Taking a holistic approach to digital safety

 
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Schools are now required to ensure that ALL staff are actively involved in teaching students to use technology safely and responsibly.

But everything moves so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.

Seemingly every week a new app, trend, meme, or game makes an appearance and it’s back to the drawing board.

The media is awash with scary stories about grooming, cyber bullying, and threatening online activity.

This leaves teaching staff and parents feeling lost. How can they possibly keep up?

We believe that the best approach is holistic.

Teach technology and online combined with personal and social capability topics like peer pressure, conflict resolution, and media literacy.

The best approach is to model good behaviour, on or offline.

  • If a child understands and recognises peer pressure they should be able to manage it when they are in class, with friends, or on Snapchat.

  • If a child has a good understanding of ethics then they are better prepared to make healthy decisions in their online and offline lives.

  • If you’ve explained and explored conflict resolution then your students should be equipped to deal with bullying and disagreements, whether it’s on the internet or down the park with their mates.

Combining attitudinal and behavioral concepts with online safety instruction is a powerful recipe.

This is where BrainPOP might be your new best friend, providing on demand access to topic based resources like...

Explore BrainPOPs Internet Safety resources

So next time you sit down to plan your digital lessons consider blending it with social and emotional learning too to present a more rounded learning experience.

 

We've got a new 3D printer in school! Now what?

 
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Print your own Moby, of course!

Have you just (mic)dropped most your annual departmental budget on a new 3D printer?

Your mind is probably swimming with all the possible applications from engineering projects to STEM engagement to making your very own Egg Rescue Challenge.

But your class (and colleagues!) will likely have a bunch of questions.

  1. What can 3D printers print (and not print)?

  2. How does the technology work?

  3. And can we just get on and print a Moby already?

In this lesson plan, adapted from our Educators support site, students will learn what 3D printers are and sketch a useful object that they’d like to make with a 3D printer.

And print a little Moby figurine, with your fancy pants new printer!

What you’ll need:

  • Computer with internet access for BrainPOP

  • Interactive whiteboard

  • 3D printer (optional)

  • 3D Moby .stl file (these are the 3D Moby instructions for your printer, optional)

Lesson Procedure:

  1. Ask students to research online about 3D printing and write down any questions they have about the topic, plus something they'd like to create using a 3D printer.

  2. Share the Graphic Organizer with your students, so they can write down and discuss what they KNOW, and what they WANT to know in the first two columns.

  3. Play the 3D Printing Movie for the class.

  4. Return to the graphic organizer. Is there any information they thought they knew that was incorrect? What new information do they have now? Which questions were answered and which remain unanswered? Are there any new questions that students have?

  5. If you have access to a 3D printer in your classroom, tell students they will have the opportunity to print their own 3D Moby, just like in the BrainPOP movie. Show students what the 3D Moby .stl file and printer look like and demonstrate how to print.

  6. Pass out copies of the Activity (or graph paper), and encourage students to sketch something that is both useful and simple enough to print on a 3D printer.

  7. Allow students to share their ideas and creations with the class.

  8. You can assess student learning using the Quiz.

Extension Activities:

Have students work collaboratively to research the answers to any questions from the KWL chart that were not addressed through the BrainPOP movie. They can use the Related Reading resources to help.

 

Free Martin Luther King Jr. coding activities

 

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day in the US.

It’s a day for celebrating the work and achievements of this remarkable man and activist who became the most celebrated leader in the civil rights movement.

Many, many student notebook pages will be filled with facts and stories about him, but we’d like to suggest a slightly different approach: coding to ‘show what you know’ about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Below you’ll find 2 different coding activities, free to use, that will help your class express their knowledge and understanding in a digital, dynamic way that also improves their coding skills.

For younger students, or those starting on their coding journey: Design a digital museum to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Code a digital museum in Scratch to show what you know about Martin Luther King, Jr.

Visit this activity: Design a digital museum about Martin Luther King Jnr.

For advanced coders, or older students: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

In this exercise, students will use a text based coding tool (javascript) to build a flag or poster, to commemorate the march that challenged the inequalities faced by African Americans at the time, that also saw the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Visit this activity: Create a flag that represents the March on Washington

Extension resources

  • Related reading - Read up on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life and work, as well as related civil rights facts and info.

  • Primary source - read an original newspaper excerpt from 1957 The Oberlin Review, Oberlin, Ohio about Dr. King’s speech on the topic "Justice without Violence".

 

Create wild music with Beastbox

 

This awesome new learning game has just been added to BrainPOP and we just HAD to share it.

Your students can become wildlife DJs with Beastbox, an educational game that blends animals sounds and knowledge of their environments with some dope beats.

Wildlife DJ and beatboxer Ben Mirin travels the world collecting the voices of wild animals that catch his attention. Layering his own beatbox loops with his favorite animal voices, he makes music inspired by the ecosystems he visits.

Join the band (and don’t forget the headphones!)

