Posts Tagged ‘YouTube’

Five Great Technology Tools for the English classroom

February 20, 2014

technology in the classroom


Courtesy of English teacher, Sarah Findlater:


Google Drive

Google Drive is a free online storage cloud that has Google’s version of Word, Powerpoint and Excel built into it. It allows students to create documents for free on the go. They can access and edit these documents on a tablet device or computer from various locations with their Google account login. They can share the documents they are working on with other students and can even work in one document at the same time to co-create pieces of work. They can also share the document with their teachers while they work or once they’ve finished to get instant feedback.

Teachers can help students with the creative writing process by getting them to share their stories as they write so you can feedback live without stopping their creative flow. You can give them quick and easy targets through the chat facility or highlight specific sections and create a comment – they have to respond to these otherwise the comment alert won’t disappear. You could also get students to co-create a presentation with one another on an element of the social or historical context of a text you’re studying, for example. Once finished, they can share the document with you, close down their computers and come up one at a time and simply click on their presentation now housed in your drive for instant feedback.


Edmodo is a free social learning platform for students, teachers and parents. It looks a little bit like Facebook so it is a familiar format for students to use. But before you run for the hills, it is very different to Facebook in that it’s completely controlled by the teacher and specifically designed for educational purposes – one of my classes has affectionately named it “Fakebook”. It has a shared timeline as a homepage where you and your students can interact and you can allow students to interact with one another, if you wish. Both teachers and students have a library where they can store documents and share them with others if they want to. The teacher can set assignments, students hand in assignments and teachers feedback on the work all within Edmodo. Two particularly useful functions are the quizzes and polls, and there’s also a built-in grade book that houses your teacher-assessed grades and quiz results for each student.

It really is a very useful all-round tool. You could consider saving essential documents – such as mark schemes, poems being studied and teaching presentations – in the class library to give students easy access to these at any time. You could also post photos of classwork completed by groups of students or individuals so all the students can see it for best practice. You could schedule weekly spelling tests – set as multiple choice quizzes – through Edmondo which will automatically collate the results so you can easily see trends within the class’s performance.

Screen casting

There a loads of tools out there that capture your computer or device screen and allow you to record your voice while you do so. Two that are often used are ScreenR which is free and Explain Everything, which is quite cheap. The idea is that you can take a picture of your computer or device screen and then set your voice against the website or pre-prepared powerpoint. If you collate these in one place, you have a bank of instructional videos.

A simple way to use this tool is to create short instructional videos to help your students study independently or revise a topic. For instance, you might create clips outlining different writing styles or perhaps your team can work together to create clips on themes you all think are important. You could get students involved and ask them to prepare a short videos explaining poems that you have been studying as a revision tool.


One way to collate the videos created by a screencast tool is to start a YouTube channel and upload them all there. This is simply your own YouTube home page – you can style the background, upload profile information and follow other channels of interest. You can also create playlists within your channel to organise videos into topics and allow students to find them easily. If creating your own videos is not for you then you can create playlists of videos that are already out there that relate to the topics you are studying.

What about creating a channel for your department? Create a playlist for each topic on your curriculum map from myths and legends to war poetry and creative writing. All you would need to do is to drop in videos of your choice. The videos could be created by your students, staff or just found from educational sources around the web. The clips could help students get more from the topic or encourage them to read and research around the subject – a wonderful resource for years to come that you can regularly update.


There are many blogging platforms around but the two that are most popular are WordPress and Blogger. If you’re looking for the easier of the two then Blogger from Google is the one. If you want a more sophisticated platform then WordPress is probably a better choice. A basic blog allows you to have a rolling front page of updating posts and static pages accessed via tabs, often along the top of the page. It is a great record of the year for the students to look back over.

Get your students to create their own blogs and use them as digital portfolios for the year, posting up their best work. Getting feedback from a real audience as well as peers, parents and teachers is a great opportunity for development. How about creating a blog for your class? You could update the main page with homework tasks, recommended reading and updates from your classroom. Try creating a post with a task or question based on the topic you’re studying and get the students to use the comments facility to respond. They could even extend their answers by responding to one another’s comments. You could use the blog as a record of lessons by uploading presentations and photos. If a student is ever absent, this is an invaluable tool to enable them to keep up.


Click on the link to read 5 Great Spelling Apps for Tablets and Smartphones

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The Dangerous New Craze Adopted by Kids (Video)

January 19, 2014


What ever happened collector cards and superhero figurines?

Parents in Rhode Island are being warned of a dangerous craze that involves middle-schoolers snorting Smarties.

According to officials in Portsmouth Middle School, the trend is a ‘widespread phenomenon’ that has been sweeping YouTube in recent years.

A search of the popular video-sharing site has revealed hundreds of clips where kids are seen crushing the beloved round candies into powder before sniffing them. 

The Smarties snorting trend is by no means a new phenomenon; some of the YouTube videos date back to at least 2007.

In one video posted in 2010, young boys are seen making lines of Smarties dust similar to cocaine and snorting the sugary powder through a rolled up dollar bill. 

The clip, which has drawn more than 12,000 views, shows the kids coughing and gasping for air as the residue fills their nasal passages and lungs.

Click on the link to read Robbie Williams Offers to Take Drugs With His Daughter

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Science Not For the Faint Hearted (Video)

January 15, 2014




I used to love the science television shows where the presenter would warn the audience not to try the experiment at home. That extra element of danger made the scientific explanation all the more interesting. Science lessons at school uniformly omitted the dangerous experiments and all that remained were the standard, tired, almost boring experiments.

