5 YouTube Videos that will Break the Ice in Advisory

Want to find ways to connect to your Advisory? Have you tried YouTube? Here are 5 great videos that help create solidarity and shared experience in the classroom!

A few years ago my school introduced Advisories into our daily schedule. For twenty minutes each morning, educators in our building meet with approximately fifteen students, grouped together heterogeneously by grade level. The goal of Advisory is to provide students with an opportunity to feel connected to their school through a small, supportive community of students, guided by an adult mentor.

Every four years I am faced with a new class of freshmen in Advisory, many with absolutely nothing in common.  These students are often scared and subdued – afraid of looking “weird” to their classmates, frightened to speak up. They don’t know what to expect from high school, and Advisory is just another uncomfortable and awkward moment in their day.

Many of the students speak different languages. I have Pre-AP students and small learning group students in one Advisory. I usually do a series of icebreakers to get to know students and to help them get to know each other – pair/shares and games, etc. – but after that first week, I worry about how to connect with my Advisory students, how to create shared experiences, and how I can make high school more fun and enjoyable for them.

One evening I watched a YouTube video of a news interview with an elderly woman, who had survived the 2013 tornado in Moore, Oklahoma. As she stands on the pile of rubble that was her home, she explains that before the tornado hit, she was in the bathroom with her dog on her lap. Afterwards, her faithful pet was gone. While the interview is taking place, the camera person sees movement in the rubble. Sure enough, the woman’s dog is spotted underneath the debris, and together the news team and the woman work to free the dog. Tears were streaming down my face as I watched the woman reunite with her beloved pet. I found the story so uplifting that I wanted to share it.

The next day during Advisory, I told my students I wanted them to watch something, and I showed them the tornado video. Several of the students cried, too, and we watched it over and over. It led to a great conversation where we shared stories and got to know one another. I felt I had hit upon something.

Over the next two years, my Advisory students and I have shared our favorite YouTube videos. Some of the videos are inspiring tales of resilience and overcoming obstacles in the face of adversity. Some of them are just plain silly and tension-relieving.

Most importantly, watching the videos together enabled me get to know my students and helped my students get to know each other. We laughed together, cried together, and created something that was uniquely ours. When I pass my students in the hallway and greet them with a tag line from one of the videos, we are revealing our own secret passwords that connect us to one another.

My Advisory and I put together our Top 5 Videos.  Maybe you’d like to share them with your Advisories, too!

1.  Woman Reunites with Dog After Tornado – The one that started it all.

2.  Jimmy Fallon: Lip Synch Battle with Emma Stone – Just about anything from Jimmy Fallon can please my students, but seeing Emma Stone take on these lightning fast lyrics, brings my students to their feet. We’ve probably watched this video no less than twenty times.

3.  Spartan Cheerleaders at a Chess Tournament from Saturday Night Live – This is just pure silliness. Will Ferrell and Cheri Oteri’s awkward teens are hilarious, and this particular skit is sidesplittingly funny. The tag line: “I Don’t Know, I Don’t Know” became one of the shared sayings for my Advisory – our own little private joke that built camaraderie in our classroom.

4.  Amy’s and Andy’s Haunted House – Ellen DeGeneres – Ellen sends her writer, Amy, and Executive Producer, Andy, into a Haunted House. Watching zombies jump out at this pair has become a Halloween tradition, and Andy’s tag line: “Stop it! Stop it Right Now,” is an oft-repeated phrase in our Advisory.

5.  Rob Capicchioni and his Amazing Story – 17 Year Old Rob Capicchioni was lured into a bad neighborhood by a friend, shot three times, and left for dead. His heart wrenching story of survival is inspirational and uplifting.

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  • marsharatzel

    Gr8 story

    This is wonderful and a perfect way to get conversation going.

    I was wondering.  Do your students bring in videos they’ve found and think are suitable for your Advisory?  What have they discovered?

    • Nancy Barile


      Thanks, Marsha! I usually pick the videos, but sometimes they suggest one, and I always tell them to make sure it's "appropriate for school." They know what that means. Sometimes they suggest one that they think is hilarious, and I'm like "huh" – and I just don't get the humor?  But they do appreciate old Saturday Night Live videos from years ago – I showed Debbie Downer in Disneyworld, and they LOVED it haha. I wasn't expecting that. And they come in with some great inspirational ones, too – this was the last one – it's awesome! http://goodmenproject.com/bits-and-pieces/video-fighting-bullying-with-kindness/

  • JenniferHenderson

    Fun Friday Video

    Love these links, thanks!  For the past few years I have shown videos to start our class every Friday.  They are either funny, inspirational or amazing!  It rewards kids for their hard work all week and for showing up on time (if they are late they usually miss the video).  It often sparks some great conversation and inspired writing.  I use Pinterest to “hold” the videos I find and to find new ones – I’m in love with Pinterest!

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • SomaCassady

    Me too! Me too!

    Some of our favorites to watch during advisory – Anjela Johnson (nail salon) she does a perfect Vietnamese accent and many of my kids are Viet – it just cracks them up. Also very popular are the yo yo champion videos (my kids are really into Kendama so this is great for them to watch). I have also shown clips from Idiocracy (“welcome to Cosco, I love you”), Dude Where’s My Car (“No and then, no and then…”), and SNL’s Girlfriends talking bout guys n stuff….GIRLFRIENDS!

    So much fun – we laugh and have great discussions.



    yo yo championships to a Diplo song!!!