BrainPOP and Blooms Taxonomy

 
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As an educator you're almost certainly familiar with Bloom's Taxonomy.

Holly Spangler, a BrainPOP CBE, explains why BrainPOP fits Bloom's so well in her in depth blog post she wrote for our Educator's support site:

Bloom’s Taxonomy...offers a framework for teachers to structure and understand the learning process. BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr., with their wonderfully informative animated movies and accompanying quizzes, games and activities, provide the perfect match to help teachers structure and differentiate their lessons within the framework of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Teachers may differentiate the content they teach by designing activities for groups of students that cover the six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.
— Holy Spangler, BrainPOP Meets Bloom’s Taxonomy

When we design our tools and features we align them with with 3 objectives, based on Bloom's taxonomy - Discover, Play, Create.

Whether you are experienced with BrainPOP or are just getting to know our resources you'll see there's a multitude of options on each topic.

Here's a visual breakdown of the various pasts of a topic page and how they fit into the discover, play, create model.

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Discover (Understand, Remember)

Students start to learn and understand more about a curriculum topic, recalling important facts from the movies and quizzes (don't forget you can create your own differentiated quizzes using the Quiz Mixer), and matching important concepts to their proper descriptions using the Activity pages.

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Play (Analyse, Apply)

BrainPOP comes with a range of educational games and simulations that give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge and demonstrate their understanding.

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Create (Evaluate, Create)


In this phase students can use tools like Make-a-Map, Make-a-Movie, and Creative Coding to make and display connections between previous knowledge and new information.

 

Make a meme! Can you use coding to assess content knowledge?

 
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So I made my first video meme today. And learned about the circulatory system while doing it.

By any standards it was about the worst meme ever made (check it out below), but I had so many moments of learning during the process that I'm kind of proud of it.

Welcome to 'Creative Coding' on BrainPOP.com!

Developed with our partner Vidcode, Creative Coding invites students to show what they know about a topic through a variety of coding projects.

It enables students with little or no coding experience to succeed, while those with coding background can take their work to more sophisticated levels.

There are currently 4 different coding projects across 20 different topics available for free on BrainPOP - Meme, Doodle Augmented Reality, Stop Motion Animation, and Newscast.

Each project takes the learner on a journey through coding, but in the context of a curriculum subject.

There will be around 15-20 steps in the instruction panel in the project, and each line of code you add/edit will be reflected in the 'live' view. Take a look at the interface in this walk-through to see what I mean.

In Meme projects, students use JavaScript to embellish a short video with graphics and text. Students will discover that JavaScript is made up of objects that have properties and methods. They will:

  • Program in JavaScript
  • Apply knowledge of JavaScript objects
  • Customise objects by changing their properties
  • Position their memes using the coordinate plane (x-y grid)
  • Apply their knowledge of a BrainPOP topic

Circulatory System Meme Coding Project

My code

In my video meme I picked the video clip 'moby checking pulse' from the movie 'Circulatory systems' (rows 1-2).

Then I overlaid a 'heart' graphic (rows 4-8), followed by the words 'Moby makes my' (rows 10-15) and 'heart beat faster' (rows 17-22).

I positioned each element, changed colours/sizes, and made the heart a little transparent.

All through a coding language of which I had 0% knowledge.

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I tried different things, and failed sometimes, but fixed my mistakes which felt great. There was some guess work on how to position things and how colours and transparencies would look.

But I never felt overwhelmed, nor less than curious about each step.

And I made something with code (go me!) and saved it to my projects folder. So as I get better at coding I can come back and improve my meme.

The value of aligning coding with content learning cannot be underestimated. As a teacher you can assess student subject knowledge, encourage creativity, and support student choice.

Before (and during) coding sessions, ask your students to conduct research using the various materials on BrainPOP and elsewhere, create a storyboard (in Make a Map perhaps?), and work collaboratively with their friends.

What are you waiting for? You could make the next hit meme!

 

Using educational games to build research skills

 
Using educational games to build research skills

Games provide an excellent opportunity to use knowledge and practice skills until you're confident with them.

A game provides a welcome break between chunks of more traditional classroom activities, injects a bit of fun, and provides a safe, low stakes environment to practice the research skills they've been learning.

  1. Because of the way games work you can be sure students are getting correct feedback and information. Get it wrong and they won't be able to progress further in the game.
  2. 'Points of faliure' gives ample opportunity for students to pause and seek help (which they may not have realised they didn't fully understand) as well as keeping more advanced students busy while they progress through harder levels.

Let's look at three games on BrainPOP that students can use to develop stronger research skills.


Search Shark

Search Shark is a great way for students to practice their search skills and develop their keyword strategies outside of the pressure of a real project.

In this game students learn how to choose effective keywords for searching online. They practice selecting keywords that are most relevant to a search prompt. Along the way, students discover hints for narrowing their search results.

Because student get instant feedback on whether their choices are correct this ensures that they both aren't distracted by thousands of unhelpful results and they don't become frustrated by not being able to work out why they haven't succeeded.

Sports Network 2

In the Sports Network 2 is an educational game where students take on the role of the Managing Director of a Sports Network that wants to appeal to the teen demographic.

Each quest is meant to represent “a day at work”. Students are continually presented with problems they must solve and choices they must make in order to arrive at their goals.

This is a useful game for general reading skills practice as well as practice finding and inferring the main idea of a text selection.

This game also gives students an opportunity to apply their reading skills to a real-world context and to career-related scenarios.

After The Storm: Day One

The After The Storm: Day One game provides opportunities to practice research, reading, and writing skills within a real-world context.

Through game play, students take on the role of a news magazine editor-in-chief, and must research facts through a variety of informational texts (such as press releases, email, and text massages) and then edit stories and coordinate social media to disseminate information to the community about a major hurricane.

After the Storm helps students learn about writing, editing, the importance of the main idea in a text, and balancing big-picture needs with the crucial details of putting together a news magazine.

 

BrainPOP Jr. - Let's talk about Annie's Notebook

 
Annies Notepad

One of the most important (and beloved) features on BrainPOP Jr. is Annie's Notebook.

You'll see Annie's Notebook to the right of every movie in BrainPOP Jr. It looks like a simple teaching mechanic but it has several benefits.

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It displays the questions Annie asks in the movie

Not only displays them, but at important moments in the movie. Use these questions to prompt discussion or gauge understanding.

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Print questions in advance to scaffold learning

Hit the print button underneath the Notebook to print a PDF file of all the questions from the movie. You can use this as a summation/Q&A sheet for pupils, or just as an aide memoir for your lesson.

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Don't forget to perfect the pause!

The 'Pause' button flashes red whenever Annie starts to write in her notebook. This is an indicator to you, the teacher, that this could be a great moment to stop and reflect.


But of course one of the main reasons Annie has a notebook is to promote and value the work of note taking to your students.

They see Annie writing her questions on a standard issue lined notepad - something all your pupils will recognise - in a legible hand written font.

If Annie's doing it, everyone can try to do it.

If you regularly draw children's attention to Annie's notepad you are encouraging them to join Annie in taking notes, recording ideas, and perhaps most importantly, not being afraid to ask questions.