In the mind of a CBE

A CBE Aha! Moment – 12.18 Edition

Posted by cemignano on

As Certified BrainPOP Educators complete the certification process, we ask them to identify a past teaching practice or project, and brainstorm ways BrainPOP could be used to improve it. We feel reflection is an important part of professional growth, and we hope that sharing our Certified BrainPOP Educators’ Aha! Moments will inspire you to reflect and grow as an educator. Read on to learn more about Lauren Johnson’s BrainPOP Aha! Moment!

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 BrainPOP “AHA moment” happened at ISTE 2017.  One morning towards the end of the school year, I was checking my e-mail and saw the BrainPOP newsletter.  As I clicked on it, something caught my eye. A movie maker? Could this be possible? The students can produce their own BrainPOP movies?  When I saw that BrainPOP had other additional features and was offering an in person workshop at ISTE, I knew I had to be a part of the certification process.

As I sat in the Tuesday class, my mind was reeling from start to finish.  I couldn’t believe these resources were available to me. As a Technology Coordinator, my mind kept wandered as to how my fellow teachers could utilize these tools within their own classrooms.  The tool that excited me the most in the workshop was Make-a-Movie, the feature that had originally caught my eye a couple of months prior. In fact, I believe it was everyone’s favorite tool as Andrew had to ask us several times to stop making movies so we could move on.  Talk about engagement!

My students have always loved BrainPOP movies.  I believe this will be a valuable tool to use in my classroom as students take the wheel and produce their own movies to demonstrate their knowledge on various topics in a fun engaging way.  Students can use critical thinking skills individually or in groups to create, collaborate, and communicate their ideas. I know my students will be thrilled to have the opportunity to produce BrainPOP style movies to promote their own learning.

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?

My students have always loved BrainPOP movies and quizzes.  Prior to the certification process, I used BrainPOP movies and quizzes as a way to introduce a topic.  For instance, when introducing my 5th graders to Coding, I would show them the Computer Programming movie.  We would watch a movie, take the quiz, have a bit of a class discussion, and move on with the lesson to Code Monkey.  In fact, most of the teachers at my school use BrainPOP in a similar fashion. We would simply watch the movie straight through without pausing.  The quiz was completed either as a class (raise your hand if you think the answer is this) or individually with no follow up reflection. After going through the certification, process, I am excited to integrate BrainPOP into every aspect of my lessons on a deeper level from start to finish and share this knowledge with my fellow teachers.  

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

Before the certification process, I loved BrainPOP.  Now, I not only love BrainPOP even more, but I have a deep appreciation for BrainPOP.  You have taken a fun resource to the next level by promoting critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration.  Within my classroom, I plan on integrating BrainPOP throughout my lessons from start to finish. As I introduce coding with my 5th grade class, I want to again utilize the Computer Programming movie.  However, this year I want to pause the video throughout the duration and ask various questions. What do you predict Moby will do next based on his Tim’s code? How can we improve or iterate Tim’s code to make it more efficient?  What can you infer Moby’s beeps mean? What evidence do you have to support your answer? Students can discuss and share their ideas with a partner.

After the movie, I would like for my students to continue the discussion of Computer Programming by brainstorming, organizing, and connecting their ideas using Make a Map.  On their map, I would like for students to put their reflections and answers to the questions asked during the video using time clips to cite as evidence. The students can continue to brainstorm and ask questions on their map.  What else would you like to know about Computer Programming?

Since I teach Coding as a part of my curriculum, my next plan is to dig deeper into the Creative Coding feature of BrainPOP.  In the Computer Programming movie, students watch as Tim codes Moby. Now, the students will have the opportunity to code Moby!

After the students grasp the basic idea of the coding concept, I would like for them to then create their own BrainPOP style movie using Make a Movie.  I would like for the students to use this as a show what you know type of project. Communicate your idea of coding and computer programming to those who do not know what coding is.  What is coding? How is coding used? Who uses code? Etc. While each video will be about computer programming, I am excited to see how each movie differs and reflects the student’s individual personalities.  At the end of the year, students can go back to this video and reflect upon how much they learned. Students can even add to or refine their videos demonstrating their knowledge gained throughout the year,

As the Technology Coordinator, I have the pleasure of working with our teachers to integrate technology into their curriculums.  I am given time at each of our faculty meetings to share a new idea with the teachers. This year, I plan on introducing a BrainPOP feature at each faculty meeting.  Then within the teachers’ grade level meetings, I plan on diving deeper as I train the teachers to utilize each feature within their classrooms focusing on one feature per meeting.  My goal for this year is to have teachers, including myself, utilizing BrainPOP to its full potential as we inspire our students to reach their full potential through critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication.