• 25 Oct
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    The nights are drawing in ever earlier and cutting wintry winds send us scurrying inside to steaming mugs of hot tea, big woollen jumpers, and a cascade of blankets so it’s the perfect time to inside of getting caught up in a good book and to try writing one of your own!

    NaNoWriMo image

    NaNoWriMo is national novel writing month where the goal is to complete 50,000 words of a book during the course of November and they run a Young Writers Programme to boot.

    You can find out more about doing NaNoWriMo in the classroom and the plethora of resources available in our blog post from last year: “Sparking Creativity in the classroom with the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program“.

    October marks the time where NaNoWriMo participants across the world start doing the prep for writing their novel in November – things like doing research, coming up with an idea and characters, and getting an outline together so that once November hits you can jump right in to get your 1667 words a day done.

    How can BrainPOP help with NaNoWriMo prep in October?

    1. Take a peek at BrainPOP’s Famous Books and Authors section for a bit of inspiration from the masters and their work, from Roald Dahl to Lord of the Flies to Agatha Christie there’s a bit of everything.

    Maya Angelou

    Maya Angelou

    2. Brush up on writing skills that you’re not confident on like writing dialogue, creating the right mood and tone, or making sure you remember to show not tell with topics from our reading and writing section. Getting confident with these skills ahead of time means you’re less likely to get frustrated while getting down your 1667 words a day and you’ll have to do less revisions when you’re all finished.

    3. Check out our Creative Writing Spotlight if you’re not sure what you need to improve on to see what gaps in your knowledge and skills you have. It’s better to find out now that you’re not sure what a cliché is when you have plenty of time to remind yourself!

    4. If you’re doing research and you’re not finding what you’re looking for or don’t know how best to keep track of all that new knowledge use resources like our Information Literacy Spotlight and our Revving up your Research Skills blogpost and poster to help get the most of your planning time.

    Creative Writing

    5. Check your grammar skills with BrainPOP’s grammar section so you don’t spend precious time trying to remember whether you’re supposed to use a semicolon there or if you’ve used that apostrophe correctly. It’ll also make things much quicker when you get around to redrafting after November!

    6. Get organised with our graphic organisers! Use BrainPOP’s creative writing graphic organisers like story mountain, circles story map, and character map to make your ideas easy to reference when you need them and make sure you’re clear on what the plan for your story is.

    7. Use our outlines and concept mapping topics to help you with the brainstorming process to help you find your idea and then refine it into the best it can be!

    8. Remember to take breaks and have fun! If you get stuck or frustrated during your daily writing session taking a 5 minute break to watch the BrainPOP featured movie keeps your brain in gear so you can easily get back to work but also gives you enough of a break that when you go back to writing it’ll be full steam ahead!

    Let’s get those creative juices flowing!

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  • 05 Sep
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    All writers need a creative jump start every once in awhile.

    Writer’s block can be as prevalent in the classroom as it is in front of an author’s typewriter.

    Sometimes you need to shake things up and encourage students to write something out of their usual comfort zone.

    With that in mind we’ve made some handy and fun writing prompts called Story Cubes to help out. Getting creative with story cubes is easy but first of all you need to make them.

    How to make Story Cubes:

    BrainPOP Story Cubes

    Click the image to start download.

    • Use scissors to cut them out (watch those fingers!)
    • Fold along all the edges and flaps
    • Stick them together using tape or glue on the tabs until you make a cube shape.

    How to use Story Cubes:

    Now you get to roll your new cubes!

    Roll all three (or just one if you like) and use whatever three three images that land face up to build your story. If you don’t like the images you get you can always re-roll!

    All the images are from BrainPOP movies, but you can interpret them how you like.

    Once you’ve made your cubes you can keep them for whenever you want to help creativity strike – they make a pretty nice decoration too!

    The Legacy by Sophie Millward-Sadler is a fantastic example of a student’s story that used BrainPOP’s story cubes for inspiration.

    And finally, don’t forget to use BrainPOP’s Creative Writing Spotlight to help students write their inspired story the best they can.

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  • 16 Aug
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    Reading for pleasure is not just fun it’s also fantastic for literacy and has a plethora of benefits, but it can be difficult to cultivate in some children.

