Get to know a CBE

ELA with CBE of the Month Jennifer Hall

Posted by cemignano on

We’re excited to introduce you to November’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Jennifer Hall! Jennifer is an Educational Technology Specialist in Atlanta, GA. Read on to learn about Jennifer’s journey into teaching, her favorite BrainPOP project, and her experience as a CBE.

What grade(s) do you work with? Position?
I spent seventeen years as a middle school language arts teacher, serving as a gifted lead for the last 9 years. I am in my fourth year as a district-level Educational Technology Specialist (ETS). I now have the joy of teaching teachers. I provide school-based and district-wide professional development with a focus on effective integration of instructional technology in standards-based lessons. I am currently supporting four middle and one high school.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my twenty first year in education.

What inspired you to go into education?
Growing up I wasn’t the best student, I was not too motivated academically and struggled with the angst of middle and high school. My goal in becoming a middle school educator was to provide a nurturing, safe space for my students to grow as learners and leaders. I wanted to foster a love of literature and writing. I also wanted my students to experience success and strive to to be their best selves.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I was part of the fall 2015 CBE cohort at GaETC (Georgia Educational Technology Conference) in Atlanta. I was an avid user of BrainPOP for years before becoming a CBE. The hands-on training was invaluable and provided me strategies for integration and best practices. As a CBE, I am eager to share the awesomeness of BrainPOP when I collaborate and plan with teachers or provide BrainPOP professional development for my schools. Additionally, as a CBE I have been able to connect with champion educators from across the country.

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
I have worked with middle school students on a film unit for nearly 10 years.  Now I collaborate with language arts teachers from around the district as part of my “Lights, Camera, Action!’ Shakespeare Rewrite project. For the project, students read a middle school version of a Shakespeare play (Macbeth, Hamlet, Othello or Romeo & Juliet), create a re-write and produce a film. When I teach lessons as part of the project, I use “Drama,” “William Shakespeare” and “Filmmaking” to engage the students and build schema. With the BrainPOP resources and activities I am able to highlight the elements of drama, discuss the significance of Shakespeare as a writer and deconstruct the process and roles in creating a film. Having Tim and Moby introduce content and create a context is always part of my favorite lessons.  

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
As an ETS, I often push into classes, modeling or co-teaching lessons. One impactful co-teaching experience involved working with an 8th grade special education resource class. The students were studying the Civil War and during a collaborative planning session, with the instructional coach and teacher, I suggested BrainPOP would be engaging and effective for a review. We used the Civil War and Civil War Causes resources. With such varying academic levels in a resource class, BrainPOP addresses different learning modalities (auditory, visual), including language support with closed captioning. The students used a student-response system to respond to the quiz, providing them real-time feedback. The content was accessible for the diverse learners and at the end of the lesson the students were able to demonstrate mastery of the content.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
As a CBE I have been been able to provide one-on-one, small group and large group professional development for teachers in my district. I work with teachers on strategies for using BrainPOP, including whole-group instruction, small group focus lessons, learning stations, remediation or extension opportunities for students. As a CBE, I am able to serve as a resource for effective utilization of BrainPOP and the various resources.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I love all things #edtech. Gadgets are awesome, but the most important resource in any classroom is the teacher. I believe effective teachers facilitate learning, foster the 21st Century 4 C’s (Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, & Critical Thinking), model digital citizenship, while integrating educational technology in meaningful ways.  

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
I would love if there was a collaborative component for assignments and activities. If we are striving to foster 21st Century Skills, working in teams is paramount to effective collaboration. Being able to work in pairs or teams to create Make-a-Map graphic organizers, for example, would be awesome.