BGL Brings the Sound of Music to You!

Hey teachers!  We hope you’re enjoying the Fall as it slowly turns to Winter.  Some of us may feel it more than others, so stay warm, stay dry, stay indoors, get outdoors – whatever suits you!  Over here at BGL, we’re making lots of noise!

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Teacher Jimmy and Teacher Lucas have made a flurry of new songs introducing our good phonics friend Professor Goofball!  He’s joining Sophie Sounds in our phonics universe, teaching all sorts of fun, interactive lessons on single letter sounds, CVC words and phonemic blends. 

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And for those young learners just getting started on their English adventure, we’ve got some great new instructional videos from Teacher Kelly on consonants and vowels, too!

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We’ve been on a video frenzy this month, getting loads of videos up for your classroom, your home or just for your dancing and singing enjoyment.  On our YouTube page  you’ll notice that we’ve got some themed playlists.  Whether you want songs about school, eating healthy foods, numbers, shapes or colors, we’ve got you covered!  So check back often as we’re always updating our page! Don’t forget to subscribe and Like!

Thanks a lot for stopping by!  As always, we want you to stay up to date on the latest news from BGL, because we’re always up to something fun and exciting!  Check below on all the ways you can follow us around the internet and around the globe.  And, as always, let us know what you think about all the great additions being made to our social media!  Check us out below:

 

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Or follow along with all the news here on our blog!

Music Videos for the New School Year

Hey everyone!  While y’all have been enjoying your summer (we hope), we here at BGL have been working tirelessly to make sure the 2019-2020 school year starts off with a bang by creating fresh videos to brighten up your new classroom.  

Songs for Routines

A great way to greet new students and build routines is with classroom songs, like our newly released Hi There! Hello! Good Morning! and See You Tomorrow. The catchy tunes bring such a smile to the kids’ faces as they sing along, simple words make for quick and easy sing-alongs, and fun dances make saying “hello” and “goodbye” a happy part of the day for young learners.  For the silliest song to teach manners while getting out some giggles, check out May I Please!

Songs for Phonics: Sophie Sounds

We all know that phonics is an important part of a balanced kindergarten diet, but it can be less like a boring vitamin and more like a rainbow sprinkle ice cream cone with Sophie Sounds. Young learners can explore the magic world of sounds, letters and words with Sophie and friends. Aligned with the BRIDGES curriculum, students can see words from their book come to life in the short, sweet animated adventures of Sophie Sounds.

 

Want more?

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see the latest phonics adventures of Sophie Sounds and browse our library of free quality educational content for young learners. If you love what you see on BGL’s blog and want to become part of our collective of educators and innovators, see our job postings.

Thanks, Team!

A special thanks to our BGL media production team that brings the magic to life!

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Happy teaching, everyone!

Chinese New Year Song for Kids

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! There is a famous legend that accompanies Chinese New Year about a monster named Nian (which is Mandarin for “year”). In ancient times, Nian terrorizes a town until an old man figures out that Nian is afraid of loud noises and the color red. That’s why today people wear red and shoot off firecrackers to celebrate the new year – to keep Nian at bay!

And, BGL Media wrote a song about it! It’s a good little ditty that has over 34k hits on YouTube!

Happy New Year!

Americastle – Our TV Show for Kindy Kids!

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BGL is excited to announce the premier of Americastle, an educational show built around our BRIDGES kindergarten curriculum. For those of you who know BGL staff, you’ll see several familiar faces here. Great work, everyone!
The pilot episode can also be viewed anytime via direct link on YouTube (while you’re there, check out the rest of the videos on our channel!). It will also air on public access television in Los Angeles on Sunday 8/26 at 6:30am and 6:30pm PT on the Arroyo Channel (Charter 32 in Pasadena, AT&T U-Verse 99-Pasadena in LA) and can be viewed online at pasadenamedia.org at those times.
Please share this in your classroom, and spread the word about the air times. Thanks for watching!

Twitter-Stalking EdTech Conferences: BGL’s Top 8 #notatISTE17 Takeaways

While we’d all love to make it to the nation’s biggest education technology conference, ISTE, sometimes the cost and location can make it a challenge. Close to 15,000 people gathered in San Antonio this year for #ISTE17, but there were many more who were not able to attend. Fortunately, with so many innovative educator minds chomping at the bit for the latest and greatest educational technology, over the years a solid virtual learning network has emerged around the conference. Between Twitter, Google Groups, and other collaborative tools, educators from around the country were able to participate from afar in #NotAtISTE17.

