Proclaiming Christ in the Digital Age

10 YouTube Videos for the Catholic Classroom

By: Deacon Nick Senger

In an address on the topic of “Proclaiming Christ in the Digital Age,” Pope Francis said the Internet can provide “valuable opportunities to lead people to the luminous face of the Lord,” and it can offer people “real reasons for hope.”

It’s in that spirit that I offer ten of my favorite YouTube videos that I use with the eighth graders I teach. Only a few are overtly religion in nature, but all of them can lead students closer to Jesus if used intentionally.

I recommend watching all of the videos first before reading my notes on each one, so that no surprises are ruined. I’ve created a YouTube playlist that includes all of them, plus a few additional treats.

Awareness Test: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ahg6qcgoay4
I use this video with my students on the very first day of school each year, drawing a connection between the moonwalking bear and the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. As the school year progresses, I ask them to be on the alert for the “moonwalking bear,” so that they don’t miss God working in their lives.

Validation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZ5qlb5joGw
Of all the videos I show, this one is the perennial favorite. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and set aside fifteen minutes and enjoy it. No matter how many times I watch it, it still puts a smile on my face. This is a great film to show at faculty meetings, too.

Change for a Dollar: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DXL9vIUbWg
This short film chokes me up every time I watch it. It can work on many levels for many different lessons. What is the meaning of the word change? How is God like the man with the dollar? What changes can we bring about with our own humble gifts?

A Good Day: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Zl9puhwiyw
Brother Steindl-Rast leads viewers through a beautiful meditation on being grateful for each day—perfect for a retreat or prayer service.

Love Language: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyB_U9vn6Wk
Some students might guess what’s going on here, but even if they do, it’s still fun to watch this boy-meets-girl story with a twist. A great lesson in appreciating diversity.

With a Piece of Chalk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBZAFJ-Q6Mw
This moving short film offers struggling students a way to deal with their pain, and encourages self-expression as therapy.

Piano Stairs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw
Stockholm is the setting of this experiment in human behavior from TheFunTheory.com, a site “dedicated to the thought that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behaviour for the better.” A good lesson for students, teachers, and the Church.

Stethoscope: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYI_aOyCn9Y
This quirky little video takes a creative approach to asking viewers to reflect on what’s inside themselves. A good follow-up is to have students choose a song that the stethoscope would hear if they listened to their own heart.

38 Hours: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HARB7Deq2SQ
How much does God love us? This short film does an admirable job of trying to answer that question in a way that students can understand.

World Builder: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VzFpg271sm8
This personal favorite appeals to the geek in me, but it’s also a great discussion starter. How is the man’s dedication to the woman like God’s dedication to us? The Church is often called the Bride of Christ. How is this woman like the Church?