Relationship Building

10 Inspiring YouTube Videos to Use With Your Elementary Students

Do you ever have those days where you want to provide your students with a little more inspiration?

I find short videos can be very helpful to add a little spark to my students’ learning. Using videos to expose students to new ideas or to provoke a discussion is a great way to grab their attention. However, the Internet is saturated with all types of videos; it can be completely overwhelming to find just the right one.

Today, I would like to share with you some of the videos I keep in rotation in my classroom. They are unique in their own way, and my students enjoy them. As always, be sure to preview any video you wish to show your students in its entirety before class to make sure it’s a good fit!

Check out these 10 videos to help spark learning in your classroom!

1.  Art with Mati and Dada

In these videos your students can travel back in time on artistic journeys with the characters, Mati and Dada, as they learn about a variety of artists’. A few personal favorite episodes include Dorothea Lange (seen below), Arcimboldo, Giacomo Balla and Modigliani. I love to use these videos as a way to teach my students about artists and their styles. I’m sure your students will love them too!

2. The Artist Who Paints What She Hears

Melissa McCracken is a painter who has synesthesia. This video will allow your students to view her process and learn how synesthesia influences her paintings. This is a great video to inspire your students as you begin painting lessons and to get them to think about how color can reflect emotions.

3. Dangerous Doodle

The art of doodling takes time, and some students need inspiration to get started. Sharing a variety of videos from Dangerous Doodle or letting it play while students create their own doodles is a great way to share new techniques. These videos can be very motivating for your students! You can check out one example below.

4. Coil Pot Time Lapse

Need a video to show your students coil pottery techniques in an interesting way? This time-lapse video will show the students several aspects of creating a coil pot. Personally, I like to show it as inspiration in order to get my students thinking about how to use clay. I show my 4th and 5th-grade students a variety of techniques and let them plan their own clay piece.

5. MarcPaperScissor: Cut Paper Collage Artist

The artist known as MarcPaperScissor does a wonderful job explaining his artistic process with collages. The cool video effects and bright colors will pull your students in as soon as the video begins. It’s perfect to share when learning about Henri Matisse or exploring collage techniques.

6. Tibetan Sand Mandala

Mandalas are a popular lesson in the art room. Why not inspire students by watching a real mandala being created? This video also includes the planning process as the monks measure and sketch their design.

7. Why Kids Love Art

Want to share the importance of art with your students? This video shares the power of art from the child’s perspective as students share why art is important to them. This video would be great to show before you dive into a deeper discussion with your students.

8. Chihuly – Through the Looking Glass

Bring Dale Chihuly into your classroom by sharing this fun video that takes your students on a glass blowing journey. Chihuly commentates the video as viewers watch him create glass. The rest of the video shows the set up of Chihuly’s art exhibit and many views of his beautiful work.

9. I am an Architect – Discover Architecture

This catchy song about Architecture is a perfect way to get your students thinking about designing buildings and learning more about architects. It shares the perspective of being an architect from three different viewpoints. The use of pop culture is apparent and thoughtful in order to help your students identify with the concept. Great video to discuss art careers and how architecture is related to art!

10. Continuous Line Drawing Inspiration

This short, fun video (click the link above to view) captures one of the members of the dynamic duo, DFT, drawing continuous line drawings. The interesting subjects will definitely capture your students attention from the beginning of the video. It is a great way to get your students excited about practicing continuous line drawings. You can also share the awesome art created on their Instagram page, Differantly.

While hands-on experience can never be replaced, sometimes hooking your kids with a cool video can be a great instructional strategy!

What is your favorite video to use in the classroom?

How do you use videos to inspire your students?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Wynita Harmon

Wynita Harmon is AOEU’s Chair of Faculty Development and a former AOEU Writer and elementary school art educator.

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