Where Is Your List?


I love this. Todd has quietly collated 26 video files and mapped them to a list of 30 literary terms.

20. personification – Comcast: Stop Worrying About Time [D/L], Epuron: His Potential Is OursAn awesome commercial which Todd and I discussed almost a year ago. [D/L]


Elsewhere, Johan earns a dy/dan merit badge for polishing off the complete archives in under a fortnight (skipping and skimming frequently, I hope) and for finding classroom application in an old show and tell video:

This is what I call epiphany: I just realised the chocolate bunny video [“How to kill a chocolate bunny” will be a perfect way to introduce the types of heat transfer in my physics class


Certain videos are more substantial than others but the fact is this: someone somewhere is using your content area to create the culture your students consume daily. This has always been the case but only recently could you download it, play it, and talk about it.

So love what you teach and sharpen your eyes to find what you love embroidered within the fabric of popular culture. Don’t present these videos to your students as gimmicks or, worse, as winking concessions to their allegedly lowbrow tastes. These videos are important to them, which makes them important to you.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Bummer. It’s up for me this morning. I’m not sure what’s going on with the Internet connection between our two nations but, I promise you, we will get our best men in Washington on it.

  2. As I said on Todd’s site today, his list (and the range of items he’s writing about) tempts me to shut down my own blog with a re-direct back to his site. Also told him I’d be stealing like mad from him.

    Seems to me that the opportunity is ripe for a mass of networked teachers to build a compelling master list of directly related and oddly inspired videos (and other such links) that support a range of curriculum terms (and objectives). Certainly would be a lovely wishing well to drink deeply from.

    In the meantime, I’m going to get back on my comfy “let the children lead the way” pied piper bandwagon chair and challenge my students to populate an English-centric list (say, literary terms, which Todd already began to develop quite well) with a delicious snack-fest of multi-media goodies of their own.

    Seems that it might suggest a level of a) buy-in (on their part), b) discovery (on my part) and c) engagement (on both fronts).

    Perhaps it’ll lead to the down-the-hall version of “math is everywhere” over in the dusty book bound Englishteacherland for the kids/me that will shake out a few unexpected project/learning apples as well.

    At the very least, I’ll be known at “that guy who tells his kids that YouTube will make you wicked smaht” by my snickering literary colleagues.

  3. P.S. Perhaps some decent math guy blog admin type will save me the professional embarrassment of going public with the typed “a” (rather than “an”) right next to the — gulp — following “English-centric list” line of irony…and make a behind-the-curtain edit for me. I’ll wear my “I only follow @mathteachers” mesh truckers cap to opening day faculty meetings if you do?


    Can’t a fella get a helpful WP plug-in that allows for “review comment” saving-face moments over here in dy/dan-land so that the digital footprint police don’t go and pull my NCTE badge?

  4. Got that corrected, Christian. If you or anyone has a line on a good comment preview plug-in, lemme have it. I tried one awhile back that nearly broke the blog. Up was down, black was white, posts read coherently, etc.

    @Stacy, that’s a good one. It doesn’t do anything too substantial for world geography, but why not show it, right? It seems rather more relevant to composition, where you’ve got a single throughline (the dance) through the entire piece.

  5. Was I NOT just up til midnight last night scavenging Youtube for lit term videos??!

    Thinking to myself, “{expletive redacted}. No one’s done this yet to my satisfaction… something *else* I need to do?!?”

    And then this.

    Educators will understand that it is not the mere synchronicity, but the fact that my workload has been LIGHTENED that confirms the hand of God at work here.

  6. > anyone has a line on a good comment preview plug-in

    I use this one.

    One of the things i like is that it feeds through the built in rendering chain, so that it will give you exactly the same html you would from a comment post. The only drawback is that a lot of blog style sheets use heavily context dependent rendering, so it still might not look the same. I remember it being pretty forgiving to match, though…

  7. Our classroom blog is made with Drupal and the comment “box” is like a little word processor, you can underline, bold, add picture or link, etc. Drupal allows the administrator to add what ever commands they want to the comment “box”. It’s nice with kids. You can see it at http://areallydifferentplace.org

  8. Hmm, I saw this, and I thought, I know there is something I used like that last year, but poof, it’s gone from my retrievable memory now, I’m sure I’ll remember it in a couple months though.

    Meantime, some videos to use with the kiddos:

    1. Stop Action: I decided to look at Chris Brown’s Forever video before I read this post, and got around to it after I read this. It’s not cause I’m a fan mind you, but the kids like him a lot, so I figured I might as well check it out when I saw the banner ad on Meebo. Lots of interesting stop-action shots. If I teach that this year, I will show that. Also, the set up at the end with the girl falling, and the shot sequence is good to show the shot vs. scene stuff they discuss so much in AFI classes. I already have two You Tubes in this arsenal:
    Sun Dial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INgtiFbX27o: which show the shadow clock concept excellent for third and fifth grade science since it helps to explain heliocentrism.
    Lego Millenium Falcon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aEc8v1OWeE4: This is lovely, the science tie-in is not as obvious, but the kids love the beat (I think I do too).
    Linear Graphing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HhiLClnv3dw: And to show them what their peers have done, this video from last years class (DISCLAIMER, I didn’t do it, the credit goes to a tutor in the after school program I managed).

    2. PSAs: Sixth Graders will need to do a PSA something persuasive for their LA unit on Perseverance, so I will show them examples with some irony.
    From Mathew Needleman I learned of this gem on Cooties: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w6ylxWcwkUM
    Cat Magnet from Ad Council Invent Now Campaign: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DPjOFVFrhU
    I will also have them go to Motivator (http://bighugelabs.com/flickr/motivator.php) to do “billboards” for this. That project may end up being still to movie (using PhotoStory), so we’ll see what works

  9. A.Mercer: Great list. No doubt the yungin’s dig the Chris Brown musexperience, but this old guy is really enjoying the stop action atmosphere you pointed out. Grazi.

    BTW, the URL on the Sun Dial was needs to be corrected to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INgtiFbX27o (not sure why it didn’t read off of your link, but it sent to a ‘bad URL’ page in YouTube-land).

    Epiphany: Something tells me that ‘stop action’ vids will be the new black in School 2.0 land this coming year.

  10. Ms. Mercer That link made me laugh out loud for so long. I don’t think my high schoolers will fully appreciate it (too much in the HATE it camp), but I’m sure I’ll send a couple of kids to the site sometime this year.

  11. Sarah, look at the comments, some of his former students are saying they like it. Not sure of their level, but it looks like secondary (12+ yo) from the commenters pages on YouTube.

  12. Ms. Mercer, I concede your point. It appears that he’s considered a pretty cool sub to have–which completely impresses me. Though, I’m still not convinced that I’ll show it to entire classes.

  13. Here’s an idea. Show it to ’em and start by asking, would you want this sub, why or why not? Then subtly assess them on fractions and percents to see if anything stuck.

    Once again Dan, thanks for letting us totally take over this discussion thread, lol.

  14. I don’t have a list yet. Not really sure if it’s coming–haven’t really done videos in class yet.

    So I’m linking anatomy and Spanish teachers to this via (via Slate) about the heart. I think it’s review instead of a hook, but it made me smile.