    LiteraryGenresScreenshot3

    An emphasis on reading for pleasure is something the 2014 curriculum for England and Wales and the Curriculum for Excellence Studies both focus on and for good reason. After all, studies have suggested that reading for pleasure has a greater impact on children’s educational achievement than their social class or their family’s wealth and literacy skills in general have a huge impact on social mobility and quality of life.

    It can be difficult to get kids reading beyond what they have to. There’s a few things that can help:

    • Access to libraries
    • Supporting parents and carers to help with their children’s reading
    • Encouraging all kinds of reading (including non-fiction)
    • Children’s book clubs
    • Shared reading initiatives

    LiteraryGenresScreenshot1

    One of the top obstacles to getting kids reading is helping them find things they’ll like – no one likes to read books they’re not enjoying but when you read something you liked but are having difficulty finding other books like it or just you’re not sure what to look for at all it can get really frustrating.

    With the Literary Genres BrainPOP topic students can learn the different kinds of genres and what defines them, why genres are helpful ,and different conventions they’ll find in different genres as well as different techniques writers use to appeal to their target audiences.

    LiteraryGenresScreenshot2

    But it doesn’t just help students talk about literature in their writing and analysis of what they’ve been reading in class it can also help students identify different kinds of genre so they can more easily identify types of books they might want to give a try. Or maybe help them work out that the book they read recently that they really loved was actually science fiction or a thriller – so they know where to look for the next one.

    Students can explore different genres and various well known examples that help define that genre in this topic’s FYI section(and even check out a few in more detail that have their own topics like J.R.R. Tolkien.)

    literarygenres_activity

    And the activities encourage students to think about what they like and why as well as breaking down story conventions from particular conventions into categories – which can help them analyse different books or even to more easily write in that genre themselves!

    I hope you’re ready for the beginning of a literary adventure of epic proportions!

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  • 18 Apr
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    It’s the 400th anniversary of the death of the Bard this year and with the 23rd April swiftly approaching there are lots of amazing events, exhibitions, and performances celebrating the man, his life, and works to enjoy.

    William Shakespeare Topic Screenshot

    Though there are events happening all year to honour William Shakespeare for 400 years of inspiration, a lot of the coolest events to celebrate are happening over the weekend of 23rd/24th April as Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616.

    At BrainPOP UK we’ll be celebrating by making our William Shakespeare topic our free featured movie on the 23rd April so be sure to kick start your Shakespeare-a-thon with Tim and Moby.

    William Shakespeare Topic Screenshot

    If you’re a subscriber don’t forget to check out our Drama and Poetry topics as well! But after you’ve BrainPOPped, enjoyed a very dramatic Moby, and are pumped up with Shakespeare facts what else can you do to mark the man?

    The Complete Walk

    23 April – 24 April 2016

    As you’d expect Shakespeare’s Globe have a lot going on this year alongside their usual helping of great theatre. We love the sound of a pop-up cinema project called “The Complete Walk”. On the 23rd-24th April 37 specially made 10-minute films that will be screened along the 2.5 mile stretch between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge.

    Each film explores one of Shakespeare’s plays and include scenes from the plays shot in the locations that Shakespeare imagined them to take place combined with extracts from the BFI’s early silent films and filmed stage productions. The films will play continuously through the weekend and you can download a digital map ahead of the event.

    Sonnet Walks

    22 April – 24 April 2016

    “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?”

    Don’t forget Shakespeare wasn’t just a playwright! In the Sonnet Walks by Shakespeare’s Globe you’ll enjoy a 2 hour walk through London in historic places familiar to Shakespeare while hearing some of Shakespeare’s most compelling speeches and most romantic sonnets performed by actors.

    Drama Topic Screenshot

    By me, William Shakespeare

    3 February – 29 May 2016

    By me, William Shakespeare is a unique exhibition of carefully selected documents relating to Shakespeare’s life that track his life in London, as “a businessman, a family man and servant to the King and even possibly a thief and a subversive.”

    They explore both his domestic and professional lives, what it meant to live in the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras and the social impact of his plays.

