More PBS Resources for Black History Month

dukeCelebrate Black History Month in your classroom this February by highlighting the African American artists, educators, icons  and influential leaders who have impacted our nation’s history and culture. Use PBS LearningMedia to enhance your lessons with interviews, historic images and videos.  If you’ve yet to do so, remember to register online for free, full access to the library.

Duke  Grades 1-4 | Animated Storybook | Icons in Music:  Introduce young students to the toe-tapping genres of ragtime and jazz through the story of iconic musician, Duke Ellington.

Rosa Parks  Grades 3-12 | Interview | Civil Rights Icons:  Enhance classroom discussion around the Civil Rights Movement with this interview of Rosa Parks, and ask students to examine her role in the struggle for racial equality.

Picturing America – Jacob Lawrence and Martin Puryear  Grades 6-12 | Video | Icons in Art:  Invite students to uncover the driving themes behind the paintings in Jacob Lawrence’s “Migration Series” and the elements influencing Martin Puryear’s sculpture work.

Remembering Civil Rights Leader Dorothy Height  Grades 6-13+ | Video | Civil Rights Icons:  Meet the woman President Obama hailed as the “Godmother of the Civil Rights Movement.” Ask students to consider her impact on the rights of African Americans and women.

Deconstructing the Documentary  Grades 9-12 | Collection:  Invite your class to experience Bordentown, the remarkable all-black boarding school described as a “unique educational utopia.”

Lucy Laney  Grades 9-12 | Video | Icons in Education:  Laney, an influential Jim Crow-era educator, believed it essential to cultivate the minds of her students in order to develop future intellectual leaders. Invite your students to consider her philosophy of education.

Shakespeare Uncovered: Education Resources

Recently, you might have seen  Shakespeare Uncovered take on Hamlet and The Tempest.  This  great series combines history, biography, iconic performances, new analysis, and the personal passions of celebrated hosts such as Derek Jacobi, Jeremy Irons and Joely Richardson to tell the stories behind the stories of Shakespeare’s greatest plays.

We invite you to see Shakespeare Uncovered as a series of splendid “short courses” made easy with episodes available for streaming.  Designed for immediate use in high school classrooms, an educator site provides a robust collection of lesson plans and curricular materials — which adhere to national learning standards – and contain video segments, comprehensive instructions for classroom implementation, printable student handouts, links to online resources, and suggestions for extension activities to enhance students’ reading, viewing, and appreciation of Shakespeare’s works.

Just a few of the lessons for grades 9-12 are Talking to Myself:  Hamlet’s Soliloquies,  All the Globe’s a Stage:  Shakespeare’s Theatre and Women’s Roles in As You Like It.   PBS LearningMedia, a digital library for teachers, also has scores of classroom resources on Shakespeare for grades 6-13+.

Happy Valentine’s Day from WGBY and PBS KIDS!


Happy Valentine’s Day from WGBY!

Today at 11:00am -11:30am, WGBY will air the national premiere of “You Are Special,” an all-new Valentine’s Day episode on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the new, highly rated pre-school series inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Known to be a great fan of Fred Rogers, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz will sing the opening and closing songs – “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “It’s Such a Good Feeling” – with their messages of happiness, love and acceptance.  At Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood website you can find games, video and printables, and at the teachers’ site, more about early childhood activities and the show’s learning goals.

At an older and much beloved program, Arthur, what better way to open children’s eyes to a celebration of love than poetry?  There’s a Valentine’s Day poem by Eloise entitled It’s Valentine’s Day at Fern’s Poetry Nook as well as Happy Valentine’s Day episodes and fun activities .  And Arthur’s Poetry Club has even more with poetry videos, poems and activities for writing poems.

