Archive for September, 2009

Catching Up

Thursday, September 10th, 2009

Welcome back to school, everyone. I hope you’re off to a fantastic start. I wanted to spend some time catching you up on our latest news and features, so you can take using BrainPOP to a new level this year! And it’s all FREE! A big part of me wants to go back to the classroom, just so I can use BrainPOP in all these new ways that I hadn’t thought of when I was teaching.

I’ll go into more depth with some of these features in the next few weeks, but for now, here’s a rundown!

Research - How does BrainPOP impact student achievement? Read the research.

BrainPOP ESL - Check out our newest product for English language learners and teachers. Free while in beta phase!

Getting Started - New to BrainPOP? We’ve got everything you need to be up and running in no time.

Spread the Word - Let your staff and community know you’ve got BrainPOP with our implementation tools.

Webinars - Whether you’re a new or experienced user, you are sure to gain fresh ideas from our webinars. RSVP for upcoming webinars or watch our archived webinars at your convenience.

Curriculum Calendar - Just published this summer, our calendar makes planning a breeze. Get a heads up on timely topics you can weave right into your curriculum, and access our Spotlights to help plan out your year.

Funding BrainPOP - Resources to help you fit BrainPOP into your funding strategy.

Spotlights - Find a ton of resources to launch into these important back-to-school topics: Digital Citizenship (free during September) and Science Skills.

Special Back to School Promotions - Upgrade, renew, and save on Media Lab and multi-year District and School Subscriptions. For details, please contact our District Relations team.

It’s crazy how quickly we have to shift from summer to school. I remember how intense and draining September can be. It’s my hope that the resources we offer on BrainPOP Educators can make your lives just a bit easier, while enriching your students’ education with a quality resource. Here’s to a happy, healthy school year!

BrainPOP Rolls out BrainPOP ESL!

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

BrainPOP is proud to announce the newest addition to the BrainPOP family of learning products, BrainPOP ESL (www.brainpopesl.com).  In the BrainPOP tradition, this new program, designed to teach English to new learners of the language, features Moby and a new character, his friend Ben.  Their playful and humorous antics introduce the students to the natural sounds and structures of the English language by constantly weaving in new vocabulary and usage.  Eight interactive features that accompany each lesson help the students reinforce what they have learned as they expand their comprehension base.  Teachers will especially enjoy using BrainPOP ESL as it provides them with extensive resources and support, including lessons plans that will aid in integrating BrainPOP ESL into the classroom and the existing curriculum.

BrainPOP ESL will be available free of charge for a limited time as a beta product for teachers as well as students.  The online product will be updated continuously. This is an exciting time to check out a brand new product in its beta stage and share feedback which will influence its development.

–The BrainPOP ESL team

We value your suggestions (students too!). Please let us know what you think!

My Education, My Future

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

Welcome Back to School! Today is the first day of school for many American school children. To celebrate, President Barack Obama will address our nation’s students to emphasize the value of education. Get a sneak peek of his brief prepared speech, and checkout BrainPOP’s movie on Presidential Power and BrainPOP Jr.’s movie on the President. BrainPOP’s Red, White, and Blue Spotlight is also a terrific resource for a quick review of the branches of government, democracy, or the U.S. constitution.

How are you celebrating the first day of school?

Webinar Reminder: Digital Citizenship

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Happy Labor Day! Don’t forget to RSVP for this Wednesday’s webinar:

Spotlight; Digital Citizenship

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
10:00 a.m. EDT
Duration: 45 minutes

The ways that students use technology are growing more and more interconnected through online communication tools and social networks. Learn how to take advantage of BrainPOP’s Digital Citizenship resources and help ensure that students’ online interactions are as safe as possible. We’ll help you kick off the school year with a Spotlight on the topic, featuring such topics as blogs, cyberbullying, digital etiquette, email and IM, social networking, and more.

RSVP - space fills up quickly!

You can also visit our Webinars page to sign up for other free professional development opportunities in September.

Any other webinars you’d like to see us offer? What time of day works best for you? Post comments below to help us improve our offerings.

Hook, Line, and Reel ‘em In

Friday, September 4th, 2009

BrainPOP is so excited about our new partnership with netTrekker! I’ve asked Danielle Abernethy, the mastermind behind netTrekker Village, to be a featured guest blogger. I’m hoping this won’t be the last time Danielle shares her experiences with us.

BrainPOP is a great way to introduce new topics.

Last year my niece came home from school all excited about a project she had to do on her favorite president. I asked her who she selected, and she answered Abraham Lincoln. I’m always curious as to how little minds work, so I asked her why President Lincoln was her favorite. Her response, “He was born on my birthday!”

BrainPOP is a great way to introduce new topics.

Since we had our work cut out for us, I decided to take advantage of her school’s subscription to BrainPOP Jr. When I was a technology coach, I used BrainPOP movies as a way to hook interest in the lesson. BrainPOP Jr. has another great feature. It teaches the students how to take notes. Annie stops periodically throughout the movie to ask a question and take notes. I had Zoe practice this skill with Annie and Moby so that way when she furthered her own investigations she knew how to ask questions and find the answers. She even enjoyed playing with the activities found under the movie and used the activity template for her puppet’s hat.

