7 Brilliant YouTube Channels for Teachers and Librarians

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As a teacher, I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with YouTube which continues to this day. I love the vast range of content, but I hate that I now have to watch an advert for a Toyota Auris every time I want to watch a podcast. I love the fact that there are so many high quality channels with original voices, but I hate the fact that in many schools, I wasn't able to access YouTube at all. However, if you can get access to YouTube or you have software to download videos at home, these channels are sure to be helpful. And if you can't get access, check out this list of 100 video sites for educators - maybe there's a great alternative in there!

Button Poetry

I promise you solemnly, you can get pupils excited by poetry. Many of them don't realise what poetry can be, and this channel is your ideal first port of call to get them to think differently about it. There's a lot of adult content, but they've handily created a playlist of school-friendly performances. Phil Kaye's powerful performance of 'Repetition' can be found below:



Edutopia is one for you rather than your pupils. It's like a virtual learning festival, with a whole range of fantastic teaching practice showcased. As well as producing original content, Edutopia also signposts to playlists from other users, including an enlightening 'Re-imagining the library' playlist. Check out one of their most popular videos about project-based learning below:


BBC Earth

BBC Earth is, much as you'd expect, a smörgåsbord of all things nature, taking you and your pupils on journeys to every corner of the earth. You can see Steve Backshall get up close and personal with king cobras, listen to David Attenborough's lilting commentaries on nature's wonders, find out what a cat's whiskers are, and much, much more. This video of Siberian tiger cubs being released back into the wild is the perfect introduction to conservation for your pupils:


The Smithsonian

The Smithsonian is a plentiful source of factual wonders, but have a look at its Seriously Amazing playlist and you'll see the potential for writing prompts too. In fact, the video below could well have been the inspiration for Polly Ho-Yen's Carnegie Medal-winning Boy in the Tower, with its destructuve invasion of strange plants:


Big Think

Big Think is a channel devoted to getting brains ticking, with lots of snappy debate, proposals and ideas to get your pupils using the ol' grey matter. Here's author David Eagleman throwing around some ideas about the way the public talks about mass shootings:


Footage for free

Want some footage? For free? Head to this channel. If you're making movies or book trailers with your pupils, it's an Aladdin's cave of free clips you can use. The easiest way to embed them in a video is to use YouTube's video editor, which allows you to browse all the Creative Commons licensed clips on YouTube and insert them straight into your project. Here's a little example:


Scottish Book Trust

Yes, yes. I'm smart enough to know where my bread's buttered. But in my defence, our channel is chock full of delightful stuff, from authors reading their picture books in full to some fabulous creative writing advice from Nick Hesketh and Phil Earle. We also have fantastic ideas from Early Years experts, and this absolutely amazing thing that you WON'T BELIEVE.* Here's Phil Earle speaking about gathering ideas for stories to whet your appetite:

 *It's a joke. It's Rick Astley singing Never Gonna Give You Up. Sorry.

If you're looking for more fantastic video content to inspire your pupils, why not try our Authors Live Watch on Demand section?