BrainPOP Educator Amber Gross recently submitted a lesson plan with an amazing set of graphic organizers she created to facilitate student thinking before, during, and after BrainPOP Jr. movies. We were so impressed with the work she did on these organizers that we asked her to submit a guest blog post and tell more about how she uses them. Amber also shares two more versions of this graphic organizer set for other BrainPOP Jr. topics.
It’s a teaching truth: There’s always a big pay off when you take the time to frontload a lesson. If only there was a tool to engage students, introduce key vocabulary, activate prior knowledge, and build background knowledge…oh, hello there, BrainPOP!
My students can’t get enough BrainPOP Jr. (and neither can I)! We use the videos daily at the beginning of our lessons. Some of my students (English Language Learners, special education students, Early Intervention Program students, and regular education students) need a little scaffolding to help them focus on the most important information, so I created a few organizers to use before, during, and after watching the videos. Each organizer includes Key Vocabulary, Before and After Video Questions, Challenge Questions, and video images.
The vocabulary section includes Spanish translations and cloze-type definitions. We predict which words will best complete the definitions before viewing the video, fill them in as we watch, and check to see how accurate our predictions were afterwards. Students attempt to answer the Before Video Questions before the video (no shocker there, huh?), which directs their attention to specific information during the video. After Video Questions allow the students to evaluate their learning and compare their prior knowledge to new knowledge. The Challenge Questions push the students to a higher level of thinking, and ask them to apply the new information.
The organizers also double as study guides. The video’s title image allows students to refer back to the video at home or the library. Since the images are taken directly from BrainPOP, they serve as great visual reminders of key information. The vocabulary translations are helpful when sending the organizers home, as the Spanish speaking parents are able to see what is being discussed in class and talk about the concept with their child in their native language.
Aside from whole group instruction, BrainPOP Jr. has become the most exciting center in my classroom. I use it extensively to preview topics we’ll be reading about during Guided Reading and have seen a dramatic increase in the motivation of the students when we begin a new book! Students can independently view videos and complete one of my organizers (or any of the meaningful activities provided on the site) to preview, review, or extend the lesson.
Engaged students enjoying the learning process make me one happy teacher. Happy BrainPOP-ing!