Get to know a CBE

STEM with CBE of the Month Dinah Wade

Posted by cemignano on

We’re excited to introduce you to May’s Certified BrainPOP Educator of the Month, Dinah Wade! Dinah joins us from Franklin, TN, is passionate about teaching computational thinking, and has been a huge champion of our Creative Coding tool. Read on to learn more about Dinah’s experience as a CBE and how it’s boosted her use of BrainPOP with students.

What grade(s) do you teach? Subject area?
I currently am a Library Media Specialist in a 5-6 grade Intermediate school in Franklin, TN. Prior to that, I spent 10 years teaching grades K-3.

How long have you been teaching?
This is my 15th year of teaching.

What inspired you to go into education?
Growing up, I always enjoyed school. I had many wonderful teachers who inspired me to follow in their footsteps. They provided the example of making learning fun and engaging. Learning should be enjoyable and meaningful to students, so I strive to provide this in the library media center!

Which CBE class were you a part of? What do you like about being a CBE?
I was part of the TETC (Tennessee Educational Technology Conference) 2017 Class. When I took the CBE class, I had no idea of the many wonderful tools that BrainPOP offered! The class opened my eyes to so many tools and concepts that BrainPOP offers. Becoming a CBE has helped me to be part of a community of passionate educators who want to find ways to engage their students in learning!

What is one of the most memorable projects you’ve done with your class using BrainPOP resources?
Until the curriculum changed, part of the 6th grade science curriculum included circuits. 6th grade science classes visited the library to participate in a lesson to learn the basics of circuits. I began the lesson with the BrainPOP video about Electric Circuits and then played 4 corners to review the video. If you are not familiar with 4 corners, this is a great kinesthetic activity in which students get up and move to different corners (A, B, C, or D) to answer a multiple choice question. Not only are students able to move, they are able to collaborate with classmates about the information. While watching the video, students were given a printable PDF of a circuit diagram to label. We went over the different vocabulary terms and parts of a circuit before applying our learning to the Makey Makey kit. Students then had the opportunity to apply their learning by setting up a Makey Makey circuit board for the first time. Students then tested materials to see if it was a conductor or insulator. For students that had a quick understanding, they were able to move on creating different game controller designs using various insulators and conductors. Upon leaving the library, many students asked their science teachers when they could return for more science!

How has BrainPOP impacted a specific student (or group of students)?
BrainPOP allows me to differentiate my lessons easily. For example, when working with collaborative special education classes, students are able to use the vocabulary terms that are already recorded. There are many built features in BrainPOP that allow all students to be successful such as closed captioning, pre-recorded vocabulary, student choice, prompts for Make-a-Movie, and more! All students should have the opportunity to learn and have fun while doing so!

How has becoming a CBE impacted you?
Before becoming a CBE, I thought BrainPOP was just a “video and a quiz.” While I love the BrainPOP movies and they help to introduce and reinforce concepts, that was the end of my BrainPOP usage. When I attended the CBE course, I learned about the Creativity Tools, PDF’s, and game based learning that BrainPOP offers! In Tennessee, teachers are evaluated by the TEAM rubric which follows very closely to Bloom’s Taxonomy. In order to score well, students must apply what they have learned! BrainPOP allows this to happen and the students ENJOY it! While teachers want to have great evaluations, it isn’t about us, it’s about creating fun and engaging lessons for our students! BrainPOP helps teachers AND students love learning!

Becoming a CBE also has introduced to a wonderful community of teachers around the world! I am part of the CBE Facebook group which allows me to learn and share ideas on how to best use BrainPOP in the classroom. Building a community of learners is important in the classroom. Teachers must model this by participating in learning communities of their own!

What are you most passionate about when it comes to education, technology, and your approaches to teaching?
Students will not retain their learning if they are not engaged. We must use students’ interests in order to best teach them! We live in a digital world, so it makes sense to use digital tools to teach our students. We must be careful to let them dig in with these tools, not simply use them to type or write on a computer. I am very passionate about teaching students computational thinking skills, so Creative Coding is one of my favorite BrainPOP tools! Not only do students share the vocabulary and skills on a topic, but they code their sprites/backgrounds to share the information they learned! 

What’s on your BrainPOP wish list?
I would love to see BrainPOP continue to add more blocks to their Creative Coding Scratch program! Students like to share their learning with one another, so I would like to see an online BrainPOP community much like a Google Classroom, for students to share their projects and learning!