How to create video activities on a teacher’s blog (by Christina Markoulaki)

The focal point of my previous post on this blog were the potential ways teachers can help their students to organize and practice their knowledge by setting up a blog especially for them. Since video activities on a teacher’s blog seem to be the most appealing ones to learners of all ages, I will now briefly number a series of easy steps for those who wish to take advantage of the potential all kinds of videos offer for making attention- grabbing blog activities. It is to be noted that I have consciously avoided complex educational jargon, having outlined the procedure as it practically happens in an everyday lesson.


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1) First, you have to choose a funny or informative video that will match with the subject matter of your latest lessons, current affairs, World Days that are always just around the corner or simply the students’ intense interest in a specific topic. Another great idea is to join the Bloggers Unite movement and pick world events to blog about from there, employing the readily available videos and badges.

2) Think of all the vocabulary or grammar students will need to know in order to complete this activity. Do not be too demanding; allow students to forget about the pressure placed upon themselves by coursebooks and enjoy this alteration to their lesson routine. Once you have gathered all the necessary words or grammatical structures, try to find a way to present them to students in a way that suits their level or age.

For example, when I am dealing with younger learners, I simply write the new words in fonts of different colours right at the beginning of the post, which gives us the chance to explain them and provide oral examples. Older students can even double-click on each of these words to get their English definition in a popping-up box if you have added the answers. com widget to your sidebar.

It goes without saying that all sorts of vocabulary games are possible here or the inclusion of links to the webpages containing these games. My experience, however, has shown that once a student has sat in front of a computer, he/she strives to quench a strange type of ‘thirst’ for some online learning, frowning upon the use of paper or other material in the presence of the most precious (at least to them!) educational tool of all: the computer!

3) Before watching the video, activities that require the students to predict what happens in the story offer them a great opportunity to practice various grammatical structures or the new vocabulary they have just been introduced to.  All the common presentation techniques employed with tapes/ DVDs apply to blog activities with videos, too. Guessing games about the character’s personalities or relationships are also possible in this stage. A good idea is to number all your instructions preceding and following the video in your post so that the whole procedure that is to be followed in the lesson is clear to everyone.

4) Watching the video with a purpose is what matters the most in enhancing the listening skills. Therefore, you should make sure that the students have understood the activities that will be subsequently done and that they bear in mind the ‘mission’ to be accomplished. Are they listening to get the gist or to spot specific details?  The students should also know how to handle all video buttons in order to follow your instructions accurately. It is important that, in this case,  it is not the teacher who operates the equipment; the students do, which gives them an even more active role during the whole process. Consequently, they need to function as a group and make coordinated moves to start and finish all activities together.

5) Finally, the learners complete the activities which can be oral (reproducing the main idea or answering specific questions, roleplaying, etc.) or written (mostly gap-filling exercises, embeddable quizzes or questions to be answered by a written comment under the post). To explain a little more about the quizzes, which ideally serve as a follow-up activity, you can easily create one using MyStudiyo or Google Docs. Either way you do it, you simply choose the type of quiz you wish, build it question by question and then get the HTML code to embed it in your blog. Personally, I was surpsised to see that MyStudiyo could contain timed questions and then provide students with the corresponding score on completion of the quiz. It also offers the possibility for you to insert a video at the beginning of the quiz or pictures relevant to each question to aid younger learners form mental images of the topic.

Apart from practising typing and other computer skills, all the above will additionally result in improved writing and speaking skills in a most pleasant way. An example of such an activity on my blog is Pigeon Impossible, but even more examples can be found in my previous post on the Teaching Village.

More about using video clips

and the required teaching techniques

in the EFL classroom :

  • TEFL clips: ideas about how to exploit the endless possibilities You Tube videos offer in the classroom

Note: This article by Christina Markoulaki originally appeared on Teaching Village, and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

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11 Responses

  1. Barbara says:

    I love these ideas Christina. I’m definitely going to try them out with my students. In classes without internet, the quiz activities especially would be a great way to extend students’ contact time with English during the time between lessons.

    Thanks for being so generous with your great ideas!

  2. Christina Markoulaki says:

    Thank you Barbara for inspiring me to write these ideas!

    I am afraid you need Internet access even for the quiz, unless you print it. Otherwise, students will not be provided with the correct answers and their score.

  3. I read once that video in blogs boosts readerships! I can only imagine it would work for students. My niece and her friends continuously share youtube videos and I have seen them. They include the characteristics you mentioned above. Thank you for these tips! If students are already sharing then we need to capitalize on these moments and transform them into teachable moments.

  4. Christina says:

    Exactly! What could it be more interesting to kids than watching a real YouTube video during the lesson? Even the mere fact that they will be wearing headphones excites them! 🙂

  5. Sputnik says:

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas, and particularly the link to MyStudiyo – that looks a real boon. cheers!

  6. Epiphane ADJADJI says:

    Dear Christina
    I’m reaing your post with great interest as I’m learning how to integrate blogging into my EFL teaching classes
    Actually I’m from Benin in West Africa and I am reseraching how to best teach English language skillls with the use of ICTs.
    I’m especially interested in how to embed quiz and different exercises into my blog.
    I’d love hearing from you
    Epiphane ADJADJi

    • Hello there!

      I am so glad you found this post of mine useful. If you are interested in discovering more about creating a variety of blog activities in the classroom, apart from reading Barbara’s blog, you can visit my blog page which is especially for teachers

      or even watch some teacher training videos by Russell Stannard which invariably mention features/gadgets that can easily be embedded in blogs.

      As for embedding a quiz, you can create one here as already mentioned in my post and then get the html code (offered upon the completion of your questions) which, in turn, will be pasted on the html modification area of your post. After that, it magically works on your blog!

      If you face further difficulties, please let me know. Thanks for leaving that comment!

  7. Johnd367 says:

    Heya im for the first time here. I discovered this board and I to uncover It truly helpful &amp it helped me out a whole lot. I hope to supply something back and aid other people such as you helped me. faeadfceeeed

  1. March 4, 2013

    […] Another teacher also uses Youtube for her activities. She would look for videos that match the subject matter of her lessons and make some of kind of activity out of them. For example, she might have the students fill in a questionnaire as they are watching the video or they might make a presentation on an aspect of the video after they have watched it. This sounds great. I can see the students being a lot more interested in activities that involve Youtube rather than the usual teacher presentation. […]

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