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TED Talks Education: Personal Grit as Key to Success

Cropped Ted TalkWhat’s the best predictor of success in a person’s life, including success in education? When it comes to predicting the latter, psychologist and former educator Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth says we need to better understand students and learning from a motivational and psychological perspective.

“In education, the one thing we know how to measure best is IQ,” says. “But what if doing well in school and in life depends on much more than your ability to learn quickly and easily?”

Duckworth, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, studies non-IQ competencies, including self-control and grit that predict success both academically and professionally. Over the course of her research, she says one characteristic emerged as the key predictor of success – GRIT. So what exactly is grit? Click the image above and find out in her TED Talk.

PBS Online Science Resources for Parents

My best memory of science is winning my Elementary school science fair in my class and getting the chance to present my project to the entire school on stage! My winning project was finding out which grape type was the juiciest. I tested both green grapes and red grapes by using a garlic presser and measuring the juice in a medicine measuring cup. It is a memory I will have forever and was the first time as a child I could say I enjoyed science . My whole family helped me put the project together and it was a bonding experience as well as a learning experience.

Nowadays, science experiments for children are not limited to the Sid-the-science-kidclassroom. There are a plethora of science resources and interactive games kids can learn from right on the PBS Kids website. Sid the Science Kid is a great resource and can be visited at this link  Our favorites? The “Collection Jar” which introduces science tools and “Kitchen Magician” which explores heat energy.

Science education can be integral in making girls feel comfortable and empowered in the classroom and in their future professional lives. Statistically, science is a male dominated field, but PBS is seeking to change thsci girlse status quo. That is why I love the SciGirls Series on PBS Kids. Don’t be fooled by the name – all children can enjoy the series and interactive website, where kids can explore, play games and watch full episodes. Want even more SciGirls? Some schools in the Tallahassee area now have SciGirls clubs afterschool, and the MagLab offers a SciGirls summer camp for Middle School girls! If your school is interested in hosting a SciGirls club, contact our education department.

Science is an integral part of our daily lives, growing up it was one of my favorite subjects in school. Anatomy, marine biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry and more are just a few of the sciences that can be studied. I took over seven science classes during my high school years, which made me well rounded and prepared me for college. Getting children excited about science now betters their understanding of the world around them and potentially prepares them for pursuing a science field career in the future.

Cherokee Language and Culture

The Cherokee believe everything in the environment, from crops and animals to creeks, mountains and even the wind – all have an intelligent spirit and play a central role in daily life. The Cherokee do not view themselves as separate from the environment. Rather, they see themselves as part of it. Their language reflects that. “Language is the core to any culture because it is what that culture expresses itself with and it is the dynamic mechanism through which that culture continues,” says Tom Belt, Coordinator of the Cherokee Language Revitalization Program at Western Carolina University.

In this lesson from UNC-TV, students learn about the link between Cherokee language and culture, how it was almost lost to history, and how Western Carolina researchers are working with the Eastern Band of Cherokee to study, preserve and grow the language once again. Cherokee Language and Culture

PBS Halloween Activities for Parents

Halloween is such a fun holiday to spend with your family and friends. It’s not just about the candy and costumes, it is so much more than that! It’s about building lifetime memories with your family and having a good time!

Growing up, I remember so many exciting activities I used to do with my family for Halloween. My parents would take my younger brother and I every year to the pumpkin patch. We loved decorating them and getting crafty. One year, we painted our pumpkins, and another year, my mother found these awesome pumpkin stickers. The stickers were mess free and they added a fun look to the plain orange pumpkins. Pumpkin carving can be fun but also quite advanced. It’s a great bonding activity if you do it alongside with your child. If you are feeling up to the pumpkin carving challenge I recommend using a template. PBS Kids has a ton of templates you and your family can print out from all of their hit TV shows and online programs. Visit this link to access all of the templates. No matter how you decorate your pumpkin, they are a festive way to adorn your house and make it inviting for the trick or treaters!
Pumpkin Carving Templates from PBS Kids

