- Keywords: YouTube, video, discussion, comprehension
- Learner English level: Low intermediate to advanced
- Learner maturity: Junior high school to university
- Preparation time: 30 minutes
- Activity time: 90 minutes
- Materials: Smartphones or computers, example video and worksheet, worksheet template handouts (see Appendices)
This activity gets students to create and lead their own video analysis and discussion. It uses an authentic resource from their daily lives and practices language and critical thinking skills. This activity works well via distance learning or in the classroom and can be broken up over multiple lessons.
Step 1: Before class, find a short (three minutes or less) YouTube video of appropriate level and relevance for your students.
Step 2: Create a worksheet including the video link, key vocabulary from the video, a space for students to note new vocabulary, and comprehension and discussion questions (see Appendix A for example).
Step 3: Print one copy of the worksheet per group and one copy of the template handouts per group (Appendices A and B).
Step 1: Briefly introduce the topic of the video and discuss what students already know about it.
Step 2: Explain that students will watch a video about the topic you have just discussed.
Step 3: Distribute your worksheet (Appendix A) and pre-teach the key vocabulary.
Step 4: Point out the New Words box, where students can write vocabulary they hear for the first time, and then direct students’ attention to the comprehension questions.
Step 5: Show the video, allowing students to work during and after viewing. Show the video more than once or with subtitles, depending on difficulty.
Step 6: Allow students to check their answers in groups, and then check as a class.
Step 7: Direct students’ attention to the discussion questions and ask them to discuss their answers in small groups. Monitor and help as necessary.
Step 8: When the allotted discussion time is over, put students into small groups (or allow them to work alone) and explain that they will create similar worksheets themselves.
Step 9: Set the ground rules of the videos they may select: The video should be short, be in the target language, and be about a topic that is interesting and appropriate for class discussion. You could restrict students to a specific topic or ask them to submit their video for approval if needed.
Step 10: Provide each group with a worksheet template (Appendix B) and check that they understand the task.
Step 11: Give groups time to find their video and create their worksheet while you monitor and assist (check that students understand their own videos as well). Before moving onto the final stage, each student should have multiple copies of their group’s worksheet ready for distribution.
Step 12: Put students into new groups so that all members have different videos.
Step 13: Have students take turns distributing their worksheets, showing their videos, and leading the discussion about them. Monitor and assist as necessary.
Step 14: If time allows, have students switch groups to view and discuss as many videos as possible.
This activity was first used in remote lessons and was 100% digital: students distributed their worksheets on Google Drive and screenshared their videos in breakout rooms. However, it worked equally well in person with smartphones and printed worksheets. In both cases, the students were excited to use authentic and relatable resources. In addition, there is so much flexibility in this activity that it is easy to make it work as a quality, student-centered, comprehension and discussion lesson in many different class situations.
The appendices are available below.