Guest Blogger and BrainPOP Educator Julia Curtis-Burnes is a New York State certified and licensed educator. She received her Master’s Degree in Teaching from Brown University in 2008 and has a four year educational background working with students in grades k-12. Julia is currently working towards developing leadership programs that help students build skills to become good public speakers, strong writers, selective college applicants and successful college students.
Last month, I attended the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference in New York City on to provide my perspective as an educator who uses Brainpop as a teaching tool.
During the conference I worked at a booth with the BrainPOP team, taking turns helping everyone who came by. I greatly enjoyed helping teachers learn more about how to use BrainPOP as a resource to empower them and their students in the classroom. The conference gave me the opportunity to showcase my ideas and share my specific pointers about BrainPOP.
There were so many teachers who came to the booth raving about what they loved about BrainPOP, However, one of the most common issues teachers shared was that the information in BrainPOP was presented too quickly. Indeed, BrainPOP movies are short but packed with content and I struggled with this same issue at first. Here is my advice: A teacher can make sure all of her students are on track by assessing her students’ background knowledge. I recommend playing the movie for the first 30 seconds. Then, when Tim and Moby are presented with a question, pause the movie. Ask students to write down a response to that question. Follow up by recording student answers on the board in the form of a brainstorm web or in a K-W-L chart.
As the students watch the rest of the movie, pause it whenever a new concept or vocabulary word is presented to discuss, compare, and contrast it with the student responses on the board. This will also help you, as the teacher, to gauge student understanding throughout your lesson. Follow up with BrainPOP activity sheets and quizzes, provided below the movie.
Attending the Celebration of Teaching and Learning Conference was a great experience that made me feel empowered as an educator. It helped me to enhance my skills as a teacher leader and to reflect on my own teaching methods. BrainPOP is a wonderful resource for teachers and I enjoyed spreading the word!