This post was almost finished and then something happened today and I went back and added to it.

Original Post:

Do you use videos in your classroom?  You should.  I was reminded of this during church service Sunday.  The pastor was not there and the guy filling in was preaching normal sermon.  I was listening but just that, listening.  Then the video monitors starting playing just a short clip on exactly what he was preaching on.  I went from just listening to totally engaged in a matter of seconds.

It is important we show videos to students.  If they cannot experience the depths ocean in real life or the inside of a hydroelectric dam (they loved that one btw), we can show them more than a picture from a textbook.

There are many places to find short videos. I used to only use Discovery Streaming, but we no longer have a subscription so I have had to look elsewhere.  IF you teach in the state of Alabama APTPLUS has many video clips that are pretty decent, you can use your Discovery log in to access.  How Stuff Works is wonderful and fun.  The negative is that not all commercials are appropriate (ovulation testers cause 6th graders to ask questions you do not want to answer lol). Discovery Channel and National Geographic also have great video clips.

YouTube is wonderful too.  It is blocked in my district but zamzar is a great downloading tool that is not blocked.  I usually download video night before and then open zamzar once at school.  Hey it works.

I do not mean to play movies or bore them to death.  Just short clips that get straight to the point.  My students and I always rate the videos on how bad the “Science Man” voice.  But even with a “Science Man” voice they still are interested in it is short and covers the objective. Four minutes is always my limit on clips, 2 minutes is always the goal.

Those looking to try using technology in your class this is a great start.  All you have to do is push play (and pause, I’m bad about pausing to explain).

Today’s Addition:

Zamzar is now blocked.  I used it last month, now because it shares files, it is blocked.  Once again the fear of technology wins. My heart is sad.

9 Comments Add yours

  1. Cory Plough says:

    Agreed. A lot of the videos have performances or presentation that is sometimes better than our own, but even if they aren’t, they are different. We have to change things up a lot to keep many of our kids engaged, and think you are doing a great job incorporating when you can.

    I am lucky enough to be at a charter school where our bosses let us use almost any tool we want. Ive been using videos in my online classes for 7 years. In the beginning, before there were a lot, I just made my own. Those were boring of course, and way too long, but video teaching etiquette was not developed yet.

    Have you tried using any of the video splicing tools that give you a new URL?

    1. amandacdykes says:

      Thanks Cory! Yeah I have been guilty of making my own too, especially when I taught math. I kinda made my own today. Took some free silent ocean videos and explained them & put them in an order.

      What do you mean by splicing tools???

  2. Amanda,

    I also use video in my lessons. Sometime a short 30 sec to 3 minute video can enhance a student’s understanding much deeper than words, text, or photos alone… especially when accompanied with a rich discussion. I understand your frustration as I am in the same boat as you are with all the blocked sites. I know this is not a true “techy” solution, but it’s one that I’ve had success with in the past. Many times, when I can find videos on YouTube or similar sites that I want to use, I have contacted the creators/owners of the video and explained how I would be using it in my classroom. Without fail, I have always had a favorable response often with the offer to send me the original file so that I can save it and play it directly from a disk or a flash drive. It may be worth a try. The worst they can say is ,”no.”

  3. Thank you for reminding me what I’ve not been doing of late. I have all of these great tech stuff and a simple video clip every now and then sure spices things up. I’m not sure about video splicing that will give you another URL but I’m looking forward to the reply on that.

  4. Discovery Streaming is a great resource for using video in the classroom. The resources available on this site go far beyond just the video component, and we are working hard to let our teachers use it to its’ fullest potential. Thank you for sharing wonderful resources in your post. Please check out:, and follow us. Thanks again,

  5. Melanie says:

    Bummer about Zamzar – it was blocked at my school. But I was able to get it unblocked because of an IEP. A student was using a voice recorder for writing, and we weren’t able to save the file unless it was an mp3. I was impressed at how quickly I got it unblocked.

  6. messerlyk says:

    I, too, want to thank you for reminding me of the importance of quick video clips. They work for us—–of course they’ll add spark and interest for our students. So, I’ll take the time to find just the right clip…..and pray for patience when I find that it’s blocked at school.

  7. ktenkely says:

    Love that you have the kids rate how bad the science voice is! So funny 🙂

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