• 25 Mar

    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.


    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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  • 30 Oct

    We were invited by Probationer Teacher Scotland, (part of GTC Scotland), a national support service provided to newly qualified Scottish teachers, to feature in their very popular “BlogSpot” section. This is a space where teachers in their probation year are asked to review products they love to use in class.

    We turned to Jenny Harvey (@relativism), a class teacher from Kirkcaldy, Fife who presented  a fantastic overview of BrainPOP. You can read the whole review below. Many, many thanks to Jenny for taking the time to provide this article. We hope you all enjoy it :-)

    Jenny meets Moby

    BrainPOP UK – What is it?

    BrainPOP UK (http://www.brainpop.co.uk/) is a library of animated movies featuring the characters of Tim and Moby who explain a range of different topics in a clear and accessible way.

    Movies are available across all curricular areas and the content is added to and updated all the time.

    BrainPOP is something I discovered during my training and I have been using it for three years with a range of stages across the primary school.  The children respond well to the characters and are always very impressed to hear that I have met Moby in real life.

    Although it is a subscription resource, there are featured movies and free content available to everyone plus there is a mobile app which has a free featured movie every day.  It is also possible to sign up for a free trial, which is how I first used the site.

    Why do I use it?

    In a nutshell: it is easy to access and use, the information is presented clearly and it is linked to Curriculum for Excellence.

    The format of the BrainPOP UK site is extremely easy to navigate and clearly set out in curricular areas.  The home page is bright and visual rather than having screeds of text and the search function does exactly what it should.

    Curricular mapping tools, which are linked to Curriculum for Excellence, make planning an easier task and the interactive multiple choice quiz feature can be a useful formative assessment tool.

    How do I use it in class?

    I have used BrainPOP UK during teaching time, as an activity for a group and also as a research tool for directed research tasks.  When used during teaching time I vary the order of the movie and quiz; sometimes I use both but at other times I use one or the other.

    As I mentioned, the curricular mapping tool, which is called Deep Beep, makes planning easier as you choose the subject area and the Curriculum for Excellence level to match to your Experiences and Outcomes and then the topic of the movie based on the matching results.   Movies can be paused, rewound or fast forwarded as required.  This allows time for questions, reflections and checking understanding at any stage of the movie.  I like to keep a notebook book file open to record any notes or observations during the movie.

    The quiz can be very useful at the beginning of a topic and at the end to assess knowledge gaps and progress and inform future planning.  I have also used the quizzes as an example for question creation lessons during which groups of pupils create their own quiz on a particular topic and these are then peer assessed.  The quizzes can also be used with response units if you have these in school.

    Quizzes and movies are not the only resources available on BrainPOP UK. There are associated activities, related topics and an FYI section providing additional stories and facts related to the chosen movie topic.  The FYI sections are a particular favourite of mine as they often help to answer further questions and can help to generate other questions for investigation by pupils.

    And there’s more…

    Free CPD! BrainPOP UK provide free webinars which you can access online and from the comfort of your own home.  If you need evidence of these CPD sessions they can also provide certificates of completion.

    The BrainPOP UK staff, or BrainPOPpers, have always been outstanding in terms of customer service.  They answer any questions promptly and they have even created a movie for me in the past.

    I hope that this brief introduction has helped give you an overview of how BrainPOP UK can be used in your classroom.  Remember it is free to try, the only software needed is a browser with Flash Player and if you need any support the BrainPOP UK team are just an email away.

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  • 29 Feb

    You probably won’t be surprised to hear we’ve got a rather lengthy movie to-do list so when it comes to deciding what to produce next it can be a tough decision. And when it comes to producing exclusive UK movies, we find it especially hard.

    So far we’ve made Bonfire Night, The Troubles, and Emergency 999 so when we got an email from Gail we saw it as a golden opportunity to create another of our fantastic exclusive UK movies.

    Ever wondered how the United Kingdom became, well, united? Wonder no longer!

    In a brand new UK exclusive topic we cover the entire History of the UK…in just six minutes.

    Yes, we’re that good.

    You’ll find out how the British Isles moved from being populated by independent tribes to becoming the UK. Tim & Moby talk about invasions by Vikings, Romans, and Normans as well as key historical figures such as William the Conqueror, Edward I, and James I.

