ESL | YouTube in the Classroom

TIME has marched on at quite the pace since I was at school – I still vividly remember when the materials cupboard (or rather the dead space between the two classrooms in my tiny village primary school) became a computer room, complete with Encarta Encyclopedia! Does anyone here remember Encarta? Did you know it lasted till 2009 on the web? I had no idea!

THE internet sure has a lot to answer for, but used right it can be a valuable resource in the classroom. YouTube, time-sucking pit though it can be, is a haven of songs and videos that are so useful for the classroom for students of all ages. I’m going to talk about some of my favourite channels and some of my favourite YouTube related activities.

mini youtube

StoryBots: Channel

Storybots Screen Shot

I’m not going to delve too much into this channel, as it’s so good it’s going to get it’s own post. I love every single video they have – We Are The Planets is quite possibly one of my favourite ever! I’ve been using these for years, and kids love them! The alphabet letter songs are also great fun for 3rd and 4th grade – visually stimulating and introducing all sorts of vocabulary!

mini youtube

Super Simple Songs: Channel

Super Simple Songs Screen Shot

BINGO, If You’re Happy And You Know It and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star are three of my ultimate back-up kindergarten songs. They are bright and fun, and Twinkle Twinkle is very calming – a neat trick if your class is running riot. Your students will be mesmerized.

I’VE not taught kindergarteners for quite some time now – I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss it – but I see Super Simple Songs had added all sorts of new videos – many with multiple songs. You’re spoiled for choice!

mini youtube

영국남자 Korean Englishman: Channel

Korean Englishman Screen Shot

YOUTUBE isn’t just for kindergarteners. I love using Korean Englishman videos in my classes as a treat if we finish a class with time to spare. There are Korean and English subtitles – something that takes a huge amount of effort from the Korean Englishman team and something that I massively appreciate. My students are listening to all kinds of English, and have no problem understanding. They also love seeing people eat Korean food!

IF you’re in Korea and you still  haven’t see the original fire noodle challenge, where have you been, watch it now, show it to your students. If they haven’t seen it already (they most likely have) they’ll giggle themselves silly! After watching it, one of my 4th grade classes challenged me to eat the noodles in class. I’m a cool teacher, I agreed! (Spoiler: They’re not that spicy… well I like that kind of spice!)

More recently, I’ve been using the Off-shoot channel, JOLLY and Josh’s wife Gabie Kook’s channel. These channels also have Korean subtitles (or more often in Gabie’s case, English). Being a British teacher in Korea, these channels are excellent in class, either as relevant to a class, as a conversation tool or as a reward. Just make sure you watch them first to check for language etc!

mini youtube

Music Videos/Lyric Videos

THIS depends entirely on the age of your students and your Co-Teacher (CT), the latter if you are in Korea. Pop songs are a really useful tool when learning English and shouldn’t be underestimated. One of my CT’s used songs really effectively – much like the humble word search, songs are an underrated way of learning English in the classroom.

WHICH songs you use are up to you! They can be lesson related, part of a warp up or wind down activity. Once students have a repertoire of songs, it’s a really good way of settling them as they come into class.

OF course, this depends entirely upon your CT, but if in doubt, I created an English Camp entirely based on songs, see more here.

mini youtube

Lesson Topic Introduction Videos

Miranda Tuesday Screen shot
This will all make sense momentarily, I promise! 

Whether you make them yourself, know other teachers who have uploaded relevant role-plays to YouTube or simply stumble upon something, introduction videos are a great addition to any class. I recently taught the chapter on days of the week. It’s not a hard topic, but I was struggling to think of a fun way to introduce it… then I remembered Miranda and this excellent clip. With a brief explanation to my 4th graders as to what they were about to see, this clip set up the lesson excellently – even with no subtitles, they got the gist of what was going on! (And I used Miranda as an English learning tool – winning!)


HOW do you use YouTube in the classroom? What are your favourite channels? Do you have any recommendations or suggestions. I’d love to hear from you!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.