Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Great Teacher Resources – Brainpop and FreedFlix by Mike Siekkinen

Have you tried Brainpop? Our school bought a site license for it last year; it was very reasonable. Brainpop is a multi-topic site that kids really enjoy. Students log in and then can be assigned topics/areas to visit on the website. It really does have something for everyone. Students can play games, watch short videos and then take quizzes on the assigned topics. Best of all, these can be very quick (10 minutes) or lengthy, depending on what you assign. I find the site easy to navigate and my middle school students love it.

Another site I am using is FreedomFlix.This also requires a site license but is also very reasonable. FreedomFlix is a history related site that is customizable with regards to reading levels. It has loads of topics ranging from early colonization to all of the wars America has been involved in. Three different Lexile levels are available with each lesson as well.  Students can even select "read aloud" and the text is read to them. I find both options great for my multi-level readers as well as my ESOL students. I, with very little effort, design webquests for my students that guide them through the site and information. There are videos, maps, historical documents and stories for each topic as well as external links to other sites. Great site for high, low and in between reading levels!

My students think the website is fun and enjoy when they are "assigned" topics to do on Brainpop. I have always thought it the best of both worlds when students are enjoying themselves and are learning at the same time.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve used either of these resources, or if you have other places teachers should know about.

Dr. Mike Siekkinen, a retired U.S. Navy submariner, became a teacher as a second career. He teaches history at St Marys Middle School as well as Adult and Career Education at Valdosta State in Georgia.