As the New Year begins here are a few things that may interest you, your students, and your own children.
1) Starting January 16th LPB will begin airing PBS Kids programs around the clock on LPB 2. That will make any time learning time for children. One thing will change, children’s programs will continue to air on LPB HD only in the morning and from 3 to 5 p.m. You will still receive LPB 2 through your current provider or free over-the-air using a digital antenna. In the spring watch for the PBS Kids 24/7 channel to become available over the Internet so children can watch anytime, anywhere. Some adjustments will be made to LPB HD, LPB 2 and LPB 3 so we’d like to know what your favorite programs are. If you have program preferences, please let us know through this short questionnaire.
2) Ever wonder if children’s educational programs are good for children to watch? Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics modified its recommendations about screen time, that is, the amount of time children watch TV, use computers, pads, phones, etc. The policy statement acknowledges media can be beneficial especially when delivering “well designed television programs, such as Sesame Street.” You may be interested in reading their recommendations and considering how best to use technology in your classroom.
3) Wow! Something really great is coming on in January. Your students might love learning history as they learn about the epic life of the long-reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. On January 15th at 8 p.m. on LPB HD, Victoria premieres on Masterpiece with the rebellious eighteen year old becoming Queen and the most powerful woman in the world. The multi-year series will follow her dramatic story from coronation, courtship and marriage to Prince Albert. Not only is it a great story about the life of Queen Victoria but spectacular locations and gorgeous clothes add to the enjoyment.
4) Victoria is not the only monarch to watch. Travel back to witness some of the most dramatic moments in the life of Henry VIII in Secrets of the Six Wives. The program, which combines drama with historical commentary, airs on Sundays, January 22-February 5th at 9 p.m. Check the website to learn more about the six wives.
5) Through drama, students can learn history and understand the complexity of problems their predecessors faced. The issues and chaos of the Civil War are dramatized in Mercy Street. In Season 2, which premieres on January 22nd at 7 p.m. on LPB HD, the story moves away some from the hospital to the battlefield but expands many personal relationships too. Explore some of the history of that era at the Mercy Street website. The National Park Service has a Civil War website where students can learn about people, issues, and places of the war. Perhaps your students will want to check the civil war soldier and sailor database. All records are not there, but it can be interesting to see if they can find their relatives.
6) Once again PBS is seeking teachers who are passionate about using digital media and PBS resources to inspire students to learn. The online PBS Digital Innovator application is open and the deadline to apply is February 13th at 2 a.m. All applicants will become part of the PBS Education Community. One PBS Digital Innovator will be selected from each state’s applicants. The one selected will receive a three-day all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio, TX, June 24-26, for the PBS Digital Innovators Summit and a pass for the first day of the ISTE 2017 Conference & Expo. The PBS Digital Innovator will also receive a digital gift to use in the classroom, ongoing professional development, a Free PBS TeacherLine course, a subscription to PBS LearningMedia Custom that includes exclusive PBS content aligned to state standards, and more. For info and the online application.
7) Hardship can bring out the best in people. Do you know students who helped their families, friends, schools, or communities during or after the flood, excelled in the classroom, served their community, and/or showed great courage in overcoming adversity in their own lives?
LPB and the Rotary Club of Baton Rouge want to honor students who go above and beyond with the 2017 Louisiana Young Heroes Awards. Nominations are being taken now until February. Students must be enrolled in a Louisiana school (public, private or parochial) or home-schooled, be in grades 7-12, and not older than 19 years of age. Previous winners are not eligible. Some of our former Young Heroes have overcome physical handicaps, endured emotional hardships, worked tirelessly for charity, cared for family members, assisted hurricane victims, and even saved lives.
8) Are you aware that in August 2016 personal financial education became mandatory in Louisiana public elementary and secondary schools? The law says that personal management skills and the basic principles involved with earning, spending, saving, and investing shall be integrated into an existing course of study. BESE will be adopting rules and guidelines and a clearinghouse of instructional materials and best practices. In the meantime you can explore the Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy website and their clearinghouse of instructional materials. For years the Louisiana Jump$tart Coalition, composed of financial professionals statewide, has provided reliable financial information and training and an annual teacher training conference.
