• 27 Oct
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    It’s nearly November and aspiring novelists all over the world are getting ready for this year’s NaNoWriMo, but what is it?

    NaNoWriMo image


    In a nutshell it’s National Novel Writing Month (get it? Na-No-Wri-Mo), where writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel… in a month. That seems pretty unachievable at first but that’s actually committing to writing 1667 words a day for 30 days; which sounds a lot less intimidating.

    You don’t have to write a 50,000 word novel. It could be 50,000 words worth of short stories or a novel that keeps on going, anything you like really. And it doesn’t really even have to be 50,000 words.

    The spirit of NaNoWriMo is to set a writing target and stick to it.


    So why participate?

    • It helps to create a good habit – sitting and writing for a certain amount of time a day – even if it’s just to free write or write in a journal is almost meditative and a good opportunity for self-reflection. Plus we live in such a busy world it’s important to regularly seek out a bit of calm.
    • “Winning” NaNoWriMo by managing to complete your goal gives you a nice rosy glow of success.


    • You learn to do instead of procrastinate. It’s easy to get caught up in the idea of something and just never get past the planning stage. For many writers with a loud internal editor it can be hard not to obsess over every word. But when you have a strict goal you have to meet you have to force yourself to just write, and leave the editing for after.
    • You get to actually make something, even if that something is just for you.
    • You get in touch with your imagination. You don’t have to make a masterpiece to achieve something with NaNoWriMo; sometimes it’s just about kick starting your creative side.

    Imagination BrainPOP UK Topic Screenshot

    • If you get a team together or join one online you can make it a collaborative experience.
    • During the edit, it’s a good opportunity to improve your grammar knowledge and writing skills. Especially if you’re using software like Scrivener which can tell you just how many times you wrote particular words and phrases you tend to overuse.

    How can you use NaNoWriMo in class?

    tim writing

    NaNoWriMo actually has a Young Writer’s Program(me) and although it’s American and aligned to the Common Core standards it has a lot of great resources and information that you can use in your classroom to get your students writing.

    You can even connect with other classes doing NaNoWriMo all over the world!

    Some Useful Resources to get started with:

    • NaNoWriMo’s Virtual Classroom can help you facilitate with your students such as tracking their progress and can help you connect to other classes all over the world
    • There’s an educator’s forum where you can share ideas and get help
    • There are workbooks and lesson plans that you can use to get ideas. (Although they’re American a lot of what’s in them is very transferable and some other educators in the forums may already have UK based lesson plans.)
    • This word count calculator is really useful. Sometimes you just can’t get your words done on a particular day and this tool helps you adjust your target as needed so you don’t need to panic!
    • NaNoWriMo pep talks written by successful authors (including authors who write for children and young adults such as Holly Black) are great for a bit of inspiration. This past one by Neil Gaiman is a particular favourite.
    • You can even get help publishing your student’s work when they’re done!
    • Downloadables such as this progress poster and these participation and winner certificates.

    And there’s loads of BrainPOP UK resources that can help your students if they’re struggling with their writing as well:

    Roald Dahl

    Happy writing!

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  • 20 Oct
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    Attention fledgling writers and movie producers!

    As part of our forthcoming SpotlightsWeaving Tales and Making Movies, we have a challenge for you. Weaving Tales is about storytelling, and the skills you need to create a good story and Making Movies is about the art of film making – whether it’s animation or a major Hollywood blockbuster.

    The competition challenge: Make a short movie starring Tim & Moby using one of 3 scenarios.

    To help you take you from script to screen we’ve written our own 3 step plan to help get you started: Tim & Moby’s guide to making movies .

    Competition submission criteria:

    • This competition is for children between 7-11 and 12-16.
    • The winner will be chosen by the BrainPOP UK team. Editors’ decision is final.
    • You must use one of the scenarios below as the starting point for your movie.
    • The deadline is midnight 16th December 2010. Entries received after this point will not be considered.
    • Finished movies must be under 3 mins and be all your own work.
    • They must be in a digital format.
    • The winners will be contacted by email in the new year.
    • The winning entries will be showcased on this blog and shown at BETT 2011 on our stand.

    You can read our full Terms and Conditions on our website.

    Please download these three scenarios and pick JUST ONE to form the basis of your Tim & Moby script. Where you take it is up to you!

    Script Option 1 – Adventure

    Tim and Moby stand in the Prime Minister’s secret underground office…

    Script Option 2 – Romance

    “Tim stands alone in a shop browsing through a rack of t-shirts. Moby comes stomping into the shop accompanied by a stranger…

    Script Option 3 – Horror

    “Tim and Moby are walking through a cold, dark forest…

    TOP TIP! Watch The Writing Process , Writing Dialogue & Filmmaking movies on BrainPOP UK to get advice from Tim & Moby.

    You are welcome to submit your finished movie in any way you like, as long as it can be accessed online.

