Guest Blog: App it Up at the Morning Meeting

Aysha Ames is a fourth grade mathematics teacher in Montclair, New Jersey. BrainPOP has been an essential component of her classroom for the past two years and she is always finding new and creative ways to use iPod Touches, other mobile devices, and technology with her students. Check out how she uses the BrainPOP Featured Movie App in conjunction with her Morning Meeting.

As a mathematics teacher of 75 students I find that it’s often hard to address current and historical events in a class period when there’s so much subject matter to teach. I was at a crossroads…I wanted to connect my students with the world around them, but I had difficulty finding the time!  Then I discovered…there’s the BrainPOP Featured Movie App for that!

I think Morning Meeting is a great way to foster a spirit of community in my classroom. My homeroom students and I generally like to discuss the day’s historical significance and current events; however, there was a huge disparity in students’ background knowledge.   I would often find that certain students would dominate the discussion while others would remain silent. I would have no idea what my students previously knew about the topic, or what they knew after our discussion. Suddenly, I had a revelation!  I frequently use BrainPOP to introduce, assess, and reinforce mathematics concepts and skills, why couldn’t BrainPOP also work for Morning Meeting?

Once a week students enter my classroom, unpack, and grab an iPod Touch or an iPad to watch the selected movie of the day (I use the BrainPOP Curriculum Calendar to determine which movie is suitable).  As a pre-assessment, I sometimes ask the students to pause the movie after the letter to Tim and Moby and write a quick response in “OneNote, “Evernote,” or the “Notes” app and e-mail it to me.  Then, in Morning Meeting we can have a lively and informed discussion with everyone having the necessary background knowledge to participate. Furthermore, throughout the day students can take the corresponding quiz on an iPod, an iPad, or on one of the classroom computers so I can assess how much they’ve learned (you could also use the quiz as a pre-assessment).

The greatest thing about this strategy is that you don’t need to have many iPods or iPads.  In my case, I only have a few in my class, but students are more than willing to work in small groups or pairs. Plus, it’s a tremendous time saver, because each student can work at his/her own pace and still be ready for discussion in time for Morning Meeting! It’s simply remarkable!

Aysha Ames

How do you use the BrainPOP Featured Movie App in your learning Environment? What do you do during your Morning Meeting with students? Post comments below.

  • Tatum

    Aysha – I love your idea about using the Featured Movie App and Curriculum Calender to engage and equip all of your students with knowledge and resources to be active participants in the Morning Meeting. Way to maximize the available resources via BrainPOP! Kudos to you for keeping your students informed of current events and timely information and encouraging thoughtful discussion. Great ideas!