In the mind of a CBE

Learn About Coding Through Concept Mapping – A CBE Aha! Moment 7.18

Posted by cemignano on

As a requirement of the Certified BrainPOP Educator program, we ask participants to reflect on past teaching practices and identify areas where they can use BrainPOP’s learning activities to improve their approach. Reflecting on these “Aha! Moments” is a valuable exercise and we hope by sharing moments from our CBE of the Month, Zee Poerio, you’ll be inspired to identify your own.

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?

My favorite BrainPOP tool is Make-a-Map. I love the creative aspect of being able to design mind maps, timelines, and more. When I first started using BrainPOP, it was mainly for the movies and the quizzes. During the CBE process and exploring more of the features, I saw the value of Make-a-Map and that lead to my first BrainPOP “Aha! Moment.” Most of my students are visual learners and this really gave them the opportunity to SHOW WHAT THEY KNOW as a graphic. I remember assigning Make-a-Map for the first time with younger students after the lesson on the Dictionary and Thesaurus. Using Make-a-Map was the perfect way for students to show the differences between the two.Some students would keep going back to the Make-a-Map if given the choice to use any of the BrainPOP features to extend their learning. The students wanted to use the tool for other subjects and would even suggest it to other teachers for class projects. Make-a-Map was the first tool beyond the quizzes and activity sheets that broadened my ideas about how BrainPOP could be used in the classroom.

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?

When I would first introduce lessons on coding I would show the BrainPOP movie on Computer Coding.  The students loved how the movie related the steps in writing code to the steps or directions that are to be followed for a recipe.  I would have students write out step-by-step directions in a word processing document on how to get to the classroom door from their seat. They would print them out and leave the directions at their seat.  Then I would move the students around and have them follow the directions from another student’s seat to see how well they described the steps.

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

With Make-a-Map, the students can create a visual set of steps from their seat to the door. In the Make-a-Map tool, students can use the arrows to connect the steps and make the directions easier to follow. Having each step in a box and using the arrows to connect the steps to show the order or sequence, will help the students simplify the directions. They can search for images of a “chair” and a “door” for the start and end of the directions. They can change colors of the boxes and even uses images on the sides of the Make-a-Map. Students can submit their finished “maps” to the teacher through BrainPOP and then I will have students change seats.  I can open each map on the big screen so that the entire class can view and follow along as each student follows the directions given from their new seat to the door to test the “program.”

Make-a-Map is just one of the many features beyond the movie and quizzes that created Aha! Moments in my class and opportunities for sharing BrainPOP with other teachers. One of greatest things about BrainPOP is that is continues to amaze students and teachers with new content in the movies and features. I think is is important to explore all the features and share what you you have learned with others. Being a CBE gives you the opportunity to do that and create many Aha! Moments! Thanks, BrainPOP for giving us MORE each year. (I am looking forward to learning more about the coding lessons in BrainPOP and hope we can add it to our school subscription.)