Category Archives: Videos

Think Like a Coder

TED Ed has so many great videos for the classroom.  These videos have interactive questions, which can be customized for your own students.  You can sort the videos by subject if you are just browsing, or you can search for keywords.  Many of the videos are short animations offering information about topics like coronavirus and “A Day as a Teenage Samurai.”  Other videos pose riddles for the viewers, such as the ones in this playlist. (The River Crossing Riddle is a student favorite!)

If you know young people who like to code, TED Ed also has a series of 10 short (about 6 minutes long) videos where viewers are given challenges that reinforce coding concepts such as loops and conditionals.  Think Like a Coder tells the story of a programmer named, “Ethic,” and her sidekick, “Hedge.”  It begins when Ethic awakes to find herself imprisoned, and Hedge helps her to escape her locked room.  Ethic must give Hedge specific instructions in order to discover the code to open the combination.  The animation guides the viewer through the process of developing a code with loops, which would be more efficient than creating a line of code for each potential combination.

Think Like a Coder feels like a video game, but it isn’t.  It also probably won’t appeal to students who are brand new to coding.  If I was using this in the classroom, Think Like a Coder would be the perfect supplement for a Code.org studio course, and I might use the TED Ed or EdPuzzle tools to crop the video so that students can offer answers before the solution is given.  This series would also be great to offer students who have high interest in this area, and would benefit from watching the videos independently.

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Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Working Together While We’re Apart

I have been uplifted by the many videos that have been shared on social media lately showing how people are making their own joy with others despite our physical distances.  I wanted to share a few today.

This first one was brought to my attention in a blog post by @LarryFerlazzo:

Here are two young people who chose to give their elderly neighbor a concert:

The Rotterdam Philharmonic did this gorgeous recording, “From Us, For You” of “Ode to Joy.”

This particular video from the Roedean School in South Africa is beautiful to watch and hear.

I keep watching this one over and over again because I adore the pure joy in these boys as they play Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida.”

Here is an amazing mariachi concert by students on Twitter:

For a dose of absolutely adorable cuteness, you should listen to “Virus in a Tree.”

And finally, for those of us looking for some humor, watch this clever and talented family perform the pandemic version of “One Day More” from Les Miserables. (Thanks to @jtrayers for sharing this on FB.)

If you are looking for other videos to make your heart sing, I have two Pinterest Boards that may help you: Inspirational Videos for Students and Inspirational Videos for Teachers.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cincinnati Zoo Facebook Lives

If you can’t go to the zoo, the zoo will come to you!  Each weekday, at 11 am (EDT), the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is presenting a Virtual Classroom experience using Facebook Live.  From what I can tell, a couple of the previous experiences (meeting alpacas and bathing an elephant) are archived on the Facebook page.  According to comments, requests have been made to also make them available somewhere else so that people who do not have Facebook can still view them.  You can also find some archived videos along with lesson plans on this page.

The Cincinnati Zoo is also providing Facebook Live Safaris.  These are happening at 3 PM (EDT) each weekday, but you can also access past videos along with suggested home activities on this page.

There are many more, but I’m trying not to overwhelm readers with too many resources in one post.  Thanks to all of you out there who are keeping our students engaged during these tough times!

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Image by mmcclain90 from Pixabay

Coronavirus Education

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.

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Class Hook

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.

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Kids Love Short Films

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.

Another place that I have mentioned where you can find many videos for school is The Kid Should See This.  Tomorrow I will talk about an additional favorite video resource!

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay