Short, Motivational Videos to Evoke Discussion in Your Classroom


Hi Everyone!

Happy October! Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes, your favorite boots and sweater, and the beauty of leaves changing. 

Every day, I start all of my classes off with some sort of bell ringer or prompt to engage my students to discuss, share opinions, or argue a thought or idea.  I really try to differentiate my prompts, and I try to change the prompts from analyzing quotations, "What If" questions, "This or That" prompts, moral dilemmas and other thought-provoking writing questions.  However, after a while, the prompts can become repetitive and mundane.  I started to incorporate short video clips (3-5 minutes) for the students to watch and answer questions.

I wanted to share some of my favorites with you, along with questions your students can respond to after watching the clips.

1.  Kindness Boomerang-Ugh. This video...I don't know what it is about it, but it brings tears to my eyes every time I watch it.  Maybe it is the music or just the overall message, but every student in middle school and high school should watch this video about kindness and its ability to become a chain reaction.

Questions:

1.  Give two ways the videographer incorporates kindness into this video.
2.  What is the central message of "Kindness Boomerang"?
3.  What is the theme of the video? What lesson can be learned from the video?
4.  What is your favorite part of the video?


2.  Elephant & Dog Who are Best Friends-This video will make you say, "Awwww!", and it has the ability to teach humans the meaning of friendship.  There are so many takeaways from this video!

Questions:

1.  There are a few message and lessons people can learn from this video. What are the lessons someone can take away from this video?
2.  What can animals teach people about friendship?
3.  What part of the video resonates with you the most? Why? Explain your thinking.

3.  Don't Eat the Marshmallow!-This is such a eye-opening video about success and patience.  This video is incredibly interesting, and it has such a great lesson about the correlation of patience and successful people.

Questions:

1.  What is the purpose of the professor's research? What were his findings?
2.  Do you consider yourself impulsive or patient?
3.  What did you learn from this video?

4. How Bad Do You Want It?- This is perfect video to show students the results of hard work.  This video is not about trying a little, but putting one's best effort in accomplishing a goal.

Questions:

1.  What are the results of this young man's hard work?
2.  What is the central idea of the video?


5. Walking in Someone Else's Shoes: This is an essential lesson for any grade level, and the message that is portrayed in this video is just breathtaking.  Understanding perspectives and what others endure is key aspect of developing character, kindness and empathy.

Questions:

1.  What does it mean to "walk in someone else's shoes"?
2.  What kind of mood did the cinematographer create for the viewer? Explain your thinking.
3.  Why is this video such a valuable lesson for any age level?

I hope you find these videos helpful and engaging, and I hope they bring deep discussions into your classroom.

Please let me know if you use any of the videos!  I would love to hear what you think!





My Favorite Quotations for the Secondary Classroom


Hi Friends!

I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  As August approaches and some of my teacher friends begin thinking about returning to school, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite secondary classroom quotations.  Even though this does say "secondary", I know many of these quotations would fit just right in an elementary setting too!

As you walk into my classroom, I have a bulletin board to the left that I never knew what to do with-it is too small to do a large theme, and a calendar never did fit quite right.  For years, it was wasted space- I would use for upcoming events, I would hang important papers there, and by the end of the year is was just 'blah and ugly.

Last year, I decided to get creative.  I have always shared a weekly quote in my classroom, and normally I would write it on my front board; however, it sort of blended in with the date, idiom of the week, and normally just got lost.  I felt bad for my quotations because I REALLY love them, and I think they are impactful for my students...here enters the "blah" bulletin board.  It was time for a fancy quotation board. I decided to paint the bulletin board in chalkboard paint, and I purchased the chalkboard paint markers from Amazon.  I educated and taught myself some of the fancy handwriting fonts, and my quote board was off to a fleeting start.  Here are some of the pictures from my classroom over the year-


Becoming the Techie Teacher in the English Language Arts Classroom for the New School Year



Hi Friends!

I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start!  I hope you are enjoying time with your family, the beach, vacationing and relaxing!  We know teachers need relaxation!

I know, I know. How can I already be thinking about the new school year when my summer break just started?  I actually had the chance to experience some new technology this past year that I wanted to share with you that works wonders in the English Language Arts classroom.  I wanted you to have a chance to explore the technology before you go back to school and be able to ponder how you can incorporate it into your classroom.

The Best End of the Year Activities for the Middle School English Classroom




Hi Teacher Friends!

I know some of you are lucky enough to be rounding out the end of the school year in the next few weeks and days.  My school finishes at the end of June, as most Northeast school districts do.

I have been trying to plan out my last five weeks of the school year, and this year, my school is doing finals differently.  We are actually not going to have a "finals week", and the kids are going to be in for regular periods for the last two weeks. In the past, we have always had half days where the kids would come in for the test and then leave.  We will be actually giving our finals during the school day, rather than holding half days! This now leads me to have to plan for an extra two weeks of school.

I thought I would put a list of items together that are some of my favorite activities to do the last few weeks. I am definitely going to be utilizing these, and they will be in full effect!

Back to Top