Using Video Clips While Presenting: Part One


A well-chosen, well-placed video clip is every presenter’s secret weapon. The benefits of using movie clips are many. They add humor, visuals, inspiration and feeling into presentations. Clips can be used in introductions, conclusions and any place in between. The best clips, in my opinion, are short and well-connected to your content; an intentional clip deepens thinking and conversation.

When I play a clip I take a moment to place it in context. To set the purpose, often I’ll say something like, “We are watching this clip because…” In addition, I may set a specific watch-for like, “In the next clip be sure to notice __________.”

To start us off with part one, here five video clips that my audience and I have appreciated:

1. It’s Not About the Nail
Time: 1:41

It’s Not About the Nail Movie Clip

I love this hyperbolic clip. It gets right at the challenges of communication. Right after lunch or a break this provides laughter, but if your topic of presentation happens to be active listening, male report talk vs. female rapport talk or communication, it will fit right in.

Some poignant points this video makes:
*Men and women communicate differently.
*People just like to be heard.
*There is listening and then there is fixing.

2. Herding Cats
Time 1:01

Herding Cats Commercial

Herding Cats is a classic. It’s a great reminder of how difficult working with groups of children can be. By way of introduction you can say, “We all know that teaching is one of the toughest jobs out there. See if you can identify with these cowboys.”

Some poignant points this video makes:
*Cooperation is key.
*Herding is challenging.
*”Don’t let anybody tell you it’s easy.”

3. Attention Test
Time: 1:22

Selective Attention Test

This clip has been widely used for years, but some newer teachers haven’t seen it and even those of us who have seen it, enjoy watching it again. Ask anyone who has seen the video to please not say anything until it’s over. And don’t make the mistake I did calling it ‘The Gorilla Video.’ Say, “This video is a test of your attention. Follow the instructions on the video.”

Some poignant points this video makes:
*We choose what to pay attention to.
*Selective attention also means selective ignoring.
*The more people paying attention, the better.

4. Lifted
Time: 4:50


Pixar has many short clips that remind us all of our humanity or our ‘alien’ity in this case.

Some poignant points this video makes:
*Learning something new is difficult.
*Feeling like we are being judged can affect our performance.
*We ALL approximate as we learn.

5. Kid President
Time: 3:55

Kid President Teacher Pep Talk

Soul Pancake puts out some great pep talks. Say, “This video makes us think about what we want to teach the world?”

Some poignant points this video makes:
*Be more awesome.
*Ordinary people like you and me make a difference. Everybody is a teacher.
*Life is school and you’ve got to show up.

I have many more clips to share so I’ll blog this in parts. In the meantime, please share. What are your favorite clips to use in presentations?

4 thoughts on “Using Video Clips While Presenting: Part One

  1. I agree! Incorporating videos, both as models and analogies/discussion starters, is a powerful tool for presenters. Thank you so much for the suggestions! I’m excited to see your follow-up posts. I am using “Puppy teaching Puppy to Go Down Stairs” on Monday as part of a professional development session about small-group instruction in reading.

    • Thanks for sharing all of these amazing video clips. It is a great way to lighten the mood but get people thinking. Wonderful time saver to have the videos in one place. I also appreciate the points you have posted along with the video! You are amazing!!

  2. Heather,
    I love all your video ideas. You are so creative. I’m sitting here watching each of them and visualizing how I could use each of them in PD, meetings, etc. I especially would love to see how you are using the puppy video for small group reading instruction. Any transcripts, etc. you could share would be great!

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