    1. Live acting: You’re going to need a camcorder or phone with a camera function to record your movie, actors, a studio space and costumes. And find someone to shout “CUT!”
    2. Green screen: You might also want to use chroma screen technology (here is a very useful and comprehensive step by step guide to using green screen in the classroom by Sheffield South Learning center).
    3. Stop motion animation: You could use claymation like Wallace and Gromit, papercraft like “Star Wars in 2 minutes” or using physical objects like the amazing “Dot. The world’s smallest stop-motion animation“. Have a read of this wonderful guide to stop motion animation for beginners on Photojojo.
    4. Audio play: If you don’t have access to a camera, you could just record your script as a podcast play with sound effects – a fun challenge on its own! Try Podium.
    5. Digital animation: There are lots of amazing animation tools online. Try Anithings (animations), Zooburst (3D pop up ebooks), Xtranormal (you type and the characters talk) and Comic life (make a comic form your images) and many more. Or you may be a Flash guru.

    You can submit your finished movie if it’s under 10MB using the form below. If it’s over 10MB or you host it online get in touch with info@brainpop.co.uk.

    We can’t wait to see what you come up with. Good luck everyone.

    Aaaand, ACTION!

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  • 10 Sep
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    Have a look at this list. They’re all brand new movies coming to BrainPOP UK very soon.

    We’re extremely proud to announce these movies (and their accompanying quizzes, don’t forget) will be added to BrainPOP UK for all free trials and subscribers.

    No extra cost. No hidden charges. No funny business.

    They span all the subjects in BrainPOP UK, both Primary and Secondary, and will automatically appear over the next 8 weeks, in batches, with new Maths and English movies already up. The list below is simply alphabetical, but in BrainPOP UK they will be categorised and tagged to curricula.


    Example of some of our new English movies

    If you dearly need one of these movies for a lesson and you can’t find it in BrainPOP UK (yet) then contact us and we’ll see if we can expedite it specially.

    • Active Transport
    • Adding and Subtracting Integers Advanced
    • Adding and Subtracting Fractions Advanced
    • Agatha Christie
    • Aids
    • Algae
    • Allergies
    • Anthrax
    • Antonyms, Synonyms, and Homonyms
    • Ants
    • Appendix
    • Arachnids
    • Asexual Reproduction
    • Associative Property (Order of Calculations)
    • Asthma
    • Atmosphere
    • Autism
    • Autumn Leaves
    • Aztec Civilisation
    • Balance
    • Blood Pressure
    • Body Chemistry
    • Bonfire Night
    • Bogies
    • Braces
    • Brain
    • Brass Instruments
    • Calculus
    • Capitalization
    • Carbon Cycle
    • Carnivorous Plants
    • Cats
    • Cells
    • Cellular respiration
    • Choosing US presidential candidates
    • Classification
    • Clauses
    • Cnidarians
    • Cold War
    • Compounds and Mixtures
    • Computer Mouse
    • Conditioning
    • Conjunctions
    • Conquistadors
    • Decimals
    • Diagramming Sentences
    • Dictionary And Thesaurus
    • Diffusion
    • Distance, Speed, and Time
    • Distributive Property
    • Division
    • Ecosystems
    • Electric Circuits
    • Electromagnetic Spectrum
    • Emergency 999
    • Equations with Variables
    • Etymology
    • Exoplanets
    • Factoring
    • Fall of the Roman Empire
    • Fax Machine
    • Foetal development
    • Food Safety
    • Fossils
    • Frankenstein
    • Frida Kahlo
    • Galaxies
    • Geologic Time
    • Geometry
    • Gills
    • Graphs
    • Ground Water
    • Growth
    • Homer
    • Hormones
    • Humans and The Environment
    • Idioms and Cliches
    • Imagination
    • Immune System
    • Improving Sentences
    • Inca Civilisation
    • Isotopes
    • Joints
    • Latitude and Longitude
    • leap Year
    • Lord of the Flies
    • Mahatma Gandhi
    • Maths Problems
    • Maya Civilisation
    • Measuring matter
    • Metals
    • Metamorphosis
    • Migration
    • Mineral Identification
    • Monotremes
    • Multiple Sclerosis
    • Multiplication
    • Multiplying and Dividing Fractions
    • Nanotechnology
    • Natural Disasters
    • Nervous System
    • Nutrition
    • Organic Food
    • Outer Solar System
    • Passive Transport
    • Petrol and oil
    • Pirates
    • Poetry
    • Polyhedrons
    • Power
    • Prime Numbers
    • Printers
    • Property Changes
    • Protists
    • Protozoa
    • Punctuation
    • Queen Elizabeth 1
    • Radioactivity
    • Reading Skills
    • Referencing Sources
    • Respiratory System
    • Rise of the Roman Empire
    • Roald Dahl
    • Roman Numerals
    • Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes
    • Rounding
    • Scientific Method
    • Seeding Plants
    • Sentence Fragments
    • September 11th
    • Seven Wonders
    • Six Kingdoms
    • Skeleton
    • Slope and Intercept
    • Soil
    • Solar Energy
    • Stock and Shares
    • Sumerians
    • Sun Protection
    • Symbiosis
    • Terrorism
    • The Order of Calculations
    • The Troubles
    • The Writing Process
    • They’re, Their and There
    • Time Zones
    • Transformation
    • Tsunami
    • Types of Triangles
    • Urinary System
    • Using Proportions
    • Volume of Cylinders
    • Volume of Prisms
    • Waste Management
    • World War I
    • World War II
    • World War II Causes
    • Writing In Sequence

    PS: You can find a huge comprehensive list of all our movies that are live on our site on our “Movies list” page.

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