Let Academic Language Be Your Classroom Participation Superpower
When students grasp academic language, it’s like giving them a key to unlock the classroom’s potential. It’s not just about passing tests; it’s about empowering them with the words they need to dive deep into discussions, build on ideas, and express their thoughts with clarity and confidence.
Students with the right vocabulary can participate actively and meaningfully, whether dissecting a book or sharing perspectives in a lively debate. And sure, while these skills definitely give them an edge outside of school, the real magic is in how it transforms their classroom experience, turning every lesson into an opportunity for deeper understanding and connection.
Activate students’ communication superpowers
When students watch BrainPOP movies, they’re learning new vocabulary in context. This means they encounter new words as we do in real life—as part of the sentences and paragraphs they listen to in conversations. They can build background as they see the words come to life onscreen and, in some cases, cement their understanding as the movie automatically stops for Pause Points, giving them time to try out the term in discussion with their elbow partners.
Students also need time to process and practice each new word. With activities like Make-a-Map, a concept mapping tool, students can create a vocabulary organizer to record the new words they’ve learned and include pictures and other multimedia elements to help reinforce their understanding and make connections. Have a bookworm in your class who already knows the vocabulary in your lesson? Challenge them to take their learning even deeper by creating their concept map to compare and contrast vocabulary, such as identifying synonyms and antonyms for key terms.
Make-a-Movie is another BrainPOP activity that students can use to demonstrate an understanding of newly acquired vocabulary. When students make BrainPOP-style movies, they plan, organize, and craft scenes from their imagination. They can create animated visual representations of each word they learn and use our narration tool to practice using the word aloud in context.
The more students engage, the more they’ll learn
It takes a lot of practice to make a new word “sticky.” Researchers estimate that it requires anywhere from seven to twenty encounters with a word before it finds a home in your long-term memory.
The more meaningful the experience, the more likely your students will retain new words. That means the ways that many of us experienced vocabulary instruction in school—tactics like copying from the dictionary or repeating new words over and over—just won’t cut it.
To truly internalize new vocabulary, students need tools that allow them to practice authentically. BrainPOP’s many research-based learning activities allow them to leverage their new vocabulary to build meaning and express their thoughts.
Trust BrainPOP to bring academic language to life
BrainPOP empowers learners to express their ideas confidently, engage in academic discussions, and build success throughout their learning journey. Join our educator community to connect with other teachers and see how they use BrainPOP’s tools to drive student learning in their classrooms.
Katie Pothireddy is a product marketer on the BrainPOP team and a former vice principal, teacher coach, and classroom teacher. She holds a Master’s in the Science of Education from Johns Hopkins University.