    William the Conquerer

    Finally, find out how Wales, Scotland and Ireland came to be under English rule and what the UK looks like today! 4 Nations, 4 Histories, 4 Cultures – 1 National Government.

    Flags of the UK

    Have a read of our fact-packed FYI to learn about devolution, myths and legends, bizarre laws and customs, and did you know that there are 6 times as many people per sq km in England as there are in Scotland?

    We’ve also worked hard to produce an outstanding set of activities for this topic too.

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  • 27 Sep

    After scoping out the festival in 2010 we decided to bite the bullet and book a stand at Scottish Learning Festival 2011. Aside from the prospect of haggis for breakfast and generally enjoying a jaunt north of the border, we had plenty of reasons to attend.

    Moby salutes!

    Let's get started!

    1. Putting faces to names

    We have a lot of friends and customers in Scotland and it’s always nice to put a face to a name. Cathy from St. Thomas’ R.C. Primary School made a big impression in her kilt attire so we made sure she took away a tartan badge or two to match ;-)

    It’s also always nice to meet tweeps like @digitalkatie and @kirstyforbes. Always a pleasure, ladies! Kirsty was the lucky winner of 3 months free access to BrainPOP and a goodie bag. We hope you enjoy having Moby in your school, Kirsty!

    Kirsty Forbes wins free access

    Kirsty sports her winning certificate

    2. Mapped to Curriculum for Excellence

    We got to meet lots of Scottish teachers and show them Deep Beep, our curriculum matching tool. Deep Beep means you can drill down to the experiences and outcomes you wish to follow and find appropriate topics for your lesson in just a couple of clicks. All BrainPOP topics are mapped to Curriculum for Excellence and Deep Beep should help make lesson planning easy.

    BrainPOP stand at SLF 2011

    Moby loves to see a busy stand

    3. Help with your evaluation

    We know what it’s like to be bombarded with promotional literature and suffer information overload at these events so we wanted to create something to assist you. Proper evaluation of BrainPOP should involve your class if possible. The more colleagues and students helping with the evaluation the better. That’s why we created evaluation booklets - have your class help out.

    With our evaluation sheet you let the kids check out the site, give you their honest feedback and you can use it to convince your Head Teacher or PT that BrainPOP’s worth an investment. Download the Evaluation Sheet here:

    Evaluation booklet download

    Click to download

    4. Exceptional keynotes

    We heard some truly inspirational keynotes and speaker sessions. Sir John Jones’ keynote, The Future Is Not What It Was, was a particular highlight. He received a standing ovation and even had some of the audience in tears. If you didn’t manage to catch him last week, we recommend you take the time to watch him now: Sir John Jones and other keynotes. Exceptional.

    5. VIBs in the house

    We know that it’s a thousand times more useful for you to talk to a fellow teacher so special mention has to go to our VIB (Very Important BrainPOPper), Mhairi Healy from Calderglen High School. Mhairi made sure that visitors to our stand heard first hand about how she uses BrainPOP with her class. Her unyielding enthusiasm and passion for teaching (and BrainPOP!) got straight to the heart of what really matters in the classroom!

    Mhairi, our Scottish VIB

    Very Important BrainPOPper

    We know there were lots of people posing for photos with Moby. If you took any pics please send them to info@brainpop.co.uk or post them to our Facebook page. We’d love to see some more and we’ll make sure you get some goodies for your trouble.

    We’ll see you next year folks!

    Now, where can we find a kilt maker used to working with robots?

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  • 31 Aug

    We’re going to be at the Scottish Learning Festival from 21st to 22nd September at the SECC in Glasgow. If you’re heading along you can find us on…

    STAND E7

    Do not forget this important piece of information. It will be the highlight of your show experience, we guarantee. Just ask these guys:

    Moby with @amweston and @relativism

    Moby with new BFFs @amweston and @relativism

    We’ll be showing off our new Graphic Organisers and brand new movies all tagged to Curriculum for Excellence.

    We’re also giving away handy evaluation booklets you can use with your class to get student feedback about BrainPOP. This way, the kids can let rip and tell you what they really think.

