During last night’s 1st Presidential Debate, Mitt Romney (who seemingly understands the importance of quality education) stated “I’m going to the stop the subsidy to PBS.”
Regardless of political view, why is it unclear to some that PBS is one of our Most Important Educational Tools (at a yearly fed. investment of $1.35 per American per year)?
Why would anyone close “America’s Biggest Classroom”?
Please, let us know your thoughts on this & go to valuepbs.org for more information
By now, we’re settled into a new year at school..a fresh new beginning.
But what if you’re realizing that the teacher/child relationship is giving you flashbacks that you’d rather not go back to?!
How and when do we take the steps to communicate our concern, while understanding all points of view..remembering to stay open minded while still focused on the main goal..to maximize your child’s experience/learning?
3 Simple Steps to deal with a “less than ideal” teacher/child relationship are in my October post of Moffly Media’s Greenwich Magazine HERE.
Most kids’ programs today say they’re “educational” simply to draw in parents. But effective programs aren’t created overnight..& like modern art, just because something’s minimal, does not mean that it’s simple.
There’s a huge amount of R&D that goes into successful programs. On PBS Kids’ Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,we set out to create a show that would make the tenets of our socio-emotional curriculum as clear & straightforward as singing the ABC’s or counting to 10. We know that socio-emotional skills are skills that kids need for life.
But how do you teach through TV?
At the end of 40 episodes, we want preschoolers to have seen the world through Daniel’s eyes & feel what he is feeling, learn the words that he uses, care so much for Daniel, and most of all, comprehend, learn & use the strategy of the day in their own lives.
A lot to ask? Well, I’m the one who’s guilty of pushing for an entire kindergarten readiness curriculum for Blue’s Clues & to ensure that kids’ reading skills skyrocket via Super Why. So, I’m always up for a challenge. And besides, us parents know how smart kids are. If we can give them the information in a well crafted story that they are interested in, they will learn. A LOT.
The Secret Sauce: RESEARCH!
The key to creating a show that effectively reaches & engages children, is to involve the young audience in the process. We test our episodes starting very early on in the scripting stage, reading a script with storyboards to our most honest critics: the kids.
In our first episode, Daniel and his friends set out for a picnic at the Clock Factory Park. They set up a picnic with a blanket, some snacks & games to play. But, alas, it starts to rain! Disappointed, the kids run inside the clock factory.
Dad Tiger takes his time talking to the kids, breaking down the strategy to help Daniel & the home viewer apply it. Dad then sings the strategy to drive his point home: When something seems bad, turn it around, and find something good!
Suddenly, all the clocks inside the clock factory start to light up & chime all at once! The kids have an idea as to how to turn their rainy picnic around. “What about an inside picnic, with all the clocks?”
Hurray, the kids are not disappointed anymore.
Rachel Kalban, MA, head of Out of the Blue research held many sessions on this first script. What she found at the end of the first script testing is that the kids in research knew, after one reading of the story, that disappointed meant sad. This result came from children who didn’t have any knowledge of the word beforehand.
Success! [ If you’ve just joined us from Bonbon Break, welcome! ]
Excited about our success, we decided to drive the idea home. Since we know that repetition is the key to learning, we decided that the 2nd 11 minute episode in the 1/2 hour should be about disappointment, as well. A different story, but 1 focusing on the same theme. At the end of 1/2 an hr, preschoolers would have about 10 instances of “disappointment” in the animation alone, including a full 1 minute song that exemplifies the use of the strategy. This ensures that all kids would walk away having learned our theme & strategy. Because preschoolers like to watch shows over & over, the learning would only multiply after repeated viewings. In fact, when Blue’s Clues launched, the study by Dr. Dan Anderson showed that with multiple viewings, “comprehension improved, & children increased their application of a demonstrated problem-solving strategy to problems both shown & not shown by the program.”
It was important for us to understand how kids were watching the show in their own homes & how the lessons would play out in their own lives. We sent a DVD to parents of kids ages 2-6 & asked them to watch the episode over the course of 1 week. They would then fill out the enclosed viewing diary, noting how many times their child watched & how they were using the lessons themselves.
We were thrilled to get these viewing diaries back. Kids were asking to watch the episode again & again. And after watching this episode only a few times, kids were applying the lesson into their own lives!
Some of my favorite feedback:
“Even though it’s raining, it’s good because we get to stay inside & play Barbies!” –Madison (5.75 yrs old)
Zachary was upset that the bubble bath dissolved and I started the phrase and he finished it, then discovered he could make more bubbles by splashing. (Parent of boy, 3.75)
When Tamar was drawing a picture she “messed up” something in her picture but then just changed it to something else, like Daniel did in the first story. (Parent of girl, 6.25)
Teaching disappointment was a strong catalyst to propel our desire to enrich children’s lives by teaching many important, but overlooked, emotions such as empathy, resilience, persistence, and unconditional love in addition to sharing, remembering to go to the potty, and mad feelings.
