Today we had a lot of teachers absent from school for different reasons and were shorthanded for substitute teachers. As a result, instead of having a planning day, I was a 5th grade substitute teacher. The day’s main lesson focused on different elements of the American Revolution. Instead of just having the students read in their textbook and fill out a study guide (as called for in the sub plans) we watched a series of short video clips on Discovery United Streaming, as well as these two Schoolhouse Rock videos. We also read and referred to passages in the textbook. We discussed the videos, and students wrote down facts about each topic or event. These Schoolhouse Rock videos were not as narrowly focused as the United Streaming videos were, and (of course) they are a bit silly, but they’re catchy and certainly got the students thinking as well as talking more deeply about the different issues framing the American Revolution.

No More Kings

Shot Heard Round the World

I would not have been able to supplement the lesson in this way if I was a “regular” substitute teacher. Since I’m a district teacher, I have a district-provided MacBook Air laptop which I was able to connect to the teacher’s classroom LCD projector, I was able to login to Discovery United Streaming using our district-paid/licensed access code, and I was able to bypass our district content filter (Lightspeed) using my active directory credentials to watch/show the YouTube videos which were not on our whitelisted YouTubeEDU / YouTube for Schools filter.

I definitely think my students were more engaged, enjoyed the lesson more, and participated more in the discussions because I supplemented our learning with short video clips. With the exception of one 5 minute clip, all the other clips I shared today were 2-3 minutes in length. If you school doesn’t yet subscribe to Discovery United Streaming, you should definitely check it out. It’s a fantastic resource and well worth the money!

Disclosure: This is an unsolicited and uncompensated shout-out / recommendation for Discovery United Streaming!

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