Teaching Tip: Use engaging video clips to elicit lively conversation

I had previewed the recommended video segment on Sunday, and knew it would be immediately engaging for my fourth graders. The opening scene showed a frog spewing a mass of eggs. Up close and personal. Later on in the footage, two frogs are mating on a leaf. I knew it was a great clip to research how a narrator might use their voice to make it easier for a listener to learn, but let’s just say I expected a variety of responses.

True to my expectations, as soon as the video started, there was a chorus of “Ew!” and “Gross!” with a few “Wow!”s sprinkled in. Then, as the video ended, the kids erupted into conversation. Some of it was responding to our guiding question, more of it was clearly not.

Above the hubbub, one boy’s voice rose strong and clear, “Did you see that baby getting a ride on its mom?”

Oh, boy.

While thoughts flashed through my head–Is he joking or serious? Do I ignore that or explain? How much do I explain? –a female classmate matter-of-factly replied.

“That wasn’t a baby. That was the father.”

“I guess he’s just too lazy to walk on his own,” the boy replied, laughing.

Okaaay…he is clearly utterly at sea.

She looked at him for a moment, then calmly replied, “He isn’t lazy. He’s fertilizing the eggs.”

“Well,” he proclaimed to the class–and honestly I do believe there was no intended double entendre here, just complete naivete–“he’s probably just going to keep riding her down to the water.”

At this point his classmate gave up on her attempts to educate him and I simultaneously steered the class back to our guiding question, stifling my laughter masterfully.

In the end, we had a good conversation about nonfiction reading fluency, but I have to admit, it really wasn’t nearly as entertaining as the previous one.

14 thoughts on “Teaching Tip: Use engaging video clips to elicit lively conversation

  1. humbleswede says:

    Can you save this slice and send it to him when he’s in high school? Maybe not. I’m feeling embarrassed for him already. Glad you saved the moment for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Patty McLaughlin says:

    Molly, this gave me a great laugh first thing this morning! It reminds me of Hermione and Ron. Hope vacation (too short ☹️) was wonderful for you, I know how tough it is going back.

    Sent from my iPad


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fun story. Case in point why do we think girls are so much more mature than guys! I’m not sure guys of the same age as girls ever get closer when it comes to maturity. I had a young female student teacher from UNH tell me that her rule of thumb was to only date guys at least 5 years older than she was. Lucky for me Hannah didn’t follow that guideline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Sudden wondering—maybe our society channels girls into roles of responsibility and “maturity” earlier? Maybe Cyndi Lauper was onto something when she said, “Girls just wanna have fun.” Just an early morning rambling thought…


  4. cvarsalona says:

    Molly, this story is a keeper! You did get a lively conversation going on the topic. In middle school classrooms, this conversation may have taken a different turn but the naive little boy’s responses are charming. From the mouth of babes…
    Happy New Year to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      It was refreshing. So many young kids are all too aware and even jaded at an early age. The boy was delightfully clueless and the girl is a naturalist at heart–delighted with making sense of the world that surrounds her.


  5. margaretsmn says:

    I love this story! So real to living with children and opening them up to ideas and discovery. You letting it go was a wonderful way to handle it. I’m surprised how well the girl handled the information matter-of-factly. Gosh, you just never know…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Christine says:

    Oh my! I love everything about the story. You brightened my day with a smile with this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amanda Potts says:

    This is hilarious. I absolutely agree with Peter that you should save this & send it to him in high school. I am giggling even now.

    Liked by 1 person

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