Making Curriculum Pop

Before Saturday April 4, 2009 I had never heard of Sprout. But listening to Betsy Oliphant and Chika really got me intrigued in the show. They did a great job of giving the class a quick overview of what Sprout is, how they got started, what each block consists of, and give a brief showing of each block on Sprout.


Sprout is a PBS show that is targeted for children ages two to five as well as their parents/guardians. The show is a 24-hour show with five main blocks. The blocks are: The Sunny-Side Up Show, The Sprout Sharing Show, The Let’s Go Show, The Good Night Show, and The Musical Morning. Each block last for about three hours. Each segment in the block lasts for thirty minutes. A segment can be a cartoon, making a craft, cooking dance, acting, etc. According to the Sprout website, “Interaction between parents and preschoolers is an important element in everything we do.” This is evident by the many activities on the show that give parents/guardians ample opportunities to interact with their child.

What I like the most about Sprout is that it has a wide variety of activities for children. It is not just all cartoons or singing, or crafts. There are many different things children and their parents can do and if they don’t like what is on then they can just come back in thirty minutes to see what the next segment is! On the “about” section of the website Sprout states, “we follow the day of a preschooler from breakfast to bedtime, with daytime programming designed to get children moving and active and evening programming to help the family gently unwind at the end of the day”. This is so nice. Coming from a babysitter’s perspective, there is nothing worse then when you are trying to get a child ready for bed and they are all hyped up because of the show they just watched. It is nice to know that the Good Night Show helps to bring the child slowly down from all the running around they have done during the day.

My favorite block is the Good Night Show. I really like the fact that it is a show that keeps children active but does not do it in a way that gives kids lots of energy. My favorite part is when the kids are doing yoga. The kids in the clip shown to us were absolutely adorable. I was really impressed with how well some of the kids were doing the poses because I am horrible at yoga!! I would really like a stuffed version of the star puppet. I think it is so cute!!

Here is a clip from The Good Night Show!

The Sprout website is amazing. You can find all the craft projects, stories, and songs from the show on there. There are coloring pages and kids can even make there own cards. It is a very user-friendly site and even has sections for parents.

I can definitely see myself using this website in my classroom. The have great songs to use for starting the day and I would use the videos of how to do different yoga poses with my students. I think that would be a great way to calm them down when the class has a little too much energy. The coloring sheets would be something nice to have as part of choice time. There are many ways that an educator could incorporate Sprout or Sprout materials into their daily routine.

Links to Sprout homepage and homepages of each block on the show!
Homepage
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/home/
The Sunny Side Up Show
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/ssu/
The Sharing Show
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/tss/
The Good Night Show
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/Originals/GoodNightShow.aspx
The Let's Go Show
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/Originals/LetsGoShow.aspx
Musical Mornings
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/characters/?preset=coo

Not sure how you feel about Sprout? Check out these reviews!
http://media.families.com/blog/pbs-kids-sprout
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/316431/review_of_pbs_kids_...
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Sprout-Sharing-Show.html


I never watched Electric Company when I was a child. I honestly can’t remember ever hearing about it. When I asked my parents if I had ever watched it they told me no but they did remember my older brother and older sister watching it.


The Electric Company presenter gave us a quick review on how and why PBS brought back the Electric Company. The show is for children who are a little bit too old for Sesame Street but still might need help with literacy skills. In the handout we receive it says, “The Electric Company’s mission is to bridge the literacy gap among 6-9 year old struggling readers”. I am in the Literacy Specialist program and I almost shouted for joy when I read this. I think it is wonderful that there is a show for older kids that who are having difficulty reading. I feel like a majority of the educational programs out there are targeted at pre-school age children and/or toddlers. Everything is about having kids know their ABCs and numbers before they get to Kindergarten. While I think it is wonderful to have so many educational shows focused on very young children, it is nice to know that there is something for the older children.

The show follows four friends as they use their “literacy superpowers” to stop the “pranksters” from creating chaos with their own word skills. The “literacy superpowers” include: turning words into graphics/animation, the ability to replay and display speech as text, super human speed to solve word problems, and the ability to visually recall something seen earlier. While the audience is engaged and waiting with bated breath to find out if the friends will frustrate the pranksters plans, they are also learning “vocabulary in a highly contextualized way”. I am a visual learner so a show like this would have been perfect for me growing up.

Confused about the “literacy superpowers”? Watch this clip!

As the presenter was showing us a clip from an episode I had a sense that I had seen something like this show before. I knew I had never seen The Electric Company so I could not figure out what it was. After much thought I realized that Electric Company reminds me of one of my all time favorite shows, GHOSTWRITER!! I loved this show growing up and it is similar to Electric Company in the fact that both are designed to help kids with reading and writing.

If you did not watch Ghostwriter or forgot what it was here are the opening credits.

The website for The Electric Company is great. Kids can read about each character, play games based off of the show, watch episodes or clips from the show, and check out who is the leader in the battles. There is also a section for parents and educators that gives a little more information about the show. I can see myself using the clip portion of this website. I think they have some great clips that would be really fun for the kids to watch when trying to explain and/or demonstration letter sound recognition, vocabulary, decoding etc. Using the videos from the website would not only integrate technology into my curriculum but also be a new and engaging way for students to learn. The songs are so catchy that they would be fun to use during shared reading. By using the songs as a shared reading kids are not only practicing reading but also learning about a reading strategy. It is a win-win situation!! I would recommend this show to any of my students parents who want to know what they can do to help their child. If a child loves watching TV and can improve some of their reading skills while doing it then why not!!

Still confused about what The Electric Company is? Check out this clip!

Homepage
http://pbskids.org/electriccompany/#/Home/
Educators Site
http://pbskids.org/electriccompany/parentseducators/

Still debating if you like the show or not? Check out the reviews!!
http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/ny-ettel6003542jan19,0,5797...
http://kidstvmovies.about.com/od/theelectriccompany/fr/ElectricCor.htm
http://www.metacritic.com/tv/shows/electriccompany2009

Views: 218

Replies to This Discussion

Hi Callie- thanks so much for posting the clips and the links! I love that you related The Electric Company to Ghostwriter. I haven't thought about that show in a long time either. I remember not liking that show at all but was forced to watch it when I was at friends houses. I think I didn't like it because I knew that it was an educational show, which was typical of me as a child. I wasn't the biggest fan of school when I was younger. I responded earlier to someone's blog saying that I want to use Electric Company in my classroom, but now I'm wondering about that. I wonder if this show is used in the classroom, will students stop watching it or enjoying it because they know that its educational? or maybe they will enjoy learning more since it's coming from an entertaining show?
Callie, Sprout has free yoga on it? Wow, now that would be a great relaxation exercise for my students. We did as a class start doing yoga on Friday afternoons, I would love to access it for free though. Sprout did such a great job trying to meet or better yet follow the schedule of a preschooler. Shows such as this sincerely do care abou the children involved. Now in regards to Ghost Writer, I remember loving this show as a child simply because the show did a good job representing an urban setting. I feel that it is important for children to see where and who they are represented in children's programming.
Callie,
Thanks for posting the clips of the shows.
My favorite is Good night show as well. What a great way to put young children go to sleep! It's really hard to make my little nephew go to sleep. As you mentioned, they get all hyper and refuse to go to bed and get all cranky sometimes. But if I show the Good night show, I think it would really help them to be calm and relaxed.
The struggle readers would really enjoy Electric Company shows. It'll help them to improve writing and reading skills.

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