I teach a biology class in high school. I am actually teaching two biology classes this year: a regular class and a class especially designed for English learners. Some of the concepts that we study are complex, and having visuals increases students' understanding.
Students in the regular class are mostly 9th grade students.
I teach at a public high school. Our school offers students a variety of classes in science: biology, human biology, biotechnology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. My students are interested and engaged in the topics that we have learned so far. I try to include as many labs as possible in our curriculum, since the students enjoy the hands-on learning. During class, students often work with one partner or in a group. Giving the students opportunities to get to know each other is especially important for 9th grade students, since they come to our high school from many different middle schools. Working with other students also gives students the opportunity to talk with each other about the material, use the specific vocabulary, and explain to each other the concepts that we study.
Some of the concepts that we study are complex and abstract. I include many labs in our curriculum to make the learning as hand-on as possible, and to enrich the learning experience of the students. Visuals help greatly with the understanding of some of the more complex and abstract topics. BrainPOP has short movies that explain concepts in a very clear manner, often using graphics and schematics that help students understand how body systems work, how scientists use carbon dating, or how diffusion work. The movies that BrainPOP creates are entertaining, so students enjoy viewing them, yet offer very accurate explanations using specific vocabulary for the topic. Sometimes I use the movies to introduce a new topic, sometimes students watch a movie on the topic after we studied it in class, and sometimes we watch the movie at the conclusion of the unit. BrainPOP also has quizzes that we can take in class, right after the movie, so students can check their understanding and review.
My EL students are facing two challenges: understanding complex concepts and learning the material in a language that they are not fluent in.
The Brainpop ESL movies, designed especially for English learners, will support the students who are facing this great challenge. In order to graduate from our high school students need to pass a biology class. The subscriptions to BrainPOP and BrainPOP ESL will support all students with the understanding of the curriculum, so that they can be successful in the class.
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