As many of you know, using technology in my self proclaimed project-based portable is essential to our success. Collaborating with each other and other classrooms, creating projects, research all require the use of tools that make learning meaningful. A tool that I thoroughly enjoy using is BrainPOP. Tim and Moby are hilarious and do a wonderful job engaging the students during a short lesson that explains some very interesting and sometimes complex topics, but have a way of putting in words that all students can understand.
Now, when starting a project in my class, I attempt to use the CBL method by developing everything around an essential question. Then I provide links to websites, paths to various resources that will allow the students to work in groups to learn the new topic. They answer various questions while playing different roles in presenting what they have learned. This helps me keep the students motivated and makes their learning relevant because they do it themselves.
Well, BrainPOP is usually one of the links I use to explain a topic. However, I learned to enhance Tim and Moby experience while sitting in on a recent webinar given by Lisa Parisi and this is what she gave us.
“Fifth graders are more than capable of this student centered type of learning. But getting started is sometimes quite a challenge. When the world is open to them, it is often too overwhelming to narrow anything down. So my job is to keep their topic focused. And BrainPOP helps me do just that.
At the start of every new topic, I create a wiki or webpage that features the main unit, each group topic, the essential questions, and a resource page. This resource page is where the students begin. They find their topic and beneath it, a list of webpages, videos, image sites, and books. Where do they always begin? The BrainPOP video links, of course. Tim and Moby are ready to provide the students with the basic ideas for each topic. But BrainPOP doesn’t stop with the motivating videos. They also provide related features for each video. There are quizzes, activities, timelines, and Cassie and Rita show up to discuss background information. By the time the students are done with the one BrainPOP link I provided, they have ample information to move onto the Internet and expand their research.
BrainPOP helps me run a successful project based learning classroom. By covering topics in a simple, fun way, and including related information, the site makes the learning easier for my students. And it keeps my students motivated and working. What more could a classroom teacher ask for?”
To add more technology to what Lisa does, I will bring the quiz back in at the end of the unit and use the Activotes to allow the groups to input their answers on the screen. If I have checked out the ActivExpressions, I will allow the groups to type in different references to prove their answers. Just another way to use the tool. Do you have any other ideas? Let me know by leaving a comment below.