There’s so much to love about BrainPOP. Geared for students in 4th-12th grades. Solid curricular content. Engaging animation and really fun educational games. Aligned with Common Core. Searchable by learning standard, subject, or grade level. Built-in assessment. Evidence-based. Web-based and app versions. Closed captioned videos. English and Spanish editions. Additional resources for educators. A simplified version for younger learners. And lots of it for free!
We’ve just scratched the surface of this wonderful site, which has been around since 1999, and is growing in depth and breadth. It’s perfect for some of the older students with whom we work and has a lot of potential for AAC learning.
1. Navigation: Even some of our older students are still learning to find their way around complex AAC systems. The engaging content in the BrainPop videos create a fun context for activities to practice navigating around an AAC device. We’ve had a great time randomly stopping the video, selecting a word, thinking about where it might be stored, and how to use the SGD to say it.
2. Circumlocution: As SLPs, most of us spent plenty of time helping adults with aphasia and others with word-finding problems overcome their tendency to use circumlocution. In the mother of all ironies, we now teach that as a valuable skill to kids with a rich core language base. Don’t have the word ‘parallel‘ and can’t quite spell it? That’s okay. ‘Two lines not come together’ will do quite nicely. Kids love to pick words out from the BrainPop videos and then race to see who can come up with the best way to tell about that word.
3. Main Idea: So many of the AAC students with whom I’ve worked have had persistent problems with relevance. Picking out the main idea in a textual passage is so important to their academic achievement and yet such a difficult thing for many of them to do. The BrainPOP Main Idea video explains the concept perfectly and gives great examples. There are enough practice activities so that it really sinks in. Because they are learning via video, rather than reading, we can really focus on the concept of main idea without the additional challenge of text processing.
4. Semantics: This is such a great tool for helping students learn new words. Because it is curriculum-driven, we have the opportunity to pre-teach some of the vocabulary that these kids will need to know for class discussions, reading their textbooks, completing writing assignments, and taking exams. When we encounter new words in BrainPop videos, we can pause to put some of our strategies for new word learning into action.
5. Lexical Diversity: We’ve all worked with students who tend to use the same tired words over and over. Building lexical diversity is fun with BrainPop because the engaging video provides such a rich context. If you already have a list or graphic organizer with new ways to say those over-used words, review that before starting the BrainPop video. Stop the video when you hear the over-used word, and talk about which of your alternatives would work in that context.
Hope to hear from some of you with more ideas for making Magic Moments with BrainPOP.