Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

"Kind of Like an Octopus"

Creating Instructional Content for YouTube

Margaret Salesky, Sherry Franklin | Published: November 14th, 2022 by K20 Center

  • Grade Level Grade Level 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th
  • Subject Subject English/Language Arts
  • Course Course
  • Time Frame Time Frame 60 minutes
  • Duration More 3-4 class periods


Students discuss their favorite content creators on YouTube. They explore different content creators on a Wakelet and consider what it is about the video that makes it intriguing. Students learn from a YouTube content creator that creating YouTube videos is "kind of like an octopus"—you need a lot of hands to complete many tasks at once. Students work in groups to make a script and a how-to video in the style of a YouTube "content creator." Students then evaluate the videos made by their peers through Google Forms.

Essential Question(s)

How do content creators communicate through engaging videos? How can you use your language skills to teach others a new skill?



Students discuss their favorite YouTube content creators and complete a Quick Write about what they find intriguing about them.


Students explore a Wakelet of YouTube content creators and focus on what it is that they look for when watching YouTube videos.


Students listen to a clip from a podcast interview of a YouTube content creator and discover the most significant point of the clip. They also read an article about the difference between content creators and influencers.


Students create their own how-to video with a script.


Students watch and review one another’s videos with a provided Google Form.


  • Lesson Slides (attached)

  • Quick Write handout (one per student; attached)

  • Content Creator handout (one per student, attached, print 2-sided)

  • How-to Video Review handout (optional)

  • Internet-connected devices: Chromebooks, iPads, or smartphones

  • Pencils or pens

  • Printer paper

  • Padcasters (recommended)


Display slide 2 as students take their seats. Ask them to have a conversation with a partner about what they typically watch on YouTube. If they don’t watch YouTube, discuss the content they watch on TikTok, Twitch, or Instagram.

Display slide 3. Introduce students to the Quick Write strategy and let them know they will have 2 minutes to complete the activity. They will answer the following questions:

  • Who is your favorite content creator?

  • Are they on YouTube, or are they on TikTok, Twitch, or Instagram?

  • What separates them from other creators?

  • Do you follow other creators in the same "genre" of content?

Pass out the attached Quick Write handout to each student. Start the timer on the slide and have students complete the Quick Write activity.

Display slide 4 and introduce the lesson. Move to slide 5-6 and share the Essential Question and the Learning Objectives.


Display slide 7. Share with the students that they will be using Wakelet to view a YouTube Content Creator Gallery. Share the and QR code with the students (both are located on the slide). Encourage students to watch the videos that interest them the most and discuss with their peers why they like or dislike different videos.

After students are done viewing the Wakelet, display slide 8 and introduce the Magnetic Statement instructional strategy. Inform students that you will display 5 different sets of YouTube video characteristics. They need to decide which characteristic attracts them more and move to the side of the room that represents their choice before moving on to the next slide. Display slides 9-13. On each slide, read the two characteristics and have students move to the side of the room that represents their choice. Give students a few moments to discuss why they made their choice before moving on to the next slide.


Display slide 14 and introduce the students to Marques Brownlee. Inform students that they will be reading “Content Creator v Influencer” and to follow the instructions on the slide. Pass out the Content Creator handout to each student. Provide the students time to read the paragraph at the top about Marques Brownlee.

After students have finished reading about Marques Brownlee, display slide 15. Play this clip for students to listen to as a class.

Once the class has listened to the podcast, display slide 16 and introduce the Point of Most Significance (POMS) instructional strategy to the class. Have each student fill out the POMS section at the bottom of the Content Creator handout. Once they have finished writing their thoughts, discuss any common threads.

Then display slide 17 and have students read the quote on the slide. Point out the title of the lesson and the connection with the quote. Tell students they might want to keep this in mind as they will be creating their own YouTube videos later in the lesson.

Move to slide 18 and introduce the CUS and Discuss instructional strategy to the students. Have students flip over their Content Creator handout. Inform students they will be reading the "Content Creator v Influencer" article and follow the instructions on the slide. As they read, they will complete the following:

  • Circle any new words.

  • Star main ideas.

  • Underline the details that support the main idea.

As students read or once they are finished, encourage them to discuss with a partner what they are marking on the article and what they are learning about content creators and influencers. After students have finished, inform them that they will be creating "content creator"-styled videos for their project and not influencer-styled videos.


Divide students into groups of 2-4 using your preferred method. Display slide 19 and read through the instructions with the students. Remind them that they are creating a How-To Video. Instruct students to discuss their plan first as a group (selecting a topic, picking who will be filming, who will be in front of the camera, etc.) and create the script before recording the video.

They need to plan on creating a video that is 3-5 minutes long. Provide students with paper, if needed. Give students time to write their script and record their videos, using their phones or some other recording device. After they have completed filming, direct them to Clipchamp to edit their videos. Once all students have finished editing their videos, have them publish it to either YouTube or Google Drive using Clipchamp’s export tool. (If the students use YouTube, make sure they publish as "unlisted.") Once the video is published, ask them to send you the link to the video.


Display slide 21. Inform students that they will now get to view and evaluate the videos created by other groups. Share the How-to Video Review Google Form with the class or use the alternative How-to Video Review handout. Once all students have the form loaded on their devices, open another tab to showcase the student videos on the projector in the classroom.