Arts-Rich Curricula from PBS LearningMedia

A recent eSchoolNews’ article reported that students in West Virginia who took more than the required number of art classes scored higher on Westest math and reading scores and on the ACT PLAN exam, a preparatory test to the actual ACT.  If you strive for an arts-rich curriculum (including foreign language, movement, etc.), here are just some of the lesson plans/videos from more than 1000 PBS LearningMedia art resources:

Storytelling: Performance and Art (Grades 4-6) In one of four storytelling lessons, students explore how stories can be told without words, such as through performance and art.

Writing to Publicize an Event – The Cultural Day Festival on Sapelo Island (Grades 4-12) Students create posters to publicize the Cultural Day Festival on Sapelo Island, Georgia.

Art in the Muslim World (Grades 5-12) Students explore basic elements of Islamic art, learn about the origin and styles of the specific art of Islamic calligraphy and create their own piece of artistic calligraphy.

Identifying Cultural and Ethnic Values – Dance Theatre of Harlem (Grades 6-12) Students compose an historical landmark dedication to the Dance Theatre of Harlem that includes some of the cultural and ethnic values of the school.

Do you have a story about how a particular PBS program works well in your teaching/integrating the arts? Please email us your work and ideas; we have some lovely thank you prizes to share!

From American Masters: Carl Sandburg

American Masters’ website  provides you with WGBY’s recent broadcast film, The Day Carl Sandburg Died, along with  rich classroom resources.  You can:  watch the film and see extended video interviews with the likes of Pete Seeger and the late and great Studs Terkel; hear Sandburg perform and sing in video and audio web features; read curated selections of his writing; plus more – Sandburg’s words and world visualized in a series of digital posters, essays, and a photo exploration of the Sandburg archives.  Here’s a glimpse of the trailer from the film:

Just a few of the many links you’ll find to connect students to this great American poet:

Studs Terkel: Sandburg Packs a Wallop  Author of Hard Times, Working, and The Good War, Terkel offers his last thoughts on Carl Sandburg and the America Terkel documented and recorded his whole life.

Pete Seeger: Little Teaspoons  Bringing the song “We Shall Overcome” to the forefront of causes for American workers in the 1940s and later to the Civil Rights Movement in the 50s and 60s, Seeger and his songs have always been about we, the people.  He remembers Sandburg’s poetic anthem, The People, Yes and what it means to the American underdog even today.

Education: Last Thoughts on Carl Sandburg  In a series of filmed interviews,  Dr. Penelope Niven, author of Carl Sandburg: A Biography and Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet, talks about the life and times of Sandburg.

Lessons for Asian American Heritage Month

The PBS site for Ancestors in the Americas leads to rich resources for you and students to celebrate Asian American Heritage Month in May.  You can find Asian American curricula resources such as the Asia Society’s AskAsia site, an on-line source for K-12 Asian and Asian American studies. The site provides access to classroom-tested resources and activities, relevant links and a virtual community of educators, with engaging elementary lesson plans such as the following:

The Golden Rule of Reciprocity:  Students learn about the Golden Rule by comparing quotations from the major world religions. Students then create bumper stickers with their own sayings.

Twice Upon a Time:  Multi-Cultural Cinderella:  Teach Cinderella stories from around the world — in an interdisciplinary way.

Animals Tale Travels Around the World:  This lesson introduces a well-known folk tale with renditions from India, the United States and West Africa. After analyzing the versions, students write their own didactic stories based on the formula but focused on contemporary settings.

Among  secondary lesson plans are:

Water is Life:  Water security is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. This lesson helps students understand issues and take action.

Comparative Religious Teachings:  Students analyze translated texts from Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu and other religious books.

A Lesson to Honor Family, Traditions and Important Events

Those of you who have seen cellist Yo-Yo Ma transported by his music, and felt so yourself, will hardly be surprised to learn that Classical New England, radio from WGBH in Boston, has dubbed the month of May The Month of Ma.”  While western New Englanders may be unable to hear daily broadcasts exploring the career and artistry of the acclaimed cellist, at PBS LearningMedia you’ll find a wonderful 3-minute video called Faces of America: “Ma Family History” for grades 3-12 and more.

