In the mind of a CBE

Seamlessly Embedding BrainPOP – A CBE Aha! Moment 3.19

Posted by cemignano on

Time and attention are precious resources and it can be difficult to integrate new tools into your already packed curriculum. As part of the BrainPOP certification process, we ask educators to consider a past teaching practice or project to let go and identify how BrainPOP’s features and tools can replace and improve upon it. We’re excited to share March CBE of the Month, Melissa Murray’s Aha! Moment in hopes that you’ll be inspired to identify your own.

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 certification process was quite a few years ago, but I remember really falling in love with the fact that I could create my own assignments. This really excited me because I thought it was a more fun way to have my students do their work and turn it in to me versus Google Classroom. I teach 2nd grade and when my students enter my classroom, using a Chromebook is very new. When they are in Kindergarten and 1st grade they have access to iPads, but learning the ropes about how to turn on a Chromebook, signing on, following specific directions to a website and so on is all brand new.

With that said, I definitely teach them the basics of Google, but as for their classwork and/or group work, BrainPOP is my goto. Another resource that I fell in love with was GameUp. At the time of my certification, my current class loved it and I know they were learning too.

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?
Five years ago when I started my teaching career in second grade, I had never heard of BrainPOP until a colleague of mine introduced it to me. With her knowledge of the program during her student teaching the year prior and my principal deciding to invest in it, we officially had a school subscription to BrainPOP.

My second graders and I instantly became fans of the movies that the program had to offer. I specifically love using them for our Science and Social Science units because BrainPOP videos make them more engaging than any textbook can. My students and I would watch the videos at different times throughout our unit and use the quizzes to check for understanding. I even changed up the quizzes by assigning different parts of the room to be the different options (i.e. if you think the answer is A, stand by the back table etc.)  to see what students chose. Then students started using their whiteboards to write down their answers as they worked in small groups. It wasn’t until the CBE course in Fall of 2016 where I learned so much more. There were resources that BrainPOP had that I’d never explored before. From Make-a-Map to assigning videos and assignments, the possibilities were endless for my students and me. Many of our activities are done whole class in the beginning of the school year for a multitude of reasons but, once the school year begins dwindling down, my second grades have used BrainPOP in so many more ways than just the quizzes. The best thing is that anytime I tell them we have an assignment on BrainPOP they always respond with, “Yessss!”

In addition, I feel that my time at the 2018 CBE Summer Learning Institute was another great A-ha! Moment for me because it gave me the opportunity to see BrainPOP being utilized in a variety of ways firsthand from other CBEs. I left the SLI inspired, refreshed and confident to start a new school year with my kiddos.

3) How will you integrate BrainPOP’s new features and tools to replace what you’ve done in the past?
Now that we are in the second half of the school year, my students are beginning to sign on independently and working on BrainPOP in different ways. And because of my experience with the CBE course and more recently the CBE SLI last summer, I am able to begin planning what tools I want to introduce to my students in our upcoming units. I usually start off small and build up towards the end of the school year. Therefore, I will begin introducing them to opening up an assignment and learning how to complete it and turn it in. After that I will show them the different tools on how they can share what they have learned – Make-a-Map is always a favorite option with my second graders. With the new coding option, I am definitely excited to showing them this tool. As an educator who is somewhat new to coding herself it will be a great opportunity for each of us to learn from each other.