The #notatISTE17 hashtag allowed us to easily network with other edtech enthusiasts remotely attending the conference. BGL teachers were just a few of the nearly 200 educators who participated in the #badgechallenge, which was a great way to get to know our fellow virtual attendees. Here are two of our badges!

As the conference began, BGL employees logged on to Zoom and met via video to discuss new materials as we followed the hashtags, learned about the latest ideas and resources and met some like-minded cohorts.

Below are our top 8 #notatISTE17 take-aways:

  1. Creative Coding on BrainPop For our 5th graders who participate in the Hour of Code, the Creative Coding on BrainPop could be a great extension for some additional coding projects.
  2. Buncee We’re always looking for new, fun and engaging ways for students to share their ideas. Buncee serves as a good alternative to the typical deck of slides.
  3. Global Read Aloud – Working in authentic reading experiences for children is always on teachers’ minds. This six-week global initiative to share read alouds with classes can be a great way to work in some good stories while connecting with students around the world.
  4. PhET Interactive Simulations – These digital math/science simulations are great when you can’t get your hands on the real thing.
  5. Peardeck – Peardeck offers a new presentation tool with interactive questions. It has great potential for both teachers and students.
  6. Flocabulary – Who doesn’t like a hip hop with their vocabulary development? This tool seems like it could make learning new words lots of fun.
  7. Triventy – Assessment is so valuable, but can become stale for students. With Triventy you can create collaborative classroom quizzes and switch things up a bit.
  8. Flipgrid – We often don’t get to hear individual student voices in the classroom. Flipgrid video discussion community that allows students to submit video responses to questions.

Join the #notatISTE17 Google Group if you missed out on the live Twitter feed during the conference for some great resources and networking.

What’s your favorite conference to Twitter-stalk? Leave us a comment!

We Love Classcraft! A BGL Review

Here at BGL, we love Classcraft! It’s a free classroom management system a la Class Dojo but with deeper options and a fantasy-based theme that the students really enjoy.

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One great element is that a given student’s avatar can “die,” which sounds a bit violent for a classroom setting until you consider a few things:

  • Students are organized into teams and there are disincentives built in to the other team members if one of their teammates dies. In other words, students HAVE to help each other in order to avoid team-wide consequences.
  • The teacher can customize the penalty for death with creative consequences that can otherwise benefit the class.

The latter bullet point is the subject of the following video in which Teacher Travis introduces Classcraft to his 5th grade class via distance learning. Please enjoy! Our students definitely do.

 

The teacher dashboard allows multiple views of the class with varying degrees of detail. It also makes it easy to reward/punish groups of students or the entire class at one time with just a few clicks.

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Another element we enjoy with Classcraft is “Today’s Event,” a randomized act that may or may not affect multiple student accounts at one time. It’s akin to some of the squares on a Monopoly board where rewards or consequences are doled out simply for having been in the right/wrong place at the right/wrong time.

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Almost everything in Classcraft is customizable. From a student perspective, they can customize their avatars and earn the ability to unlock special wardrobe elements and skills. The teacher, like with Class Dojo, can customize the rewards and consequences to target specific class behaviors.

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Given this level of customization, there is definitely a learning curve. It seems a bit unwieldy and user-unfriendly at first, but most tech users will find it to become second nature after using it for a short amount of time. Like with most things in teaching, consistency is key – the more you use it, the more effective it becomes.

Using Video to Teach Current Events

BGL’s own Teacher LaCora has experience in front of the camera as a red carpet host here in Los Angeles. She used those skills to create a video about the recent earthquake in Ecuador as part of BGL’s weekly current events unit.

 

To teach current events, BGL selects a handful of stories from the week and shares links to the stories along with discussion questions to all their teachers across grades K-8. Each teacher chooses the story and discussion questions that are best suited for the ability and interest of their classes. Choosing more discussion questions – or turning them into writing assignments – takes the activity from a short one (5-10 minutes) to a longer one (a full period or two).

Here are the discussion questions for the Ecuadorian earthquake story. As you can see, they get progressively more difficult so that teachers in older grades choose from the bottom and vice versa for younger grades.

  • What can people do to help when there is an earthquake?
  • Have you ever felt an earthquake? What does it feel like?
  • What causes earthquakes? Are there different kinds?
  • What is the Richter scale? What does it mean to increase exponentially?

How do you teach current events? Tell us in the comments section.