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!

 

Get creative with coding!

 
Creative Coding with BrainPOP

>10 PRINT "CODING IN BRAINPOP!";
>20 GOTO 10

Yep, you read that right.

You can now access Vidcode AND Scratch based coding projects inside a huge range of BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. curriculum topics.

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What sorts of things will children be able to do in a Creative Coding project?

What's our approach to helping you teach coding?

Designed to seamlessly integrate with what you’re already teaching, Creative Coding makes it simple to introduce coding and provides students with the opportunity to “show what they know” in a whole different way.

We make coding part of what you're teaching, not a separate technology driven exercise.

Coding for All

Because they span the curriculum and provide multiple opportunities for differentiated instruction, our Creative Coding projects reach students with a breadth of needs, and at all levels. These projects:

  1. Help your students build and demonstrate knowledge in a way that is personally meaningful to them, in a familiar environment
  2. Guide and scaffold children and adults so that no technical background is needed
  3. Reduce inequality in access to computer science instruction when worked into the school day

The two methods - block AND text based coding

The block- and text-based projects are developed based on Scratch and Vidcode.

Block-based coding, based on the Scratch visual programming language, is an effective way to introduce computational thinking that fosters creative expression and experimentation. Perfect for younger pupils, or those new to coding.

Scratch on BrainPOP

Text-based coding with Vidcode deepens that knowledge by inviting students to apply programming fundamentals to create projects using JavaScript, empowering them to show what they know about what they're learning in school.

Vidcode on BrainPOP

Want to learn more?

There's a huge amount of Creative Coding teacher support material in our Educators site, but maybe start with our 'About Creative Coding projects' support page that details each type of project.

How do I unlock Creative Coding in BrainPOP?

Creative Coding is an optional add on feature, priced separately to your main school subscription.

You also must have a whole school licence to BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr. PLUS individual teacher and student accounts enabled on your subscription.

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If you see this padlock icon on a Creative Coding button on a topic page this means you do NOT have it unlocked.

Get in touch today to get a no obligation quote to enable Creative Coding for your school.

We're currently running a promotion too - save 25% if you add it to your subscription before December 31st 2018.

     

    Assignment builder

     
    Assignments Moby

    For many years teachers used to ask us "How do I know when a student has watched a movie on BrainPOP?"

    Not any more! BrainPOP's assignment feature is blended throughout BrainPOP, allowing teachers to assign almost anything in BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr.

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    Students get notified of the assignment when they login, their interaction with the resource gets captured, and they can keep a personal eye on their assignments feed.

    I can see your brain working through the possibilities from here :-)

    Want to direct a class to watch a specific movie in preparation for tomorrow's lesson and know who has and hasn't seen it? BOOM! Assign the movie to the whole class.

    Want to assess a particular set of students on their understanding of a topic? ZAP! Assign the Challenge feature to specific students from your class.

    Want to target a student with some remediation work before a test? KAPOW! Create a personalised quiz using the Quiz Mixer and assign it just to them.

    Want to create a mini project for your class to demonstrate their understanding? BAM! Build an multi part assignment, adding a movie, then the quiz, then the Make a Map tool.

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    It's super easy. You can also...

    • Schedule assignments using the “schedule for later” option and then select the date you want students to see the assignment
    • Add resources from both BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. into one assigment (only available to customers that have both products)
    • Add multiple classes to an assignment. Just click the + symbol next to the class drop down menu

    How to assign something in BrainPOP and/or BrainPOP Jr.

    Assign buttons
    1. Simply log in to your individual account and navigate to the feature you’d like students to work on.
    2. Click the ASSIGN button, then choose a class and optional due date.
    3. To see the list of everything you’ve assigned, or to edit your assignments, click on the ASSIGNMENTS button at the top of your screen.
    Assign a resource in BrainPOP

    How students manage their assignments

    Students log in to their own accounts, where they will see Moby pop up and advise them they have a new assignment.

    Clicking on MY BRAINPOP at the top of the page will show them all the assignments they’ve received thus far or any that are overdue #embarrasedmoby

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    Try it out today. It could revolutionise the way you use BrainPOP.