Another special memory I have from Halloween is baking in the kitchen with my mother. Every year we halloween1would make different spooky treats. In elementary school, my mother and I made Oreo spiders with red vines sticking out as spider legs. Four years ago, we made Halloween themed cupcakes and here’s a picture from when we made them. We used plain vanilla frosting and color dye to make most of these. My mother and I had a blast making them and all of my friends were so impressed. I can remember all of us trying not to eat them because they looked so perfect. I also made a Franhalloween2kenstein Cake with my mother a few years ago. This cake looks hard, but it is surprisingly a lot easier than it seems. Here is a picture of that cake we made. We used Funfetti cake mix for both the cupcakes and cake because it was my favorite cake mix growing up and it still is my favorite! Baking activities are fun for the whole family. PBS has a section on their website devoted to a bunch of different Halloween baking ideas. Impress your friends and family with all of these ideas on this link here:

DIY Halloween costumes are sometimes some of the best costumes. I lived in New York for the first five years of my life, and Halloween was usually cold therefore my parents used to get very creative at picking or making costumes with jackets! But once we moved to South Florida, we had a ton more options to choose from! I remember one year, I insisted on being a Christmas tree for Halloween. My mother put a water bottle in my hair so it would stick up, and we wrapped tinsel around it so it looked like the top of a tree! Then I had a green puffy dress decorated in rhinestones. My mom then ordered these ornament key chains that light up, and she attached them to my dress so I would actually light up! I wore brown tights with brown crocs (because they were so comfy) and let me tell you, my costume was a hit for the night!!! Whenever I talk about costumes, I always love to pull up this throwback picture of my brother and I dressed up for Halloween in 1999. I laugh every time I see him dressed as a Pea in a Pod. Of couhalloween3rse, when I was Dorothy I needed those red shiny slippers and my dog Toto! But whether you make the costume or buy it, Halloween costumes are a memory your family and children will have forever. PBS Kids has an assortment of DIY costume ideas for your child to dress up as their favorite PBS character. Visit the website here to view all of the amazing DIY costume options and ideas.

Just because Halloween is only one day of the year, it does not mean you can’t celebrate it for the whole month of October! There are so many activities and memories to be made. I will always cherish the memories I made with my family and the many memories to come. I hope this post sparks some creativity and ideas for you and your family to try!

This blog post was written by Kasandra Meiler, our new WFSU Education Intern! Kassie is in her Junior year at FSU working on her BA Theatre major, and minoring in communication and education. We are extremely lucky to have this talented young woman working with us this semester! Look for more blogs from her coming soon…


From Ridge to Reef: Adapting to a Changing Climate

Coral Attol

In healthy island ecosystems, living things and the natural resources surrounding them are in balance. This balance creates resilience. A resilient island has a greater ability to bounce back when forces outside its control, including climate change, disturb it. However, if an island’s ecosystems have been weakened because of harmful human activities, the balance is lost, which has a negative effect on living things and makes it much more difficult for them to recover.

In this interactive activity, students explore Pacific high island and atoll ecosystems, learn about the threats to island resources and residents, and discover how communities are preserving their future. They also learn about the services these ecosystems provide and how they become compromised by change. EXPLORE: From Ridge to Reef


Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool

Courtesy of Sesame Workshop/ITVS

Courtesy of Sesame Workshop/ITVS

So worth the read…

Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool
By Jim Tankersley June 7, 2015  The Washington Post
NEW YORK — Most Americans born since the mid­1960s have a favorite “Sesame Street” skit. Jennifer Kotler
Clarke watched hers on a black­and­white television set in her family’s Bronx apartment. There were two aliens: One
of them had long arms that didn’t move, while the other had short, moving arms. The aliens wished to eat apples
from a tree, and they succeeded, after a couple of minutes, by working together. “Let’s call this cooperation,” one of
them says. “No,” the other replies, “let’s call it Shirley.”
Clarke grew up to be the show’s vice president for research and evaluation, and she has long believed that the
program’s laughs and lessons stick with children. Now, landmark academic research appears to back her up.
The most authoritative study ever done on the impact of “Sesame Street,” to be released Monday, finds that the
famous show on public TV has delivered lasting educational benefits to millions of American children — benefits as
powerful as the ones children get from going to preschool.
The paper from the University of Maryland’s Melissa Kearney and Wellesley College’s Phillip Levine finds that the
show has left children more likely to stay at the appropriate grade level for their age, an effect that is particularly
pronounced among boys, African Americans and children who grow up in disadvantaged areas.
After “Sesame Street” was introduced, children living in places where its broadcast could be more readily received
saw a 14 percent drop in their likelihood of being behind in school. Levine and Kearney note in their paper that a
wide body of previous research has found that Head Start, the pre­kindergarten program for low ­income Americans,
delivers a similar benefit. For more please visit:


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Wild Tallahassee

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Join us on Saturday, April 11, 10-2 p.m at the Tallahassee Museum for Wild Tallahassee, an event featuring giveaways, activities & live animal encounters.

