Making Curriculum Pop

I did not grow up in U.S., so I actually never watched shows like Sesame Street or The Electric Company. When I was growing up in Korea, I remember there was an educational broadcasting channel (EBS). Unlike other channels, my parents let me watch everything the channel aired because they were all "good" for me to watch. I always favored other channel's programs over EBS ones. EBS cartoons were boring, less colorful, and not much fun. (I just checked EBS's website...I understand that it's an educational broadcasting channel, but even the elementary school page was all about test test test. If I were a 3rd grader, I would not go to the site. If I had a choice of a fun and testing site, where would I go?) I wonder if any of PBS kids shows in the 80's had similar effects on children when compared to other shows. The shows that the presenters talked about, segments on SPROUTS and The Electric Company look nothing like what watched growing up. These shows really capture the audience with the coolness with uses of advancing media technology and teach what children need to learn.


My kindergarteners who are learning about letter sounds and blends would really enjoy hip-hop style sound segment on The Electric Company. Since a lot of new knowledge that my class learns is through songs and movements, I would love to find some clips from shows to use with them!

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I've been checking out some websites.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/
seems fun to explore. BUT, because of its outdoors/jungle-ish theme, it could turn off lots of users who are not into it.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/flatmates/
another bbc site- a nice site for english learners... and can give students an idea to create stories by voice recording.

http://voicethread.com
a collaborative space for people to talk via voice, video, text, and/or images- you should play with it~ pretty cool~

http://www.xtranormal.com/
text to movies! soooo cool~

http://www.movingimageeducation.org/create/site/introduction/
moving image education

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Replies to This Discussion

Julia,
Very interesting the you did not want to watch shows on EBS because they were boring and less colorful then the other channel shows. I remember a show called Mr. Rogers and it was one of my favorite shows. Looking back on it now I can see how it might be a little boring but back in the day it was awesome. I use to love PBS shows as a child so I did not have the same experience as you. I agree that clips from The Electric Company would be nice to incorporate into everyday lessons. The website has a lot of great stuff you can use and you can even find clips from the show. I suggest you check it out when you get a chance. Here it is:
http://pbskids.org/electriccompany/
You tube is always a great place to find clips if you cannot find what you are looking for on the website. Good luck and great post!
Callie
What kinds of things did the cartoons on EBS teach about? Wondering what the focus was.

Diane Dobry
to be honest- I can't remember.... I just remember that I preferred to not watch the channel because it reminded me of school. There were lots of test prep lecture type of shows. Even 1st graders (7, 8 year old) took standardized exams when I lived in Seoul. Sometimes I would leave it on to please my mom (to let her think I was studying) but it made me unhappy...
I should ask my parents what else I watched (or pretended to) on EBS : )
When I was younger -- in the 1960s in New York -- there was Romper Room -- which was like a nursery school or kindergarten class on TV. They talked about the weather with Willy the Weatherman and the kids would pick out what he should wear that day. They rode stick ponies around to a song that went "Come with us and Gallop at Romper Room today" and they made up an imaginary story about a place and what they saw. As a kid, I thought they all really saw something and it was not being shown to us in TV-land. My other favorite show was Captain Kangaroo -- comparatively boring when you think of today's shows, but I liked it because he had a craft box with scissors and glue and crayons. Made me want to have one, too, so I could make the crafts he was making on TV. He had puppets Mr. Rabbit and Mr. Moose. Shari Lewis had her puppets Lambchop and Charlie Horse were popular too. I couldn't tell you what they taught us -- probably manners and things like not to be jealous of other kids or not to be mean. But I think the alphabet and other school-type lessons did not come along till Sesame Street.
I can completely agree with you about educational television "back in our day":) I was also raised outside of the states, and once I was too old for Sesame Street educational TV disappeared for me, until Ghost Writer finally came to Saudi Arabia (but by then I was already reading). I am so envious of kids today with all of these great shows. The Electric Company seems like a really engaging show that has a lot to offer kids that are a bit older. And Sprout is SO much fun, I is almost dangerous to get sucked in with your kids. But I think that I could use a lot of the great music and craft ideas they offer on the Sprout website to help me get creative with my students!
I did not grow up watching Sesame Street or The Electric Company either! Somehow as a kid, they did not attract my attention. After the presentations I feel like I missed out as a kid! These programs seem so engaging, colorful, and learning centered while still being fun for kids. I loved love to hear whether you ever incorporate any of the Electric Company clips into your instruction and how the students respond and learn from it. Great post!
Hi Julia
When you started talking about the shows that you watched when you were growing up it made me think of the shows I watched when I was little. I grew up watching Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers, and I loved them! I think it was something about fantasy, imagination and exploring new places that really glued me to the show. Also the shows talked about a lot of things that I could relate to as a child which made it even more interesting. With Sesame Street I loved all the fun characters and how they made me laugh. These shows always related to the experiences of the child and what they knew and how they thought. These shows were simple in its effects and not booming with different sounds and bright color, like how a lot of today's shows our. There seems to be so many things fighting for our attention in media today with its blaring sounds, loud colors and new media effects that it is no wonder why kid's attention span has decreased. When looking at Sprout and Electric Company it has really advanced in its visual effects since my time of Mr. Rogers and Sesame Street but it is great to know that the content remains educational and child centered!

Liz
Hi Julie,

I have a similar background as you. Yes, an EBS show was not something you would call fun! But I think the main reason the shows were dull and boring was because there was no money being invested in the channel. Also, as you well know, Korean education system is based on exams; imagination and creativity is not really encouraged.

Anyways, it would be interesting to see if the philosophy or approach has changed and whether EBS or other educational shows are now more colorful.
Julia, I like how you started this post by telling us about the shows you use to watch. I wonder if EBS had more attractive plot lines would it have made a difference? Also were there other stations that did have shows such as the electric company? I was wondering to does this impact how you view American childrens televison?
Hey Julia!
I have to agree with Callie- it’s so interesting that you were unable to connect to the educational shows because of the graphics and coloring. Personally, I was a huge fan of the cookie monster and I can recall singing along to the song “C is for Cookie.” I think we need to consider the amount of stimulation that tv shows offer and whether it is appropriate for the classroom. At what point does the graphics, coloring, or images overwhelm the child? Just a thought….
Julia,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I do find that often children are drawn to the colorful jingle song like shows, myself included. But your experience got me wondering. Why is it that we start off so stong as teachers, with bright classrooms and interesting methods to capture all attention of our children? Yet it seems that as children get older there are less and less shows on television to support their learning. I will the learning oreinted shows could at times be extended to include upper grade children has well. Shows such as Electric Company are targeting such asn audience but there needs to be more of such shows.
Julia,
When you mentioned how you didn't enjoyed watching EBS, it made me smile since I had the same experience when I was growing up in Korea. I don't really remember much about EBS shows I guess it's becuase there were not many shows got kids' attention. Back then the parents and the teachers prefered print text materials to educate children and didn't incorporate media in classrooms. But for sure things are different in Korea now. I've seen many educational programs online and TV shows when I visited last year. As you know, parents are CRAZY about thier kids education in Korea. If I get a chance, I would love to introduce programs like Sprout and Electric Company to Korean educators and parents to make kids' learning experience fun. It'll help them to have a better and clear idea on how to use educational media in the classroom and home.

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