After watching a great thorough introduction to President Lincoln, Zoe then accessed her netTrekker account. She conducted her search and refined her search by reading levels 1 and 2. She wanted to just find more movies, but her mean old aunt made her do some actual reading. I did allow her to use the Read Aloud tool as needed.

The Puppet of Abraham Lincoln

The Puppet of Abraham Lincoln

Once Zoe had all of her notes together, she decided to create a little puppet play about Abraham Lincoln. She started her play with BrainPOP’s “Pop a Joke” feature, getting a her classmates to chuckle and even introduced note taking to her fellow classmates, telling them that Moby and Annie taught her that great skill! The puppet turned out pretty neat and now resides on her bookshelf, the play got an A so she was thrilled, and Zoe gained a better understanding of why President Lincoln is her favorite US President with two fantastic tools.

And what’s even better, she now has access to both of these great resources by logging into her netTrekker account. Her BrainPOP movies are always at her fingertips with one search. Yours too! Try it today!

If you have any great lesson ideas on how to use netTrekker and BrainPOP together, please share them either in a comment below or over at the netTrekker Village discussion. boards!

BrainPOP Teams Up with netTrekker

Friday, September 4th, 2009

We’ve got big news to share here at BrainPOP! The integration is complete - you can now access your BrainPOP resources seamlessly from your netTrekker search results.

What does that mean for you? If you are a netTrekker subscriber, it means that you can access all of our great BrainPOP resources from directly within your netTrekker search results. Just contact your netTrekker Customer Relationship Specialist. You will need to provide your BrainPOP username and password. It’s free.

What does it look like? Picture this. Your students want to research topics related to online communication and blogging. They go to netTrekker’s safe search engine and type in “blog” as their search topic. BrainPOP’s “Blogs” topic appears as a search result. Your students can then click on the BrainPOP results and go directly to the movie, quiz, and other great interactive resources without re-logging into your BrainPOP account. It is seamless, easy, and powerful!

Not a netTrekker subscriber yet? Try it out! Email netTrekker and request a free trial.

What’s the extra scoop? Now through September 14th, all netTrekker users have access to all BrainPOP content. All you have to do is a keyword search for “BrainPOP” and the results will appear. No set up is necessary; it’s all automatic.

After September 14th, all netTrekkers will have access to 28 free BrainPOP topics even without a BrainPOP subscription. Topics include: Mars, Comparing Prices, Angles, Internet Safety, Nutrition, International Space Station, Classifying Animals and more! netTrekker subscribers also have access to all BrainPOP quizzes, BrainPOP Jr. games, and BrainPOP Educator lesson plans and video tutorials.

Neat, huh?

What do you think? Tell us how you plan to take advantage of the new BrainPOP - netTrekker integration in your classroom today!

September Spotlights: Science Skills & Digital Citizenship

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Welcome back to school! We’ve got two brand new Spotlights to help you kick off the new school year.

Our September Spotlight: Digital Citizenship is FREE all month. Make sure your students and children head back to classes armed with technology smarts. Spotlight: Digital Citizenship covers topics from blogs, cyberbullying, and social networking to email and IM, information privacy, and online sources. Take a digital etiquette quiz and download our coveted online safety poster. K-3 topics on BrainPOP Jr. include bullying and internet safety.

Classification, mineral identification, the periodic table of elements, microscopes, measuring matter (BrainPOP), science projects, inches and feet, and solids, liquids, and gases (BrainPOP Jr.) are just a few of the topics comprising our Spotlight: Science Skills. The featured quiz deals with the scientific method, and BrainPOP Educators offers science-themed video tutorials.

How are you incorporating BrainPOP into your class this September? Share ideas by posting comments below!

The Research Is In!

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

We’re proud to share a comprehensive efficacy study conducted by SEG Research. The study included 1,100 students in 46 classrooms in Palm Beach County, Florida and New York City, and examined Vocabulary, Language, Reading Comprehension and Science learning gains. The report concludes that students in classes using BrainPOP make significant improvements compared to students in classes not using BrainPOP.

Teachers already using BrainPOP may not find the results of the study surprising. We’ve been hearing from educators for years that BrainPOP has helped to motivate and engage their students, as well as help them make Annual Yearly Progress. That said, when deciding which resources to integrate into your classroom, scientific based research helps to affirm you’re making a smart choice.

We’re excited to share this study with all the BrainPOP Educators out there. We’re particularly honored to read educators’ initial reactions to the report on Twitter and in the blogs. Check out Kim Cavanaugh’s fantastic post on the Palm Beach County Schools’ Educational Technology Weblog.

BrainPOP will continue to fund research to measure areas of effectiveness and explore how to improve our product. We’re committed to learning how BrainPOP impacts achievement and how we can best serve students.

Click here to read the research!