I’ve previously mentioned that our district recently loosened up its content filter to allow teachers to access many previously-blocked sites, like YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, etc.

This has created some great learning opportunities for our students, and I thought I’d bring together the ways I’ve begun using this access through a classroom projector.

You might also be interested in The Best YouTube Channels For Learning English.

I’m definitely eager to hear other ideas from readers, too.

Here are my choices for The Best — And Easiest — Ways To Use YouTube If, Like Us, Only Teachers Have Access To It:

ESL Video has been on previous “The Best…” lists. Teachers from around the world have made simple quizzes connected to YouTube videos. I divide up students into pairs, each pair has a small whiteboard, marker and eraser and a team name or number, we show the video, and then students answer the questions. Every correct answer gets a point for their team. Winners are supposed to get a tiny piece of candy but, since we usually do this a few minutes before the class bell rings, everybody forgets on their rush out the door. Students just love playing it. And it couldn’t be more simple to make your own, too.

Lyrics Training shows YouTube videos of the latest popular songs, and provides subtitled “clozes.” In other words, it will show the words as they are sung, but it will periodically show a “blank” where a word has been removed. The video will stop at the end of that line, and listeners have to type in the correct word that they heard. The “blank” also shows how many letters there are in the missing word. You’re given the option of watching the video with a few blanks, more blanks, or none (which is great after you complete the whole song). It’s great to project it up on the screen and then have students — either individually or in small groups — use small whiteboards to write down their answers. It’s simple to use — no registration is necessary — and you can learn more about it at Teacher Training Videos.

Batlyrics has been on The Best Places To Find Lyrics On The Web list for awhile. It shows the lyrics on the side while playing a YouTube video of the song at the same time. Now that we can access YouTube, it’s great to have a full sing-along.

Instalyrics is a new site that shows you the lyrics to any song very, very quickly, along with a music video that goes along with it. The lay-out is very “clean” and it replaces Batlyrics as my favorite place for music videos and lyrics.

Lyrics Gaps lets you choose a song and the language you want it sung in and then gives you the option of seeing/hearing it in different modes — karaoke, beginner, intermediate, expert. Apart from karaoke mode, you’re then shown a YouTube video of the singer, along with the lyrics on the side including blanks (fill-in-the-gap). I especially like the beginner mode, which provides several options to chose to complete the sentences. The higher levels don’t give any hints.

LyricsNMusic is a nice site that lets you easily search for lyrics and you can a very clean and accessible copy. It also finds music videos of the song. What I particularly like about it, though, is that is shows the lyrics at the top and the video at the bottom, so you can play the music and show the lyrics without students getting distracted by the video. Other sites show the lyrics right next to the video.

Interactive YouTube videos are great, though there aren’t a lot out there appropriate for classroom use. There are a few, though, and you can make your own (I haven’t tried, but there are plenty of “how-to” links at The Best Places To Read & Write “Choose Your Own Adventure” Stories). They’re basically video versions of “Choose Your Own Adventure” stories. I show the video, and then students vote on which choice to make.

Here are some that are good for classroom use:

Drop The Weapons is a very intriguing “choose your own adventure” video developed by the London police to discourage people from carrying guns and knives:

Here’s an interactive spelling bee where students can again use whiteboards:

The Ken Burns National Parks Interactive Photo Challenge is “Find The Difference” game. Students can write on their whiteboards how the pictures are different:

Here’s one from Sesame Street on the scientific method:

Additional suggestions are always welcome.

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