Making Curriculum Pop

Reflection: Behind The Scenes in Kids TV

On April 4th Dr. Cherow- O'Leary and her panel of speakers addressed our class. Truely, before this conference segment I had no idea what went into producing children's media. I of course assumed that educators did play some role in the script writing. I never thought that lawyers, consultants, etc. were involved. The planning goes on til everyone agrees with each other.

The Sprout discussion also was intriguing (even Chica!). I like how their planning centers around the child. The fact that shows are only a half hour in length shows that they are really studying their target audience. The fact that the shows center around what the children need during certain parts of the day is also a plus. It also makes the children feel as if they are a part of the show. The sprout website below is also very good for teachers since it gives some activities that can be done in the classroom.
http://www.sproutonline.com/sprout/activities/
Some examples of Sprout shows and how they are divided in to different times of the day:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cblfvo_veaM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Hq5tAQJgAU
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u77mUlJvSA8&feature=PlayList&...

Each children's show comes equiped with a specific goal in mind. The goal of the Electric Company is to help close literacy gaps. I like how this show is targeted for thos who are outside of the Sesame Street age range because they often are not targeted. This site also provides a lot of strong material for literacy specialists and literacy education. They provide a guide specifically for educators which can be found here: http://pbskids.org/electriccompany/parentseducators/the-kit-educato...

The other show Handy Manny also provides students with a great learning opportunity. I think it involves them because it allows them to explore different problem solving activities and to accept help from others. Mannys website also give some activities that could be used in the classroom:
http://www2.disney.co.uk/DisneyChannel/playhouse/handymanny/activit...
As the student succeeds at these "games" it would be interesting to help them create their own activities using media. As someone who is becoming an educator I felt more impowered to try to incorporate more moving images into my unit plans.

Still not sure about these shows? Well here are some more reviews:
Sprout:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/316431/review_of_pbs_kids_...
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/valleynewsdispatch/s_616503.html
http://media.families.com/blog/pbs-kids-sprout-mini-shows


Handy Manny:
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/Handy-Manny.html
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C01E1DC1331F935A257...
http://kidstvmovies.about.com/od/handymanny/fr/handymanny.htm

Electric Company:
http://www.calendarlive.com/tv/cl-et-electric-company19-2009jan19,0...
http://kidstvmovies.about.com/od/theelectriccompany/fr/ElectricCor.htm
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/tv-reviews/electric-company

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Comment by Jiyean Yoon on May 5, 2009 at 10:32am
Hi, Sean! I do agree that these shows provide very useful and educational lessons for young children. I wasn't familiar with Sprout or Electric Company before the conference. After watching them, I couldn't believe how much kids can enjoy and learn from these shows. It was facinating that they even have programs for toddlers!! Many children shows nowadays contain violence, inappropriate context. Some parents do not realize how these programs can have a negative influence on kids. It is very fortunate that there are shows like Handy Manny and Sprout out there to educate and encourage young children to learn. As an educator, we can definitely incorporate these media in our classroom to make our lessons fun and exciting!!

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