Category Archives: Uncategorized

Holiday DIY Projects from Design Squad Nation

confettiThe last few weeks before winter break can be tedious, as both students and teachers count down the days till their well-deserved holiday. Make the wait fun with awesome holiday projects from Design Squad Nation.

If things aren’t festive enough in your classroom, start the party with a homemade confetti launcher! You can see a how-to video here and a detailed description of how to make the confetti cannon here.

For some festive and slightly devious holiday merriment, have your students hack a recordable greeting card and turn it into a mini sound system.

If aren’t feeling quite as ambitious, pop-up holiday cards are a fun and easy project the whole class will enjoy.

Happy Holidays from WFSU!

Learn About Engineering with Fun Projects from Design Squad Nation!

mss-poster-challenges-soft-landingGet your class excited about engineering this fall with fun projects from Design Squad Nation! Children can make their own bristle bots from a toothbrush head and a pager motor, and even design mazes for the bots to run around. Then there is the classic egg drop, where students can test the durability of their egg-protecting structure. Find step-by-step instructions for the egg structure activity here, as well as a how-to video.

New Episodes of Arthur and Martha Speaks are on the Way!

mrt-2800-ms056w_avArthurThis fall PBS KIDS will premiere new episodes of Martha Speaks and Arthur starting November 11, 2013. They will also be debuting a new collection of free digital storybooks. Special guest voice actors, Alan Cumming (MASTERPIECE MYSTERY!; The Good Wife) and Kenan Thompson (Saturday Night Live), will help kick off the new episode premieres! Make sure to tune in and enjoy the fun!

The new episodes are:

Martha Speaks

11/11 #507 “Stanley Saves the Day/Milo Goes for Gold” *NEW*

11/12 #506 “Mouse Patrol/The Big Knockover” *NEW*

11/13 #504 “My Mother the Dog/Martha’s Must-Have” *NEW*

11/14 #508 “The Return of Ralph/Little Bo’s Sheep” *NEW*

11/15 #507 “Stanley Saves the Day/Milo Goes for Gold”

Arthur

11/11 #1701 “Show Off/Dog’s Best Friend” *NEW*

11/12 #1702 “Adventures in Budylon/Ladonna Compson: Party Animal” *NEW*

11/13 #1703 “Molina’s Mulligan/Buster Bombs” *NEW*

11/14 #1704 “Opposites Distract/Just the Ticket” *NEW*

11/15 #1705 “All Thumbs/Kidonia” *NEW*

Digital Media in the 21st Century Classroom

MH900448555“Digital media is increasingly present in kids’ formal and informal educational settings, becoming as common as pencils and notebooks were to their parents. Yet in many American classrooms and homes, these high-tech tools are severely limited or forbidden. Teachers and parents wonder: What are students doing with these technologies?”

-PBS Parents

Do you have questions about your child’s use of digital media, or why it is important? PBS Parents has the answers! Have a look at this article, Digital Media: New Learners of the 21st Century, then take some time to explore the other fabulous resources including video interviews with media use experts, a list of schools and programs utilizing digital media, discussion guides, and more.

This is a wonderful resource to share with parents and fellow educators, so spread the word!

 

Have a Spooktacular Halloween with PBS KIDS!

{d5b22989-8c84-470f-9dae-3fa2130cecf2}_Getty_Trickortreat206It’s that time of year again, when thoughts turn to paper pumpkins, and buckets full of candy, and those cute plastic spider rings. This year, make Halloween extra special for your little goblins and ghouls with fun crafts and activities from PBS Parents!

First, Some Fun Crafts:

Help your children decorate the house, or get ready for a spooky Halloween party with these fun craft ideas including: haunted house, bat treat holders, and handprint spider.

And, Activities to go Batty Over:

Work on your child’s math or English skills with fun Halloween activities including: pumpkin math, not-so-scary boo book, and decayed pumpkin. They’ll have so much fun, they won’t realize they’re learning!

Now, Some Scary (or Not so Scary) Stories to Read to Your Little Ones:

Find the perfect book for some Halloween-themed story telling. A home-made sheet and pillow tent and flashlight are optional!

And, Some Games to Play:

Have your child play some fun online games to get them in the Halloween mood and help them brush up on their school skills at the same time! Games include: Cyberchase: Disguise Combos; Arthur: Crank it Up; and Caillou: Match the Leaves.

Next, Some Yummy Treats to Eat:

Whip up a batch of Sweet Ghost Crisps, Sticky Caramel Apples, or other Spooktacular Treats if you’re stomach sounds like it is inhabited by monsters.

