Category Archives: Educational Media: TV in the classroom

What English sounds like to non-English speakers.

Okay, admit it, we have all uttered the fake Chinese “ching chang chung” babble.  But have you ever wondered if other people who speak other languages do the same with English?  Guess what, they do.

This Italian video, although quite old, is a funny example of what we sound like to others.  Enjoy.


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Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates The Pattern Seeking Brain

The Human brain seeks patterns in everything.  This is why we see dinosaurs in clouds, faces everywhere, and even religious icons on irregularly burnt pieces of bread. Our minds seek patterns in color, number, sound, figures, and even events. At the 2009 World Science Festival, Bobby McFerrin demonstrates exactly this.  He uses an unsuspecting audience to prove that the pattern seeking brain can produce the Pentatonic scale, which is defined as a scale of five notes per octave.  Enjoy.


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The French Revolution(Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance) by The History Teachers

As far as educational video makers go, this team of teachers from Hawaii are the best.  Amy Burvall and Herb Mahelona became a team four years ago when Burvall was trying to find a way to make her classes more interesting and a light bulb went off.  She changed the lyrics to a popular song on the radio, enlisted Mahelona, and teachers everywhere rejoiced.

They have created numerous videos, all complete with sets, props, costumes, and wonderful singing by Burvall.  And just in case you were wondering, the average time it takes the pair to create these videos is three months.

WARNING: This song will echo in your head ALL DAY!!!

The French Revolution by The History Teachers


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Monty Python – The Galaxy Song

Wait.  What?  Monty Python is educational.  No way, you say.  But it’s true.  Aside from the drab British humor and historical mocking, Monty Python has used their immense senses of humor to bring the world this gem of astronomical education.  This three minute video is perfect for high school Science classes, although you may have to explain what the word “bugger” means.

Monty Python – The Galaxy Song

Fun fact: In 2010, SPACEX, a commercial space company launched a wheel of cheese into low orbit and brought it back down again in honor of Monty Python.


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The Animaniacs- All 50 States and Their Capitals

No really, are they cats or dogs?

Most of us older folks remember the Animaniacs as a funny after school cartoon packed with double entendres and silly antics from three adorable characters of ambiguous species.  Luckily for teachers, many of the skits were educational musical numbers set to catchy tunes.

The Animaniacs covered topics from Science, Geography, History, and English.  But you must be careful in use of Animaniacs material, it has very high potential for causing earworms, that’s the technical term for a song playing in your head.

The 50 State Capital song is perfect for both primary and secondary education classes.  The funniest part though, is when students take tests, you can see them mouthing the song to find the answer they are looking for.

The Animaniacs – All 50 States and Their Capitals.

And of course, here are the lyrics.  Enjoy.

And now Wacko Warner with the fifty US States and their Capitals,

Baton Rouge Louisianna, Indianapolis Indiana,
and Columbus is the capital of O-hi-o.

There’s Montgomery Alabama,
south of Helena Montana
then there’s Denver Colorado,
and Boise Idaho.

Texas has Austin
then we go north,
to Massachusetts Boston
and Albany New York.

Tallahassee Florida
and Washington D.C.,
Sante Fe New Mexico and Nashville Tennessee.
Elvis used to hang out there a lot, you know.

Trenton’s in New Jersey north of Jefferson Missouri,
You got Richmond in Virginia,
South Dakota has Pierre,
Harrisburg’s in Pennsylvania and Augusta’s up in Maine,
and here is Providence Rhode Island next to Dover Deleware.

Concord, New Hampshire, just a quick jaunte,
to Montpelier, which is up in Vermont,
Hartford’s in Connecticut so pretty in the fall,
and Kansas has Topeka
Minnesota has St. Paul.

Juneau’s in Alaska and there’s Lincoln in Nebraska
and it’s Raleigh out in North Carolina, and then,
there’s Madison Wisconsin and Olympia in Washington,
Pheonix Arizona
and Lansing Michigan.

Here’s Honolulu, Hawaii’s a joy
Jackson Mississip-pi
and Springfield Illinois,
South Carolina with Columbia down the Way,
and Annapolis in Maryland on Chesapeake Bay,
They have wonderful clam chowder.

Cheyenne is in Wyoming and perhaps you make your home in
Salt Lake City out in Utah where the buffalo roam.
Atlanta’s down in Georgia and there’s Bismark North Dakota,
and you can live in Frankfurt in your own Kentucky home.

Sa-lem, in Oregon, from there we join,
Little Rock in Arkansas,
Iowa’s got Des Moines
Sacramento California,
Oklahoma and it’s City,
Charleston West Virginia
and Nevada Carson City.

That’s all the capitals, there are!


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We Didn’t Start the Fire

We Didn’t Start the Fire by Billy Joel

When I was in grad school, it was a running joke that you could not pass the exit exam unless you could lecture for 15 minutes on any line in this song.  Being familiar with the song is a great way for students to be able to touch upon the major historical points of 1945-1989 in both American and World History, and honestly the catchy tune doesn’t hurt either.  The video was first created by Scott Allsop, who currently teaches at an international school in Egypt. From then on, this gem became one of the most shown (and remade) modern history educational videos.

For item by item explanations:’t_Start_the_Fire

For a lesson plan accompaniment:


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