In the mind of a CBE

Student Expression with BrainPOP’s Creativity Tools – A CBE Aha! Moment 10.18

Posted by cemignano on

We’d like to welcome October’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Sarah Dahlheimer, back to the blog! Sarah is here to share her CBE Aha! Moment – a reflection on past teaching practices and how she’s integrated BrainPOP in to her already busy schedule. Reflection is an important part of professional growth , and we hope reading about Sarah’s Aha! Moment will inspire you to identify your own.

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?

The Make-a-Map tool!! This tool is simply magical! For as long as I can remember students have been creating graphic organizers to visualize and organize their ideas whether it was researching a specific topic, planning a story, or documenting the story or arc of a wonderful book. The Make-a-Map tool allows students to take their graphic organizers to a whole other level. Combine the Make-a-Map with the remarkable power of the Make-a-Movie tool and you have an explosion of creativity in any classroom.

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?

One of my favorite beginning of the year activities is to have students create a visual representation of themselves. Every year this looks a little different in my room. This year, I had my students create a Make-a-Map about themselves which highlighted their interests both in and out of school. The students then used these maps to plan and create a movie using the Make-a-Movie tool. 100% engagement! Students’ voices were heard as they narrated their personalized movies. Just in time for our Curriculum Night, the Make-a-Maps were printed with QR codes to the students’ published videos. Parents were able to easily scan the QR code to hear their child’s voice and see their creativity in their personalized movie about one of their favorite topics.

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

Make-a-Map and Make-a-Movie are go-to tools in my classroom. Students ask if they can use them all the time!. I’ve touched upon having students use Make-a-Map to plan their writing but haven’t used it as much as I’d like. Moving forward this year, I will encourage students to use this tool to plan out their stories.

Recently, I’ve also introduced the Creative Coding projects to my students. One of the things I’m most passionate about is integrating coding and computational thinking into my classroom in purposeful ways. We’ve only just begun, but already my students have coded museums to demonstrate their understanding of regrouping in subtraction, as well as coded a conversation to lift the level of their writing highlighting the Show Not Tell strategy.  The coding tools built within BrainPOP provide students with easy access to coding experiences with direct connections to the content they are learning about within the curriculum.