Teacher Review For BrainPOP

Movie, Differentation, Concept Mapping, Gaming, Primary Sources, Oh MY!

Cathie G.
Classroom teacher
Dorseyville Middle School
Pittsburgh, PA
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My Grades 6
My Subjects English Language Arts
EdTech Mentor
My Rating 5
Learning Scores
Engagement 5
Pedagogy 5
Support 5
My Students Liked It Yes
My Students Learned Yes
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time 5-15 minutes
Great for Creation
Further application
Knowledge gain
Small group
Student-driven work
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
Special needs
How I Use It
BrainPOP has always been known for movies and a ten question quiz. Tim and Moby do an outstanding job of teaching vocabulary rich concepts in a relatable way for a middle school students. BrainPOP offers many other features that allow students to learn and grow with the concept. As a teacher the Lesson Ideas button on the left will take you to BrainPOP Educators, which is ideal for planning and common core alignment. If you don't want to plan that route always scroll down below the movie and look for the features offered under the movie. The first feature to highlight is Make-A-Map, which enables students to create a concept map on the subject specific topics introduced in the movie. Vocabulary, key concepts, and images can be pulled into their map. Students can also pull directly from the movie and cross-link multiple movies as well. A great way to model this is to watch the movie Concept Mapping. The Concept Mapping movie does an outstanding job explaining how to mind map. If you have, a BrainPOP subscription students can submit their maps directly to you. Concept mapping forces students to organize science rich concepts and ultimately will help in brainstorming, organization, and writing. The GameUp feature allows students to play games related to Science, Techology, and Engineering. The games are perfect for extension activities and competition in the classroom. The games are vetted through BrainPOP and give students the opportunity to apply topics learned in the movies. As a teacher scroll down under the game and look at the Lesson Idea tab. Clicking this will also spring you back to BrainPOP Educators and gives guides and tips on how to play the game. One of my favorite features offered through the Activity Pages is that a Primary Sources can be attached to the concept. Yes, all BrainPOP concepts have activity pages or worksheets. However, Primary Sources are wonderful to use in the classroom. I've used these as Close Read activities with my students. Finally, for enrichment purposes check out the FYI and Q & A. These extension activities are perfect for students that need to be pushed and challenged. The FYI offers differentiation opportunities and can also add some new ideas to classroom discussions.
My Take
In a world of flipped and blended learning, BrainPOP is a great way to enhance your classroom. I love the amount of additional activities, games, and extension activities offered to students. My favorite feature is the Make A Map. It teaches students to organize their thoughts in a way that works for their ability and learning style. Since I've introduced the Make A Map to my 6th and 7th graders, I've noticed that the writing in their science journals has increased. They were able to express the science concepts easier and understood the idea of organizing technical writing. Students started playing the games on their own and started to watch the movies and play the games independently.