In this video John Green provides a glimpse into how he learned to love learning and in doing so shows us how we can help others find the same passion for learning. Everyone wants to learn things, do you really believe people are out there with the mindset that they want to be stupid? The problem is finding those things they want to learn and incorporating them into your class. Making learning relevant is one of the most important and sometimes most difficult jobs we have in education because relevance is different for each student.  If I knew how to make all material relevant to all students I wouldn’t be blogging this, I would probably be basking in the sun on my yacht.

I think the starting point for most of us in education is believing that learning is as important as we say it is. This means spending your own time learning new things and getting immersed yourself. If you find something you really want to know more about and then do so. Now ask yourself, how can I replicate this feeling in my students? This will put you on the right path, because the answer to this question is different for everyone.

Or you can just watch the video, and then go learn something. Because John Green is right, “Learning is awesome”


Educational YouTube Channels

We all know the power technology can have in learning. Youtube is no exception; kids are constantly learning things on YouTube. From how to get past a certain level on a video game to where Johnny Manziel spent his weekend, it’s all on YouTube. But as teachers we don’t seem to share well. We often keep our resources to ourselves. We don’t not share because we are secretive or selfish but because others often don’t ask, which seems contrary to what we tell our students. This post is just a collection of YouTube channels I have used, or watched, and the classrooms they best serve. I know there are many more and I will update this list from time to time. Because there are so many I won’t go into detail about all of them and the details I do go into will just be a short description. I will provide a list of other channels at the end of the subject areas that I have found to be useful and engaging.

Crash Course: These channels get their own heading because they cover so many different subject areas and are all very well done and engaging.

Crash Course- If you comb the internet for videos about History it is hard to believe you haven’t come across Author John Green and his collection of AMAZING History videos. Crash Course World History and US History, and currently being added are World History 2 videos, don’t necessarily follow the traditional social studies curriculum. There is much more emphasis on critical thinking questions and looking at things through multiple perspectives, not just the winners. This is why these videos are so great. The purpose of history is to help students think and better understand the world they live in. John Green covers the purpose of learning history amazingly in the introduction to the first world history video. If you ever have students who ask you, “when am I ever going to need to know this,” play them this intro and talk with them about it.

Crash course also covers psychology with Hank Green, John’s brother, and is a great introduction to psychology for both high school and beginning college students.

Crash Course Science also covers a wide variety of topics; Chemistry, Biology, and Ecology. I was never really a science nut in high school but always understood its importance. These videos, also starring Hank Green, give students an engaging look into the world of science. If these would have been around while I was in school I would have been a much better science student.

Finally we get to Crash Couse Literature 1 and 2. Author John Green dives into a topic that often confuses students into hating reading classes. John’s look into how and why we read in the introduction of this series again helps answer the question of “why do we need to do this stuff in school.” This course breaks down some of the most widely covered books in schools and gives students other perspectives on how to look at these books. Like all the Green brothers series, these are great for middle school through beginning college students.

Social Studies:

VlogBrothers– Again, the minds of John and Hank Green are here to help us look at some complex social issues. The series is basically just the two brothers thinking out loud to each other but the topics covered can be used in a variety of different classrooms, especially social studies classrooms. Great for sociology and psychology classrooms, as well as history, government, economics, and basically any social studies classroom you are in or running.

Khan Academy– Great for a variety of topics; Economics, US History, and World History being the most applicable to most social studies classrooms. The economics videos I think are probably the most useful. Economics is often seen as a dry subject by most students but Sal Khan uses a great variety of real life applications making the material connect to the real world. He also breaks econ down into Micro an Macro, giving students in introductory classes a more specific look at the different types of economics they are covering.

CGP Grey- In these videos you explore some very important topics in great detail. CGP Grey uses some great illustrations and graphics to keep students engaged and the topics covered apply to a variety of social studies classes. Most CGP Grey videos are around the 5-7 minute range, long enough to deliver great content but short enough to keep students listening. Topics are often approached from a different angle than students are used to hearing giving them a different perspective on these topics.

WonderWhy- I stumbled across this channel just a few days ago and it does a great job covering topics in great detail while looking at big picture topics. While there isn’t a large collection of videos on this channel there seems to be more and more being added. WonderWhy Covers topics from all social studies courses, this is a resource I wish I knew about while I was both a student and a teacher.



YouTube has a ton of great science channels. I have listed some of my favorites below. SciShow is hosted by Hank Green and goes into a lot of detail about a wide variety of things. You really get to see some of the interesting things scientists look at and how science can be used in a variety of settings. Hank covers different influential scientists and their contributions along with very engaging videos about why the cinnamon challenge can kill you. The other science channels listed below are short videos that are informative and engaging. They look at science in the world around us and cover some very interesting topics that can be used in a variety of different classrooms, not just science.