    Also, did anyone miss this last year?

    Well, if you did, make sure you catch the rematch this year. Moby says it’s going to be a beaut of a highland fling.

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  • 15 Aug


    We’re heading up to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow next month (21-22 September) and we’ll be building a mini version of the stand we had at BETT this year.

    For us this entails wielding our handy pneumatic drill and feeling like the stars of DIY SOS for a day. For a lucky Scottish school*, it means free Ikea furniture. We’d like to donate them to your school once we’re done with them (they’re brand new for the show, by the way). All your school needs to do is come and collect them or pay for collection/delivery from the SECC to your school.

    2 x Small Expedit bookcases

    Width: 79 cm
    Depth: 39 cm
    Height: 79 cm
    Max. load/shelf: 13 kg

    1 x 16 square Expedit bookcase

    Width: 149 cm
    Depth: 39 cm
    Height: 149 cm
    Max. load/shelf: 13 kg

    What do I need to do?

    We understand you’re not going to be able to just pick up 5 bookcases, strap them to your back, and walk out the door of the SECC. (See the measurements detailed above if you were contemplating this!) We’ll need to come to an arrangement about delivery dates and times which we can discuss when you get in touch.

    We want to make this as straightforward as possible:

    Step 1 - Email us at info@brainpop.co.uk or call 0800 141 2404

    Step 2 – We discuss pick-up and delivery dates and times.

    Step 3 - We have a grand old time at SLF for a couple of days.

    Step 4 – We pack up.

    Step 5 – Your school gets free bookcases.

    If you remain unconvinced, here are some shots of our bookcases working it at BETT 2011:

    16 square Expedit bookcase

    16 squares of bookshelf goodness!

    Expedit bookcases

    Handy, don't you think?

    Ann and Hope are proud of their bookcases

    Look how much joy our bookcases could bring you!

    If you’re interested, please get in touch and we can work out the logistics.

    Otherwise, we hope to see you on Stand E7 at SLF 2011. Make sure to swing by and say hello!

    *Scottish schools only.

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  • 07 Mar

    They seek him here, they seek him there…

    In November last year, Jen Deyenberg guest blogged about Geocaching, and how she incorporated BrainPOP into her geocaching lessons.

    For those of you unfamiliar with geocaching it’s a “high-tech treasure hunting game“. You hide a trackable “travel bug” somewhere and record it’s whereabouts on the geocaching website.

    Other people hunt down these “geocaches” using GPS, record their finding, and then move the travel bug to another cache. Thus the cycle continues. Some geocaches work their way around the globe!

    We’re very excited as Jen told us yesterday that she has made a special “Scottish Moby” geocache! This is her ambition with the Moby cache:

    “Moby is off on his adventures. As he is a Scottish Moby his first stop is Hailes Castle – a beautiful little place on the edge of the Tyne. If you find Moby keep him moving – to any cache you like! Moby loves adventures and is always keen for a photo, so post your adventures and photos with your logs!”

    You can learn all about the Moby geocache on it’s dedicated page “Scottish Moby Travel Bug“.

    Do you accept the challenge? Can you find Scottish Moby? If you do take pictures and send them to us and we’ll blog them and send you some goodies as a thank you. Look after him and treat him well though.

    Remember he may not be at Hailes Castle for long! Who knows how far he can go?

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  • 18 Feb

    “Great opportunity for staff to review the resources. A fresh approach to using video within the curriculum. All the responses were very positive.”

    Rhona MacKenzie, West Dunbartonshire Authority

    What a lovely thing to say. But what’s Rhona talking about? One of our new POPteach workshops.

    BrainPOP itself is so simple to grasp there’s not much call for conventional “training”. So we don’t offer it.

    The key challenge is to raise awareness of what BrainPOP UK can do in context – for YOU in YOUR lessons. A workshop where the focus is “BrainPOP plus CPD”.

    A POPteach workshop is an opportunity to gather a group of educators together to talk Tim & Moby. They may be subscribers or they may be total newbies to BrainPOP resources – all are welcome. It may be facilitated by a BrainPOPper or a VIB. Or both!

