Hello, BrainPOPpers! I’m Jude, and I’m the newest member of the BrainPOP team.
It’s my job to find new BrainPOP schools and look after our current BrainPOP schools in the north of England. As part of my welcome to BrainPOP I was lucky enough to be invited to Staining Primary school in Blackpool to witness first hand how they use BrainPOP UK in the classroom.
Mission Impossible, a song about wellies and 9 minutes of BrainPOP
You know when you see someone do something, and it looks really easy, but that’s only because they are so good at it, so it comes across as effortless? Good examples of this are plastering and scratching records. I think it’s the same with teaching.
My hosts were Mr. Maloney and his excellent class. They kindly let me sit in on two of their lessons so I could find out how they use BrainPOP. However, I ended up finding out much more…
It has been (ahem) some time since I attended school myself and it seems that teaching theory has moved on from copying things down in silence from the whiteboard. Mr Maloney said our first lesson would be Maths (“gutted,” I thought, “my worst subject!”) but we were thrown straight into a game of Fuzz Buzz, and I came near last leaving me with a disquieting thought: I don’t know my four times table as well as I thought I did.
The next part of the lesson was the BrainPOP movie, Angles. As it started to play lots of kids either gave me a sly thumbs up or said they liked my BrainPOP T-shirt.
It was clear that I was amongst some real die hard Moby fans. As a thank you I made Tim & Moby sign a picture for them which I framed and presented to the class.
It was a tough job to make angles seem interesting but the dynamic duo pulled it off and even got a laugh at the end of the movie.
As everyone settled down to some protractor practice I managed to talk to some young BrainPOPers. They left me very impressed – not just because they had watched so many movies and could remember the details – but because they were asking for so many more movies and topics they would like to learn more about.
I will be passing their request list to Tim and Moby, but was struck by the intelligence of the suggestions. Would you expect a Yr5 class to be demanding instruction on art movements or mixing chemicals?
Even tidying up ready for lunch was fun as everyone dashed about getting things away to the Mission Impossible theme tune.
Assembly followed lunch and Mr Maloney talked to us about Spring, which gave us a good excuse to watch the BrainPOP movie on Seasons . There was an audible “Yeah!” when the movie came on the screen
After the movie it seemed everyone had remembered far more facts than me and I was glad Mr Maloney didn’t ask me any questions about the equinox.
We had finished slightly early and Mr Maloney asked “What could we do to fill the time?”
Someone suggested the Welly Song. It wasn’t long before the class was clamouring for The Welly Song. Pretty soon there was no way Mr Maloney was getting out of singing The Welly Song and a helpful soul dashed off to get Mr Maloney’s guitar.
I’m not sure I can describe “The Welly song” in a way which would do it justice, but maybe if you are lucky enough to meet Mr Maloney one day (or be in his class!) you might persuade him to perform it for you.
Our second lesson was ICT. I learned that technology doesn’t always work but when it does, boy, there is some great things you can do with it.
I asked the students if they preferred using computers or doing more practical things like model making and was told “Well, model making is OK, but with computers one click and you can do anything” and from looking at their work, they certainly weren’t exaggerating.
I was shown animations, illustrated stories and blog posts about every conceivable subject and the students spoke with such confidence and enthusiasm it was obvious that ICT is just a way to express their ideas, not a subject they are ‘taught’.
In all I had spent nearly five hours in the delightful company of the Staining Massive and BrainPOP resources had taken up only 9 minutes of that time. On reflection my visit made me realise two huge compliments to BrainPOP:
- Some of the world’s most discerning IT users (i.e. Mr Maloney’s class) love BrainPOP even with the millions of other things they could do on the Internet. One pupil told me she watched movies at home with her dad on the huge plasma screen telly. And she said her Dad enjoyed them too.
- Teachers have literally hundreds of tools at their disposal to aid learning. In a similar way that the finest craftsmen insist upon the finest tools, it is an amazing endorsement that Mr Maloney and his class choose to use BrainPOP.
So, thank you Mr Maloney & Staining Primary School for allowing me to be part of your day. Don’t be surprised if your blog starts getting hits from other schools all over the North as I travel far and wide singing your praises.