SciShow, ASAPScience, MinutePhysics, MinuteEarth, Khan Academy


Math is a subject that generally allows for multiple ways to get to the same answer and one style doesn’t always suit every student. YouTube has thousands of videos covering seemingly every math topic but the following are a few channels students can search to find solutions to most types of math problems they will see at all levels of math. I have included a few that try to bring a little more “character,” for lack of a better term, to math instruction.

Khan Academy – Includes the videos from the website covering topics from basic addition through calculus

PatrickJMT – 

Techmath – 

Mathantics – 


Channels that cover a variety of subject areas

Along with course specific channels there are a great variety of other channels out there that cover a wide variety of topics that would fit many different classroom subjects. The channels listed below are some that I have used in the past and really enjoyed, my students did as well.

TestTube, DNews, TED-Ed, TED Talks AND TEDx Talks, Khan Academy

As with any video you watch in class you should always preview each video prior to showing it to students. Some topics are more suitable for higher grade levels while other content you may not feel is class appropriate. You always need to be checking these things to make sure you are not getting into material not suitable for your grade levels and or students. As mentioned above I will continue to add to these and work on including better descriptions but every channel on here I have successfully used in my classroom or have worked with someone who has used the channel successfully in class. I will work on adding specific videos from channels that I feel are great for classrooms and give a brief description of how/why they should be included.

This is a link to another article briefly covering a lot more youtube channels that would benefit both teachers and students.

What I learned this summer

As an educator and now administrator I have constantly worked to learn new things about education. Today’s access to technology has given educators access to so many great minds that learning new things seems to be getting easier every year. I spent a good portion of my “time off” trying to find new and better ways to incorporate technology into classrooms. I stumbled across so many great things I don’t know if I have the energy to write about all of them. Here is a short list of new things I will be working on incorporating into our school over the next school year:

Khan Academy

While I am not new to KA, I have used their videos for years, I am more convinced of the power this resource has. The data collected from just a few students over the summer has given me an incredible understanding of what information these students know and don’t know. Students come into classrooms today with a wide range of math skills. It’s hard to find a better, free, resource to help track that information to help guide your teaching. Parents can also log on and see their child’s progress, or lack thereof. This creates great information for future discussions about how students are performing in class.


Where was this resource throughout my teaching career? This is one tool I really could have used to reach students, especially those students with attendance issues. The ability to make short videos with engaging visuals that you can store for years to come makes this resource something very valuable to schools, and it’s free as well!

Class Dojo

This classroom management tool gives teachers the ability to track behavior, both positive and negative, from their IPads or computers. This free tool is easy to use and now gives teachers the ability to share classes so you don’t have to take the time to put in every student for every class you teach. You can share each student’s information with their parents through email or parents can log in and see their students’ progress. We always talk about how much we would like parents to see what goes on with their students in the class and this is probably the next best thing to them sitting with their students. Another great way to keep parents involved and informed!

Ugh, another vocab list of words to remember? If I only had a dollar for every time I said this throughout middle school! Students often see vocab as another thing they have to cram for, regurgitate and forget. gives teachers and students the opportunity to make vocab an online activity, which generally sparks more interest in students. Teachers can share vocab lists with students or pick from the thousands of already public lists other teachers have created. These lists go with historical documents, books, and chapters and book units across all subject areas. As students correctly answer questions they make progress on word mastery as well as allocate points for their school. This could be a motivational tool trying to beat previous personal and school scores. Any way we can make vocab more like a game is probably going to get more students participating and lead to more student learning. There is also an app that can be purchased for students to work on the bus, in the car, or anywhere they can connect.


Looking for a way to get students more interested about writing, have them blog. I was skeptical at first but found more information than I could digest about the success teachers have had with classroom blogs. The research shows that students write more and with better quality if they know more people are going to read their writing, especially if those people are their peers. My Big Campus gives students the opportunity to create those blogs so you don’t have to find any new resources to make this happen, but if you want to there are more websites than you can imagine available for you to use.

Hemingway app

Students regularly need feedback prior to handing in their writings and teachers are usually the only ones they go to for this feedback. gives students the opportunity to copy and paste their writings onto the website and get immediate feedback. Feedback is provided in the areas of readability, adverb use, use of passive voice are just a few of the areas they get instant feedback on. This can also be used as a tool for teachers to show students specific parts of their papers that are difficult to read or show examples of how their writings could be more polished.

Get Kahoot

Ever wish you could make review games that didn’t require you to spend hours making something that is never as engaging as you wanted it to be? helps you create those review games much quicker, saves them online, and keeps score for you. Along with other features gives you the opportunity to make more engaging classroom review games, discussions, and surveys. Now you don’t have to create teams where half the students aren’t playing, or only paying attention during their turn, because everyone in logged in and you can track everyone’s progress. Definitely a fun way to get students involved in the classroom.

Probably the best part about all these websites is that they are free. We all know there are lot of great things out there for educators but cost often prevents us from utilizing many of these resources. Access to free resources allows us to create a more engaging classroom, without straining already tight budgets.