One of the booths I visited at the massive ISTE expo this week was the Brainpop booth. I got my picture taken with Moby, the famous Brainpop “mascot”, but, trust me, you don’t want to see it. This one is much better (Moby is on your right):
I haven’t shared a lot about Brainpop on this blog because most of its resources are based on purchasing a subscription. There is a free app with featured videos that can be viewed, though, and you can get a free 30-day trial. It also has a fabulous and free “GameUp” section which I have mentioned on this blog, and I still highly recommend it. The games tie very well into school curriculum.
I think the subscription ($1200/yr. for school-wide access) is well worth it, and I rarely say that about subscriptions. If you can convince your school, district, or PTA to fund one, I think you will find that it is money well spent. There is a treasure trove of animated videos that are very engaging for kids, quizzes, accompanying worksheets and activities, and lesson plans for teachers.
The reason I am mentioning all of this today, however, is that Brainpop has an exciting new feature, called My Brainpop, coming down the pipe later this year (in time for the 2013-2014 school year), which will allow you to really utilize it for differentiation. You will be able to add classes, track your students’ progress on quizzes and games, and even personalize your own quizzes. This is a huge benefit. Although it does not sound like they will be offering the ability to assign specific videos to different students, I am hoping this feature will be added in the future.
If you have never tried Brainpop, I urge you to check out the free trial. And, if your school does have a full subscription, you might want to think about how you can use this new feature to your advantage during this upcoming school year!
Camp What-A-Wonder is being offered by Wonderopolis from today (Monday, June 17th) through Friday, July 26th. You can sign up for updates here, or you can just visit the site each day to enjoy the new resources being offered for each week’s theme. This weeks’ theme: “Ant Farms, Spider Webs and Underwater Coves.”
You will receive a “Wonder” prompt, a suggested Family Activity, Recommended Reading, and Related Wonder article links – which often include videos and even more suggested activities.
If you want to do some virtual exploration without all of the headaches of packing and spraying on bug spray, then Camp What-A-Wonder might be just the right place for you! The kids can even send postcards to keep you updated on their adventures!
This week, I am focusing on providing resources to “Squash the Summer Slide” as ReadWriteThink puts it. Parents often ask me at this time of year for ideas to keep students challenged over the summer. Here are links to the rest of the articles from this week:
Since today is also Fun Friday, I thought pool noodle projects would be appropriate! After coming across one article on ways to use pool noodles, I did an internet search, and found a lot more creative ideas than I dreamed could exist for using these long pieces of foam!
My students use every spare moment they can get in my classroom to build elaborate marble runs, so the above picture caught my eye immediately. You can find it, along with 19 other ideas for pool noodles here.
You can find the idea for pool noodle flash cards here. To kick it up a notch for gifted thinkers, why not call out a word in a foreign language, or a definition, and have them find the noodle pieces that spell its counterpart?
Along with the Pool Noodle Super Sprinkler, you can find 29 other ideas here.
Of course, with all of these innovative suggestions I did not find any that matched the one drawn by one of my students!
Kacie Germadnik, a colleague of mine, created this awesome flyer with Smore that offers excellent ideas for keeping children engaged in learning throughout the summer break. It suggests activities, websites, and apps that will encourage higher level thinking. I’m really bummed because I can never get these things to embed correctly on this blog, so you will have to visit this link to see it – but it will definitely be worth your while! She plans to update it as she finds more resources, so don’t forget to keep checking back!
Yesterday’s “Summer Slide Squasher” can be found by clicking here.
My students love doing S.C.A.M.P.E.R. activities. It gives them the chance to be creative – and a bit silly. I’ve made a couple of S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packets for different themes, and my fourth graders got their first glimpse of the Summer Pool Party packet yesterday. I currently have the Summer Pool Party packet on sale for a $1.00 (.50 discount) at Teachers Pay Teachers. You can also purchase other S.C.A.M.P.E.R. packets at my TPT store. They are a great activity for the last weeks of school!