Good Use of Media

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting

I recently spoke with Sherwood Schwartz’ grandson, which in hindsight, must have been the impetus for my recent purchase of the full box set of 5 seasons of The Brady Bunch. For starters, my kids have found a new love! Poke fun if you will, but they are glued to the family drama where children are respected, listened to, their problems are identified and rectified in under 22 minutes (sans sass). Now I know why I loved it as well, as a child!

However, as a parent, 22 minutes barely allows us to get the full story from our lower school daughter and double that 22 minutes for our tween.  This is why, over the years, my love is Julie Ross. She is the Executive Director of Parenting Horizons, “an organization devoted to enriching children’s lives through parent and teacher education”. Greg and I have attended many of Julie’s workshops and lectures and have found the information incredibly helpful.

Julie’s latest book, How to Hug a Porcupine: Negotiating the Prickly Points of the Tween Years has become our Bible over the years. No really. Our kids refer to it as “The Book” when one of us is off our game & needs a little “help”.

We’re just stepping into a new age with our tween and Julie does an incredible job of explaining the hormonal shift of a child that has a yearning for independence and growth. Just as important, Julie discusses how parents can play unobtrusive, yet “there if you need me”, traffic control throughout this often bumpy ride.

Even George Glass can use a hand with this parenting stuff!

 

In the quest to raise a responsible child, it’s often difficult to provide the motivation for them to tackle their day to day tasks without constant parental reminders…better known as nagging. While old fashioned sticker charts have helped this process for many, there’s not much depth to them, so their use naturally tapers off after a brief period of time.

The Silicon Valley company, “Got Clues” (no, no relation to Blue’s Clues) was excited to share their app iRewardChart with us. Their app takes this reward chart concept and converts it into a well oiled, customizeable and interactive app for your mobile device. It’s loaded with many great features, including your child’s option to choose their payout or reward at the end of the timeframe you choose. iRewardChart has won the Best Parenting App for past 2 yrs and has been on NBCs Today show, CNN, HuffPost & many others.

As much as we all need a little help as parents, kids need some more acknowledgement of their positive choices/actions…iRewardChart could benefit us all.

 

I’m giving away FREE copies of iRewardChart to the first 5 people that LIKE the Angela’s Clues fanpage. Already liked the Facebook page? Then simply comment on the iRewards post below or on the Fb page. Good luck!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Good Use of Media, Parenting

Angela Santomero

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood:

We finally shared our sneak peek on the PBS Preview site last week of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. While we’ve had an incredibly positive reaction from the kids who will make up our demographic audience, a few adult fans have some questions.

 

There will only be one Fred Rogers and one Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  All of the great preschool television shows out there owe a lot to this man and his mission for educating kids through media with respect and care.  As a television creator, I literally grew up on Mister Rogers Neighborhood and wanted to do for kids programming what Mister Rogers did for me.
As such a huge fan of Mister Rogers’, you can imagine how it felt to be given the task of introducing Fred’s characters, his world and his pro-social curriculum to children today.  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood was born to do just that.  It is based on the work of Fred Rogers, and I believe we are moving Fred’s legacy forward, in a whole new way.
So, here’s some scoop on the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood preview clip:

 

The first clip:  Show Open
We wanted to pay tribute to the Mister Roger’s Neighborhood open where Mister Roger’s puts on his red sweater and sneakers and sings directly to the home viewer.

For Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood we have Daniel, himself, sing to the home viewer for the beginning of the song and we intentionally kept it the same as Fred’s original song.  Daniel zips up his red sweater, he puts on his little sneakers and even tosses one a la Fred!

If you look closely to this frame you can see all of our nostalgia elements:  Daniel is in the foyer, similar to the Mister Roger’s foyer, there are few different colored sweaters in the closet, there is a stoplight, a little trolley behind Daniel, little models of the Neighborhood (made by hand out of clay by Traci Paige Johnson) & even the fish tank.

 

Angela Santomero / Family CommunicationsThe song revs up and becomes a modern version of Fred’s “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.”  Daniel hops on the trolley and goes through the (Pittsburgh) tunnel (the one that we go through in the original series) and ends up in our expanded new version of The Neighborhood of Make Believe.  We can see many of the iconic characters and some new ones (especially in this open when we premiere in September).

 

The clip from “Daniel’s Birthday” episode:

In this scene, you can get a sneak peek to Daniel’s character who wants to be big & strong and carry his own birthday cake all the way home on Trolley.  Trolley premieres in this clip too, as you can hear her “ding” when spoken to as the beloved character that she is.  Mom lets Daniel carry his cake by himself and he’s excited.  Perhaps he’s a bit too excited!

