Looking for a 1-hour lesson that can be used in any subject area, engages students in meaningful conversation about course topics and gives students an opportunity to develop collaboration and creativity skills? Well, look no further. Welcome to the YouTube Genre Mash-up.
If you have ever asked students to create a skit, a newscast, a song or rap to demonstrate their knowledge, you likely noted the high level of student engagement and the high level of learning that happens when students have to do this type of creative thinking. You likely noticed that students understood the content more deeply by having to apply or transfer knowledge in a new way. With the YouTube Genre Mash-up, you’re getting all that, plus you’re meeting students where they are at by using popular YouTube genres that they know and love.
YouTube is full of new genres and helping create additional ones all the time. Imagine asking students to demonstrate their knowledge of photosynthesis as an unboxing video. What about having students describe what they know about geometric shapes as a Bat Dad video? How about the “Checks and Balances” as an “Annoying Orange” video? A newscast is fun, but I suspect kids might be slightly more engaged in doing The Boston Tea Party as a “bad lip reading”.
All you have to do as the teacher is 1. Put students into groups and 2. Assign each group a topic and a YouTube genre. The possibilities are endless, and so is the fun. If you want to spice up this strategy a bit more, here are two suggestions:
First, try adding some randomness to the mix by having the topics and genres assigned and matched up live in front of the students with a push of a button. You can download the YouTube Genre Mash-up Generator spreadsheet at YouTubeclassroom.com, which is already set up to randomly pair your topics with the genres you have chosen.
I also like to add a time constraint and have students upload to YouTube by the end of the class period. Constraints can inspire creativity, and by establishing the deadline as the end of the class time, you are helping students focus and be productive. After all, you aren’t looking for a completely polished video here; you are looking for students to be engaged in the higher-order thinking that comes with application and transfer.
Well, what are you waiting for? Download the YouTube Genre Mash-up Generator today and get your students engaged in this collaborative creative exercise. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t even realize they are learning!
About the Author: Patrick Green is the author of “50 Ways to Use YouTube in the Classroom” and “Classroom Management in the Digital Age.” He is also Chief Adventure Officer at Raising a Maker. After two decades working with and learning from students, parents, teachers, and administrators in stateside and international schools, he is living location-independent in the pursuit of extraordinary personalized learning opportunities for himself and his family. A YouTube Star Teacher, Google Certified Innovator, and Apple Distinguished Educator, you can follow how work, school, parenting, and play blend for Patrick at @pgreensoup on Twitter and Instagram and can visit his YouTube channel for more tips and tutorials.