The video segment from the PBS series Faces of America shows  Yo-Yo Ma learning about his ancestors in China from historian Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and how dates, stories, poems and more have been preserved in traditional Chinese texts.  It’s a powerful way to show students the importance of honoring the past, their ancestors and even their names.  Here’s a preview of the interview with Yo-Yo Ma:

Along with discussion questions and text, PBS LearningMedia also features the lesson plan Exploring the Past  for grades 2-12. In an Introductory Activity students work together to gather information from photographs. In Learning Activities they explore video segments from Faces of America and discuss how celebrity guests gained new insights into their family history through the help of primary sources. Optional activities include learning about the Chinese tradition of preserving family histories and creating a project to record important events in their own lives through the use of writing and drawings.

Teacher Favorites from PBS TeacherLine

Dedicated teachers know how invaluable true professional development is to their practice.  If you’ve been thinking it will be soon time for you to engage in enriching graduate-level classes but have difficulty envisioning where a course would fit into your life right now, you may want to consider PBS TeacherLine, online learning for preK-12 teachers.  While you’ll keep pace with other educators in the course, you’ll be able to go online anytime, anywhere for an asynchronous learning experience.

PBS high-quality online courses provide expertly trained facilitators who assure you’ll collaborate with colleagues from around the country, have online discussions, and receive rich, applicable content.  The following four PBS TeacherLine courses are among teacher favorites.  They all start next month, along with many other high-quality courses open for enrollment now:

RDLA157 Teaching Phonemic Awareness and Phonics, Grade  PreK-3, eligible 3  credits

RDLA125 Children’s Authors on the Web: Online Sites that Motivate Students,  Grades K-6, eligible 2 credits

INST320 Connecting Family, Community, and Schools, Grades K-12, eligible 2   credits

INST300 Curriculum Mapping by Heidi Hayes Jacobs, Grades K-12, eligible 2 credits

You can also learn more about graduate credit options with accredited providers.

Award: EPA Sense of Wonder Contest

To honor the late preservationist and ecologist Rachel Carson, the EPA, Generations United, and the Rachel Carson Council, Inc., are holding a photo, essay, and poetry contest “that best expresses the Sense of Wonder that you feel for the sea, the night sky, forests, birds, wildlife, and all that is beautiful to your eyes.” In her book The Sense of Wonder, Rachel Carson used lyrical passages about the beauty of nature and the joys of helping children develop a sense of wonder and love of nature.

Maximum award: publication on the websites of EPA Aging Initiative, Generations United, and Rachel Carson Council, Inc.

Eligibility: entries must be joint projects involving a person under age 18 and a person age 50 or older.

Deadline: June 1, 2012

Note: WGBY is not affiliated with this contest; please contact the contest sponsors directly for details. UPDATE: This contest is now closed.

America Revealed: 10 Videos & Lessons for Classroom Use

America Revealed, airing Wednesdays on WGBY, is a new series that reveals the inner-workings of our country, the systems and patterns that keep our country running.  The series, which is full of exciting learning opportunities for students, looks at four important areas of America’s infrastructure:  Food, Transport, Energy and Manufacturing.

Using beautiful and breath-taking aerial photography to provide an otherwise unseen view of America as well as original data visualizations to demonstrate how our systems work, the series is presented by technology expert and communications attorney, Yul Kwon, winner of Survivor: Cook Islands 2006.  As presenter and guide, he jumps out of aeroplanes in Kansas, climbs to the top of wind turbines in the Columbia River Gorge,  and takes part in a giant tomato fight in Nevada.

The series makers have created ten video stories exclusively for classroom use. These videos are supported by engaging, standards-aligned lesson plans that provide teachers with interactive content, tools, and ideas to delve deeper into the show’s thought-provoking themes. If you’re an educator who is interested in creating a lesson based around the series, or just looking for inspiring curriculum-based teaching opportunities, these resources will get you started.