In the mind of a CBE

A CBE Aha! Moment – 3.18 Edition

Posted by cemignano on

Finding time to integrate new technology can be a difficult task, but reflecting on past practices is a powerful exercise to help identify areas where new approaches can successfully be implemented. We’re excited to welcome March’s CBE of the Month, Heidi Shorr, back to the blog as she shares her own reflection on past teaching practices and how she’s integrated BrainPOP in to her already busy schedule.

1) Tell us your BrainPOP “Aha! Moment” from the certification process. What specific use or application of BrainPOP excited you during this course? How did it change your expectation for using BrainPOP in your teaching practice?

Learning that individual student accounts were available with our BrainPOP subscription was so exciting!  I couldn’t wait to set up my class with their accounts and try the Quiz Mixer feature. I was enthusiastic about being able to quickly view student scores and individual responses on quizzes to assess student understanding.  Using less paper was a great benefit also!

2) What is a specific lesson or unit you’ve taught in the past that you can re-formulate to bring in the new tools, features, or content you discovered through the CBE process?

I use centers often during the day in all subject areas, but most often during ELA or Math.  When I use centers, I work with small groups at one of the centers. It’s a great way to work more closely with students and meet their needs.  While I work with one group, the remainder of students must work on their own. It’s been a challenge to find activities for students to do that they can do independently, but are also worthwhile for the students and their learning goals. In the past, I’d create games or activities for the children. Creating these games and activities took up so much of my time. It was frustrating for me and for my family when I was working all weekend long to create those activities and missing out on time with them. The activities and games worked well, but because I am not with the students while they work on them I don’t see what mistakes they make or what they need help with. Sometimes I’d use practice worksheets, because these are less time-consuming to prepare and provide me with information on student understanding. Needless to say, practice worksheets aren’t engaging for kids. I’ve never heard anyone say, “Hooray, another worksheet today!” And, I don’t expect to hear anyone say that anytime soon!   

3) How will you integrate BrainPOP’s new features and tools to replace what you’ve done in the past?

After learning about individual accounts and the Quiz Mixer feature in the workshop, I immediately began exploring ways to use BrainPOP in my classroom as a center activity. One of my greatest Aha! moments was realizing that once students knew how to log in to their individual BrainPOP accounts, I could assign various movies and activities for them to do during a center.  Using the 5 iPads and 2 computers in my classroom, I have been using BrainPOP as a center during both my Daily Five rotations and during Math workshops. The students are engaged in the BrainPOP movies, quizzes and activities during that center. Best of all, I can see who has completed the assignments, who has not finished, and can also quickly assess their understanding with the quizzes and their SnapThought comments on games.  I use BrainPOP in Math workshops and my ELA Daily Five centers frequently, and have even created centers using BrainPOP in Science and Social Studies.