Showing a good video in a language class can immensely improve a typical lesson but the search can take a ton of time. This is where I spend the majority of my planning time because once I find a good one, it is the foundation for the entire lesson. I have 5 video searching tips to make it a little easier for you and…

But wait! Let’s change this up a little. I want to add that this is how I show my STUDENTS to find great videos. The person doing all the work is doing all the learning. – Thomas S.

As soon as I can, I teach my students how to find relevant videos. They do this in class for stations and at home for homework. Megan has also done a sign up sheet in her upper level classes where they find a video to present as the video of the day (warm-up) and add a follow-up activity for class. Keep in mind the YouTube world has inappropriate videos, so I suggest putting it on safemode for them or getting parental permission.

What makes a good video:

  • emotional appeal (funny, emotional, etc.)

  • current (remember when your students were born)

  • shows authentic language and/or culture (word-less videos can be just as powerful)


A few examples…

Here’s what YouTube pulled when I searched “zapatos anuncio” (shoe commercial). In Spanish there are different ways to say “commercial” and I get different results (usually from different countries). I watched the T-Mobile Puerto Rico one, then I went to their YouTube channel and found other videos that I can use for a different topic. Subscribe!

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Then I tried “zapatos quince” (shoes quinceañera celebration). This pulled some sweet home videos. I really liked the “Cambio de Zapatos” one.

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Lastly I searched “zara zapatos” (shoes Zara – a popular brand). The last video was long, but I can see how I could use a piece of that to check if they understand someone’s opinion about shoes. This would inspire some of my students to go make their own fashion vlog in Spanish, aka homework idea!

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Thinking of this from a student perspective, I definitely know the word for “shoes” now after all that searching! Also I learned several new words (and accents) by context and just good old curiosity (and a dictionary). “Pillar”… that was a new one to me that I learned from the “Fauna Fanta” commercial. I will never forget it now!

Additional Notes

  1. I would put the infographic in Spanish for my students to reinforce that they should search in the target language. The icons help them to understand those new technical words. This is just for videos, but I do something similar to show them how to search twitter and the web.
  2. YouTube is my go-to video place, but you can also find good ones on company websites (peopleenespanol, univision, Zara) and from other teachers (#langchat on Twitter, Pinterest, our Chispas page).
  3. Have a place to collect the videos like Pinterest, YouTube playlists, copy the link, Edmodo, class website, etc. Many times I find good videos for another topic while browsing for one and I need a way to save it for later.

We hope you have enjoyed our YouTube video post series! It’s definitely something we are passionate about because we see how it impacts our students. If you missed any of the past ones, I linked them below.

YouTube: Why it should be part of EVERY lesson

#1 Identify Aspects of Culture

#2 Focus on the Facts

#3 Open It Up

#4 Predict the Future