Category Archives: Videos

Exact Instructions Challenge PB&J

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.

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Jimmy Fallon Loves Teachers

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week in the U.S., and Jimmy Fallon loves teachers.  In their honor, his Tuesday night audience this week was composed of 200 New York City teachers.  You can see Jimmy’s heartfelt introduction to the show here.

Jimmy’s story about the teacher who gave him a hall pass to go outside, reminded me of a story my daughter told me about one of her middle school classmates, also a former student of mine.  Apparently, he exasperated one teacher enough that she asked him to step outside into the hall for a moment.  The door had a glass pane in it.  A few minutes after leaving the room, the student pressed his face against the pane, and sang, “Hello from the other side…” by Adele.  Fortunately, like Jimmy Fallon’s teacher, my daughter’s teacher also had a sense of humor!

Another segment of the same Fallon episode involved the musical group, The Roots, doing some musical improv with information from some of the educator audience members.

Happy Teacher Appreciation to all of you wonderful teachers out there!

Here’s to the Lives That You’re Gonna Change

It’s the season of graduations, and Jason Mraz just released the perfect song to accompany every single one of them.  I played it yesterday as my 4th graders were working on mandalas, and they left the classroom singing the chorus in unison on the way to lunch.

The song, “Have it All,” is one of those catchy tunes that you don’t have to be a music producer to predict will be an instant hit.  It will lift your heart even more when you watch the video.  Students from Binford Middle School in Richmond, VA, (where Mraz has mentored since last year) appear in segments of this uplifting short film. The custodian gets a starring role, too!

Jason Mraz is a master of lyrics, and your students may enjoy analyzing such lines as, “May you be as fascinating as the slap bracelet.”  My favorite is the one I used to title this blog post.

For more inspiration for the students who are embarking on new chapters in their lives, you may want to check out this collection of videos I posted last year.  I also have a list of books that make great graduation gifts.

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A Man and His Dogs

It’s Phun Phriday, and I wanted to share this heartwarming video of a man who is on a mission.  We need more stories like this every day.

Inspiration from Apple

Apple made some announcements yesterday regarding additional support for educators with new products and management tools.  You can read about it here.  As part of its “Everyone Can Create” campaign, the company released a new video, “One Person Can Change the World.”  Of course, its ultimate purpose is to sell Apple products, but listening to the children narrating may make you ready to go out and do something incredible.  A couple of great quotes from the short video are:

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As I watched the video on YouTube, I noticed another Apple video from 2014 that I don’t remember seeing before today.  This second video is called, “Perspective,” and I can’t wait to show it to my students.  As Apple states in the video description, “Here’s to those who have always seen things differently.”

Both of these videos will be added to my Pinterest page of Inspirational Videos for Students.

Kindergarten Weather Report

This adorable Kindergarten weather report has been making its way around social media.  Caden Corts’ video producer father may have given him some help with the green screen work, but this kid is a natural in front of the camera!

OK Go Sandbox

If you have ever seen a music video by “OK Go,” then you cannot fail to be in awe of the band’s incredible creativity.  In every production, you can tell that they spent a lot of time on brainstorming, working hard, and having fun.  Even more notable, though, is how much math and science must be used to create these complex feats of artistic expression.

In cooperation with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas (seriously wish this had been a thing at my university!), OK Go has designed a new website, the OK Go Sandbox, that provides resources for educators to use with students for STEAM activities based on a few of their music videos.

Each of the music videos currently featured on the site has a link to educational materials that include free downloads, challenges for the students, additional videos, and suggested activities.  From making flipbooks to experimenting with sounds made by different “found” instruments, this resource explores the astonishing potential of merging science with art.  Some of the challenges can be used with the Google Science Journal (a free app available for both Android and iOS).

It looks like this is a dynamic project that is encouraging advice from educators, so be sure to visit this page for more information on how to get involved.

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OK Go Sandbox