Get to know a CBE

Visual Explanations with CBE of the Month Heidi Shorr

Posted by cemignano on

We’re excited to welcome March’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Heidi Shorr, to the blog! Teaching third grade in Massachusetts, Heidi strives to incorporate technology into her every day curriculum to engage and inspire her students. Read on to learn about Heidi’s road to the classroom and her experience as a CBE.

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
Hi! I’m a third grade teacher in a suburban elementary school in central Massachusetts. As a primary teacher, I am responsible for teaching my students all content areas, including ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies. Creating engaging lessons for each subject every day keeps my days interesting!

How long have you been teaching?
I began teaching in 2009 as a computer/technology teacher for students in kindergarten through second grade. The following year I moved into a general education classroom as a third grade teacher and have been there since! I continue to look for ways to incorporate technology into my lessons to enhance student learning and improve engagement.

What inspired you to go into education?
I was interested in becoming a teacher at a young age, but took a different direction after college. I have always loved Science and majored in Biology at the University of Delaware (Go Blue Hens!) After that, I spent many years working in sales and marketing positions for companies in the biotechnology industry. It was fascinating and I loved it. Every year or so I’d think again about getting into education so I could share my enthusiasm for learning with children. One day, after many years of talking about it, my husband said “Just go do it!” and so I did. I received my master’s degree in elementary education a few years later. As soon as I was in school working with the children, I knew I had made the right choice and had found my true calling. It’s wonderful to work with students and help them grow, learn and prepare for the future.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I was part of the November 2016 CBE class. After noticing new tiles appearing on the BrainPOP site and becoming curious about the new features, I attended a local workshop and was excited to learn about all of the great features that had been added by BrainPOP. Being a CBE has been great because as a CBE, I hear about the ever-growing number of improvements made by BrainPOP and can share what I learn about using BrainPOPs features with my colleagues. I appreciate the opportunities given to CBEs to provide feedback to the BrainPOP folks. Of course I am excited to be featured here as a CBE of the month!

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
There are so many projects and ways I’ve used BrainPOP in the classroom. One of the most recent projects was a climate project. As part of our curriculum, students learn about climate types. As a way to introduce students to the unit, we watched the climate types movie on BrainPOP and completed the corresponding activity sheet to help students focus on important vocabulary for the unit. After that, I was able to assign different BrainPOP Jr. habitat movies to students based on their climate choice. This introduced information about various habitats found in their climates. For example, students who were going to research tropical climates watched the Rainforests movie. Those who were researching polar climates watched the Arctic Habitats movie. Students were able to pause the movies as they watched to record notes or topics they wanted to learn more about. This really got the students excited about their projects.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
A group of students impacted by BrainPOP are my visual learners. Recently, I participated in an informative workshop provided by my district about reaching visual learners in the classroom. In the workshop we discussed the importance of using icons in lessons to improve student retention of information and learning. The images in BrainPOP movies really help visual learners to remember information being covered in the movies. I’ve heard many students refer to the images in the movies when they are explaining how they solved a problem in math or what they know about various topics.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
It’s been a pleasure to meet and be in touch with some of the people at BrainPOP and to be able to learn from other CBEs and get great lesson ideas from them. Becoming a CBE helped me to learn more ways to use BrainPOP in the classroom. The students love it and it’s easier for me to plan activities that students can complete independently while still learning new information, reviewing previously discussed content, and/or practicing key skills.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I’m passionate about finding ways to help students develop positive attitudes and beliefs about learning, engaging them in their learning and creating a classroom that makes students excited and happy to come to school every day. I believe it is very important that all children have adults in their lives that believe in them and support them. I also try to stay current with technology and use it in smart ways to improve learning experiences.

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
I’d love to see more movies that cover aspects of social emotional learning and growth mindset. Several types of graphs are included in BrainPOP Jr., but one that would be a great addition would be a movie about line plots. I’d also like to have more Moby swag- I’ve been meaning to create my own Moby earrings, but haven’t made the time to do it yet!