    Our pilot POPteach workshops have been held in Scotland. At the most recent our Scottish Ambassador, Kim Conway, worked with the West Dunbartonshire Authority to hold a twilight CPD workshop. Ten teachers from seven different schools attended. As is the BrainPOP way they got showered with cool BrainPOP merchandise including badges, pens and chocolates. We offered fruit too, but curiously that didn’t turn out to be as popular.

    Kim ran through the site, highlighting gems such Deep Beep, Spotlights and POPboxes and offered practical examples of how BrainPOP can be employed in the classroom.

    Participation is a key part of a POPteach workshop. Kim likes attendees to join in with the POPquiz, and it wasn’t long before teachers were leaping up to the whiteboard to select answers.

    These are only tentative baby steps with POPteach – we’re still polishing the format and always looking for feedback.

    Each attendee is asked to give the experience a mark out of 10. We’re proud to say we received a 10/10 across the board. Did the chocolate sway people? Who knows. A good result either way. These are some of the workable ideas the teachers took away with them (everyone at this workshop had not used BrainPOP before, though some were aware of us):

    • Use movies within classroom as discussion starters.
    • Tell the staff. Log in and try it out.
    • BrainPOP will tie in with my current topic. I intend to share BrainPOP with my colleagues – it is a useful resource.
    • Using movies with class related to current movies being sponsored.
    • Would like to use the videos for science.
    • Share with staff.  Use  free trial period in lessons with my class (P6) particularly in relation to e-safety.
    • Make use of the free trial in cross curricular areas and across stages.
    • I intend to use BrainPOP in line with Es and Os within the classroom if the video enhances the concepts we are covering.
    • Share with the rest of the staff and try out during the trial period.
    • To enhance my lessons. To incorporate into topics using ACfE links.
    • All useful. This was excellent. Great for pupils (+staff).

    It’s only fair to mention what was noted we could do better:

    • Could have had more ‘hands on’.

    In particular it was great to hear how useful Deep Beep, our Curriculum Matching Tool, could be. Some teachers mentioned how easy it would be to incorporate BrainPOP links into topics they are currently teaching.

    One thing that was said to us was “Good to see site, often ended up on it through Google but didn’t know what it was”, which is a lesson for us and a good reason why we might be holding more POPteach events round the country soon.

    And finally, as is our wont, we couldn’t help but offer some lovely BrainPOP UK prizes! Congratulations to Kate Watson from Levenvale Primary who won a BrainPOP UK T-shirt, Carolann McVey from Levenvale Primary who won a goodie bag, and Marion Henry from St Mary’s Primary School in Alexandria who walked away with a class set of badges.

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  • 10 Nov

    When we were up in Glasgow recently, we treated ourselves to a wee school visit. Well, we say “wee”, but Calderglen High School in East Kilbride has roughly 1800 pupils so that was a misleading statement to say the least.

    We were invited along by class teachers, Mhairi Healy and Lindsay Purdon, to observe an S2 English class in action. The teachers decided to bring two S2 classes together for a creative World War One lesson.

    40 kids rolled through the doors and we were immediately impressed at how quickly they got organised.

    The lesson objectives were clear:

    1. In groups, come up with a slogan to encourage men to sign up and help the war effort
    2. Create a propaganda poster and include your slogan.
    3. Make a presentation to the rest of the class where you make a persuasive argument to young men to sign up and fight.

    To provide a little context and focus everyone’s attention, Mrs Healy and Ms Purdon played the World War I movie. Then, in groups of 4 and 5, the kids got to work.

    It was wonderful to see how quickly each group immersed themselves into the tasks assigned, easily deciding who got what job. They had one class period to come up with the slogan, design a poster, and write and practice their presentations. They all worked really well considering the time pressure. Slogans and design seemed to be a doddle to this lot – why don’t we find it that easy?!

    One hour up!

    Attention to the front again to watch the BrainPOP UK movie on Public Speaking. We loved how the teachers decided to use the movie – rather than play the whole thing, they started it halfway through to cover the most relevant points for the second half of the lesson. It worked really well as a way of focusing the class’ attention after the discourse and loud creativity of the previous hour.

    Presenting to BrainPOPpers (and everyone else in class)

    All of the groups did well with their presentations. Given the little time they had to prepare, we were excited to see how varied the presentations were and how innovative some of the groups could be.