We wanted to showcase empowering preschoolers and helping them through natural consequences.  Because, as can be expected, when Daniel gets home, and runs in to show Dad his cake that he decorated at the bakery with his friends, it is smushed. Daniel is naturally very disappointed. Dad Tiger (the original Daniel Striped Tiger) takes the time to talk to Daniel about how he feels, letting Daniel have his emotion.  Then Dad sings the disappointment strategy to him, “When something seems bad, turn it around and find something good.”  Daniel sings the strategy with the home viewer and thinks about how he can “find something good” in a smushed birthday cake.  He thinks.  And thinks.  And then….”HEY! Do you think the cake still tastes yummy, even though its smushy?”  He tastes the cake and guess what?  It does taste yummy!  And that is something good!

 

Let us know what you think about this sneak peek of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood!  Do you like the strategy?  Does it get stuck in your head as it does in mine?

 

Can’t wait to hear from you!

With all of the screen media (iPads, iTouch, iPhone, Kindle, laptops, etc.) inundating our childrens’ lives, just as many varied answers exist regarding the limitations for such media. The American Academy of Pediatrics tried to address these concerns and released a statement in October which received a somewhat lackluster response from some educators, researchers and media professionals. Well, the NAEYC & The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning & Children’s Media joined forces releasing their most powerful statement on March 7, 2012, essentially stating that screen technology for young children should not be vilified.

The statement goes on to explain that “our world and technology are rapidly changing”, producing new powerful and imaginative tools, which are not going to (nor should they) leave us. While we must always pay strict attention to the quality of our content, it’s never been more important to educate society on how to properly utilize such tools to benefit our children.

As a creator of thought provoking, quality content for children, I’ve been living that message to inspire children for almost twenty years…so it’s nice to have such power supporting my beliefs.

It’s about education. Not pointing fingers.

 

[Read the full NAEYC/Fred Rogers statement here]

by: Laura | Filed under Good Use of Media, Stuff We Love

While the search for a new book or a new author for a 4-8 yr old might be a little less intimidating, Laura’s really helped us out this week with some great recommendations for the 9-12 year old set. And as you can probably tell, they’ve all been kid tested & pleasantly approved 🙂  Enjoy…


Fiction

Johnny Tremain Esther Forbes (Newberry Medal)

Historical fiction at its best.  An exciting and educational tale set in the days before the American Revolution.

 

A Tale Dark and Grimm Adam Gidwitz

Alternating dark and creepy with hilarious and goofy.  Consistently brilliant.


The Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson Bette Bao Lord

Touching on immigration and racial tension in a gentle, sweet and funny tale.

 

The Giver Lois Lowry (Newberry Medal)

A thought-provoking novel.  I highly recommend reading this book along with or ahead of your child.  Expect great conversation to come of it.

 

Gregor the Overlander Suzanne Collins (Underland Chronicles Series)

A fun, thrilling series which is appropriately written for younger readers. My son has read the entire 5 book series… 3 times.  ‘nuff said

 

Non-Fiction

The Word Snoop Ursula Dubosarsky

Lovers of reading and writing of all ages will appreciate this book.  Consider it a tour of the English language from the early days to Twitter.  The plentiful puzzles, jokes and riddles are a bonus treat.

 

Sir Charlie: Chaplin, the Funniest Man in the World Sid Fleischman

A gifted man in his rags-to-riches story told to young readers by notable late biographer Fleishman (also see his bios on Mark Twain and Harry Houdini).

 

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women who Dared to Dream Tanya Lee Stone

In the 1960’s you had to be a man to go to space.  This is the story of the women who were qualified.  They never made it to space, but they paved the way for those who came after them by challenging the system.

 

D.I.Y. Kids Ellen Lupton and Julia Lupton

Creative and unique DIY craft ideas for kids ages 7-12.  Lots of great stuff here!

 

Knucklehead: Tall Tales and Almost True Stories of Growing up Scieszka Jon Scieszka

Scieszka is a family favorite in our house (he could write about paint drying and we would eat it up).  This memoir shows you how he became the knucklehead we love.

 

If you’ve got some “can’t put down” favorites from your 9-12 year old which didn’t make it here, please add it to our list in the comments section below.

