Just in time for back-to-school: New distance learning resources are available on Wide Open School.
Engaging activities and resources for every subject
How I Use It
Brain Pop Jr. is a great teaching tool to introduce a new unit or topic to students and the related activities can help students to begin exploring and becoming comfortable with that topic. The videos are great to show the whole class and then the related games and activities are well-suited to individual or small-group work (especially the “talk about it” activity) that students can do during centers or small group time. Brain Pop Jr is also a great resource to show to parents and ask students and parents to use together at home to extend their learning or practice of a concept. Although there are a number of different components to the site, I have found that once students have done research around an area there is not enough content to really engage students or push them to extend their learning further. Therefore I would recommend Brain Pop Jr be used as an introduction to a lesson instead of a closing activity or space for deeper learning and research.
Brain Pop Jr. has a wonderful library of topics for young children to explore and learn about. One of the most valuable parts of the site is the diversity of activities available. For example, after watching a video to learn the parts of a computer, students have the chance to write, draw, read, and talk about computer parts as well as read comics, jokes, and vocab words/definitions about the lesson. Another great aspect of the site is the audio. Students can mouse-over any part of the site or directions to an activity and have them read aloud. Most activities are also printable so they can be done without needing every child to be on a device or glued to a screen. One improvement that could be made to the site is to add more primary sources as opposed to animated videos and activities. For example, when learning about the computer, it would be great for students to see different video and photographs of real equipment up close. Another constraint of the site is the paid subscription that is required to access most of the content.