Whenever I need to learn background for a new novel I’m going to teach or just want to understand more about a particular era of history, one of my first stops is Crash Course, where VlogBrothers Hank and John Green (yes, that John Green, as in Fault in Our Stars author John Green) offer a treasure trove of insight and delight.
Their YouTube channel features 10-to-15-minute high-octane segments of John Green discussing literature and world history, while Hank Green covers the sciences. Like listening to your favorite professor lecture after seven cups of coffee, it’s fast, filled with random side references, and makes you glad you didn’t ditch class.
While the videos are a bit much for my students to absorb in a full-class setting (the Green boys talk really fast), I’ve found success in using them as flipped video homework assignments either at the beginning of a unit (watch out for spoilers) or as a novel-review activity before a unit exam. Also, I just like learning cool new things and happily spend an hour of downtime surfing the Crash Course playlists. Better than watching another Big Bang Theory re-run, I figure.
Here’s John Green doing his thing:
Excited? Yeah, I knew you would be.
Teach on, everyone.