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The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast | ELA

Mar 28, 2024

Welcome to the Thursday edition of The Spark Creativity Teacher Podcast, a podcast for English teachers in search of creative teaching strategies. Whether you’re new to the show or a long-time listener, I’m so glad you’re here for this week’s mini episode. Today, I want to talk about Youtube, and how we can use students’ love for it to our ELA advantage. 

One of my goals for this year is to create the curriculum for an elective based on Youtube. I’ve recently watched my son go through the transition from watching Disney Plus and Netflix in his chill time to watching exclusively Youtube creators. He learns magic and parkour skills from them, watches them unbox things he loves, and generally would rather be subscribing to their channels than being entertained by the billions of dollars behind the entertainment industry. He’s already made the first video for his own channel, and he was willing to work through a LOT of frustrations as he tried to figure out the problems of audio, angle, lighting, script, theme, file size, and everything else required. 

I’m sure you’ve seen this same interest in Youtube in student after student. 

So what does that mean for us, as educators? There’s an incredible hook here for our students. I’m thinking about a Youtube elective (or unit) that looks at so many ELA skills that matter in our students’ communication, through the lens of video. Hooks. Closings. Making an argument. Sharing research. Interviewing. Documenting. I’m imagining projects like short documentaries, time lapses, mini profiles, travel videos about your local community, PSA videos about issues kids care about, video versions of college essays or performance poems. The 21st century skills are EVERYWHERE, no matter what topics you and your students choose to dive into.

I could go on and on and on, and maybe later, in another episode, I will. But for now, I just want to highly recommend that we consider Youtube an ally in our teacherly quest to help kids see just how relevant ELA is to their real life lives. You only have to look as far as the National Geographic, New York Times, and White House channels to know that Youtube plays a highly significant role in communication today. 

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