Launch the Beastbox game and pick your band animals. They soon start to bust some sweet moves and beatbox together using samples of their real animal voices. All 5 will soon be cranking out a cool tune. Swap them in and out to see what sort of sound you can build.

But stop (hammer time)!

How do you unlock the special ecosystem tracks?

Do your research! Click the info icon next to each dancing beast to learn more about their real world counterpart, hear a recording of their voice, and most importantly, see which ecosystem they belong to.

Because to unlock a new ecosystem you need to group 5 animals from the same ecosystem into the same band.

There’s endless variety in the wild music your children can make and a whole world of animals to explore.

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Other BrainPOP research resources

Take a browse through all our animals topics on our 'Diversity of life' page. Many of these resource collections will also discuss the evolution of individuals species.

To take a deeper dive into animal environments try our Ecosystems movie, and land topics, like Tundra, Rain forests, Land Biomes, Taiga, and Savanna. To see all topics related to this visit our Ecology and Behaviour category.

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Extension resources

 

An Hour of Code with BrainPOP

 

Learning to code isn’t hard. There, I said it.

It’s no harder than learning to add and subtract. Or a new language. Or a series of dance moves (no, I can’t floss either). Or the rules of punctuation. Or a musical instrument.

But you have to start somewhere, you need to practice, and you need someone to help you along the way (*waves to teachers*).

And you need motivation to keep coding when the coding gets tough (or buggy).

Which is where support events and communities like Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code can show you the the right path, tools, and skills needed to learn to code.

And this year BrainPOP’s Creative Coding is an official Hour of Code activity!

What is Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify "code", to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science. It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with 1-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.

For 2018 the theme is “What will you Create” which is perfect for BrainPOP students!

Your students can choose a BrainPOP Scratch (block-based) or Vidcode (text-based) project for sixteen different topics across the curriculum, from Martin Luther King Jr. to DNA to Food Chains. All available for FREE until December 31st 2018.

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To choose a project, visit Hour of Code and select BrainPOP from the “Created By” drop-down menu on the left. If your school already subscribes to Creative Coding, log onto BrainPOP and look for the Creative Coding tile on the right side of any topic page for the full coding experience.

Creative Coding Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, November 27th at 18:00 EST/23:00 GMT (if you can’t make it don’t worry it will be recorded and uploaded to the Educator’s blog) to hear how Certified BrainPOP Educator Nay Belaunzarán is successfully using Creative Coding in her classroom. Nay will share ideas for how to integrate coding into your curriculum — a perfect way to gear up for Computer Science Education Week.


Want to know more?

If you would like to add the full Creative Coding package to your current BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. subscription please let us know and we’ll get right back to you.

Name *
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Celebrating Diwali

 

They’re not just rows of lamps. . . they light the way to the biggest celebration on the Hindu calendar!

Many curricula around the world explore and study world religions and religious festivals.

On November 7th 2018 followers of Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will be celebrating the famous festival of Diwali.

In our BrainPOP Diwali topic your class will:

  • Learn what the name “Diwali” actually means, and see how the holiday reflects some of the most basic beliefs of the Hindu religion.

  • Explore some of the Hindu mythology behind Diwali, including the legend of the return of Rama and the worship of deities like Laksmi and Kali.

  • Discover many of the customs of Diwali, from the lighting of lamps and fireworks, to the taking of ritual oil baths and making delicious sweet treats.

We’d recommend asking students to create a concept map about Diwali. Maybe show how this holiday shares things with other holidays and celebrations, or spotlight some of the deities and show what ideas and values they represent.

As a fun homework piece or plenary activity, download and print our ‘Mehndi graphic organiser’ and ask your children to draw their own mehndi design.

 

BrainPOP's on top down under!

 
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Big news for our Aussie schools!

We’re stoked to let you know BrainPOP is now fully mapped to the Australian national curriculum.

We’ve been working hard to add Australia to sit alongside our current English and Scottish curriculum mapping.

To try it out visit our curriculum mapping tool, select ‘Australia’, and drill down from there by year group to find topics relevant to an objective.

It’s that simple!

When you’ve found the objective you’re looking for it will list one or more topics that best fit (bear in mind we don’t claim to have a topic for every objective).

If you’re looking for a specific topic you might be better off using our predictive keyword search or browse through the subjects.

If you’re an Australian school that doesn’t use BrainPOP, but wants to give our resources a try, take out a no obligation free trial.

 

Celebrate World Space Week 2018 with 3 free Mars themed lesson plans

 
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Ever wondered what it would be like to walk around on Mars?

Schools around the globe will be celebrating World Space Week 2018, which begins on Thursday on 4th October.

World Space Week is the largest public space event on Earth with more than 3,700 events in 80 countries.

The 2018 theme of “Space Unites The World” seeks to be an "...international celebration of the contribution of space science and technology to the betterment of the human condition. "

It's the perfect time to study space, its exploration, and our place in the universe.