And Finally, the Costume:

Making your child a Halloween costume just got easier with fantastic no-sew costume ideas based on your child’s favorite PBS characters including Daniel Tiger, Super Why and Dinosaur Train. Happy Haunting!

Little Children: Big Words

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While one of Fred Rogers’ trademarks was the simple and straightforward way he spoke to children, he knew the importance of enriching children’s vocabularies with “big” words. An excellent example is the song he wrote for King Friday to sing:

“Propel, propel, propel your craft…
Gently down liquid solution. 
Ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically, ecstatically,
Existence is but an illusion!”

There are so many fun and easy ways that you can share big words with the children you teach. Watch this video clip to see how thoughtfully Fred introduces a “big” word, and see below for some more suggestions from the Fred Rogers Company newsletter.

Think of words that are fun to say: If a child enjoys saying a word or thinks it sounds comical or silly, they are more likely to use it in the future. Some great sounding “big” words are “humungous” and “stupendous.”

Stretch children’s emotional vocabulary: We all know the importance of having children “use their words” to describe how they are feeling. Help your child put a name on more complex emotions such as anxious, nervous, disgusted, or disappointed.

Expose children to new words in books: Read books to your child that introduce new words but still have familiar vocabulary. Don’t stop to define the words the first few times you read the book. There is a good chance that your child will figure out the meaning from context.

Help children move from general to specific: Take advantage of opportunities to help your child learn to define items in a category that they would normally label with the same word, such as flowers, animals or insects. The next time you are outside and your child spots a “bug” take the time to talk about how that bug’s real name is a “beetle” or a “gnat.”

WGBH Innovation Math Challenge

MC900436129Do you or your students have a great idea for a digital math game or video for middle school students? If so, you should enter WGBH’s Innovation Math Challenge for a chance to have your video/game featured as a learning resource on PBS LearningMedia and to win a prize of $1,000 dollars!

WGBH is looking for around 100 resources and wants the videos/games to align to the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics. All the information you need to know is on the challenge website, including official rules, content specifications and a sample entry.

This is a perfect opportunity to organize a fun class project that will get your students engaged in the math content and give them a chance to win a prize for their efforts!

Daniel Tiger Neighbor Day – September 2nd

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This September 2nd, Labor Day is also Neighbor Day! Help Daniel Tiger celebrate being a good neighbor with suggestions for fun activities from PBS KIDS including a neighborhood scavenger hunt list and a super duper door sign. PBS Kids will also be putting Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood content and games on iTunes for families to download and enjoy. One great way to say you care is with a special card. Children can make a card on the PBS KIDS website.

Be a Good Neighbor:

  • Have a neighborhood clean-up day – pick up litter, pull weeds, etc. – around the neighborhood or in a local park
  • Help each other with yard work, planting flowers, or making small repairs
  • Volunteer to help at your local animal shelter or soup kitchen

Get to Know Your Neighbors Better:

  • Organize a neighborhood scavenger hunt
  • Have a neighborhood game day:  fly kites, play hopscotch,  jump rope
  • Create a neighborhood time capsule
  • Have a potluck at a park or central location
  • Have a sidewalk chalk art contest
  • Arrange a neighborhood book swap/swap meet

Sesame Street’s 44th Season Starts September 16th!

cookie2Ready, Set…Wait! Sesame Street’s newest season is all about self-regulation — getting a grip on eager impulses and quick emotions. Fun new additions include a segment titled Cookie’s Crumby Pictures and a brand new character, Mando. See below for a more detailed description of what’s to come, courtesy of Sesame Street. Plus, check out Cookie Monster’s hilarious spoof of Icona Pop’s hit song “I Love It.”

Season 44 Curriculum

But don’t get too excited! Season 44’s curriculum focus is all about helping children get a grip on eager impulses and quick emotions. Or in more technical terms: they’ll be training their ability to ‘Self-Regulate’ (e.g. identifying and managing emotions, self-control) and improving their ‘Executive Function’ skills (e.g. working memory, cognitive flexibility). These all-important skills are fundamental to school readiness.

Cookie’s Crumby Pictures

While restraint does not necessarily come easy to Cookie Monster, our hero will help kids master these skills in a new parody-style segment. Cookie bravely attempts to selfregulate his way through a series of blockbuster adventures, including ‘The Spy Who Loved Cookies’ and ‘Cookies of the Carribbean.’ It’s the role of a lifetime!

Hispanic Heritage

Children will be excited to learn about Latin culture as they meet “Mando,” Sesame Street’s newest resident, played by Ismael Cruz Córdova. Mando, a writer from Puerto Rico, will join Maria, Luis, and Muppets Rosita and Ovejita as part of Sesame’s bilingual community.