Making Curriculum Pop

Frank W. Baker's Blog (75)

Ken Burns' BASEBALL repeats in November on PBS

In case you missed Ken Burns' new BASEBALL episodes when they aired September 28-29 on PBS, you're in luck: they're being repeated in November. Details below.

EPISODE:TOP OF THE TENTH In 1994, baseball faced its worst crisis in 70 years when a prolonged strike alienates many of the most loyal fans. Baseball has to rebuild. And rebuild it does, with new stadiums, an infusion of new players from Latin America and the shattering of…


Added by Frank W. Baker on October 27, 2010 at 7:22pm — No Comments

Great Migrations: Upcoming National Geographic Series

Pick up almost ANY National Geographic publication and you will see a promotion for "Great Migration" the upcoming series (starting November 7th on the NG Channel). Seven episodes air throughout the month including a "Behind-The-Scenes" program. Read more in the November issue of the magazine. The homepage for the series describes each… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on October 26, 2010 at 9:21pm — No Comments

NCTE 2010 New Media Gallery ( are you heading to Orlando?)

You’ve heard of blogs, wikis, and nings, but you’re wondering how to use them in your classroom? We have some exciting possibilities on exhibit at our New Media Gallery, Friday, November 19, 2010 from 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. in the Coronado Resort, Monterrey Room 1. Sponsored by NCTE’s… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on October 25, 2010 at 7:21pm — No Comments

Call for Submissions: Special Issue on Pop Culture

Academic Exchange Quarterly

Winter 2010 Volume 14, Issue 4

Popular Culture

Feature Editor:

Lena Lee, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Department of Teacher Education, Miami University, Oxford OH



As popular culture establishes itself as a new collective mythos, it also continues to gain validity as a field of study. Popular culture often inserts itself into the classroom and serves as ways for students and teachers to connect…

Added by Frank W. Baker on July 4, 2010 at 9:31am — No Comments

Discovery Education online event: Spotlight Gulf Oil Spill


Added by Frank W. Baker on May 27, 2010 at 1:51pm — No Comments

DORA (The Explorer) AND Illegal Immigrant?

Did you all see how the Nickelodeon character, DORA, has been digitally altered and used in the current Arizona "illegal immigration" debate? When I first saw this, my initial reaction was "copyright violation," but then I thought, it's parody, so it's probably legal. I wonder what kids in Arizona think of her…


Added by Frank W. Baker on May 24, 2010 at 2:03pm — No Comments

Ken Burns Adds to "Baseball"

The Wall St Journal reports (Thursday May 13) that Ken Burns has added four new hours to his PBS series Baseball. The episode entitled "Tenth Inning," scheduled to be broadcast September 28-29, is reported to explore the steroid era, the Red Sox's curse-breaking title and other recent events. Here is a link to the series.

Added by Frank W. Baker on May 13, 2010 at 10:15am — 1 Comment

Tell the Common Standards Writers What They Omitted

Dear friends and colleagues: Time is running out. If you agree with our petition below,

you need to go to the SUBMIT FEEDBACK section of the…


Added by Frank W. Baker on March 21, 2010 at 8:13pm — No Comments

ITVS (PBS) Offers Short Films on Social Issues

From the New York Times: ITVS is best known for its financing of documentaries, many of which appear on PBS ’s “Independent Lens” series. But beginning on Monday, the organization will present a series of brief, fictional films that cast social issues into the future, in… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on March 8, 2010 at 8:30am — No Comments

Singing for Literacy

I know many of you cannot access YOUTUBE from school, but I am sending this regardless.

A colleague of mine from Orange County Public Schools (Orlando FL-where I used to work) has sent me the link to a video produced by one of their middle schools.

For all of us who value literacy, books and reading, this one's for you:…


Added by Frank W. Baker on February 25, 2010 at 3:00pm — No Comments

FTC Unveils New Ad Literacy Web Site for Tweens

Everywhere you look, you see advertisements—not just on TV and online, but on buses, buildings, and scoreboards. Many ads target kids ages 8 to 12. Do your students have the critical thinking skills to understand ads, what they’re saying, and what they want kids to do?

To help you equip your students with these valuable skills, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, has launched a campaign to teach kids about… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 31, 2010 at 6:21pm — No Comments

Black History Month Programming on PBS (long)

NOTE: not all programs listed here air on the dates and times listed; check local listings for the time and channel.

Frank Baker

PBS Explores African-American Contributions to History and Society

An Impressive Array of New and Encore Programming Before and During Black… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 30, 2010 at 2:08pm — No Comments

Will the iPad Breathe Life Into Digital Comics?

From CNET: But what about books that depend on color, art, and illustration? Indeed, what about graphic novels and comic books? That seems to be where the iPad could really shine and knock all of the other e-book readers out of the competition.

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 27, 2010 at 10:18pm — No Comments

Taking Advantage of Popular Culture

I have recently revised three popular resources on The Media Literacy Clearinghouse web site:
Using Super Bowl Ads In The Classroom (the game is Sunday February 7)
Diet (Weight Loss) Advertising
Marketing the Movies During Awards Season (the Oscars are Sunday March 7)

Take a look; share with a colleague; let me know what you think.

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 27, 2010 at 9:33am — No Comments

Digital Nation Workshops for the Digital Nation

Parents and teachers can now develop more confidence in understanding the complex digital culture that children and young people are growing up with, thanks to the Digital Workshops, a new initiative developed by Renee Hobbs and her colleagues at the Media Education Lab, in collaboration with WGBH Frontline.

Over a single generation, the Web and digital media have remade nearly every aspect… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 26, 2010 at 6:57am — No Comments

Want Better Journalism? Boost News Literacy

Excerpt: There’s a lesson here for all of us who worry about the quality of journalism today: Citizens armed with the power of discernment will do more to rescue journalism than any dozen panels of veteran editors ruminating about their golden years in power and musing about better business models.

Unfortunately, most Millennial Generation students have been deprived of a good civics class. They’re… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on January 14, 2010 at 6:56pm — No Comments

New text: Curriculum 21: Essential Education For A Changing World

ASCD has just published "Curriculum 21- Essential Education for A Changing World." I think this new text should be on the desk of every principal. (In fact, many ASCD members will be receiving it during the month of January.) It was edited by Heidi Hayes Jacobs. (Full disclosure: the book includes a chapter I wrote on media literacy). Happy New Year and happy… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on December 31, 2009 at 1:12pm — 2 Comments

Special Ed Teacher Uses Superheroes To Engage Students

A Kentucky special-education teacher says a classroom unit about superheroes helps engage and focus his students in academic learning. Middle-school teacher Jeremy Belcher says that creating background stories for superheroes helps with writing skills, while graphs and charts detailing the heroes' powers help with science and math. "We go full class periods with them totally focused and into what they're doing," Belcher said. Details… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on December 31, 2009 at 11:45am — No Comments

Poliwood: a new doc on the role of media in politics

I heard a fascinating interview today (on XM Radio's political channel POTUS) with director Barry Levinson about his new film, a documentary, called Poliwood. It premieres Monday November 2 on Showtime at 730pm ET. Although the film appears to address celebrity in politics, it also addresses how politics has become like entertainment and that only those (politicians) who look good and sound good get attention. Sounds like this one has tremendous… Continue

Added by Frank W. Baker on October 29, 2009 at 3:00pm — 1 Comment

Studying Monsters?

The Los Angeles Times reports on a UC-Berkeley course which "is one of a number around the country that mix scares and scholarship, using zombies, vampires and other ogres to study popular culture."

Added by Frank W. Baker on October 29, 2009 at 7:47am — No Comments


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