Please welcome back Aimee Bloom, our March Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month! In this blog post, Aimee shares a few of her favorite BrainPOP features and how she introduces them to both teachers and students in her school. And this post is not the last you’ll see of Aimee on BrainPOP Educators … on March 22, Aimee will be our guest for a special webinar on storyboarding Make-a-Movie projects with Make-a-Map — a double whammy double feature resource. Be sure to RSVP here!
Being my school’s technology coach, I often look for ways that teachers can seamlessly use technology in their classrooms. I truly love my job; as it allows me the opportunity to “play” with a variety of new technologies. Once I take pride in an application, I love to share it with others proudly and to come up with ways to use it across the board.
One of the most difficult feats of being a technology coach in a school that encompasses grades PreK-8 is providing an inservice that reaches everyone. That’s what I love about BrainPOP! The first time that I administered a professional development for the teachers in my school on BrainPOP, there was something for everyone! It was a buffet of educational goodness. They were able to pick a “topic” of their choice as we discussed Make-a-Map, activities, and quizzes. There was no teacher left behind, as there were even subjects for the art, physical education, and music teacher to take part!
Today I am going to share with you a few of my favorite features that I love sharing with my teachers (and beyond) and how we have worked together to present this information in a different way using BrainPOP.
First thing first. My teachers were SUPER excited that they were able to create classes in BrainPOP which allowed their students to turn in work. We have to print our own materials, so anytime that I can get them away from the long line at the copier they are the most appreciative. A lot of my teachers will use the quiz as an introduction to the subject; almost like a pretest to gain an insight on what they already know. They completely appreciate the convenience of having quizzes pre-made and value the opportunity to be able to create their own!
Who doesn’t love to play games? Especially games that really require higher order thinking skills? What some teachers are unaware of is that BrainPOP gives you lesson ideas around each game, Common Core Standards that are associated with the game, as well as the ability to assign it the students games. Want to be able to create an authentic learning experience from a game? Have your students send you SnapThoughts as they reflect about the game you assigned! What’s my personal favorite game to play on BrainPOP when I have a spare moment? Sortify and Slice Fractions.
A lot of my teachers have done flips over BrainPOP…. Or have used it to flip their classroom! often my middle school team have been known to assign the movie and activities/quizzes as homework to introduce a lesson to their subject matter. Once assigned, you can see that the student has viewed the movie as well as take the quiz and their results!
I personally love doing a Make-A-Map “mashup” in my classroom. I often will present a topic about technology and my students need to find a related topic to enhance their understanding about the subject matter that has been presented. This way, each Make-A-Map is unique as it allows each student to explore the breadth and depth of knowledge that can be uncovered about any topic. My teacher’s will use this tool as a reflective piece, or as a way to take notes and brainstorm.
Most recently, I have presented Make-a-Movie to my sixth graders. Fortunately for me, my subject allows for project based learning (PBL) and I have the time in my curriculum to learn a new product along with my students. I decided to try something new this time. I actually found a subject matter that BrainPOP has not created a movie over! (Impressive, I know.) So, I asked my two 6th grade classes to create one for BrainPOP.
I had three objectives:
1. It has to be about HTML. You can teach me anything. History. The terminology. Both. Neither. Whatever your approach, it just needs to be factual!
2. It has to be BrainPOP-y. I want it to feel like an authentic BrainPOP Movie, so put on your humor hats and let the creativity flourish.
3. Minimum 1 minute long.
I wanted it to be as open ended as possible as I did not want to watch the same cookie-cutter movie over and over. That can be scary for a 6th grader, however, it provided me more of an opportunity to be a facilitator working with the children instead of the teacher in the front of the classroom, This learning experience provided us chances to work together to not only learn how to use this new tool in BrainPOP, but what it truly meant to create a movie with very little guidance. Of course I had to guide them through the process and ensure they were on the correct factual path that was in depth enough to make a final conclusion- it is really working out great! I have learned so much from this experience and cannot wait to share it with the teachers at my school and at other professional developments that I provide!