Get to know a CBE

Getting to Know CBE Jessie Erickson

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We’d like to welcome February CBE of the Month, Jessie Erickson, to the blog! Jessie joins us from Grand Forks, North Dakota and has an impressive teaching career. Read on to learn how becoming a CBE has influenced her teaching and how she’s integrating BrainPOP into her curriculum.

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I am currently a Curriculum Technology Partner with Grand Forks Public Schools. I have the great opportunity to work with students and staff across our district. I spend the majority of my time at South Middle School and Nathan Twining school working with students from kindergarten to grade eight. I have Master’s

Degree in Curriculum and Instruction and a Specialist Diploma in Educational Leadership. I’ve taught children in Kindergarten through 6th grade; have been a Building Resource Coordinator, and an Elementary Instructional Coach with Grand Forks Public Schools and Grand Forks Air Force Base School.

How long have you been teaching?
I am in my 29th year of teaching. Hard to believe I have been in this career for that many years. As the saying goes: Time flies…

What inspired you to go into education?
Because I come from a family of medical professional, I through I would be a nurse for the longest time. In high school, I took a lifeguard position with Camp Courage, and that changed my vision for the future. I loved working with children and had a special place in my heart for the children that had developmental delays. I majored in Elementary and Special Education in college, and the rest is, as they say, history.

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I was part of the online CBE class in the fall of 2016. Some of my classmates have become lifelong PLC colleagues and friends!

I like being able to share and learn from other Certified BrainPOP Educators on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. The ideas and knowledge shared is always inspirational and kernels of great ideas for integration and resources. These ideas really come from a global community and it so much fun to see how  BrainPOP is being used in classrooms. I always get a new idea sparked from the other amazing CBEs out there.

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
One of my more memorable projects was with an eighth- grade English class. Students were learning about persuasive writing and Mrs. O’Toole and I wanted to bring some virtual reality experiences into the lesson. We decided to have students experience the 9/11 Memorial Google Expedition tour and we created a several day lesson with  BrainPOP Movie 9/11, the Newsela article, related reading, and primary source document. Students were given an immersive experience and then asked to reflect on it using Make-A-Map. Our driving questions were:

  • What is the purpose of memorials and monuments?
  • What impact do they have on us, and the way we think about history?
  • What parts of the history of the events from September 11th are most important for us to remember today?
  • How did the events from this day impact our community and country?
  • How can we ensure that this history is not forgotten?

Through reflection and creating the concept map we got to the essential learning. Students were then asked to design, plan, and create their own memorial to represent an idea, event, or person they believe is important to remember from the history of our community or country. Students were engaged in the entire learning process from beginning to end. I loved how we found great content and resources in  BrainPOP and that students could safely access it through their Google Suite.

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
Introducing the creativity tools to students is always rewarding. When co-teaching a lesson, I embed one tool at time. We watch movies about to learn how to use the tools and then practice with some newly learned concept. Eventually, students are exposed to Make-A-Map, Make-A-Movie, and Creative Coding as a way to show understanding, recording learning, and sharing with others. Students get excited about these tools and I love that these tools allow for student agency in their learning, as well as improve skills in communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
Being a Certified BrainPOP Educator has helped me build a large professional learning community of amazing educators that inspire me daily to try new things and become a better learner and educator. It is an honor to be a CBE with some pretty amazing leaders (Rock Stars) in education, and I love being part of the BrainPOP family.

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
I love facilitating opportunities that ignite students to become passionate about leading and learning. As a teacher and parent, I know that learners come to us with so many differences, and I love how technology allows for us to differentiate for all learners. I spoke early to student agency, and I am passionate about learners having the path they need for their success available to them. I see technology as a transparent tool that can help educators meet the needs of all learners, while building agency and modeling effective digital use and responsibility.

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
My wish is that I could get all students engaged in Creative Coding. I see the value in learning how to code, and I love how  BrainPOP embeds content in the coding process. Such a great way to empower learners and help with knowledge transfer. I’d also love to attend a dinner and dance with Tim and Moby!