You told us you wanted more videos, and we listened. Each month—in addition to one piece of original video content—we’ll be curating the very best on-topic clips and short documentaries, which you can use to complement our articles between the bells. Check out our picks below, and email us if you’ve got a fan favorite in your classroom or other recommendations: firstname.lastname@example.org. Our ultimate goal is to become a rich repository of appropriate and engaging videos that will help you liven up your classroom. (Take note: If there’s no video for a particular story, that means we didn’t find anything compelling enough to recommend. But again, if you’ve got suggestions, we want to hear them!)
DEBATE: Has Celeb Fandom Gone Too Far?
The School of Life: Better Celebrities
Summary: Humans (especially teens!) need role models. This video makes the case that celebrities aren’t bad—we just need to look up to better celebrities.
How to use it: After reading our debate, show your students this video. Ask questions to engage them in a lively discussion that considers all of the points of views they’ve just heard: Whom do they consider their role models? Is it possible to be a fan of a celebrity without looking up to them? Are there people who are famous for no reason? What type of role models should get more recognition in our society?
YOUR LIFE: Take Tests Like A Boss
Choices TV: How to Stop a Meltdown
How to use it:
YOUR NUTRITION: Junk Food, Why Can’t I Quit You?
The National: The Science of Addictive Food
Summary: Your students know that they crave Doritos and candy. But do they understand that those foods are engineered to be addictive? This video breaks down the fascinating science behind junk food’s irresistible nature.
How to use it: Start by asking your students what their favorite junk foods are and why they like them, then show them this video. While they watch, have them make a list of things that surprised them about the junk food industry. Discuss whether the knowledge that junk food is engineered to be addictive makes them want to change their eating habits. (Read our Junk Food, Why Can’t I Quit You? story to convince them there are healthier alternatives!)
SciShow: Why Our Brains Love Junk Food
Summary: Using clues from our evolutionary history, this short video explains why humans prefer high-fat, high-carb junk food to more nutritious fare, like carrots.
How to use it: Show this video to open your class period, then read our Junk Food, Why Can’t I Quit You? story. Point out the nutrients that are strategically present in our healthier creations and explain why those nutrients can help them outsmart their primitive preference to eat lots of starchy, fatty foods. (Say how protein satisfies you, fiber makes you feel full—you get the idea!)
Caution: Video uses the word “frickin’” at 2:24
YOUR CHARACTER: To Tell or Not to Tell
PBS Newshour: These Student Whistleblowers Spoke Up To Prevent A Shooting
Summary: A product of PBS Newshour’s Student Reporting Labs, “The Whistleblower” recounts the story of a student, principal, and a local police officer as they worked together to stop a Pennsylvania school-shooting plot in its tracks.
How to use it: This short segment is the perfect bell ringer for a class spent examining the difference between reporting and tattling. Afterwards, ask students: Besides catching wind of a school shooting, what are some other situations where they may need to alert an adult about a safety concern or health issue—even if it’s against that person’s wishes? Then read our To Tell or Not to Tell story, which opens with the student featured in the video.
Sandy Hook Promise: Say Something
Summary: This video (produced by Sandy Hook Promise [LINK THIS]) effectively combines telling statistics and troubling news clips to hammer home the importance of speaking up.
How to use it: Short and powerful, this video is the perfect closer for a class period spent reading our To Tell or Not to Tell story. Encourage students to think about exactly who they would go to—a parent, adult, or administrator—if they needed to “Say Something.”
WISH-TV: Teen Drinking Death Underscores Need To Call 911
Summary: This news report tells the story of Brett Finbloom, an Indiana teen who died of alcohol poisoning. Had his friends called 911 earlier, he could be alive today.
How to use it: Opening class with this video can help you start a conversation about why good people might stay quiet or run away in dangerous situations, even if they know a friend is in need. (Note: Brett’s story makes an appearance in our To Tell or Not to Tell article, highlighting laws that protect teenagers who report alcohol-related emergencies.) After reading, revisit that opening discussion, adding new vocabulary your students will learn from the article, such as diffusion of responsibility, bystander effect, and lifeline law.
DIFFERENT LIKE YOU: “I Escaped a War Zone”
New York Times Op-Doc: Another Kind Of Girl
Summary: In this short documentary, a 17-year-old Syrian girl films an intimate portrait of life in her refugee camp.
How to use it: Our “Different Like You” series is intended to inspire empathy in your students. Open class with this video, then ask students what stereotypes or challenges this girl might face if she started a new life in America. Then, read Zain’s story in the magazine. What surprised them about Zain’s experiences? How could they help someone like Zain if he came to their school?
CHANGEMAKER: Sophie’s Garden Feeds The Hungry
Take Part: A Place At The Table (film trailer)
Summary: Lack of access to affordable, healthy food is one of the leading causes of obesity in America. The trailer for this film, by the creators of Food, Inc., highlights the problems facing those 50 million Americans who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
How to use it: Read about Sophie’s garden, then ask your class: Why do they think the first food bank Sophie went to was stocked with junk food? (Answer: It’s cheap!) Then watch this video, which can help to open a discussion about how cost and availability serve to limit many Americans’ access to fresh produce. What could your students do to help?
PBS: A Food Desert Blooms
Summary: In this video, your students will learn about a school in the middle of a food desert in the South Bronx. It grows its own food for students learning to become chefs.
How to use it: A food desert is an area in which it is extremely difficult for residents, especially those without a vehicle, to access fresh, healthy food. Ask your students: What do they have to do to access fruits and vegetables? As a class, visit the USDA’s food desert map and find the food deserts closest to your school.
TEDxManhattan: Stephen Ritz
Summary: Stephen Ritz, the educator from the previous video, has grown 25,000 pounds of vegetables in collaboration with students in the South Bronx area. He talks about why his successes are so crucial.
How to use it: This video is probably more interesting for teachers than for students. Watch it and get excited to teach your students about the importance of produce and the power of small-scale agriculture in the communities that need it most.
CHALLENGE: Face Food Fears
DNews: How Your Taste Buds Change Over Time
Summary: Surprise! Taste buds change over time, and this video demonstrates why and how.
How to use it: Kick off class with this video before reading this month’s Challenge. Then, start planning! Give them the opportunity to change their minds about Brussels sprouts or spinach by having a class feast.
New York Times: Creating The Broccoli Craze
Summary: What happens if an advertising agency markets fresh fruits and vegetables the way they do processed foods? In this video, the New York Times goes on a mission to get people to eat more broccoli.
How to use it: Can’t devote a day to a giant fruit or veggie feast, as our Challenge suggests? Use this video and our Junk Food, Why Can’t I Quit You? story to round out a class period that focuses on the forces that influence what we eat. How powerful is marketing? How powerful is taste? Encourage students to break into groups and create their own image-makeover campaign for a fruit or vegetable of their choosing.