Get to know a CBE

Differentiation with CBE of the Month Mary Howard

Posted by cemignano on

We’d like to welcome November’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Mary Howard, to the blog! She’s a fearless educator who’s full of ideas and we’re excited to feature her this month. Read on to learn about Mary’s road into education and how she never looked back!

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I currently teach sixth grade ELA and Science. It actually feels weird to type the word Science as I have actually been teaching Social Studies for the past 14 years. This is my first year teaching Science

How long have you been teaching?
My educator journey began 15 years ago. I wish I’d known how rewarding it is and had started sooner.

What inspired you to go into education?
Teaching wasn’t my first career. I actually started my career in the Insurance industry with Marketing and Public Relations. I have always been creative, enjoyed storytelling and working with kids, but had never really considered teaching. As my family grew and the challenges of working as a marketing representative got to be too much, I realized that teaching would be a GREAT fit. I was encouraged by friends and family to start a new career (teaching) and never looked back.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
Buffalo, New York is no where NEAR New York City, BUT, I received an invite to attend the Fall 2017 CBE course at BrainPOP Headquarters in New York City. On a whim I accepted the offer and planned a road trip with my husband. We drove part way and then took the train into the Big Apple. As I learned about Make-a-Movie, Coding, My BrainPOP and MORE, my husband toured museums and coin shops. We extended our stay for the weekend, saw a Broadway show and made it an adventure!

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
We started our year in Science this year using the Make-a-Movie as a getting to know you activity. Students created movies about the future of Science with the prompt “What will the future be like because of Science?” Their movies were compelling, imaginative and ADORABLE, and it was a great way to kick start our year with BrainPOP as an integral part.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
With the ability to customize quizzes and push out specific quizzes and materials to a class, the group of students that has had the most profound impact by the BrainPOP options is my special education component. This population of students needs modified questions, assignments, reduced choices, etc. With the Quiz Mixer, I have the flexibility to do this and can reach learners of ALL needs.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
I enjoy being a first adopter of technology and tools. It is very rewarding to bring new resources to colleagues and to demonstrate the power of the tools (and being willing, in some cases, to first experience the pitfalls). As the first CBE in my district I have also been the first one to utilize the My BrainPOP features. They’ve changed my instruction in wonderful ways, and what I learn I pay forward as I share it with my teammates. Watching my colleagues learn from my personal BrainPOP experiences and then having them share back to me what they’ve been able to use in their classrooms has been a wonderful experience, especially when they RAVE about the features and how useful they are! I almost feel like I can take credit for all of BrainPOP’s hard work (but of course, I don’t)

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I consider myself fearless and a little bit of a rogue teacher at times. I’m passionate about experimenting with new technologies and find ways to integrate new strategies into ALL content areas. I’m also passionate about sharing my experiences with other educators by blogging, tweeting, sharing and attending conferences both locally and nationally as a presenter. Examples of my most recent technology experiences include: 3D Design, Makerspaces and coding. I believe that my job as an educator is to create an engaging environment for my sixth graders where they also become fearless, willing to tolerate ambiguity and tackle hard questions head-on. Technology is the catalyst to this engagement and it genuinely impacts that way that I teach.

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
I’d like to see BrainPOP find its way into the world of 360 Videos that can be viewed through 3D Goggles. I can’t imagine how exciting and engaging an experience such as this would be for students! I’d also like to have an option for Tim’s voice in the Make a Movie feature in addition to the computerized voices that are offered. One cannot underestimate the love that students have for the beloved BrainPOP characters and being able to even more closely emulate the final BrainPOP Movie in the movies that students create within BrainPOP would be an amazing thing.