BrainPop Jr.

LQ: 9.6

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Brain grade: 9.9
Fun score: 9.3

Platform/Console: , , , , LWK Recommended Age: 4–9 Thinking Skills Used: , Academic Skills Used: , ,

BrainPOP Jr. is a web-based educational service geared towards children between kindergarten and third grade, and offers curriculum-based learning in the form of interactive lessons in-line with state educational standards. In-depth video lessons can help with homework and  cover a range of subjects including Science, Reading and Writing, Social Studies, Math, Health, and Arts & Music. The focus on video-based material means even inexperienced readers can easily interact with the site. Mascots Annie and her robot friend Moby provide users with a host of videos and interactive content – some of which includes games – helping them associate learning with fun. While there are assessments that help parents and teachers monitor learning progression, it does not detract from the fun and vibrant atmosphere the website creates. A supplemental mobile app is available, as well, which allows users to access some of BrainPOPJr.’s services from wherever they are. BrainPOP Jr.’s audio-heavy approach means it is easy to use for young children, making it highly recommended for children ages 4 to 9.


Flexibility

Adapting and adjusting to changing conditions and expectations.

BrainPOP JrBrainPOP Jr.'s primary mode of instruction is through internally created animated videos, and the many options for learning and assessment promote flexible thinking. Once users finish watching a video they are presented with a variety of options to apply their knowledge. They are encouraged to experiment with many different mediums, from games, drawing exercises, jokes, and craft activity ideas to more traditional assessments like quizzes, writing prompt assignments, and word walls. Users are provided with a multitude opportunities to experience new ways of learning and assessment. The site is divided into six different subjects, giving the BrainPOP Jr. a variety that matches -- and may even exeed -- the diversity of school curricula. It is this diversity that challenges users to constantly adapt to new learning environments while on the site.

Self-Awareness

Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings. Improving social skills.

BrainPOP Jr.'s method of assessment offers a great way to get kids engaging in metacognitive though processes, to become more self-aware of their own proficiencies and to identify academic areas which may require more work and attention. Users who have finished watching videos should gauge how well they understand the material, choosing to either re-watch the material or move on to a supplementary activity, an easy, or a hard quiz. If users decide on the supplementary activity, like a word wall or writing task, they should scaffold their learning into a 3-step process where they will next take the easy quiz and then prepare for the more difficult test. They cannot move on to the next question until they provide the correct answer, and after taking the quizzes, users will be presented with a score. This allows users to monitor their how well they are applying what they learn, and understand which areas they need to study up on.

Mathematics

The robust Mathematics section in BrainPOP Jr. has nine major categories suited for younger learners. Fractions, telling time, counting money, and multiplication are among the major topics, and once users click on a subject area they will be presented with various subcategories, like chapters in the unit of a textbook, which allows them to link BrainPOP Jr.'s content to what they are learning in school. While the math section in not quite as comprehensive as the one found in BrainPop Jr.'s parent site, BrainPOP, it is perfected suited to meet the need of early grade school students.

Reading

While BrainPOP Jr. groups Reading with a writing section, users will find many helpful lessons available. From understanding phonics and prefixes and suffixes to learning how to find books in a library, the Reading section of the website provides a great starting point for younger users to spark an interest in reading. Users can even learn about specific authors like Dr. Seuss, and the video-based learning can make grasping early concepts of reading much easier than purely text-based lessons.

Writing

The Reading and Writing category gives users and opportunity to deepen their understanding of the English language, and this portion of the BrainPOP Jr. website provides users with an outlet to practice sentence structure, spellings, and, vocabulary. There is even a section that instructs how to write book reports, poems, letters, and short stories -- assignments that are often part of a grammar school writing program. BrainPOP Jr. also ensures that its content coincides with common core standards specific to each state. Users can learn just what standards are highlighted by searching their state, grade, and subject on the BrainPOP Jr. homepage.

Science

The broad Science section features a variety of content specifically designed to match the interests and learning competencies of younger users. Categories like "Animals" encourage users to explore, while "Physical Chemistry," relies heavily on application-based assessments. It is a diverse portion of the site, and possibly the most visually-oriented, too, as users will encounter many cause-and-effect reactionary videos, as well information about environments, ecosystems, and habits which thrive on a visual element specific to science.

Social Studies

The content featured on the Social Studies page may be some of the most interactive and colorful lessons that the site provides. Users can supplement their American history, ancient history, geography, or basic economics lessons with BrainPOP Jr.’s vast archive of Social Studies material. The provided videos are especially helpful, as visual supplements like these are a great asset to any history lesson, because they can enliven and reinvigorate the study of related material in class, making distant times and cultures seem more immediate. BrainPOP Jr.’s Social Studies tab helps complement lessons through content-related games, quizzes, and hands-on activities.

Flexibility Activity

BrainPOP Jr. offers an alternative approach to learning, where just by reading and using its services, users are engaging in alternative thinking strategies and adapting to a new learning environment in which they have freedom over what they want to learn about, and how they go about doing it. When your child uses BrainPOP Jr., encourage him to experiment with games, formative and summative assessments, as well as reading the cartoons and jokes. The collective use of the varied content will allow your child to see the site's content from a different perspective. Sometimes a simple change in perspective will further your child's learning, allowing him to see something new and exciting with each new exercise. Be careful that your child does not develop an affinity for a particular part of the website to the point where he uses it exclusively. Talk to him about using trying new activities, and watching videos on subjects he never thought he would enjoy. Simply put, engaging in differentiated behavior will help your child work towards being a more flexible thinker.

