Get to know a CBE

ELA with CBE of the Month Alexa Corniel

Posted by cemignano on

We’d like to welcome June’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Alexa Corniel, to the blog! Alexa teaches 4th grade in Solana Beach, CA. Alexa’s passion for teaching is clear and we know her path to education will inspire you. Read on to learn more about this wonderful educator!

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I teach 4th grade all subjects. Math and reading are my favorites!

How long have you been teaching?
5 years, I was blessed to get hired right out of college!

What inspired you to go into education?
I love working with kids, they all have this special sparkle in their eye and a bold, beautiful smile despite the circumstances that might surround them. It is innocence at its finest. I wanted to be a person that always strived to ensure those things never left them. I wanted to inspire every child I encountered and remind them of their worth, their value, and their beautiful future. So, education was always an idea, but the stigma of the challenges and societal views about teachers kept me at bay. I took a job as a coach during college and I remember walking into a classroom where I met the kids that I would coach. I want to preface that this was an old, dilapidated classroom, but this classroom felt like home. I remember turning on the lights and the classroom became illuminated with life. I inhaled all of the classroom smells of pencils, chalk, paper, and erasers. For some reason, this day is forever etched in my memory. It was an unforgettable moment where my heart was longing to be a teacher. It was like I was being spoken to and, instead of running away from it, I embraced it. All the doors opened for me and I know that I was meant to be a teacher.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
2017 Palm Springs CUE. Being a CBE is pretty special. It is nice to know that there are other like-minded educators equally in love with BrainPOP. Also, it is nice to be aware of new ideas and tools before news makes its way down the pipeline. Since becoming a CBE, I have been afforded amazing opportunities to share unique and meaningful ways to integrate BrainPOP into a classroom, and I have been fortunate enough to have met amazing educators at various conferences because of it. All of which has made me a better person and a better educator. I am not the same teacher that I was a year ago.

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
There are a lot of them. I love making movies and having “film festivals” with the Moby tickets located on the BrainPOP educators page. We just wrapped up a grammar film festival. My kids made movies on each part of speech required by our ELA state standards and then brought them to life with examples and explanations on how to use it/apply it. That was pretty impressive, to hear them be excited about their preposition example, or how their adverb enhanced their compound sentence was really cool. It was one of those moments where I sat back and thought to myself, “How did I get so lucky to have kids who are so excited to learn…even about grammar?” However, I would say my most memorable project occurred through a novel study of Esperanza Rising last year. I love novel smashing, or simply using a variety of tools to bring a novel’s setting to life. I used the videos on BrainPOP like Cesar Chavez and the Great Depression, coupled with the primary sources available to bring the setting to life for my kids. I also used the Newsela articles paired with the videos. My kids were really able to empathize with the character a lot more after understanding the gravity of the time she was living through and what she endured in the novel. We ended up making movies on what Cesar Chavez and Eleanor Roosevelt would tell Esperanza if they were with her. It was a cool way to assess their understanding of what the character was enduring, along with the missions these great minds were known for.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
I would say that it was allowed my English Learners to be more brave in their work. They are sometimes shy to share their ideas on film or with their voice, but BrainPOP has so many creative tools ready-made, that anyone can create a masterpiece. Anything with Moby is a hit, so having this available makes all my kids feel like the rockstar that they are.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
Being a CBE has made me a better teacher in every way. Because of the opportunities available to CBEs, I am able to hear about amazing things other educators are doing in their classroom, which inspires me to try more new things. It is a like a new, magical era has emerged within my classroom. Being a CBE also causes you to engage with BrainPOP in a deeper level, which allows you to teach with BrainPOP in a deeper and more authentic way.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
Social emotional learning! I am most passionate and invested in ensuring that my students are socially and emotionally healthy students. Learning how to be hopeful, self-regulate, identify one’s emotions, seek mental clarity and stability, and be present, are essential to being a successful adult. However these things are missing a place in classrooms. We have tests to assess how kids are doing with the acquisition of content knowledge, but we fail to forget that life is our ultimate test. Right now, more than ever, our kids are failing this test. Algorithms, essays, and theories are vital school lessons, of course. But without also teaching kids vital life skills like communication, empathy, and emotional awareness, we’re failing them.  So, I am passionate about teaching with a lens of love in my classroom. Highlighting hope and perseverance in all that I teach. In this way, teaching SEL is as natural as teaching a reading comprehension skill.

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
The ability to edit BrainPOP movies on the Make-a-Movie app. Just like you can take a BrainPOP movie clip on Make-a-Map and pop it into your mapping creation, I would love the ability to add movie clips into student Make-a-Movies. This was not my idea, this is a request my kids ask me time and time again!