Guest Blog: Success with DonorsChoose

Karyn Keenan is a recent recipient of a donorschoose grant. She teaches 2nd grade in Chicago, and she’s chock full of great ideas! Thanks, Karyn.

This summer I decided to work on getting a subscription to Brain Pop, Jr. through Donors Choose.  Within twenty days my project was funded and we were looking at starting the school year with BrainPOP Jr. My students quickly learned that the catchy BrainPOP Jr. theme song meant Annie and Moby would be teaching them something new and making them laugh.

The first thing I do when using BrainPOP Jr. for a lesson is for us to watch the movie. We watch the movie through one time just for watching. Then we watch it a second time, stopping the movie on the blinking pause sign and answering the questions that come up on Annie’s notebook. Sometimes I will have students write their answers to these questions on an exit slip. Other times I will pick a squirmy member of class to be in charge of pushing the pause button on our SMART board.

Whenever we watch a movie I use the closed captioning feature. Closed captioning and viewing the movie twice helps my students, especially my English Language Learners, develop a more thorough understanding of what we are learning.

Each topic in BrainPOP Jr. has a plethora of activities that correspond to the movie. I always look through the activities to decide which might be used as in-class reinforcement (I allow students to go on a classroom computer for additional time on the topic), enrichment for early finishers, or what we might use for an in-class activity.  The Belly Up cartoons are one of the best ways to give my English Language Learners experience in making inferences to understand the jokes. BrainPOP Jr. has given my classroom an energetic boost. Lesson planning is easier for me with the high quality activities and my students are engaged in their learning.

Questions? Comments? Please continue the conversation by commenting below.