    Shakespeare in Ten Acts

    Until 6 September 2016

    The British Library’s Shakespeare in Ten Acts exhibition explores 400 years of history from the plays’ very first performances, showing how his plays have been interpretted by generations.

    Ground-breaking moments in stage such as the first stage appearance by a female actor in 1660 and the first British performance of Othello by a black actor in 1825 are explored as well as their social impact.

    Amazing props and costumes from celebrated performances join rare and unique items such as the only surviving play-script in Shakespeare’s hand and Shakespeare’s First Folio.

    (As a side note the British Library’s new online Shakespeare resource is also pretty cool and worth a look! Discovering Literature: Shakespeare)

    Drama Topic Screenshot

    Celebrating Shakespeare

    19 – 22 April

    The National Theatre is marking the anniversary by hosting some great events, talks and discussions around various topics from The Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and MigrationThe Web of Our Life: Shakespeare and Old Age, and Shakespeare at the NT: Writer for Today. Plus they have a great digital exhibition exploring Shakespeare at the National Theatre to boot.

    Celebrating Shakespeare: Flytower Film projection of Olivier’s Henry V

    22 April, 8pm

    The National Theatre’s Flytower is being turned a massive outdoor cinema for the occasion and will be showing the film that earned the NT’s first Artistic Director, Laurence Olivier, a special Academy Award for outstanding achievement as actor, producer and director

    Malvolio’s Misorder

    13 – 27 April

    Malvolio’s Misorder is a fun theatrical tour at the Victoria and Albert Museum where you’ll join characters from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, famous items from the V&A collections and meet Malvolio “…who has been practising speeches all day for his tour of Lady Olivia’s private collections but things very quickly start to go wrong once his guests arrive…”

    To find more events and find things specific to your area be sure to check out Shakespeare400 which collects listings for events running to celebrate the 400th anniversary happening all across 2016.

    But, of course, “brevity is the soul of wit” so I’ll finish by simply saying “If BrainPOP be the food of love, play on…”.

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  • 16 Mar
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    Engaging students with literacy across curriculum subjects is a priority for all schools, and Ofsted. BrainPOP provides multiple possibilities to improve literacy knowledge using animated movies, interactive quizzes, multimedia resources, and more.

    BrainPOP UK - Reading Skills

    Ofsted seek to see literacy being emphasised outside of an English lesson, across curriculum subjects. Effectively, literacy learning should have a place in all lessons.

    During inspections, Ofsted will place a stronger emphasis on effective whole-school literacy policies and their successful and systematic implementation across the school. Finally, the new Teachers’ Standards (2012) require for all teachers to “demonstrate an understanding of and take responsibility for promoting high standards of literacy, articulacy and the correct use of standard English.” 

    Literacy Guide for Secondary Schools, 2012-2013

    In each BrainPOP topic in Science, Maths, English, Humanities, PSHE & Citizenship, Design & Technology, Arts, there are many moments, both explicit and implicit, to promote literacy in different subjects.

    HOW CAN YOU USE BRAINPOP TO ADDRESS LITERACY IN EVERY SUBJECT?

    SUBTITLES

    • Every movie shows subtitles as standard. Subtitles encourage reading even when the student doesn’t realise they’re doing it. This extra practice will help improve reading and SPaG (Spelling, Punctuation, and Grammar) skills.

    KEY VOCABULARY & NATURAL PAUSE POINTS

    • Key vocabulary is highlighted in each movie. Students can easily pick out and learn key terms, how to use them, and how they are spelt.
    • Listen out for the beep! BrainPOP UK movies have natural pause points. When Moby beeps is usually a good moment to pause as this often indicates the beginning of a new section of information within the topic. This gives the teacher time to assess how well the class is taking in the information, answer any questions, or to allow for student to finish any note-taking.

