Curriculum,  Technology,  Uncategorized

10 Must-See TED Talks for Great Middle School Discussions

Who doesn’t love a good TED Talk? Students engage with these because often times the presentation is something they can relate to. They provoke student discussion. One way to use TED Talks in the classroom is through Socratic Seminar. [I will post a whole article on this soon.]

I have scoured the internet and found 10 TED Talks, not only recommended by me, but by other teachers out there.

1. Tavi Gevison: A Teen Just Trying to Figure it Out

I found this TED Talk in 2013 when I was teaching in my first middle school classroom. This is a favorite because Tavi is hoping to empower young women and give them a space to learn how to be themselves in a world that is telling them they can’t.

2. J.K. Rowling – The Fringe Benefits of Failure

Let’s just start with the fact that it is a speech given by J.K. Rowling. Most of our students know the Harry Potter series, and I myself am a huge fan. What is great about Rowling’s speech is that she talks about how the fear of failure may be a huge reason why students procrastinate. But, it is these failures that lead to their future successes.

3. Tim Urban – Inside the Mind of a Master Procrastinator

This is a funny video that my students always find entertaining. Urban talks about procrastination and the brain process behind it. Let’s face it, there isn’t a class that you have where students don’t procrastinate at one time or another.

4. John Green – The Nerd’s Guide to Learning Everything Online

First off, John Green is another great author that teens will often recognize. I’m sure if you just mention The Fault in Our Stars, most students will know who you’re talking about. Now, to the video. Green talks about why the internet is important and why web learning is awesome. This speaks directly to our Gen Z students.

5. Apollo Robbins – The Art of Misdirection

This is an extremely interesting talk to watch. Robins touches on human behavior and attention span. He shows flaws in our perceptions and is easily able to pickpocket from an audience member.

6. Shane Koyczan – To This Day

I think I show this video every year in my classes. It is the heart wrenching slam poetry of Koyczan that touches on the all-to-real topic of bullying. It really opens up students’ eyes to things they may not realize are going on behind the outward person they see. Another beautiful version of this poem can be found here.

7. Ariana Huffington – How to Succeed? Get More Sleep

This is a quick video from Huffington outlying one key to success. She speaks on how changing one thing in your routine can help you be more successful at everything.

8. Julian Treasure – 5 Ways to Listen Better

I know that all my students could stand to listen better, and I’m sure yours could too. This is another quick video (which I like) that talks about the importance of listening. Treasure provides some strategies on how to do this better, and help students become more successful.

9. Joachim de Posada – Don’t Eat the Marshmallow

This is a hilarious talk about delayed gratification. This is a topic I know ALL students could stand to hear more about. This generation is hyper-focused on instant gratification. In this funny talk de Posada gives 6 year olds marshmallows and make them wait to eat them.

10. Drew Dudley – Everyday Leadership

This is an inspiring talk where Dudley discusses how small acts of kindness can change the world. He asks you to change your mindset of leadership. It’s not about changing to whole world, but your view of the world.


So, you may be asking yourself, I have all of these great TED Talks to watch, now what? How do I use them in class? As I said before, one great way to incorporate them is through note-taking and using Socratic Seminar. I will post a link to that soon.

Another option would be to use a basic TED Talk form. I am attaching that right here for you to download. It can be found right on If you are interested in seeing some other great TED Talk videos that aren’t on my list, go to these great sites! Engaging and Effective Teaching We Are Teachers Whoos Reading the Blog

Leave a comment below and let me know which TED Talk video is your favorite!

Please subscribe for more great tips & tidbits!

Please follow and like us:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

error: Content is protected !!