a look a this page. I doubt you will need it, though, as I’m sure you will see many potential benefits of this tool once you try it.
Although it looks like this site has not been updated in awhile (since 2016?), “Kids Love Short Films” has an archive of animated shorts that are considered appropriate for a young audience. I say, “considered appropriate” because I always advise that you preview any videos before showing them to a class, knowing that “appropriate” is a subjective word.
Short videos like the one above often don’t have any dialogue, so they are good for students to summarize. You can also discuss theme with your students or, depending on your curriculum, the design elements used in the film. Some may be inspiring, like the ones that I collect on this Pinterest Board, while others may be directly related to the content you are teaching.
Thursday Appointment is an Iranian short film by a 20 year old director that won an award at the Luxor Film Festival. Though many of us may not understand the language, we can certainly comprehend the messages of kindness and forgiveness. I am adding this to my Inspirational Videos for Students Pinterest Board. Once you’ve watched it, you may want to click here to better understand the tradition that makes this film so beautiful. This could also lead to a classroom discussion regarding customs in different cultures. I am including the original and a dubbed version here.
Could the fact that I just noticed the title of this NBC show is a double entendre be in any way related to the fact that I now spend my days teaching teenagers?
It could just be that Nick Offerman and Amy Poehler hosting a show about amazing makers distracted me from any other interpretation of the title other than crafting incredible stuff.
If you are a STEMer, STEAMer, or STREAMer, you should definitely take a peek at this weekly show to get some inspiration. Though it is not directly related to education, you will get some ideas of what is possible with a little bit of imagination and a lot of glitter and balsa wood.
You can stream the episodes here if you don’t have NBC or Hulu. So far, my favorite has been Episode 2, in which the makers were challenged to design forts and corresponding toys for children. The versatility and creativity of each entry blew me away. I am really glad I’m not one of the judges.
If you love watching people rip each other apart or run naked through the woods, then this show might not be your cup of tea. But if you enjoy seeing people who appear to be genuinely nice and sometimes a little bit goofy produce amazing works of art with unusual tools and supplies, “Making It” should be your goal for tonight.
Okay, that didn’t quite come out the way I meant it. But you can take it any way you want. I’m not in charge of your personal life. Most of the time I’m not even in charge of mine.
The Global Student Voice Film Festival is a competition for students ages 5-18. Hosted by the Student Voice Organization, of which Jennie Magiera is president, this contest is in its second year. Last year’s theme was, “In Another’s Shoes,” and I highly encourage you to view the winners. For the 2018-2019 contest, students will create 60 second films with the theme of, “Activating Change.” You can access the rules here. Of particular note is the optional Dec. 17th deadline. Entries received by that date will receive feedback from the judges, and be given the opportunity to revise their films to be turned by April 9th. Participants who don’t meet the December deadline have a hard deadline of February 18th.
The goal of this contest is to amplify student voices, but it is also to reinforce respect for intellectual properties, so any use of images, video, or music in the film that are not created by the contestants are subject to strict copyright guidelines.
If you have students who are passionate about film production and/or making a difference, the Global Student Voice Film Festival would be a great project for them.
One of the funniest writing professional developments I ever attended included a live demonstration of the teacher following written instructions for making a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich. By following only the instructions on the paper, the teacher ended up making a huge mess. The point was to show that we often forget some important specifics when writing a “How To” paper. YouTube’s Josh Darnit has a video you can show your students to get the point across without having to stick your own hand in a jar of Jiffy. He assigns his children the task of creating “exact instructions” for making a PB&J sandwich, and chaos ensues.
I showed the video to my students in Robot Camp, and they immediately understood the connection – that programmers can’t assume the robot or computer knows what they are thinking, and if something goes wrong you need to go back and fix your mistake instead of blaming it on the device.
You should note that this particular video is labeled, “Classroom Friendly,” and I can attest that it is appropriate. I can’t vouch for any other Josh Darnit videos or “Exact Instructions” on YouTube.