In the mind of a CBE

Supporting English Language Learners Using BrainPOP Jr.

Posted by cemignano on

We’d like to welcome CBE Melissa Murray to the blog! Melissa teaches second grade in northern California, and is here to share how she uses BrainPOP Jr. to support the ELLs in her class. 

Multiple factors are dependent on the success of English Language Learners (ELLs) in the classroom. Some of these factors may include school and classroom community, student dynamics, family support, usage of school curriculum and also access to technology. However, the number one factor is first and foremost, understanding that as a teacher your role is to help guide EVERY student become successful in the classroom.

With that said, BrainPOP has a plethora of resources that have helped my second grade students become more successful in their overall learning each year. Please note that BrainPOP does have a BrainPOP ELL subscription available. However, I currently have access to only BrainPOP Jr., and this blog will go into detail on some of the ways I have utilized this subscription successfully in my classroom to support ELLs.

I love BrainPOP Jr. and I use it quite often in my classroom ,whether it is whole class, in small groups, or assigning a lesson or write-up individually to my students. The first resource available that we all probably use already is access to the multitude of videos. You may be asking yourself, “Okay, what’s new? Every program has access to videos?” But BrainPOP Jr. does it differently – it is more engaging, exciting, and captivating for students. The animations of Annie and Moby are fun and lovable and most importantly, students are wanting to learn more because Annie and Moby make it enjoyable.

In my classroom, we watch these content videos multiple times throughout our unit of study. However, each time we view the video, the level of engagement varies due to the various resources that BrainPOP Jr. offers. One effective way I support my ELLs is turning on the Closed Captions as the content video plays. This enables the words to show up on the bottom of the screen in big, white, bold letters and students are now able to not only hear the content, but can see the words as well. Another effective way to support your ELLs is that you can pause the video and have students recite the sentences for fluency practice. In addition, you may use the same sentences for your grammar lessons throughout the week focusing on different parts of a sentence.

Printing a copy of the video transcript makes a great tool for small groups during workshop or intervention time. This allows the teacher to engage ELLs even deeper in the content that is being learned. It allows ELLs to learn new vocabulary, enables them to practice comprehension strategies and fluency practice. Using content that they are already being exposed to in other subject areas reinforce not only good teaching moments, but reinforces the content for your students.

In my classroom, we have interactive notebooks for almost every subject area. The notebook pages available through BrainPOP Jr. make it so easy to reiterate comprehension skills on the content that we are covering. I do however create sentence frames for my ELLs in order to help guide them in their writing skills. I have noticed that by using all of these tools throughout my unit, my ELLs are able to successfully show me what they have learned through their notebook pages, partner conversations and small group discussions.

Another way I support my ELLs through BrainPOP Jr. is allowing them to show what they know through their creative outlet. The Draw About It and Activity options are great tools that make the learning in the classroom become hands-on. At times, ELLs may find it challenging to express their understanding through oral or written words and these activities allow them to truly show what they’ve learned. Students may work independently on these activities, but I strongly believe that the magic of learning truly happens when students work together.

Just like the magic of learning happens when students work together, I truly believe the same concept works for teachers alike. When teachers can be united and work together, the magic of learning comes alive for not only our students, but ourselves. We must learn how to open our doors and connect with other amazing educators and learn from each other. The BrainPOP community has definitely played a role in my professional development and has inspired me to share not only with my colleagues at my school site, but with all of you.

For the remainder of the month, I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and try something new that you have not done yet with your students using BrainPOP Jr. Then share that golden nugget of information with your grade level. After that, share it at your next staff meeting with the rest of your colleagues and encourage them to do something new with their students. Be the magic for your students. Be the magic for yourself. Be the magic for others.