    KEY LITERACY SKILLS

    • Specific topics like Reading Skills, Context Clues, and Note-Taking Skills help students make their literacy skills useful in every kind of lesson. Improving student’s confidence in using skills such as these – regardless of subject – encourages them to use and practice them more across the curriculum. Tim speaks at a gentle pace in BrainPOP UK movies, which helps student’s comprehension and also gives time for student’s note-taking.
    • BrainPOP quizzes for reading comprehension and/or listening comprehension – whether students are taking the quiz individually on a computer or tablet or taking the quiz as a class they will need to read and/or listen to the quiz questions and answers in order to complete the task. Students can also take turns reading the questions and answer options aloud to the rest of the class as extra speaking practice.
    • BrainPOP as a discussion tool – Using BrainPOP UK as a class discussion tool about items in the news or national events such as natural disasters, the United Nations or the World Cup gives students spoken language practice in a variety of subjects. It’s a great way to encourage children to not only investigate an issue themselves but to form their own opinion and confidently discuss it in class. From the 2014 National curriculum in England: English programmes of study:

    Spoken language – (6.2) Pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons; ask questions to check understanding; develop vocabulary and build knowledge; negotiate; evaluate and build on the ideas of others; and select the appropriate register for effective communication. They should be taught to give well-structured descriptions and explanations and develop their understanding through speculating, hypothesising and exploring ideas. This will enable them to clarify their thinking as well as organise their ideas for writing.”

    ACTIVITIES

    Activities are worksheets that are available for every BrainPOP UK topic regardless of subject. Activities can include:

    • Recall questions
    • Essay questions
    • Graphic organisers so students can easily organise their thoughts or create clear notes for revision material
    • Practical tasks such as building a rocket

    Activities can be typed into and printed off filled in as typing practice or printed and used as handwriting practice.

    VOCABULARY SHEETS

    • Vocabulary sheets list all the key terms used in the movie and students must explain each of the terms in their own words.
    • This provides key literacy practice, helps students memorise subject specific key terms, and helps teachers check student’s comprehension of the terms and concepts used in the topic
    • Can be printed and glued into exercise books as a spelling guide and a revision tool.

    FYI (FOR YOUR INFORMATION)

    FYIs provide extra non-fiction texts around the subject to encourage further reading and research by the student which provide extra reading practice. These can be particularly useful to raise literacy engagement with boys, whom research has shown react well to non-fiction texts.

    LEARNING GAMES

    Educational Games such as Quandary, Invasion, and Ayiti, although not English subject games, require reading comprehension practice to successfully complete the game. If games are used with the whole class then listening, speaking, and debate skills are also practiced by students working together to make decisions and taking turns to read aloud to the class. These skills are also exercised in games with lower levels of reading comprehension required such as Guts and Bolts, A Tangled Web, and Refraction.

    Complete list of BrainPOP UK English topics (and movie length):

    ENGLISH

    1. Adjectives (02:40)
    2. Adverbs  (03:48)
    3. Agatha Christie  (04:42)
    4. Antonyms, Synonyms, and Homonyms  (03:12)
    5. Back to School  (02:02)
    6. Biography  (04:34)
    7. Book Review  (03:10)
    8. Business Letter  (04:00)
    9. Capitalisation  (05:13)
    10. Charles Dickens  (05:28)
    11. Clauses  (04:50)
    12. Colons  (03:23)
    13. Compound Sentences  (02:16)
    14. Conjunctions  (04:43)
    15. Context Clues  (04:17)
    16. Contractions  (02:10)
    17. Debate  (05:21)
    18. Dictionary And Thesaurus  (04:44)
    19. Edgar Allan Poe  (06:04)
    20. Etymology  (05:49)
    21. Fact and Opinion  (04:57)
    22. Frankenstein  (04:34)
    23. Getting Help  (02:46)
    24. Homer  (04:59)
    25. Idioms and Cliches  (04:16)
    26. Improving Sentences  (05:04)
    27. Interjections  (02:17)
    28. J. R. R. Tolkien  (05:52)
    29. Jack London  (05:37)
    30. Judy Blume  (04:09)
    31. Kurt Vonnegut  (05:07)
    32. Lord of the Flies  (04:45)
    33. Main Idea  (04:44)
    34. Mark Twain  (03:29)
    35. Maya Angelou  (04:19)
    36. Mood and Tone  (04:17)
    37. Note-Taking Skills  (04:56)
    38. Nouns  (02:32)
    39. Outlines  (03:58)
    40. Pablo Neruda  (05:06)
    41. Parallel Structure  (06:17)
    42. Paraphrasing  (03:52)
    43. Parts of Speech  (02:09)
    44. Personal Pronouns  (02:24)
    45. Poetry  (05:24)
    46. Point of View  (05:10)
    47. Possessives  (04:03)
    48. Prepositional Phrases  (02:21)
    49. Prewriting: Choosing a Topic  (02:23)
    50. Prewriting: Organising Your Thoughts  (02:52)
    51. Public Speaking  (03:04)
    52. Punctuation  (02:52)
    53. Reading a Newspaper  (03:06)
    54. Reading Skills  (03:26)
    55. Referencing Sources  (03:48)
    56. Research  (03:07)
    57. Roald Dahl  (05:23)
    58. Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes  (03:51)
    59. Semicolons  (03:37)
    60. Sentence Fragments  (03:48)
    61. Show Not Tell  (03:27)
    62. Similes and Metaphors  (02:34)
    63. Stress  (04:49)
    64. Subject Verb Agreement  (02:12)
    65. Subject Verb Object  (02:01)
    66. Tenses  (06:55)
    67. Test Preparation  (03:00)
    68. Test Taking Skills  (03:24)
    69. The Writing Process  (03:44)
    70. They’re, Their and There  (01:56)
    71. Types of Sentences  (01:45)
    72. Types of Writing  (03:53)
    73. Verbs and their Objects  (02:24)
    74. Writing an Essay  (03:50)
    75. Writing Dialogue  (02:58)
    76. Writing In Sequence  (02:48)

