Guest Blog: Using BrainPOP in a Project-Based Classroom

By Lisa Parisi

Special guest Lisa Parisi, fifth grade teacher in Long Island, NY, teaches in a collaborative classroom model, and has been teaching for over 25 years. She’s a technology goddess, and loves teaching with technology, as well as sharing her expertise with other educators. She’ll be joining us for TODAY’s free webinar: Project Based Learning and Universal Design for Learning: What is it and how can BrainPOP Help? Get the details and RSVP!

Using technology in our project based learning classroom is a common occurrence.  Doing research, creating projects, and collaborating with others are all made easier through technology tools.  BrainPOP is not only one of the best tools, but one of the favorites among the students.  Tim and Moby do a fabulous job entertaining the students while explaining some very complex ideas in simple terms.

In a project based learning classroom, the children are given essential questions to answer, resources to use, and tools to assist them along the way.  Then, in groups, they work on learning the topic, answering the essential questions, and demonstrating their understanding to others.  The learning is motivating, meaningful, and real.

Fifth graders are more than capable of this student centered type of learning.  But getting started is sometimes quite a challenge.  When the world is open to them, it is often too overwhelming to narrow anything down.  So my job is to keep their topic focused.  And BrainPOP helps me do just that.

At the start of every new topic, I create a wiki or webpage that features the main unit, each group topic, the essential questions, and a resource page.  This resource page is where the students begin.  They find their topic and beneath it, a list of webpages, videos, image sites, and books.  Where do they always begin?  The BrainPOP video links, of course.  Tim and Moby are ready to provide the students with the basic ideas for each topic.  But BrainPOP doesn’t stop with the motivating videos.  They also provide related features for each video.  There are quizzes, activities, timelines, and Cassie and Rita show up to discuss background information.  By the time the students are done with the one BrainPOP link I provided, they have ample information to move onto the Internet and expand their research.

BrainPOP helps me run a successful project based learning classroom.  By covering topics in a simple, fun way, and including related information, the site makes the learning easier for my students. And it keeps my students motivated and working.  What more could a classroom teacher ask for?