Self-Awareness Activity

With your child, try to determine what type of learner he is. Ask him if he would rather see things visually represented, work with more hands-on activities, or study and work through more traditional types of assignments. Understanding the type of learner your child is through his learning preferences is an important step in his development as a student. Once you and him have discussed at length the best ways in which he learns, utilize aspects of the site that complement his learning trends. For example, if your child is a more visually-inclined student, introduce him the video and gaming exercises within each subject header. If your child is a tactile learner, allow him to focus more on the  "activity" section after watching each video. Essentially, match the nature of the assessment and scaffolding activity to your child's learning type.

Mathematics Activity

While Math is usually a difficult subject for younger children to grasp, BrainPOP Jr.'s activities make the learning process much easier. Under the Math icon on the homepage, select "addition and subtraction," or another category that closely resembles the content your child is studying in his Math class. Even basic subtraction can prove difficult for youngsters, especially with limited instruction and exposure. However, by watching the video, your child will see the character visually subtracting various object, allowing him to interpret math concepts in a visual way like this can go a long way in supporting comprehension.

Reading Activity

Have your child read a Dr. Seuss book to you. Although there likely be parts he will struggle though, encourage him to forge ahead with positive reinforcement, helping if necessary  When he is done reading the book, click on the "authors" tab under "reading and writing." He will be able to see the famous children's writer in the context of the time period when he lived as well as learn about some of his more famous works. Hopefully the video will encourage your child to explore other Dr. Seuss stories, and inspire him to read further. Under the "read about it" tab, you'll find a list of his books, so jot down a few more to pick up from you local library, and set aside some time throughout the week to practice reading with your child.

Writing Activity

BrainPOP Jr. has many writing activities for your child. Click on the "Reading & Writing" subject category and begin by matching a subcategory to what he is learning in his English class. For example, if your child is learning about contractions, click on "contractions," under the "words" category and allow your child to watch the video. After he finishes the video, have him take the "Easy Quiz." Once he scores a 5 out of 5, ask your child to choose the "write about it tab," where your child will be prompted to write a story about a character who had a bad day in which he will have to include as many contradictions as possible. Similar ranges of activities like this are found for each sub-section, so find one that matches your child's writing needs and follow this basic approach.

Science Activity

A great way to get your younger child interested in Science is to show him that the subject explores facets of the real world around him. Under the "Science" section, click on "animals." Here have your child choose his favorite animal from the list. If he chooses butterflies, he will be presented with an animated video that talks about their metamorphosis from the crawling caterpillar to the majestic butterfly. The "activity" icon will shows the more tactile learner type how to make a butterfly mobile, where your child will be exploring the butterfly's life cycle. Delve into tangible, yet fascinating subjects like this to get started introducing your child to the wonders of science, then dive deeper into the expansive lesson plans and activities BrainPop Jr. provides.

Social Studies Activity

Have your child click on the Social Studies tab and find category that mirrors what he is learning in class. For example, if your child is learning about U.S. History, then click on the “American History” tab. Then click the “Thirteen Colonies” tab to get your child started from the country’s inception. Once your child watches the video, advise him to go to the “activities” page, where he should choose the “quiz” options. Your child will be promoted with a few comprehension question based on the short video. He can either answer digitally or on a printed version that you can correct and add notes to. The videos are a great way to get your child to visualize a time in history, which enlivens the learning process, making it easier to recall material for tests and quizzes. Follow this basic approach  applying it to the subject matter most closely related to your child's learning level.

BrainPOP Jr. & ADHD

Maintaining and focusing attention during the learning process can often be difficult for children dealing with ADHD. When teachers are delivering their lesson plans using chalkboards print-outs and textbooks, these children may not retain important information as easily, as the nature of their learning disability can make it hard for them to internalize content where there is little stimuli. BrainPOP Jr. is an excellent resource for children with ADHD, due to the many videos, activities, and interactive content available to children. The cartoonish images are especially handy in capturing the attention of younger school-aged children, while the wide range of activities ensures users find a learning solution that works well for them.

How to Use BrainPOP Jr. for Children with ADHD

  • Establish effective communication between you and your child about what he is learning in class. Once you have a sense of what he is learning, you can implement BrainPOP Jr. as a viable learning alternative. The short videos on a variety of subjects expose your child to a whole lesson plan's worth of information in less than five minutes. But while videos may increase your child's enthusiasm in a subject, be sure to also test your child with the various assessments the website provides. For example, if your child is struggling with fractions, ask him to watch the video, and then have him begin with the "easy quiz," taking it util his score is perfect. Play a fraction game with your child to ease the monotony of the summative assessments, until he is willing to test his knowledge with the "hard quiz." Scaffold his learning, like any good teacher, and he will become a stronger student in that subject area.
  • Once you and your child log in to BrainPOP Jr., go directly to the game section. Your child will now have access to all the games the site offers. Offer him the chance to play a few different games of his choosing. After playing a few games, talk to him about which ones he liked best. Then match the subject category of the games to its corresponding video on the site. Working backwards like this will help your child to develop and interest in a subject area before he is forced to study it. It is likely he will be more motivated to delve deeper into the material. This is a great way to combat the aversion to content-heavy subjects and material that don't always fully engage less-attentive learners.

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