8 Videos that Promoted Thoughtful Discussions in our Class This Year

Below are some of the most memorable videos we watched in our classroom this year. Each of these videos sparked spontaneous, thoughtful, and important discussions on a variety of topics. Some videos were discovered by students, some by Ms. Nordio (@msnordio) the Education Assistant in our class, some by me, and many were shared by my amazing PLN on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy!

8. Kony 2012

Watch KONY 2012 Part II: Beyond Famous: http://youtu.be/c_Ue6REkeTA

To see real time reports on LRA activity in the D.R.Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan visit: http://www.lracrisistracker.com/

To learn more about Invisible Children’s recovery efforts in the post-conflict regions of northern Uganda AND our work with communities currently affected in D.R.Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan visit: http://www.invisiblechildren.com/programs.html

To view our response to common critiques to the KONY 2012 film and campaign visit:

To see our worldwide youth mobilization initiatives:

Learn More: http://kony2012.com

7. “Helen Keller – Her Amazing Story”

We all have mountains to climb. We just have to be relentless in our attempts and not give up on ourselves.

6. Quadblogging: Four elementary schools come together to explain the concept of QuadBlogging! How will being part of it help us with our learning?

5. An amazing chance encounter with a troop of wild mountain gorillas near Bwindi National Park, Uganda.

4. Jonah Mowry: ‘Whats goin on..’ Video

A letter written by Jonah for viewers of his video. This letter framed some the discussion we had in our classroom.

Thank you to everyone for all your loving support, comments, messages, videos and letters…. it has meant more to my family and I than I could ever tell you all.

I made this video August 2011, a few weeks before school was about to start. I was 13. It was a very emotionally confusing and dark time in my life. I made the video at 4:00am in the morning. I hadn’t been sleeping at night for a long time; I had too many things going on in my head, tearing me up inside. I was dreading going back to school. All I could think about were all the bad things that had been happening at school last year, every year for that matter. I just couldn’t bare to go through that anymore. Over the summer I finally just accepted who I was. Only my closest friends knew. I was scared. I wanted to come out to my family but didn’t know how to. I was done pretending to be “fake” happy, pretending hateful words didn’t hurt me, and done hiding it all from my family.

This video was made for me, my family, and my friends that had moved on to High School who were worried for me. I wanted to say to my High School friends that I was going to take a stand and I was going to be OK. And to the haters at my middle school that I’m not going anywhere, I am who I am. I posted the video as “unlisted” here and told people were to find it. That was it…

At the end of Aug. 2011, everything eventually came crashing down and out in the open. I finally told my parents what was “really” happening to me all this time. I let them know the extent of the bullying and I told them about the cutting. They knew something was going on, and always tried their best to help me. But I got very good at hiding it all. I thought if I told them, it would just make it worse and the bullies would come back at me harder. So, I would just take the abuse. And I just didn’t want to worry my family and cause more problems.

At this time I came out to my family. After finally letting go of everything I felt a huge weight off my shoulders. I started seeing a Family Therapist and I started to find some happiness again. I felt accepted for who I was, and I felt confident and stronger.

My parents were always there for me through all of this, always there to listen, to talk and to support me no matter what. Looking back, all I had to do was simply ask for help.

School started Sept. 2011. Over the next several weeks my close friends and others saw the video and were moved by it. At the end of November, I was encouraged to make the video “public” and link it to my Facebook page so more people could see it. Maybe it could help someone else going through the same thing. And once and for all, my whole school would know and that would be the end of it. And this would quietly fade away and life would go on. So I changed the video to “public” and linked it to my Facebook page Nov. 30th. My parents finally saw the video for the first time Dec. 1st.

Then, over the next few days all this happened.

I never expected in a million years that it would have such a wonderful impact on so many people from all over the world. It’s incredible. I am truly humbled and truly thankful for all the love, encouragement and support. All the wonderful, heartfelt videos, messages, letters and phone calls, it’s been overwhelming. I don’t know what to say. Thank you so, so much!

When the video came out there were people at school that realized that they had hurt me and felt sorry for their behavior. I did make some new friends and I have my High School friends. School is OK for the most part. Things still go on here and there. I know there will always be people that hate for whatever reason. And there is nothing I can do about that. And of course, like everyone else I have ups and downs and have things to work on. But now, it just feels easier every day to stay on the “up” side of life than ever before.

“Whats goin on..” is my story, and sadly the story for 1,000s of kids who go through this pain and abuse every day. I was one of the lucky ones and now see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hundreds of kids do not and tragically give up. Bullying and Teen suicide is real, and is serious. I hope all that see my video find hope, inspiration and know they are not alone.

Thank you all, Love and peace to all who are hurting.
Stay Strong!
Jonah Mowry

3. The kid you’re about to see just turned 11, and his talents will blow you away.

2. Caine’s Arcade

The genius of a 9 year old boy who built an elaborate cardboard arcade in his dad’s used auto parts store is about to have the best day of his life.

1. In honour of International Anti-Bullying Day, two schools came together to create a message about Acceptance and challenge others to use social media as a positive tool. Choreographed by Jheric Hizon, Directed by Anita Perel-Panar – A Star Studio Productions

If you enjoyed this blog entry, please consider sharing it!


Hugh McDonald

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6 Responses to 8 Videos that Promoted Thoughtful Discussions in our Class This Year

  1. Thanks, Hugh, for sharing these. I’ve bookmarked these, and I’ll be using some for my class. Kony is the only one we watched, and that was because I caught your tweet about it last year.


    • No problem Denise! I hope you find them helpful. I’m positive more inspirational videos will pop up that will raise many questions by our students and prompt thoughtful discussions. I look forward watching the ones you spot and sharing the ones we find on YouTube in our classroom.

  2. Sheri says:

    It’s obvious you care about your students and their innate desire to understand the world. You and your students #choose2matter ! Thanks for sharing these so others (and I) can also carry on the conversations that matter!

    • Thank you for your kind words Sheri! My student’s have wonderful hearts and are always looking for ways to find meaning and make sense of what they are experiencing! YouTube opens up the doors to amazing talents, people and issues. Can you imagine our world without it?

  3. Sheri says:

    Reblogged this on What Else? 1DR and commented:
    The world is filled with concerns of people and the resiliency of people. Because there are so many, we may not consider their import or impact. But @hughtheteacher has shared the videos of such issues and people which his students found significant. Are they still issues? Do you understand the people’s struggle and survival? What else could you do? Read this blog and consider your own questions, and perhaps find an answer.

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