     

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  • 25 Mar
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    Following pre-test consultation in 2013 we pleased to announce that BrainPOP has been selected to be part of the online reading materials in 2014’s Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.

    ssln

    Gordon Brown, Assessment Manager at Scottish Qualifications Authority, explains why they chose BrainPOP materials:

    “SQA are constantly searching for a wide range of texts that will engage and interest learners. BrainPOP materials do just that and we are happy to use one of their clips as one piece of a large assessment jigsaw”

    We’re excited and honoured to have been selected to be part of Scotland’s national schools standards survey. If you are a Scottish school and want to evaluate BrainPOP please contact us.  BrainPOP UK is mapped to the Curriculum for Excellence and available through GLOW.

    Moby with bagpipes

    What is the SSLN?

    “The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) is an annual sample survey which monitors national performance in literacy and numeracy in alternate years, for school children at P4, P7 and S2. 

    The SSLN was developed to support assessment approaches for Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). It provides a snapshot of Scotland’s achievement in literacy and numeracy at a specific point in time and allows for comparisons over time to be made. 

    The SSLN is a joint venture. The Scottish Government, Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority work together to design and deliver the survey.

    The survey consists of a set of written and practical assessments and questionnaires for both pupils and teachers. All schools in Scotland (except special schools) are invited to take part, and almost all do. Approximately 11,000 pupils and 5,000 teachers participate in the SSLN from across the 3 stages being assessed. 

    The SSLN is intended to provide relevant information about pupil achievement, assessing numeracy and literacy in alternate years which local authorities, schools and ministers can use for purposes of quality assurance, evaluation and improvement. 

    The SSLN will be published as Official (or National) Statistics.”

    Extracts reproduced with with kind permission from http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/SSLN

    More information on the SSLN can be found on the Scottish goverment website , SQA’s page about the SSLN, and the SSLN website.

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  • 24 Oct
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    After much discussion and debate over our favourite entries into the Get Cubed creative writing competition, we’ve narrowed it down to one winner.

    The winning story stood out for being a very well thought out piece, with attention-grabbing paragraph starters, and wonderful use of colourful adverbs and dialogue. We also loved how well the story cube images were incorporated as plot devices: the Map, the Shark, and the Crown.

    Without further ado, the winning tale.

    THE LEGACY by Sophie Millward-Sadler

    The Legacy by Sophie Millward-Sadler

    The pong of pig swill assaulted Kathy before she even opened her eyes. It was that bad.

    Reluctantly, she opened her eyes to the sight of the rundown yard where she worked. A rotten fence ran round the animal enclosure. Over the gravel driveway was a rusty shed that was an aeroplane hangar, until the airfield was destroyed by a bomb.