WFSU and the Tallahassee Museum encourage kids and families to get outdoors to learn and explore nature! This special event is made possible by a grant from PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors Week featuring Dinosaur Train and Wild Kratts. To find additional fun, activities, and ideas tune in to Explore the Outdoors Week April 20-24 featuring new episodes of Dinosaur Train and Wild Kratts and visit us online at &


The Cookie Thief to Premiere This Monday

Don’t miss out on the latest special from Sesame Street, premiering this Monday, February 16th at 10:00AM on WFSU! The Cookie Thief is Cookie Monster’s first special and co-stars Rachel Dratch, of Saturday Night Live Fame.  “The Cookie Thief” is a fun, action-packed special in which Cookie Monster explores self-regulation concepts – such as impulse control, following directions and managing emotions.

Parents and Teachers: there are free Activity Sheets and printables that go along with the special. Find them HERE!


Tallahassee Democrat

Celebrating Black History Month in Tallahassee

Black History Month has begun! There are lots of great resources and events  to celebrate Black History Month with your family in Tallahassee.

The Museum of Florida History will be celebrating Black History banner flhistorymuseumMonth through a special exhibit, “Civil Rights in the Sunshine State,” and by hosting programs through out the month.

Don’t miss FAMU’s annual Black History Convocation, taking place this year on February 11th, featuring FAMU Alumnus Senator Dwight Bullard.

The Black Student Union at FSU will be hosting over 20 events this month. Follow them on twitter (@FSU_BSU) to stay up-to-date.

NewspaperVisit Florida Memory’s online classroom for resources to use in your live classroom or for discussion at home. The online classroom includes photographs and documents from the Civil Rights Movement and the Civil War in Florida. They also have a special collection of resources gathered specifically for Black History Month, which “attest to the struggles and triumphs of persons of African descent in Florida history” and date all the way back to the 16th Century.

We will be spotlighting black history resources from PBS all month 1069414_487052628055754_857507274_non our Facebook page. Be sure to look out for content from PBS Learning Media and PBS Black Culture Connection.

Fountain Abbey

PBS KIDS PREMIERES Special downton Abbey-Inspired Episode of Arthur

Join Arthur and his friends for a drama-filled adventure airing January 26 on WFSU and available on DVD January 27

Fountain Abbey

Ever wonder what secrets and stories your family history holds?  This is the question posed to everyone’s favorite aardvark and his friends in “Fountain Abbey,” an all-new, Downton Abbey-inspired episode of ARTHUR, premiering January 26 on WFSU at 4:00PM. “Fountain Abbey” will also be available on DVD January 27 through PBS Distribution.

In the drama-filled “Fountain Abbey,” Muffy finds herself absolutely devastated when she learns her great-great grandmother, Mary Alice, wasn’t royalty at all.  She was a common maid – oh, the indignity!  However, through reading Mary Alice’s diary, Muffy is transported back in time to the famous English estate where her ancestor worked. There she discovers the surprising story behind her humble roots.

The “Fountain Abbey” story is paired with “Arthur Calls It,” a story in which Arthur must deal with peer pressure from his classmates, causing him to doubt his decision to call his best buddy Buster “out” during a baseball game. Is that a foul play, or should Arthur stick to what he believes is right?

The week of ARTHUR continues with funny storylines about everyday life and tongue-in-cheek homages to The Wizard of Oz and The Tell-Tale Heart. In each episode, the characters learn valuable lessons about honesty, empathy, and determination.

Produced by WGBH, the Emmy Award-winning PBS KIDS series ARTHUR explores childhood challenges with heart and humor, while teaching problem-solving and pro-social skills. On the ARTHUR website, kids, parents, caregivers, and teachers can access a variety of fun and educational games, lesson plans, and activities. Families can also keep up with Arthur and his friends on the new ARTHUR Family Health Website — a resource that helps caregivers and children build and maintain healthy living habits.