District: Sarasota County Schools
Products: BrainPOP, BrainPOP Jr.
A Secret Superpower for a Stressed Out Student
Adrianna’s student needed support. So did Adrianna.
The student: a frustrated 5th grader with a reluctance to participate.
“He was working with a processing error that had kept him at a kindergarten reading level,” Adrianna told us. “He wanted to join in discussion with the rest of the class, but I could sense him growing more and more cautious.”
Lacking the content knowledge to contribute meaningfully, the student began to feel ashamed and left out. Adrianna gave the student encouragement and emotional support, but soon he’d become silent and sullen in class.
“One day I tried something different. We were going to discuss multiplying with fractions in the next class, so I picked a few BrainPOP movies for him to watch overnight. The next day I start talking about multiplying fractions and his arm shoots up and he’s shouting ‘Oh, oh, I know that!’”
BrainPOP became his “secret superpower.” No one but Adrianna and he knew why he suddenly had the confidence and knowledge to keep up, but it was a new era for him.
And a new era for how Adrianna taught in her classroom.
Learning Alongside ELLs
Adrianna later moved to an elementary school in Palm Beach, where she faced new challenges. Almost all of her students spoke a language other than English at home, and almost all lacked core skills in every subject.
As she learned what it took to give each student the individualized support they needed, BrainPOP was her unflagging companion. She started by using BrainPOP Jr. to help individual students fill gaps before exposing them to 3rd grade standards. Soon she was beginning every lesson with a movie containing key vocabulary words. She used quizzes as a tool for group participation.
“We played four corners. Each student would go to one corner if they thought the answer was A, and another if they thought the answer was B, and so on. We did all these things in every subject. BrainPOP was the tool that allowed me to reach every student in that classroom.”
“BrainPOP was the tool that allowed me to reach every student in that classroom.”
As she moves to other classrooms, Adrianna brings those experiences with her. With her 5th graders in Sarasota County, she’s found more and more ways to personalize her support. When she breaks the class into small groups, each group is interacting with an appropriate BrainPOP movie. Her higher-performing students use Make-a-Map to engage in higher-level thinking and make connections. She even uses BrainPOP’s topical movies when tackling class discussions of difficult current events.
There’s Nothing Else Like It
Adrianna remembers her 8th grade science teacher showing BrainPOP movies in class. She remembers her first years teaching in an aftercare program, where students played BrainPOP games during computer lab. But as she and BrainPOP have matured, she’s realized its true potential.
Adrianna never fails to let other educators in on the secret.
“When other teachers tell me they use BrainPOP just for whole group, or as a movie and quiz, or as something to leave for a substitute, I tell them they have no idea what they’re missing out on. BrainPOP is going in the direction of the future of teaching. There’s no more room for teachers who teach all their students in the same way at the same time. We have to differentiate in our classrooms. BrainPOP, with all its features and tools, has something for students at every level and at every step of language learning.”
She continued, “There’s no other program that’s going to engage every one of your students the way that BrainPOP does. There’s nothing else like it.”