YouTube Family Game

I just recently played a game (two hours ago) with my son where we shared YouTube Videos.  The ground rules for the game were simple.  A: Parent shares an educational video, and B: Child shares a video of choice with parent.  After each round, parent and child compare videos and a superlative adjective is awarded such as the funniest, the most informative, the most awkward, the most entertaining, etc.  This can be done at any age level.  My child is currently a sixth grader so I definitely understand the risks involved; consequently, I am recommending this be done in the home with parents but not in the classroom with students.

Through my observations (having played the game three times now), I have found this a great way to promote educational videos, real historical content found, artistic creations, and other edu-entertainment films.  In addition, I have also learned about what my son is viewing on the internet, how he makes choices, what his values are, and what is going on in my son’s school and world.

So how can you be prepared to play the game?  I don’t have an easy answer, but I will share with you what we have done.  In the past, I have used the “Animaniacs” educational videos on maps and presidents, an outdoor music flash mob in Vienna, Austria (precious), the Iran Hostage Crisis short history (to answer unanswered questions about Argot), Los Angeles Historical photos, and time-lapse videos from various regions of the world and various climates.  These keep him engaged and interested, and provide a starting point (always go first) to show what you value.  In response, my son has shown me (sometimes better videos) of pop-culture, goats singing with stars, how kids cheat (although he does not participate), cool sports moments, how it should have ended videos, and minecraft videos (sit through it you will learn a lot about your child).

Obviously every parent will uncover different facts about his/her child and his/her child’s way of life, and I am sure some kids will not play (can’t fix that one).  I have just found this a great way to get to know my child, his digital generation, his thoughts on society, his concerns, his understanding of the world, and his understanding of fact and fiction.  I hope this works for you, and I wish you the best.  We do get outside on a regular basis too.

Spanish Cooking Show – Technology Integrated

My students recently suggested that they study their Spanish commands by creating a cooking show in Spanish and filming it with their video editing skills (mostly done in Imovie).  Because our thematic unit currently covered foods in Spain, they chose to cook Spanish menu items such as la paella, la tortilla de patatas, los churros, y el gazpacho.  Knowing that my students were suggesting a project that, if done properly, would require more work than they were expecting I gave them the week off from homework so they could organize an awesome design, create clear scripting, practice cooking, talk and cook at the same time, film, and edit that film.  I also made sure that they knew that a fracaso (failure) was OK to film as well as un éxito (success).  I felt it important to let them know that they did not need to make the same thing more than once and that the experience was just as important to film as well as anything.

To help them organize responsiblities, I divided them into groups of three where each group had un cocinero (chef), un presentador (show host), and un videógrafo (video editor).  I gave them basic responsibilities, but my students at Chatsworth Hills Academy were able to use that scaffolding as a launching pad for even more creative shows and unique outcomes in their videos.

The project overall was a success, and while I don’t feel comfortable sharing their videos at my blog site, I might get permission from their parents to use this in a presentation or a conference in the near future.  The students relished the fact of using their video creation skills learned in our tech classes for academic work, and they enjoyed cooking, eating, using Spanish commands, and working together outside of school speaking Spanish.  The project was so successful that I would do this in the future because it promotes outside usage of Spanish in unique ways that I did not expect and the community of students in my classroom became stronger as human beings and responsible students. I highly recommend finding time to provide activities like this that allow students to merge video technology skills with learning Spanish.  There are so many more ideas that I can now attempt because of this success, and I can’t wait to do more interview shows with other grade levels.