Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

How to create video activities on a teacher’s blog (by Christina Markoulaki)

with 2 comments

The focal point of my previous post on this blog were the potential ways teachers can help their students to organize and practice their knowledge by setting up a blog especially for them. Since video activities on a teacher’s blog seem to be the most appealing ones to learners of all ages, I will now briefly number a series of easy steps for those who wish to take advantage of the potential all kinds of videos offer for making attention- grabbing blog activities. It is to be noted that I have consciously avoided complex educational jargon, having outlined the procedure as it practically happens in an everyday lesson.

1) First, you have to choose a funny or informative video that will match with the subject matter of your latest lessons, current affairs, World Days that are always just around the corner or simply the students’ intense interest in a specific topic. Another great idea is to join the Bloggers Unite movement and pick world events to blog about from there, employing the readily available videos and badges.

2) Think of all the vocabulary or grammar students will need to know in order to complete this activity. Do not be too demanding; allow students to forget about the pressure placed upon themselves by coursebooks and enjoy this alteration to their lesson routine. Once you have gathered all the necessary words or grammatical structures, try to find a way to present them to students in a way that suits their level or age.

For example, when I am dealing with younger learners, I simply write the new words in fonts of different colours right at the beginning of the post, which gives us the chance to explain them and provide oral examples. Older students can even double-click on each of these words to get their English definition in a popping-up box if you have added the answers. com widget to your sidebar.

It goes without saying that all sorts of vocabulary games are possible here or the inclusion of links to the webpages containing these games. My experience, however, has shown that once a student has sat in front of a computer, he/she strives to quench a strange type of ‘thirst’ for some online learning, frowning upon the use of paper or other material in the presence of the most precious (at least to them!) educational tool of all: the computer!

3) Before watching the video, activities that require the students to predict what happens in the story offer them a great opportunity to practice various grammatical structures or the new vocabulary they have just been introduced to.  All the common presentation techniques employed with tapes/ DVDs apply to blog activities with videos, too. Guessing games about the character’s personalities or relationships are also possible in this stage. A good idea is to number all your instructions preceding and following the video in your post so that the whole procedure that is to be followed in the lesson is clear to everyone.

4) Watching the video with a purpose is what matters the most in enhancing the listening skills. Therefore, you should make sure that the students have understood the activities that will be subsequently done and that they bear in mind the ‘mission’ to be accomplished. Are they listening to get the gist or to spot specific details?  The students should also know how to handle all video buttons in order to follow your instructions accurately. It is important that, in this case,  it is not the teacher who operates the equipment; the students do, which gives them an even more active role during the whole process. Consequently, they need to function as a group and make coordinated moves to start and finish all activities together.

5) Finally, the learners complete the activities which can be oral (reproducing the main idea or answering specific questions, roleplaying, etc.) or written (mostly gap-filling exercises, embeddable quizzes or questions to be answered by a written comment under the post). To explain a little more about the quizzes, which ideally serve as a follow-up activity, you can easily create one using MyStudiyo or Google Docs. Either way you do it, you simply choose the type of quiz you wish, build it question by question and then get the HTML code to embed it in your blog. Personally, I was surpsised to see that MyStudiyo could contain timed questions and then provide students with the corresponding score on completion of the quiz. It also offers the possibility for you to insert a video at the beginning of the quiz or pictures relevant to each question to aid younger learners form mental images of the topic.

Apart from practising typing and other computer skills, all the above will additionally result in improved writing and speaking skills in a most pleasant way. An example of such an activity on my blog is Pigeon Impossible, but even more examples can be found in my previous post on the Teaching Village.

More about using video clips

and the required teaching techniques

in the EFL classroom :

Note: The article has already been published on the “Teaching Village” , a blog which contains class ideas offered by teachers all over the world. It is hosted with the kind permission of Ms. Markoulaki.


My name is Christina Markoulaki and I am a certified EFL teacher Greece, where I was also born. I am fortunate enough to have been trusted with students of all ages and levels within my 5 working years, their ages ranging from 5 to 50 years old! Using modern technology in the classroom to create new learning experiences is what fascinates me. I welcome all exchange of ideas on Twitter (@christina_mark), Facebook (christina.markoulaki) and Google+ (

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

December 16, 2011 at 10:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. Dear Mr Papakyritsis and Cambridge ESOL,

    Thank you once again for the willingness to share my ideas! I now feel even more eager to contribute to this blog in any way I can in the future.

    Here is a token of my gratitude:

    We will be in touch. I would also love to hear what the readers want to add to what I had to say.

    Kind regards,
    Christina Markoulaki

    Christina Markoulaki

    December 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    • Dear Ms. Markoulaki,

      Thank you very much for your support! We are looking forward to more interesting posts from you for our blog.

      Kind Regards,
      Cambridge ESOL

      Cambridge ESOL Greece

      December 16, 2011 at 4:27 pm

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