Zach said he had an idea of how to fix his broken zebra and turn it around and make something good. (Parent of boy, 3.75)
What if your Mom was forced to retire after contracting severe health ailments from the dilapidated school where she taught? While many of her coworkers relied on air fresheners to disguise the mold, most went home with the typical “2:30 headache” due to the conditions.
Rachel Gutter told us that this was what urged her to work for The Center for Green Schools in 2007 & to become it’s Director two years later.
Tomorrow, Sept. 29th, the US Green Building Council is holding it’s 1st Green Apple Day of Service, where over 1,000 schools across the nation will join with their communities for healthier, more sustainable space.
The Center for Green Schools is putting out a clear message that a school’s physical environment truly affects the outcome of it’s students. Once parents, educators & school officials realize that there are some simple steps that can convert their school into a healthy, safe & enhanced learning environment, they realize it’s a win-win for everyone.
“It’s also about putting funds back into the classrooms” says Ms. Gutter. A school in Kentucky learned that after calling in an energy manager to review their building, they would save enough (over a short time period) to keep 104 teachers on payroll that were about to be dismissed. Our children’s (& teachers’) health and ability to succeed should not be compromised as a result of situations that have solutions.
You can find locations in your area that are taking part in the greening at MyGreenApple.org, because we need to take care of tomorrow’s leaders today!
What does one do when life seems to fill up your to do list..why, get a new puppy of course!
Introducing..Samoa. Our latest (Bichon Shih Tzu) addition!
Who knew that Dads Take Your Child to School Day was in fact, today? Or that there was actually a day set aside for it?
Last year 9,000 New York dads/significant male caregivers participated.
That being the case, get involved whenever you can & however you can!
Click HERE for more information on this cause
On the anniversary of 9/11, it helps to have age appropriate answers for your kids questions.
In May of last year I interviewed my graduate school adviser, Dr. Rosemarie Truglio, (VP of Research & Education at Sesame Workshop) on PBS Parents’ The Parent Show. While we are typically exposed to more coverage than we need, it’s important to understand how our kids are processing disturbing talk & visuals that are hard for even adults to comprehend. I discussed this with Dr Truglio & hopefully the conversation may assist.The Parent Show and let me know your thoughts.
I’m giving away an over sized (largest character: 18.5″ x 27″) set of Super Why reusable wall decals this week, Sunday 8/26- Friday 8/31 to celebrate our super readers incredible job with their reading all summer long.
Decals are made of heavy-duty vinyl and are for use on smooth, flat surfaces. Includes 4 large Super Why! characters (largest measures 18.5″ wide x 27″ high), 1 “Super Why!” logo, and 1 light switch decoration. Made to move, these peel and stick clings come off the wall just as easily as they go on. Decorate for your party, & then let your child redecorate their bedroom with no worries!
To ENTER contest, simply:
1) “LIKE” the Angela’s Clues Facebook fanpage (if you’ve already “Liked” us simply continue with steps #2 & #3)
2) click on the “Super Why! SUMMER READER GIVEAWAY” 8/26 Post on the Angela’s Clues fanpage
3) Add a comment about your child’s favorite summer book under this post
~ BONUS ~ If you Tweet about the Super Why! SUMMER READER GIVEAWAY it’ll double your chances to win, as we will enter your submission twice for this contest
Contest ends midnight on Friday 8/31 & a randomly drawn winner will be announced on Saturday.
Tom Cruise..Katie..Surie..I honestly have 0 idea what the whole story is about, who it’s about (well perhaps who), nor is it any of my business, but my unfortunate glance beyond the CVS register definitely made me cringe today.
Surrounding that rag, were shots of all different types of people on magazines that were essentially all the same. Each one apparently had ALL of the answers that, unbeknownst to me, I needed! BUT the one with the cover photo of a Dad swimming with his daughter begged us all to ponder, WHERE’s the Mom?
Why, pray tell, is a daughter with..with..get this one..her Dad?!
Should we also inquire “Where’s the Dad?” if the child was simply swimming with the Mom, the Nanny, the Teacher, the Sitter, the Grandma, the AuPair, the Coach (see where I’m going with this?)..
32% of fathers took care of their kids at least 1 day p/wk in 2010 so why is there a need to time travel backwards on this parenting issue?
If you can shed some light on this please leave a comment below.