videos in the classroom

5 effective activities to run after watching videos in the classroom

At one point, using videos in the classroom meant dragging out a TV and VCR on a cart, and parking your students in front of it for the duration of class. It was a ‘free day’ of sorts for the students. While they would generally be required to answer some questions or write something about what they watched, the post-video assignments were often things that could be completed even while zoning out or goofing off throughout the film.

Obviously, there’s a better way. From YouTube to tablets, the simple act of getting a video in front of your students has changed drastically over the past decade or so.  Suzy Brooks recommends watching each video clip three times, with different focus each time, which is a great place to start.

Beyond that, using short pieces of films – rather than spending the entire class period viewing – leaves room for different activities involving what you’ve viewed. There are so many different ways to get your students engaged in the material.

We’ve selected six of our favorites below. Do you have a favorite post-video watching activity you use in class? Share with the community – we love hearing from you! Leave a message in the comments below, or pop on over to the Daily Genius Facebook page or hit us up on Twitter!

Activities To Run After Watching Videos in the Classroom

Timed Journal

After the video clip has been played, set a timer for a short period (2-4 minutes, max) and have students write down any thoughts that come to mind about what they’ve seen.


Pose a question to the class pertaining to the video that could have several possible responses. Separate students into small groups (4-6 students). Within each group, have the students make a list of possible responses on the paper – at first without discussion. Each student folds over the paper when they’ve finished writing on it and passes it to the next person in their group. When all students in the group have written a response, unfold the paper and the smaller groups can discuss the responses. If there is time, each group can share their best response along with some thoughts to the whole class.


Pose a question regarding the film to the whole class. Each student has 5 minutes to write their response on a sheet of paper. At the end of the 5 minutes, students pair off to discuss their response with one partner. As an option, each pair can present their response(s) to the entire class.

Concept Mapping

As a class, brainstorm key words/concepts from the video and choose ONE to reside at the center of the concept map. Separate the class into groups and have each group build out one portion of the map by expanding on key words related to the center word/concept and branching out from there. Groups will present their branches to the class and discussion can be elaborated as necessary. If you’re new to concept mapping, Kathy Schrock has a great guide here.

Video Follow-Up

Have students find a follow-up video to what was just viewed as a class. Ask students to find a video that fits a certain criteria in relation to the original video (a video that supports this concept, refutes it, expands upon it, etc etc). This is a great opportunity to help students learn about solid online research skills and checking credibility and such.