Tag Archives: classroom videos

The Journey of Paul’s Boots

This is a story about Paul Evans as I learned from an article I came across in Backpacker Magazine and a USA Today article. After doing some more Google searching, I came across a film. His life and the life of his boots moved me to share them with my Scouts at our last Court of Honor a few weeks ago.

Perhaps Paul’s story will be worthy enough for you to share with your students. My Christmas wish is for you to read my short introduction, and watch the film below. I hope it moves you too.

Paul Evans, an Australian from Queensland, had always been an avid hiker. Every chance he had he had found him hiking along the trails near his home.

Later in life he moved back home to care for his ailing parents which occurred about ten years ago.

It was then that he met and married his wife M’Lynn who he had met online in a discussion group for caregivers. Together they took hikes around Australia whenever they were able to get away.

Sadly his Mom passed in 2010 of Parkinson’s and his father in 2011 of Alzheimer’s.

And then his health also began to fail.

During what became an ever worsening health condition, Paul had the dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail. In fact he did the research, bought all the gear and finally told his wife he was ready; setting three pairs of his size 13 boots next to the door.

Then, not much later in July of 2015, he had a heart attack at the age of 53.

He did not survive.

After donating most of his gear, his wife wondered if a part of him could still go on the AT. She put out a request on blogs and a favorite hiking podcast, Dirtbag Diaries.

She got over 400 responses.

And this is how Paul’s boots began their journey from Georgia to Maine, handed off from hiker to hiker. Each volunteer chosen agreed to complete a leg of the AT carrying them 2,189 miles through fourteen states and six national parks.

Some of those 40 people hiked along quietly, while others had conversations with Paul – a man they had never met, but whose four pound boots they were now willing to carry to help fulfill a dream.

It is now that Alex “Daddy Long Legs” Newlon enters this story.

An epileptic who was told he would never thru hike the AT, he was now four months into completing the goal, and now at New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

He was close to quitting.

He had been carrying those heavy leather boots strapped to his pack.

And during his moment of exasperation and doubt, Paul’s boots untied and whacked Newlon’s left elbow.

“I look up and there’s a deer standing in the middle of the trail staring at me,” Newlon remembers. “It was as if Paul was trying to tell me to pay more attention to my surroundings because, lost in my head and caught up in my own doubts and fears, I was missing the beauty of the world around me.”

Here’s the film that captures the trip that Paul’s boots took.

Seen well over eight hundred thousand times, there must be something about carrying someone’s else’s dreams upon one’s shoulders that sounds appealing.

Take a look and listen to some of those that self labeled themselves as Paul’s Protectors.


So the question that I asked myself when I read about the story of these boots, I now ask you.

How often do we miss the beauty that surrounds us? Are we taking the opportunity to do the type of things that Paul never could?

I am hopeful our Scouts see a world they may not have noticed before when each month we leave our church, and seek out a new adventure.

When we hit the trail or set up camp in the woods I hear the laughter of friends, the crackling of the warm fire, and the sizzle of a meal being made in a dutch oven.

It’s a time to spend some sweat equity arriving at one’s destination and in the process learn a little about ourselves in the process.

Hearing the birds begin their day shortly before the sun rises or the quiet of the woods around us has a way of adjusting our default setting back to reflection of what we do and contemplating why we do it.

This holiday season, I challenge you to take a day, or maybe more or even just a few hours, and spend time outside seeing the world our God has created.

Take a hike, a walk or a bike ride with those you love.

Let it be time away from the holiday rush and efforts to do it all.

Let it be a time in which we spend with our families seeing the world around us, perhaps differently than we have before.

Merry Christmas to each of you.

I hope you will do more than read these words and take up my challenge – doing something Paul’s boots were able to accomplish, but Paul never could.

10 Videos You Must Show Your Class

Videos for the Classroom

In my post a few weeks ago, after listening to Duckworth discuss the importance of grit in the classroom I highlighted some approaches worth considering.

Well, after reading the post as it sits online, I just don’t think I gave you much help – which is the whole point of this blog.

So when convincing your students on the importance of doing one’s best, or how to live one’s life, or what each of us can do to make our world a better place, or the importance of love… here are some videos worth showing to your class.

I challenge you to use one a week or perhaps choose one that stands apart from the others (to you).

Have an honest conversation about what’s important in their lives, and yours.

  1. 10 Rules to Live By

Some classic rules to live by. Perhaps an excellent way to start your beginning of the year conversation about classroom rules as your students create their own to follow. A great way to building a classroom culture of care.


2. A Brave Kid Stands Up To Bullies

When a student speaks up about how others make him feel. Being a friend to others can make all the difference in the life of someone. Very short, but a great opener to starting a conversation in your class about being a friend to others.


