Updated October 2014

Ted-Ed: Literature & Language

Video lessons engage, inspire a deeper look into the language arts

Subjects & skills
  • English Language Arts

  • Critical Thinking
  • Communication & Collaboration
Grades This grade range is a recommendation by Common Sense Education and not the developer/publisher.
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You can use Ted-Ed's Literature & Language collection in two ways -- to search for and use great curated video content, or to easily create your own video-centric flipped lessons. The lessons on the site include a video, comprehension questions, and an extension activity that gets kids to dig deeper. Start by searching for a great video to support your curriculum, then add your own questions and extension activities. Once you've created a lesson, you can share it just with your own students or publicly on the site. Keep in mind that you, and your students, will need to set up free accounts in order to access the online lessons. However, you can access the videos anytime, without signing in, for whole-class viewing.

Standouts include the "Mysteries of Vernacular" series, which consists of dozens of two-minute videos delving into the etymology of words like venom and gorgeous. "The Punishable Perils of Plagiarism" is a must-watch before embarking on a research project. You can use longer videos like Isabel Allende's "Tales of Passion" or J.K. Rowling's "Harvard Commencement Speech" to inspire students. Videos like "Insults by Shakespeare" or "Shakespearean Dating Tips" can give your students a modern-day appreciation for the Bard. From introducing a work of literature to teaching a writing strategy or vocabulary development, these video lessons offer an endless array of possibilities.

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Teacher Reviews

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Featured review by
G. A. , Classroom teacher
Classroom teacher
Great introductory or supplementary material, wonderfully customizable
It combines short, fun, and densely informational videos with a Google Forms-esque quiz, essay, and discussion section. Each video comes with some stock questions, but you can dig in and edit, remove, or add opportunities for student feedback as it fits your intent with the video. While it doesn't add any features that weren't already available elsewhere, it condenses them into a very nice, compact, and pleasant interface for both teachers and students. The default questions on the quiz are a little reminiscent of easy "follow along with the video" worksheets, but they're a great starting point. The videos also do a nice job of staying current (I saw more than a few non-dated pop culture references.) And since the videos are on YouTube, there's a (remote) possibility of inspiring students to look for more knowledge through what they might consider merely "entertainment" sites. The necessity of creating accounts is a bit of a headache, but I'm not sure how to get around that while maintaining functionality. I also really like that, should you stumble onto a YouTube video that's not currently featured on this site, you can create a new lesson based on that video. The ability to go beyond is a great launching point for additional lessons, and could provide opportunities for student-led learning. Read full review