    And the winner is…

    After some “x-factor style” deliberations we picked a winner – a group with an original idea which they carried off with real enthusiasm for the goal – to recruit young men to the British Army. They were men who were in the army themselves and could proudly say it was great to be fighting for their country; we were convinced to sign up ourselves!

    The winning group were given some specially made tartan badges and Ms Purdon got a prize-winning cup (a.k.a. BrainPOP UK mug).

    We finished off with a fun Q&A session and, fortunately, the kids had some good questions. We were asked what our favourite movie was and Ann picked Etymology (Moby speaks in this one!) which promptly led into a discussion and explanation of what etymology actually was – very appropriate for an English class.

    We had a fantastic time at Calderglen High School. As well as the English Department we visited the Gaelic Department – one classroom! We were warmly welcomed though our Gaelic was left wanting…

    Good luck Calderglen for the rest of the school year and Glee fun in English! It was a pleasure visiting your school and we hope to be back again soon. We’ll leave the last word to adorable BrainPOP fan and VIB, Mrs Healy:

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  • 27 Sep

    Last week Moby and The BrainPOPpers went to Glasgow to the Scottish Learning Festival 2010 to talk about the wonderful world of BrainPOP to Scottish teachers.

    Glasgow's Armadillo building

    We had a blast – the teachers were so friendly and welcoming. LTScotland is currently integrating a new curriculum – the Curriculum for Excellence – so it was a particularly interesting time to be there.

    Here are our Top 5 moments at SLF 2010…

    1: Meeting lots (and lots) of Scottish teachers on the XMA Apple stand. Our resident Scottish BrainPOP UK Ambassador, Kim Conway, was demoing BrainPOP UK, showing off our Curriculum for Excellence tagging and giving out our very special Scottish Moby badges. Which we ran out of they were so popular. We’ll have to get more for next year.

    Moby gives the thumbs up to SLF 2010

    Kim Conway demoing Brainpop UK

    Moby gets the girl(s)

    2: Meeting Scottish fans and putting faces to Twitter names! We have been lucky enough to make a number of friends up in Scotland in the last 12 months, but most of them were virtual. This time though we could say hi in the flesh and they could get to meet Moby. You can read Jenny’s (on right) account of SLF 2010 on her blog “Student ponderings“.

    Moby meets Ann Marie and Jenny at SLF 2010

    3: Demoing BrainPOP UK on the Promethean stand. The crowds gathered in large numbers to see Eylan Ezekiel showing off BrainPOP UK resources, including a sneak preview of the Active Expression POPquiz integration, with Promethean ActivInspire and Learner Response Systems. And, because we know how tiring exhibitions can be, the crowd were offered an apple or a cupcake. Can you believe it – the cupcakes proved more popular!

    Moby watching the Promethean demo

    4: Sponsoring the TeachMeet. We are always proud to be asked to be involved, in any way, large or small, with a TeachMeet. This year the famous SLF TeachMeet took place in the famous “Armadillo” building opposite the Exhibition hall. Moby was chuffed to be asked to wave people into the hall, although the security guards wouldn’t let anyone take any photographs (boo!).

    It was this time last year that we premiered our very first TeachMeet movie and we were more than happy to create a brand, new revised version that incorporates some of the changes that TeachMeet has gone through in the last 12 months. Afterwards most of us headed off to the TeachEat to sample some famous Glaswegian curry. Moby didn’t come to that – he had to be in bed. He’d had a long day.

    Our new TeachMeet movie premieres at TeachMeet SLF 2010!

    5: Moby’s “dance off” with the guys from Learning Teaching Scotland. Ollie Bray and Derek Robertson were presenting the wonderful work they’ve been doing with games based learning in Scottish schools (you can read lots more about it the world leading work on the Consolarium blog) and one of the games they used was Wii “Just Dance”. They challenged Moby to a dance off. First Moby tried to psyche out Ollie Bray and threw a few moves to warm up.

    Moby tries to pysche out Ollie Bray before their epic dance off

    Then the dance battle commenced to MARRS – Pump Up The Jam.

    Did you meet Moby? What were your highlights of SLF 2010?

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