3. Kids Who Need Medical Care Find Hope

A video about helping children who need help during their toughest days. A short film about helping even if helping doesn’t end well.


4. Pizza Shop Pays It Forward

One person’s idea to give others the opportunity to help others. If only more students, and more of us, would make the time to help others that need a boost of encouragement.


5. Teachers’ Inspiration

Students need to hear that they matter. Here’s a great video to share before you tell your students what they mean to you.


6. Unbroken Motivational Video

I love this one for its energy. Perhaps for our older students as some of the imagery is intense.


7. The Bar Mirror That Speaks

Definitely a video for the older students facing the challenge of making the right decision before getting behind the wheel. An excellent option right before prom.


8. The Unexpected Basket

When we look out for each other, it brings out the best in us.


9. Who I Am Makes A Difference

Each year, after a few months of getting to know my students, I would show this video to my 5th graders – a serious video I agree. I would then make slips of paper with “who you are makes a difference” that they could give to others after I gave one to each of them. A great video about taking the time to acknowledge each person’s value to others around them.


10. Truly Amazing Teacher

I believe I saved the best for last. Here is ten minutes of not just a great teacher whose enthusiasm is obvious as he attempts to blow up a pumpkin, but also a teacher who has enthralled his students during a conversation about love. This is one I’m going to have to put on repeat and from it, get inspired.


If you thought these were useful, take a look at these 12 videos I shared some time ago that may also work in your conversations with your students. I hope you find them empowering and thought provoking as well.

Do you a favorite video that you share with students? Send a link in the comments section. I would love to see others that have made a difference in you and your students’ lives.

12 Education & Empowering Videos You Must See

stars passing above

Ready to watch a video that will make you smile, reflect, laugh or sit back and say wow?

Here are a few videos about education or just worth watching to be inspired again.

They moved me to share them in the past and they’re no less impactful having seen them again in preparing to place them below.

Serious, funny, and insightful. There’s a mix of all below. Enjoy.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

From TED: Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

One of the most viewed TED Talks which has now been viewed over 38 million times. Hard to ignore that kind of viewership.

Can We Auto Correct Humanity?

From the video tagline: You need not delete your social networks or destroy your cell phones, the message is simple, be balanced, be mindful, be present, be here.

Here’s a take on cutting off the phone that we keep looking at. A good option to show to your class or others who can’t seem to put down their phone.

The Best Kindergarten You’ve Ever Seen

From TED: At this school in Tokyo, five-year-olds cause traffic jams and windows are for Santa to climb into. Meet: the world’s cutest kindergarten, designed by architect Takaharu Tezuka. In this charming talk, he walks us through a design process that really lets kids be kids.

Watch this and imagine going to or teaching at this school in Tokyo. If only architects and district planners got together and said: let’s build something unlike anything else.

A Radical New Teaching Method

Here’s a video that emphasizes the importance of kindness. Watch and if you’re a teacher – you’ll wish you were this good. As a parent – I wish my child was blessed enough to have this teacher in their lives.

Coach shows players the true meaning of respect…

Virginia Tech men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams apparently did not like the way his team behaved while the National Anthem played prior to Hokie basketball games so this is what he did to teach his team the meaning of respect.

Randy Paush: The Last Lecture

In 2007, Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, delivered a one-of-a-kind last lecture that made the world stop and pay attention. This moving talk will teach you how to really achieve your childhood dreams. Unmissable.

Logan Laplante: Hackschooling Makes Me Happy.

From TED: when 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.I saw this and I thought to myself.

Wow, this is so different that when I saw it the first time that I went back and listened to it again. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” he asks. “To be happy.” In this TED Talk Logan outlines what education should contain – that current schools focus on making a living instead of making a life. I’ve listened to this again and motivated yet again.

Admiral McRaven Addresses University of Texas at Austin Class of 2014

The Head of the Navy SEALS explains why making your bed every day is the most important life lesson. The Admiral continues noting other lessons from SEAL training that will make you both laugh at times and listen with awe at what these soldiers endure by choice.

The kids clean their own classrooms… and have fun doing it

A short video of Japanese students cleaning up their school. A great one to share with your students when they don’t want to pick up after themselves at the lunch table or their classroom desk.

Kid President’s Pep Talk to Students and Teachers

Required viewing the first week of school. If you haven’t seen this little guy yet… prepare to laugh. Your students will appreciate your desire to start the year on the right foot.

Alan Watts: The Dream of Life

Take some time and sit back. Listen to Alan Watts lead you through some thought provoking thinking about why we’re on this Earth. Contemplative.

Key and Peele – Teaching Center

Here’s one to make you laugh, or is it cry? Boyd Maxwell and Perry Schmidt report on the latest developments in the exciting world of pro teaching.

I would love to see your favorite video links in the comments section and perhaps sharing them with my own students.