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Fire-up Your Students’ Learning with YouTube

Fire-Up your students learning with YouTube.

Hey creative thinkers!

I know all of you know about YouTube.  In short, I go on YouTube for just about everything, no scratch that everything. I am a DIYer at heart so I either live on YouTube or Pinterest (my favorite past time, no seriously just ask my kids).

YouTube will FireUP your students' learning

YouTube is simply awesome and for transformative teachers like us, it is a magnificent place to go to not only supplement our lessons, but to also fire-up our students’ learning.

It’s time for some hard truths:-

  1. Students are not learning the traditional way (you can thank technology for that).

But I happen to like technology minus those video games. Ugh! ‘Traditional’ can no longer be our go-to. As creative thinkers we are always on the lookout for non -traditional ways to enrich and engage young minds.

YouTube can hold our students’ interest and engage beyond the traditional.

There are so many educational videos and some that are not so educational (we’ll talk more on that later) that are available for teachers to incorporate into their lessons. Students learn by watching reenactments, demonstrations (experiments), listening to stories, songs and notes! What’s notes you ask? Well take a look at ‘Thug notes’ on YouTube. It was a great find when I was searching for another way to explain “Lord of the Flies” to my son who was in 8th grade at the time. Well one introduction was enough to make Thug notes my go-to when looking for an alternative way to explain a classic. (Disclosure: The language in this video is for middle and high school students).  And even knowing this you guys I would check with administration (as she whispered on the side).

  1. Students attention spans are lower than ever.

Unfortunately, this frustrating truth is here to stay as long as we live in an instant gratification society. So, what do we do creative thinkers? We become innovative and transformative.

YouTube can spark impressive discussions and debates! (I love those)

During my reading lessons, I implemented a Socratic method called “Circle session”. The students form a circle on the rug and conduct a Q & A session using accountable talk sentence stem. I do not participate in any way during these sessions. Rather I use this time to informally assess my students. These discussions were sparked by books we were reading and YouTube videos I chose to supplement the reading lesson. The YouTube video held their interest, encouraged questions and responses. They were fired -up.  I have to tell you watching my students actively using content rich vocabulary was spectacular. Even my most reluctant students joined in.

YouTube supplements lessons

  1. There are increasingly more incidents of disruptive behavior.

Based on my career as a teacher, which has been about 15 years, I have run the gamut of disruptive students. Putting it nicely, it was an eyeopener.  One thing I have learned is 80 percent of disruptive students need redirection. How about a trip? A virtual trip that is.

YouTube can transport your class around the world.

I didn’t believe until I went looking and I did say I live on YouTube. I mean who just types up virtual field trips?  Me! Technology, gotta love it. We are always searching for a thought-provoking ways to fire-up our students. Every September I do my very best to plan class trips to the museum, planetarium, the library, etc. We’ve gone on neighborhood walks, grocery shopping (yes, I’ve done that; I promise I didn’t actually shop). YouTube offers virtual field trips to the Amazon Rain forest  or go on an African Safari! All without leaving your classroom. And it’s free (bonus!). I can not tell you what a sanity-saver this was. My disruptive students (and I had whoppers) were engaged and…wait for it; they wanted to do the follow-up activity as well. I was jumping for joy (not outwardly cause that would totally ruin the stern look). 🙂

So, about those not so educational videos…

You want to be super diligent when choosing the right videos for your students. Always watch your selected videos before your students to the end. There are some videos that are point blank inappropriate depending on grade level (see previous video).

Accessing YouTube videos

Most schools have firewalls installed to prevent inappropriate content exposure to the students. And this totally blocks out YouTube. But there are ways around that. Once you’ve selected and viewed the video, download the video or link it to a PowerPoint or Word document and Voila! YouTube also have an education section called #Education YouTube. Check out those videos as well.

YouTube is a useful learning tool. Use it to supplement your lessons. It provides a visual not to mention audio means of learning. Go ahead and fire-up your students!

So, creative thinkers, how many of you are using YouTube? Can you share some of the awesome ways you’re using this great resource?

Happy teaching!



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Welcome to my blog!

Hi I’m Genevieve, I’m a mom, teacher, DIYer, and blogger and I believe we should live life with expression!


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