Guest Blog: Energetic Boost with BrainPOP Jr.

We were thrilled to hear from one of our dynamic BrainPOP educators, Karyn Keenan. She shared with us her summer funding project to bring BrainPOP Jr. into her classroom, and how she uses it to increase student engagement and energize her lessons. Karyn is in her third year of teaching and is currently pursuing her certificate to teach English Language Learners. Each day her students’ excitement about learning inspires her to provide them with an enriching educational environment.

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 Brain POP 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 to get started. 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 BrainPOP Jr. topic has a plethora of features that correspond to the movie. In each topic, I look through the features 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), as 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 features and my students are engaged in their learning.

How do you use BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr., or BrainPOP ESL with your ELL students? Do you have any ideas or tips to share with Karyn? Post comments below.

Karyn Keenan