Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Story of Stuff

I just watched a great video called The Story of Stuff. It takes you through the life cycle of consumer goods and discusses the implications of it all. It's fast paced, engaging, and interesting. And it's only 20 minutes long, which makes it perfect for the classroom. There's even discussion and activity guides.

You can play the video on any computer, but since most schools don't have the fastest net connections, I've saved a copy (just 50 MB) to my flash drive. I've also got a copy of VLC Media Player Portable on my flash drive, too, in case the school's computer has some ancient video player installed. For grades 6-8, this video is a great way to fill a 20 minute gap in the day with highly engaging and educational material.

For teachers, there's a growing amount of educational video on the web in places like YouTube and TeacherTube. While full-time classroom teachers will be downloading clips around which they'll base lessons and units, occasional teachers will want to carefully choose a variety of videos to carry with them which address various grade levels and curriculum strands. Being prepared with a short video relevant to curriculum allows an occasional teacher to enrich a lesson, ensure that all instructional time is used efficiently, and demonstrates to students that you're an effective teacher. Once you've got your students' confidence, classroom management becomes a breeze.

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