    There was a grunting sound from her left; it was her only pig, Betty. Groaning, Kathy got up and poured out some potato peelings.

    “We need more,” she said. Betty grunted. “I’ll have to go to town and buy some.”

    Kathy slipped over the fence and walked down to the town. It was cold.

    She got to the potato stall fine. It was just as she was getting her money to pay when hands grabbed her. She was dragged down the street and onto a ship. Once onboard, she was shoved down below decks. It was dark and dank.

    There was a clanking sound; the anchor being raised. A person appeared at the top of the ladder. He was bald with yellow teeth.

    “Now luvvy. We aren’t gonna hurt as long as you do what we want. Agreed?”

    Kathy nodded her head.

    “All we want you to do is follow a map and dig something up for us. Agreed?”

    She nodded again.

    “Oh, and you’ve got to swim to shore.” With that, he left. Kathy slept.

    When she woke up, the bald man was standing over her. Next thing, Kathy was teetering on the end of the plank. A shove from behind and she went tumbling into the turquoise water.

    Gasping, she emerged and began swimming for the shore of an island that was a few hundred metres away. A leather bag hit her head. Kathy picked it up and carried on swimming. A few seconds later, she caught a glimpse of a silver fin cutting through the water towards her. It couldn’t be a shark-

    It rose out of the water and its massive mouth gaped open, rows of menacing teeth gleaming in the sun.

    Kathy swore that she had never swum as quickly.

    When she reached shore, she was wheezing with the effort. As she recovered, Kathy opened the top of the leather bag and pulled out a map. A clichéd red X was marked just underneath a palm tree that was actually very close to her. A shovel was placed at the base of the trunk.

    Sighing, Kathy began digging.

    An hour and a small tonne of sand later, Kathy had a big chest next to her. It was open. Inside was an old document.

    This document states that the first child of Edward Cross is the rightful heir of this island and all of its lands.

    What? Edward Cross was Kathy’s father. That couldn’t be true.

    Underneath this document is the crown of these islands. Wear it with pride.

    Stunned, Kathy picked up the crown and placed it on her head.

    She was a queen.

    For her hard work, Sophie has won an exclusive piece of BrainPOP artwork (shown above).

    If you’d like to try your hand at some creative writing, the story cubes are still available to download here: BrainPOP UK Story Cubes

     

     

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  • 17 May
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    “In Search of Lost Time” by Marcel Proust holds the world record for the book with the highest word count. It has nearly 1.2 million words in it!

    Alan Moore, the famous comic book writer, wrote a very short story of only 6 words which simply went: “Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time“. Which we think is awfully clever 🙂

    So clearly a writer can create wonderful prose in any number of words as long as they feel inspired to do so.

    100 Word Challenge logo

    The 100 Word Challenge is an extremely popular weekly writing task aimed at children. Each week a prompt is set on the 100WC.net blog that is designed to inspire a piece of writing no longer than 100 words. That’s the golden rule. This is how the website describes it:

    “It is a weekly creative writing challenge for children under 16 years of age. Each week a prompt is given, which can be a picture or a series of individual words and the children can use up to 100 words to write a creative piece. This should be posted on a class blog and then linked to the 100 Word Challenge blog. The link is usually open from midnight on Wednesdays until midnight the following Tuesdays.”

    Hundreds of schools from all over the world do the 100WC every week. Everyone in the 100WC team is encouraged to comment and feedback on the 100 word pieces. It’s a wonderfully effective way of building an audience for your work.

    We were very humbled and excited to be able suggest a prompt of our very own, starring Tim & Moby. We have created a brand new, short animation that you can see below. The BrainPOP team will also be reading the blog posts and Tim & Moby themselves will be commenting on their favourite entries.

    When the week is over we’ll feature the very best ones on our blog too.

    The two versions below are identical but use different video services, in case one is blocked in your school.

    YOUTUBE VERSION

    VIMEO VERSION

    Good luck everyone!

     

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  • 01 Sep
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    Learn how to write successful stories and weave tales of magic and comedy like a true literary great with our Spotlight on Weaving Tales. Weaving Tales is about storytelling, and the skills you need to create a good story yourself.

