Moments Like These

In a stack of papers called Connections.

  • Aug
  • 23
  • 2009

The Do First for the day is this: How would you define a moment? Or maybe it’s this: Finish the story “The moment was…” Or maybe it’s a (cheesy) quotation: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” But maybe you don’t have a Do First topic at all. Maybe you just show the video and see what the class makes of it:


Have students look through the comments on this video to see what they agree or disagree with. Asking for feedback about a set of comments you select would be a good idea, too.

Someone on YouTube threw this out: “For all the moments of life to catch, why were so many of them manufactured in this piece?” That could be a great discussion starter, a nice way into a critical viewing of this video. “Support your answers with evidence from the text” works for more than the written word. Which moments are staged? Which moments are real? How can you tell? Examining what works and what doesn’t could also be a way for your students to create their own version of this video.

Whether or not the music is needed could be another point to debate. Perhaps you should talk about the selection of a piece of music that fits more into the background, instead of one that steals the thunder of so many of these visuals like the current song does. I wonder if this piece would be stronger with a more subtle score.


This video is the culmination of a week-long set of Radiolab segments about death. The regular-length broadcast called “After Life” was followed up by short audio pieces each day until Friday, when this video was released as a way to wrap up the whole thing. Radiolab never ceases to amaze me; just about each week is better than the one before it.


Is YouTube blocked where you are? Then download the video and decide if a piece of Radiolab is worth showing to your students (answer: yes).

Warning: There is a “moment” of someone holding a condom (found at 1:17-19). There’s also a shot of a surgical cutting (2:45-47). I’m still mulling over whether or not the condom thing is a deal breaker. I’ll almost certainly show it to my all-senior Speech class.

P.S. Thanks for the Radiolab reminder, Emily. Yup, it is brilliant.

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