 


Funded by the CPB as part of its Ready to Learn initiative, SUPER WHY Reading Camps were held in over 100 communities as they built upon the success of the SUPER WHY television show. We are now opening up our signature early literacy curriculum to the community. Online teacher (or parent) tutorials are supplied offering tips and techniques for growing successful readers.

The reading camp is a 5 day interactive learning adventure which shows children the power of reading and motivates them to play with letters, sounds and words through a comprehensive curriculum. A  curriculum which has been developed by noted literacy experts. The activities offered through this curriculum reinforce knowledge through repetition and various forms of learning (i.e. art, music, movement, dance and games) and also utilize CD’s, DVDs, worksheets, and more. Literacy skills showed significant improvement (at the 95% significance level) for those who attended the camp thanks to SUPER WHY Reading Camp’s multimedia approach.

For more information or to download the actual curriculum, click here to go to PBSkids.org

by: Greg | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids

Submissions for our Action News! Storytelling Contest with Launchpad Toys are in! You have until next Wednesday to vote for your favorite News Broadcast.

To view the outstanding work that was submitted go to Launchpad Toys and don’t forget to VOTE for your favorite, as the Top ‘Toon winner will receive $100 to Amazon!!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Super Why!

Hot off the press, our latest SuperWhy! App. Woo-hoo!

Click HERE for the MarketWatch review.

Check it out in iTunes

 

Disclaimer: My dev. team at Out Of The Blue LLC was involved in the production of this app.

by: Laura | Filed under Good Use of Media, Kids, Parenting

I often tell my parents that a good book is the best gift for my daughters. Call me old school but with so many bookstores closing their doors, on-line shopping can be a little impersonal…especially if your child’s out of the age group that you’re looking for. This week, our resident teacher/friend, Laura, has some great picks for the 4-8 year old set (next week 9-12). Enjoy…


Fiction

How Rocket Learned to Read Tad Hills  (national award winner)

This is an adorable picture book about a puppy who is a reluctant reader until he becomes hooked on stories read by a wise little bird.  After that, his joy of reading and learning becomes contagious.

Children Make Terrible Pets Peter Brown
Another cute picture book with a message.  This is a great book for kids like mine who love to catch wild animals and who always beg to keep them.

Bad Kitty (series) Nick Bruel
A hilarious tale (er, tail?) about a mischievous kitty who gets into all sorts of alphabetical trouble.  Even readers who have mastered their ABCs will appreciate Bad Kitty’s antics.

Mercy Watson (series) Kate DiCamillo
Oh the things this porcine wonder will do for buttered toast!  This was my son’s first dip into chapter books, and years later he still loves to go back and read them.

Star Jumper: Journal of a Cardboard Genius (series) Frank Asch
Themes of sibling rivalry, escapism, imagination and creativity in this book speak to anyone who has dared to dream big.

 

Non-Fiction

Balloons over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade, by Melissa Sweet
Just in time for the Thanksgiving Day parade, this beautiful and informative picture book shows children how it all got started in beautiful mixed-media illustrations.

Poetry Speaks to Children, by Elise Paschen
A selection of over 90 poems for children, 50 of them read aloud by the poet on the accompanying CD

It’s Not What You’ve Got!  Lessons for Kids on Money and Abundance, by Dr. Wayne Dyer with Kristina Tracy
In these trying economic times, this book can help us talk to our kids about money and abundance, and the feelings that come with having it or not.

Weird but True (series), by National Geographic Kids
Weird, wacky, fun and all true facts based on the wildly popular National Geographic Kids magazine.  This book is always a hit with the 6-9 year old crowd.

The Secret Knowledge of Grownups (books 1 and 2), by David Wisniewski
The title should tell you all you know about why kids would want to read this book, but you’ll like it too!

Happy Reading!

by: Angela Santomero | Filed under Good Use of Media, Parenting

Dave Isay, producer of StoryCorps, has had a desire from the age of thirteen to preserve loved ones’ stories. The StoryCorps oral history project allows you to do just that.  There is no time like the present to listen and hold onto the stories that often play a large part in who we are.StoryCorps book

Such inspiring and moving stories of humanity teach us to slow down to listen not only to our aged family members, whose stories usually go unrecorded, but also to focus on our kids to really respect their words. And in turn this will undoubtedly strengthen who they are. So step into one of his booths, which are located around the country, for 40 minutes to interview someone you love.

Click HERE to find a booth near you or to get more info on StoryCorps because everyone’s got a great story to tell.

[See my interview with Dave Isay on PBS.org]