    Storytelling Spotlight

    On the Spotlight homepage you’ll find an Agatha Christie ActivitiesPrewriting FYI, and a Similes & Metaphors Activities.

    The topics highlighted for Weaving Tales include:

    Don’t forget about a couple of author movies not featured in the Spotlight:

    Agatha Christie – Was it the butler in the pantry with the candlestick … or was it the judge in the library with the noose? Agatha Christie knows!

    Let Tim and Moby introduce you to the life and work of one of the most prolific mystery writers of the 20th century, and the best-selling fiction writer of all time. You’ll meet her two most famous characters, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. You’ll learn about two of her most popular novels, as well as some of the major themes and ideas dealt with in her stories. Finally, find out why her works continue to be so popular. The only thing we won’t tell you is who-dunnit!

    William Shakespeare – To be or not to be? Tim and Moby introduce you to the life and work of the remarkable, mysterious William Shakespeare.

    You’ll not only learn about his early life but will find out how many plays and sonnets he wrote and why he’s sometimes considered the most influential writer in Western literature. You’ll learn which plays he’s best remembered for and why they are so popular. If people are still reading them 400 years later, they must be pretty good!

    Extra activities include:

    Teachers as Storytellers – telling stories should be more than just reading from a book at the end of the day – but why?

    12 Top Tips for Telling a Story – how to impress your listeners, maintain attention and weave a good tale.

    10 Story starters – everybody’s got to start somewhere. Play these audio clips from Roger Hurn for a little inspiration.

    Roger Hurn's character poem

    ‘What is your character like?’ – an audio recording of Roger Hurn’s poem to get you thinking about characterisation.

    There’s so much fun to be had weaving a tale, you best get started now!

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  • 08 Feb
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    It started with a chat.

    A teacher from Menston Primary took some time to talk to a BrainPOPper at our stand at the BETT exhibition in January.

    He liked what he saw so he took out a free trial to explore the product and see if it was a useful and valuable resource for his school. So far, so normal.

    But how he and his class went about evaluating BrainPOP UK was rather special.

    He turned BrainPOP over to his Year 3/4 class and asked them to express their opinions about our resources. Essentially he created a lesson out the evaluation and kindly sent us the results as he thought it might interest us. We’re so glad he did as you will see below.

    To start with he used a tool called “Primary Pad” to request written expressions of their favourite BrainPOP movies, Tim & Moby, what they learned and how they felt about BrainPOP. Primary Pad is a wiki – it lets multiple people contribute to the same document, in real time. It’s collaborative writing.

    Here’s some of their quotes:

    • “hi we have just watched the calculator video it is really good you should watch it .We would love to have brain pop on the computer.this is really usefull for doing homework because if you are learning about floods there is a video for floods and it tells you lots of things so you will have a good peace of homework.”
    • “we watched the video about new year celabratoins it was really good it was good to find out how different couyntries celabrate new year and what they do on new years night because different countries celabrate in differet ways. We found out that in china they all wear red and they dance with a chinease dragon and they have chinease lantans and have a big dinner party.”
    • “WE FOUND THAT COCO~BEEN TREE LIVES IN AMERACA AND A FEW OTHER COUN eWE WATCHED A CHOCOLATE VIDIEO AND IT MADE OUR MOUTHS WARTER I LOVED IT!!!!!!!llllll”
    • “The good bit about the drawing is that it shows you what order to draw the things in!!! It also tells you if you can use pens,pencils,chork,crayons or paint to draw.The cartoons of Tim and Moby are really funny and cool! It tells you neally everything you want to know about the thing that you search for and it is good that you have a choice of what type of quiz you do.”
    This is a Wordle “word cloud” of their responses

    But wait. It gets even more awesome.

    He then asked his two of his pupils to use an audio recording tool called “Audioboo” to interview each other about their experience of BrainPOP. He sent us the MP3 and we just LOVED it. In fact, we thought it was so great we animated it (with the school’s and parents permission). You can see it embedded below.

    Thank you to Menston Primary for sharing your experiences of BrainPOP with us, and special thanks to the two pupils who recorded their interview.

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