Charlotte's Web ThingLink

Friday, October 17, 2014

BrainPOP/Google Classroom Update/EduWin from Jenny Torres and Diane Nunes

Kids love BrainPOP, and so do teachers. It is so easy to search for a video to augment a lesson and its engaging content and delivery make it a sure bet students will be listening. But there's more to BrainPOP than Tim and Moby.

BrainPOP has aligned all their videos with the Common Core standards. It is easy to search through and find video and resources to enhance a lesson.

BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr's resources include lesson plans, graphic organizers, and short response questions.

As a third grade teacher, I often found that our topics bridged both BrainPOP Jr and BrainPOP. My students always loved the the BellyUp comic and Pop a Joke features at the end of every video. Those were the rewards for having completed the Quiz. They were always disappointed to not have a comic at the end of BrainPOP videos. I hadn't realized it was hiding in the FYI tab. 

BrainPOP also offers game-based learning. In BrainPOP, Game Up is designed with upper elementary and middle school students in mind and are meant to be completed in one class period. You can search through Game Up's catalog of science, health, math, and social studies games to find the one that aligns with your curriculum. You can introduce it as an activity for the whole class, or make it a differentiating activity, having students who complete their work have another aligned activity to keep them learning.

BrainPOP Jr also has game-based learning activities. You can find them by clicking "Game Up" on the home page.

Did you realize that the Union School District has purchased a 24/7 license for both BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. that can be accessed from home? This means that you can "flip" a topic by assigning a BrainPOP video for homework. Students use the same username and password as teachers do to access either program. You can then have them take the quiz, and have the scores e-mailed to you. Just be aware that if you ask your students to e-mail their results, they won't be able to see their score until after the e-mail is sent. You might like to ask them to view the results and teach them to make a screenshot. Use Command + shift + 4 on an Apple computer, and control and the key that looks like pages above the 6, on a Chromebook. That screenshot can then be e-mailed to you.

Also, did you know that BrainPOP has a feature that allows you to "Mix" quizzes, assign them to students, and then track individual student progress? Watch this recording of a webinar to learn more about My BrainPOP. While our license covers this premium feature some additional set-up is required by site level. Please let us know and Ed Services can facilitate setting this up if you think you'd find this feature useful.

A final bit of fun is embedding the Movie of the Day or the Pop a Joke of the Day into your webpage or blog. I embedded the Pop a Joke into my KidBlog last year. That was one way to get kids to go to it.  You can find the code for BrainPOP Jr at You'll need to request the code for BrainPOP's Featured Movie. You can submit your request here:

Update on Google Classroom

A number of teachers have begun using Google Classroom to push assignments to their students and to streamline student submission of the assignments. Your grade-level tech may be introducing you to it on the next PD day so I won't go into it here. However, for those of you who have begun using it, Google just pushed out a number of features in its update. Learn more about it here.

Make sure you continue to use the Suggestions button in the lower right corner of your Google Classroom page. Word is, they are listening, and trying to develop the tools to make it a useful and intuitive tool for teachers to use.


This week's EduWin goes to the Jenny Torres and Diane Nunes at Lietz. Faced with an increasing demand for computers in classrooms, they have developed a school-wide Google calendar that all teachers have access to to reserve a laptop or Chromebook cart for their classroom. They find the carts are pretty much always in use, and this give teachers the chance to plan their lessons around having technology resources.

Jenny wrote, "We realized that if staff has access to view calendars they will also be able to book any appointments without needing to be invited.  If they book an appointment, all they have to do is choose appt time they want and save.  It automatically saves to our calendar as well as theirs.  On our calendar it reflects their name.   IMPORTANT..if they need to cancel appointment they will need to email their administrator.  While you can cancel appointments on your calendar, but it will not cancel on the appointment calendar.  Only the admin can cancel appointments on the appointment calendar."

Jenny is happy to share the directions with any staff or teacher who might find it useful. You can e-mail her or Diane.

If you or one of your colleagues are doing something in your class that uses edtech tools, please let me know. I'd love to share it with other teachers.