Mars topic on BrainPOP

We’ve got a galaxy’s worth of classroom Space resources on both BrainPOP Jr. and BrainPOP to bring your lessons to life.

Subscribers can log in and start exploring right away (don’t have a password? Request a free trial). You’ll find a huge range of materials on a diverse set of topics from Jupiter to comets to Moon phases.

Mars is one of our most popular subjects so we thought it might be useful to give away a 3 part series of lesson ideas to support teaching about the famous Red Planet.

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4 quick and simple Mars lesson ideas

A simple pick up and play set of lesson stimulus for all ages


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Force, Gravity, Revolution, and Rotation Lesson Plan

A ‘Forces’ lesson about Mars using our ‘Build a Solar System’ game


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Create our Solar System lesson idea

Blast off from Mars into the Solar system and learn about Learn about scale, distance, and ratio, and the order of the planets in our solar system

 

5 easy ways to improve reading engagement with BrainPOP and Newsela

 
5 easy ways to improve reading engagement with BrainPOP and Newsela

On most BrainPOP topic pages you'll find a 'Newsela' button.

But why is its addition to BrainPOP a bit of a game changer for your literacy instruction?

Wait. What's Newsela?

Newslea is a popular literacy platform that provides engaging, high-quality, nonfiction news articles adaptable to students’ reading levels.

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We partnered with them to integrate their content alongside ours.

Here's an example of our Digitial Etiquette topic page, showing the the button that you would click to open the relevant Newslea article.

It will take you to a Los Angeles Times article called "Why emojis are a no-brainer for digital communication".

Take a look on the top bar. You see a drop down menu that allows you to dynamically change the text, by lexile level, to suit the child or class.

This means your students read and discuss the same content, while enabling individual students to access material at their specific reading level.

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Here's some ways you can use our Newsela integration to improve your children's engagement with non-fiction texts.

1. Highlights and annotations

Select a word or sentence and the annotation tool pops up on the right hand side. Use this to highlight unfamiliar vocabulary, signal specific text structures like compare/contrast, and provide questions and prompts for discussion.

Annotation in Newsela

2. Multiple read-throughs

On a student's first read through focus on vocabulary and identify the purpose of the article.

On second read through Introduce a question and have students work with a partner to read again, annotating text that relates to the question as they read.

On third read have students individually look for additional evidence, perhaps providing writing prompts like:

  • According to the article . . .

  • The author bases this claim on . . .

  • The conclusion that can be drawn from the article is . . .

3. Use Newsela opinion articles to facilitate a debate in your class

Divide students into two groups and assign each group a side to debate.

Remind students to use facts from the article to support their arguments and encourage them to conduct further research as needed.

Prompt a class discussion after the debate.

4. Small Group Guided Reading

  1. Gather a group of students who read at a same/similar reading level and briefly introduce the Newsela article, including the content of the text and some of the structural and vocabulary challenges.

  2. Then have students read the text independently as you circulate, supporting individual students as needed.

  3. Finally, bring the group back together to share common understandings and identify reading strategies they used.

5. Hone those listening and syntax skills

Read aloud a Newsela article to the class or small group to model engagement, fluency, and pausing for deeper comprehension. Demonstrate thinking aloud and engage students in prompted partner or whole class discussion. Hearing text read fluently is important for developing a sense for syntax, and for honing listening skills.

 

BrainPOP 101 - learn about BrainPOP using BrainPOP!

 
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Nope, that "101" in the title isn't binary! It's the name of our new self paced training module.

Sounds fancy!

It is!

It's an introductory course for BrainPOP teachers, to learn how our products and resources work and explore all the features.

But this isn't any ordinary course.

You literally use BrainPOP to learn about BrainPOP!

If that sounds meta, it is, but it's a lot more fun than clicking through a dull drill and test.

You will:

  1. Watch an animated movie on how children learn with BrainPOP.
  2. Take a Challenge to see how BrainPOP engages higher-order thinking with interactive assessment tasks.
  3. Read an FYI all about the history, people, and technology behind BrainPOP.
  4. Explore a Primary Source, examining documents from the BrainPOP archive. including the very first drawing of Moby!
  5. Take a Quiz about BrainPOP's tools and features
  6. Play the learning game Time Zone X, that focuses on 'Education through the ages'
  7. Create a concept map in Make-A-Map to visualize thinking and connect ideas on the question "What is BrainPOP?".
  8. Animate an interactive presentation with Make-A-Movie

How do I take the BrainPOP 101 course?

You need to have your own individual Teacher login. If you don't have one, then get in touch about activating this facility for your subscription. There's no cost, but we do need to get your consent to set it up.

Is it compulsory? Is it the only training on offer?

No, not at all. You can start and finish it in your own time. You'll see a progress bar at the top of your screen after you start it.

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There's also a huge range of support, training, and professional development options on our Educators site from light touch activities like webinars to our BrainPOP Certified Educators program.

How do I start BrainPOP 101?

Just click the button below!