12 Days of Teaching: 9 In-Class Videos


We understand that student focus tends to waver at this time of the year—so we asked our Director of Education, Betty Morris, to scour the Teachers Media International resource library for her top nine video recommendations that you can show in the classroom.

For primary students, consider these five in-class videos:

Rescued by Rover
In this silent Language Arts lesson starter, black and white film footage helps students understand structure and narrative. It’s the perfect complement for Betty’s #2 choice…

Using Archived Film
Although this resource is more for teachers, it demonstrates how archived film, like Rescued by Rover, can be used in Language Arts lessons to explore the structure of narrative, character, and setting.

Lily & Ermine
Spark student writing with this animated video prompt. The story is told without dialogue, giving teachers a chance to encourage students to write imaginatively and descriptively.

Algebra: What’s the pattern? 
See if your students can work out the algebraic pattern after watching this lesson starter based around how many people can sit at a birthday party table. A good prompt to delve into patterning, both visual and numerical.

Micro-Organisms: Making Bread and Cheese
Teach students how micro-organisms can be beneficial in food production, with this short documentary. This is a great complement to the food shows that are even popular with younger kids.

For secondary students, Betty has selected these four engaging and relevant video resources:

Bullying Girls: The Issues
This 3-minute video is designed to stimulate discussion around the issue of girls bullying other girls.

Managing Water in Kenya 
In this short video, students will learn how the need for water dominates a family in Kenya’s lives. This is a great prompt for global citizenship and environmental awareness.

Asperger’s Syndrome
In this video, a seemingly well-behaved and well-performing school student, describes the emotional distress he felt as his Asperger’s syndrome caused him to struggle socially at school. This video will help students to become aware of issues around inclusion.

English: Studying Sherlock Holmes
The short stories of Sherlock Holmes are studied in this 15-minute video.

Of course, this is just a sample of the videos available from the Teachers Media International archive—register today to access more than 3,500 video resources, including more than 400 specifically geared for student viewing.

And if you’ve missed some of the posts in our 12 Days of Teaching blog series, you can start back at One Project Based Learning Activity here.

Have a great weekend!

~ The Teachers Media Team


12 Days of Teaching: 8 Christmas Food Traditions From Around the World


The chaos of the season caught up with us yesterday and we missed our Wednesday post for our 12 Days of Teaching series— but we hope today’s theme will make up for it, or at least make your mouth water.

In this eighth instalment, we look at 8 Christmas Food Traditions From Around the World. With so many countries to choose from, we opted to look in-house. Here are eight traditions enjoyed by members of the very diverse Teachers Media International team.


This country’s best known tradition is Christmas Eve, where a feast of 12 meatless dishes is prepared and served. The 12 traditional dishes start with Kutya, a wheatberry dish which includes poppyseed and honey, and is eaten hot or cold.  This is followed by soup (often borsht), pickled herrings, pyrohy (dumplings), holubtsi (cabbage rolls), nalysnyki (cheese crepes) pan fried fish, pyrizhky (cabbage buns), mushrooms and gravy, pampushki (potato dumplings), kolach ( sweet bread) and a variety of desserts – prune filled donuts, poppyseed roll, and Ukrainian scuffles.  There are other dishes that can be included in this traditional Christmas Eve meal as well. Looking to incorporate a little Ukraine in your holiday? Try this recipe for holubtsi.


Scotland, England and Ireland

The traditional Christmas pudding popular in Scotland, England and Ireland was made from meat and wine. But in recent years, the meat has been replaced with sweets and other ingredients. The recipe may have changed, but its importance hasn’t. The dish is usually made five weeks before Christmas and takes on a variety of forms.

The Irish Christmas pudding is a cross between a fruitcake and a rum cake. And, the clootie dumpling is a traditional Scottish pudding which gets its name from the cloth it’s boiled in.



The main Christmas meal in France is called Reveillon, and is eaten on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning after attending midnight mass. The meal is finished off with an elaborate variety of desserts—often up to 13 different ones!—including the traditional Buche de Noel, or traditional sponge yule log. Get the recipe here.

Yule log


Christmas in Kenya is a time for social gatherings and food. As visitors make their rounds, food is everywhere. And if you’re lucky enough to be invited for Christmas dinner, chances are you’ll enjoy either fish or the traditional meal of nyama choma. This dish is made with beef or the goat, which is considered a delicacy. Vegetables, fruit and chapattis accompany the meal, often served with chutney. Not sure what a chapattis is? Here’s the recipe.



The German Christmas dinner is a giant production featuring duck, goose, rabbit or roast, and is accompanied by traditional delicacies such as apple and sausage stuffing, red cabbage, and potato dumplings. Dessert typically includes Christmas Stollen, considered one of the best Christmas pastries in the world. The most famous Stollen, which can be found at many supermarkets, is the Dresdner Stollen—a tasty fruit and nut dessert guaranteed to change your mind about the term “fruitcake.” For the advanced baker, you can find the recipe here.



Natale, or Christmas, is one of Italy’s most beloved holidays, where each region celebrates three meals with their own line-up of traditional dishes. Christmas Eve dinner is traditionally a light meal with no meat and a lot of seafood. Along with an abundance of fish, Italians celebrate this meal with meatless pasta and antipasti. But meat makes its return for Christmas day lunch, considered the most important of the three meals. The feast begins with antipasto, followed by a first course of pasta and the main meat event—chicken, sausages, or braised beef. The festivities continue for Santa Stefano’s lunch on December 26. Thinking of a meatless dinner? This Fried Baccala looks delicious.



Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days when the Maccabees rededicated the holy Temple in Jerusalem after their victory over the Syrian-Greeks. Because of this, fried foods like potato pancakes (latkas or livivot) and doughnuts are traditional Hanukkah treats because they are cooked in oil and remind us of the miracle of the holiday. And brisket is a traditional main course. Check out this link for perfect latkes.



In Jamaica, Christmas Eve is also called “Grand Market” and is an exciting time, especially for children. During the day, people dress up in their best clothes to attend the festival activities and shop for food. The celebration can last until morning, but not everyone gets to stay out and party—the Christmas Day meal is usually prepared on Christmas Eve and includes fresh fruits, sorrel and rum punch, and meat such as chicken, curry goat, or stewed oxtail. Christmas Day breakfast features ackee and saltfish, breadfruit, fried plantains, boiled bananas, and fruit juice. This curry goat recipe will help you bring a little Jamaican Christmas to your home.


For a look at other holiday feast traditions from around the world, take a look at this YouTube video.

See you tomorrow where we will showcase nine great educational videos from the Teachers Media International library that you can show your students.

~ The Teachers Media Team

12 Days of Teaching: 7 Christmas Decoration Ideas to do with your Students

During this often chaotic time of year, it’s important to slow down and focus on some of the great things about the festive season, such as holiday décor.

Whether you’re planning to “Deck the Classroom” or simply provide students with crafts they can give as gifts, our 12 Days of Teaching post today has seven Christmas decoration ideas that are simple, environmentally friendly, and fun.

  1. STAR ORNAMENT: All you’ll need is paper, straw, beads, coloured ribbon and pipe cleaners to make these eye-catching star ornaments. A variety of bead choices will allow students to easily individualise their projects.


  2. RECYCLED CARDBOARD TREE: Rather than chop down a tree, why not use one that’s already been recycled? You’ll be amazed at how a couple of cardboard boxes can create a stunning holiday tree canvas.


  1. DRIFTWOOD TREE: Another variation of a recycled tree is this stunning driftwood craft. Step by step instructions are offered here.


  2. UPCYCLED HOLLY LEAF HOLIDAY CARD WREATH: A Styrofoam ring forms the base for this paper holly wreath that will provide students hours of cutting and arranging.


  3. RUSTIC SNOWFLAKES: Fashion these rustic snowflakes out of foraged twigs, pine needles, berries, old buttons and ribbons!


  4. CHRISTMAS TREE DECORATION: Dozens of great ideas on this website, including these easy-to-make (and inexpensive) Christmas tree decorations.


  5. WRAPPING PAPER: We wrap up this list (see what we did there?) with environmentally-friendly ideas for giftwrap. Consider fabric, comic strips, newspaper, wallpapers, calendars and more!


Keeping with the theme of promoting an environmentally-friendly season, take a look at this article, which includes great tips for “going green” this Christmas.

Concerned you’ll have trouble motivating the artistic side of your students? Teachers Media International has you covered! This video resource speaks to how to inspire creativity—even for students who are generally not excited about arts and crafts projects.

Share some of your class creations with us in the comments. We’d love to see the holiday décor projects happening in classrooms around the world.

~ The Teachers Media Team


12 Days of Teaching: 6 Assistive Technology Devices and Apps


Learning disabilities manifest themselves in countless ways. This can provide unique challenges for teachers of a mixed ability class. But as technology marches on, so do opportunities for academic success.

The term “assistive technology” has traditionally been applied to electronic devices, or computer hardware and software. But new AT tools and applications are now available on the internet, making them more accessible for educators to use in the classroom.

These tools are designed to help students with many types of disabilities—from cognitive problems to physical impairment—and give kids the opportunity to use their abilities to work around their challenges.

While there are dozens of effective assistant technology devices on the market, we’ve chosen six to round out the second week of our 12 Days of Teaching blog series. (If you’ve missed posts one through four in our 12 Days of Teaching series, you can start with 1 Project Based Learning Activity here.

  1. Alternative keyboards: Special overlays allow for students to customize the appearance and function of a standard keyboard. Students who have trouble typing can program specific functions, such as grouping keys together, to aid comprehension.
  2. Audio Books: Recorded books allow visually impaired students to listen and track text. Publications are available in a variety of download options, and some are free for schools.
  3. Personal FM system: A personally FM listening systems translates a speaker’s voice directly to the user’s ear. This tool is now very common and is being used in regular classrooms to help learning for all students.
  4. Speech recognition: Speech recognition programs work in conjunction with a word processor and can assist learners whose oral language ability is better than his writing skills.
  5. Talking calculator: A talking calculator has a built-in speech synthesizer that reads aloud each number, symbol, or operation key a user presses.
  6. Graphic organisers: Graphic organisers and outlining programs help users who have trouble organising and outlining information as they begin a new writing project.

To see some of these—and other—assistive technology devices in action, register for the Teachers Media International professional development service, which gives you access to more than 3,500 best-practice videos, articles, and learning packs.

What other tools would you recommend? Share in the comments!

Check back Monday for 7 Christmas decoration ideas you can do with your class. Have a great weekend!

~ The Teachers Media Team