Still, as much as I would have loved my teachers to perform the experiment above, I certainly wouldn’t have volunteered my services for the demonstration.


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Teaching Kids the Importance of Hard Work

November 18, 2013



Watch how this father makes his young children literally scale the wall for a piece of candy. I bet those chocolate bars never tasted so good!


Click on the link to read Young Love Elementary School Style

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The Moment a 9-Year-Old Became a Star (Video)

October 28, 2013



I don’t like talent shows and I find the constant judge and host reaction shots manipulative and distracting, but who can criticise this monumental performance by 9-year-old Amira Willighagen, singing Puccini for the judges of Holland’s Got Talent?


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YouTube Clip of High School Student Getting Slapped by Teacher

September 21, 2013



I hope all those misguided souls that believe that the answer to the behavioural problem in our schools is to allow teachers to engage in physical violence watch the video above.

Teachers should never be trusted to meter out physical punishment and it is abhorrent that Western democratic countries still allow this awful practice.


Click on the link to read 19 US States Still Allow Corporal Punishment in their Classrooms

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Click on the link to read Legalised Corporal Punishment = Legalised Physical Assault

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Standardized Testing Sucking the Love Out of Teaching (Video)

May 26, 2013



Many teachers have had their love of teaching eroded because of the emphasis on standardized testing. The teacher featured in this powerful video above, uses YouTube to resign from a profession she once loved.

I found this quote to be most compelling:

“Raising students’ test scores on standardized tests is now the only goal. And in order to achieve it, the creativity, flexibility and spontaneity that create authentic learning environments have been eliminated. Everything I loved about teaching is extinct.”


Click on the link to read Teachers Who Cheat are “as Dumb as Hell”

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Click on the link to read Too Many Tests, Not Enough Teaching


Hilarious Video of Kids Tasting Foods for the First Time

May 12, 2013


This great video reminded me of some of the classic expressions my children have when trying a new dinner recipe:

A heartwarming and hilarious video has captured the brutal honesty of children’s first encounters with new foods, showing their reactions in slow motion. 

Made by Saatchi & Saatchi, the two and a half minute homage entitled The First Taste was inspired when a creative director at the company’s Australian branch watched his own daughter try a gherkin.

The video focuses on seven toddlers and infants as they try sophisticated foods such as pickled onions, olives, anchovies and Vegemite.

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

Click on the link to read 5 Ways to Get Kids Active

Click on the link to read Food Giants Marketing Unhealthy Kids Foods as Healthy

Click on the link to read Good Heavens! It’s the Lunch Box Police!

Graphic Video of Teen Attacked on Bus

February 10, 2013

We hear about fighting and bullying but not many understand how bad it can get and how passive the bystanders can be:

Florida 16-year-old Chase Cristia was standing up for a friend during lunch, when another J. W. Mitchell High School student threatened her last Friday, Bay News 9 reports. Though Cristia reported the incident to her assistant principal, “no imminent threat” was found and the sophomore was permitted to ride the bus home, as always.

According to authorities, it was there where a 17-year-old student attacked, while another student filmed the brutal school bus beating. The footage was later posted to Facebook.

Addressing how quickly the video was posted to Facebook, Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning told local TV station WFLA, “I think it’s a reality of where we are today in our society and our culture.”

Two students allegedly involved have since been arrested on misdemeanor charges, but Cristia is still considerably shaken by the horrific incident that has been shared countless times on social media networks.

She returned to school on Wednesday, but left early after she was subjected to teasing from classmates, Tampa Bay Online reports.

Though the graphic video in which Cristia is beaten by a fellow classmate on a moving school bus is only 16 seconds long, it will live on the Internet for years to come.

“It’s not like we can recall them,” Dennis Alfonso, an attorney for the Pasco County school board, told the Tampa Bay Times.

According to school officials, the two sophomore students have also been suspended, and the district has launched an investigation into the incident, Fox 13 reports.

Cristia and her mother are pressing charges against the female students involved, and Cristia’s mother also intends to file a restraining order against the two on behalf of her daughter.

However, in an interesting change of events, Cristia told ABC News that she received a brief apology note from her attacker Wednesday morning.

“I’m sorry. I am so sorry, Chase,” the note reportedly read.

The First Grader Who Won His Classmates a Day Off School (Video)

February 8, 2013


I’m sure his teacher is grateful too:

One straight-shooting first grader quickly became the big man on campus when he sank a free throw to earn his classmates a day off from school the Monday after Super Bowl XLVII.

According to description accompanying the video on YouTube, the proposition at Mater Dei School in Bethesda, Md. was simple: make the foul shot and spend Super Bowl Monday out of the classroom. After a few older students missed their 3-point attempts, Blake Harper was given the opportunity to earn a day off for the entire school from the free throw line.

Harper stayed poised under pressure and sank the shot to the delight of his classmates, who all rushed the youngster immediately after securing the three-day weekend.


Click on the link to read Could This be the Most Violent High School Test Question Ever?

Click on the link to read Six Valuable Steps to Making Positive Changes in Your Teaching

Click on the link to read 10 Art Related Games for the Classroom

Click on the link to read 5 Rules for Rewarding Students

Click on the link to read Tips for Engaging the Struggling Learner

Click on the link to read the Phonics debate.

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