Using YouTube as a Teacher’s Aid

YouTube app icon

I remember the day that I walked into an elementary art classroom and saw that the students were hard a work learning how to sculpt and manipulate clay. But the teacher was not at the front of the classroom leading the students in the lesson, rather it was a video from YouTube. While the “virtual” teacher continued with the lesson, the “real” was free to make the rounds in her classroom and provide students with 1-on-1 individualized support and direction.

YouTube continues to grow at an amazing pace with videos on a wide variety of topics. Common Sense Education has put together a list of their Top YouTube Channels to Boost Classroom Lessons that teachers could use both in and outside of the classroom.


In addition to their list, here are a couple of channels that I’ve used to support my Digital Citizenship lessons:

  • Brooke Gibbs – Author/speaker and authority on bullying in the schoolyard and workplace.
  • Bystander Revolution – Simple acts of kindness, courage, and inclusion anyone can use to take the power out of bullying.

And a couple more that cover a variety of topics:

Story Time From Space

What could be better than having someone read a story to you? How about having that someone be an astronaut who reads a story to you FROM SPACE?! Enter Story Time From Space.

Story Time From Space logo

Story Time From Space is a project of the Global Space Education Foundation, and contains over a dozen different videos of astronauts aboard the International Space Station reading space-themed children’s books. Each video starts out with a quick introduction to a part of the International Space Station, such as the all important airlock door and the cupola “window observatory” module. Then, as the story begins the videos cut back and forth between the astronaut reader and the book illustrations with a little animation thrown in for fun.

Mousetronaut story/video screenshot

Each video comes with the following information:

  • Written by
  • Read by
  • Run Time

Scrolling down the page will provide you with a written synopsis of the story. There is also room for multiple Activity Guides that are “coming soon!” Finally, almost all of the Story Time videos include links to purchase the books from a variety of vendors.


In addition, the foundation is in the process of putting together a playlist of “Science Time Videos.” These will introduce basic scientific concepts that are connected to some of the science experiments that the astronauts have conducted about the International Space Station, so stay tuned!

Developing a Healthy Media Diet

Social media is an ever-present part of our lives, and even more so for our students and children. As a result, teachers and parents need to take the time to investigate strategies on how to balance the consumption of social media with the other aspects of our lives. Common Sense Media as put together 5 Simple Steps to help you, your students, and your children achieve this balance.

Follow this link to access the full article from the Common Sense Media website.

If you’d like to learn more, then use this link to access additional videos relating to this topic including Common Sense Media’s #DeviceFreeDinner series.

YouTube Channels for Teachers & Learners

YouTube app icon

YouTube is a powerful and ever-growing source for videos about teaching, learning, and growing up in our ever-changing world. But, because there is so much out there it can be difficult to find videos of good quality and that are appropriate for the classroom. Luckily, there are fellow educators out there who have been hard at work curating such lists to share with the rest of us.

In a recent post on the Know Your Why! blog, Steve Wick shares his top six YouTube Channels designed with teaching and learning in mind including Edutopia, Google for Education, and others. And for you history enthusiasts out there, take a moment to watch the first video ever uploaded to YouTube (it’s 19 seconds long, so I think you can fit it in).

However, Steve Wick is only one person and to truly create a worthwhile list of resources requires the help of others. That’s why he has created a community Padlet board for other educators to contribute YouTube channels that they have found beneficial to teaching and learning. The Padlet board is organized into 15 categories ranging from science and math to empathy and physical education. There’s even a category called “Anything Goes” for those channels that don’t quite fit one particular mold. If you have discovered a YouTube channel that is share-worthy then please consider adding it to the list.

Padlet board screenshot

Google Forms Update: Give Feedback via YouTube

Feedback is an important part of the assessment process. When using Google Forms in the quiz configuration, every question comes with the option to add feedback to students for both correct and incorrect answers. In addition to text, teachers could also include a link with their feedback to anything from a website that they had used in class or perhaps a Google Doc that contains notes from a previous class discussion.  Now teachers can also embed a YouTube video into the feedback section of a question.


How it works

  • In Google Forms, create a question and add the possible answer choices.
  • When done, go to the bottom of the question and click on ANSWER KEY to switch panels.

Forms question panel with question and answer choices

  • In the ANSWER KEY panel, if you have not added feedback yet then you will see the option to ADD ANSWER FEEDBACK at the bottom.

Forms answer key without feedback yet

  • If feedback has already been provided, then click on the pencil icon to edit.

Forms answer key with feedback already added

  • On the feedback window, you have the option to add text, insert a link, and now embed a YouTube video. Clicking on the YouTube icon will open the same window seen when using the “Add video” option in Google Forms where you can search YouTube be keywords or paste a direct link into the search box.

Forms "add video" search window

  • NOTE: Depending on what type of question you have chosen, there are feedback options for both INCORRECT ANSWERS and CORRECT ANSWERS.

Forms feedback window with text and YouTube video

  • When you have finished configuring your feedback, click the SAVE button. You will return to the ANSWER KEY panel and a preview of the YouTube video you selected will be embedded below the answer choices.

Forms question with YouTube feedback added


For more information on this and other recent additions to Google Forms, please check out Google’s post on The Keyword blog.

Socratica: Beautiful Science, Math & More!

Socratica is a YouTube channel chalk-full of high-quality videos on a variety of subjects with a focus on math, science, and arts and humanities. Clicking on the Playlists tab will show the variety of subtopics available on the channel, 25 in total, ranging from Astronomy and Biology to Algebra and Geometric Constructions to even a Glossary of Art terms and Shakespeare Sonnets.

Socratica YouTube playlists screenshot

The number of videos in each playlist varies as does the length of individual videos. For the longer videos that you might want to use only a portion of, check out my post on how to clip the beginning AND end points of a YouTube video.

Ever since I started using the quiz feature in Google Forms to conduct assessments I have been on the lookout for high-quality videos like these. I will insert them into the “Add feedback” panel of a Form question so that students can use them to help “brush up” on the material and as a study tool if a re-assessment is needed.

Google Forms quiz question "Add feedback" panel

Recent Updates to Google Classroom

Google recently announced some updates to their Google Classroom app with a focus on improving communication with students as well as with parents/guardians. If you’d like to watch this review online then click here.

Comment Settings move to STREAM

Classroom commenting tool drop-down menuThe configuration box for controlling the commenting ability of students has been moved from the STUDENTS tab to the STREAM tab. The actual functions haven’t changed; you can still set the public or “class” commenting privileges for students, just that the tool is now located on the tab where the commenting actually takes place:

  • Students can post and comment
  • Students can only comment
  • Only teachers can  post and comment

Manually send Guardian Summaries

Email student or guardians envelope iconGuardian Summaries are a way for parents to get regular updates on how their child is doing in their classes through Google Classroom. Go to the STUDENT tab and click on the name of a student in the list to take you to their “Your work” tool. By clicking on the envelope icon in the top-right corner, now teachers can manually send a Guardian Summary to a student, the guardian(s) of the student, or both the student and the guardian(s). After selecting your receiver, there is a space below to enter a quick message. Don’t forget to check off the box to Include student work summary if you want that information included in the transmission. NOTE: A guardian must have accepted the invite prior to this point in order to include them in this communique.

Guardian summary email tool


Teachers & Co-Teachers

About section-teacher managementNothing much to say here except that the footprint of this module has been made smaller. You still use this tool to add co-teachers to your class, remove them, email them, or transfer ownership of the class to another. Students still see the list of co-teachers for the class and an envelope icon to send an email to them.

As always, if you like these changes or have suggestions for some new ones then please do not hesitate to send Google feedback via the question mark “?” icon located in the bottom-left corner of the window.