You might want to start by reviewing the FDIC’s new Money Smart for Young People free age-appropriate curricula designed to promote financial understanding and financial decision-making skills from pre-K through age 20.
9) If you are teaching media literacy, you may want to include information about fake news sites and how to evaluate the veracity of sources. You may want to use or adapt the guide developed by a communications and media professor. A recent study found that digital natives are easily duped by online information because they are unable to discern credibility.
10) When you are teaching about climate change you may want to show very real examples of the havoc already occurring. Louisiana now has the first American climate refugees. It is sad to see the loss that the people of Isle de Jean Charles are experiencing. It’s not just in Louisiana either. At least 31 Alaskan towns have been identified by the government as at imminent risk of destruction by rising sea water. (Scroll down past the picture to see the article.) These articles tell very personal stories that illustrate just how disastrous the growing environmental crisis is.
11) I remember being chilled reading the Edgar Allan Poe story, the Cask of Amontillado. Your students can hear an audio file (with the text) of the story through Discovery Education. It is still scary.
12) Math is everywhere! There are quite a few digital media assets available through PBS LearningMedia to help you teach about math. I <3 Math is a helpful way to introduce Common Core mathematics concepts to your students. This collection, designed for grades 4-8, will help your students understand the how and why behind mathematical problem solving. The Peg + Cat Collection, appropriate for PreK-2, introduces early math concepts with Peg + Cat, two characters who grapple with loopy obstacles and manage to solve math problems while saving the day. PBS Math Club Collection, appropriate for grades 6-9, covers Common Core Standard for math including topics like adding and subtracting integers, equations, ratios and proportions, and statistics. They use uncommon examples like "Mean Girls" to explain adding negative numbers. The Math and Arts Collection, for grades PreK-7, uses dance, drama, music, and visual arts to teach math concepts.
13) Scientists have discovered a potentially inhabitable planet by our nearest neighboring star. It’s an intriguing discovery that might interest your students. Have they found another earth?
14) The title, Vampire Sky Tombs, might be enough to interest students. They will be captivated when they learn that an international team of scientists is climbing the Himalayas to unearth the secrets of the Homo sapiens who settled in the extreme environment. Airs on NOVA January 4th at 8 p.m.
15) Bel Canto, is the best-selling novel about a true hostage crisis in Lima, Peru in the 1990s. Now it is an operatic adaptation found on Great Performances on January 13th at 9 p.m.
16) Looking for mystery and intrigue to watch over the holiday? LPB has it!
• In Australia, the coroner, trained in forensics and law, serves as advocate for the dead. Love-interests of the investigators add to the intrigue. The Coroner airs Mondays at 9 p.m. starting January 2nd.
• Dr. Blake returns to his home town in Australia after a 33 year absence to take over his later father’s practice as a general practice physician and police surgeon. Using rather unorthodox methods he solves who-done-its in the Dr. Blake Mysteries airing Thursdays at 9 p.m. on LPB HD.
• Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries also take place in Australia, Melbourne to be precise, and follow the adventures of a sharp-witted, glamorous female detective in the 1920s.
• Mr. & Mrs. Murder believe it or not is another Australian series. These comedic murder mysteries follow the adventures of a married couple who run an industrial cleaning business and find themselves cleaning up crimes in the process. Airs Saturdays 9 p.m. on LPB HD.
• It is not set in Australia, but Father Brown is an active sleuth in a quintessentially English community. The priest and amateur sleuth solves mysteries using his intuition and keen understanding of human nature. Airs Thursday at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.
• Midsomer Murders are stories of a twosome, a veteran detective and his young sergeant, who investigate murders set in the English county of Midsomer. Airs Sunday evenings. Check the online schedule for specific times.
• Don’t forget the new season of Sherlock begins on January 1st at 8 p.m.
17) Finally don’t forget to ring in the New Year with Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration January 1st at 6:30 p.m. on LPB HD. Enjoy the Vienna Philharmonic as Julie Andrews hosts the traditional concert filled with Strauss waltzes and Vienna landmarks.
I hope you have the opportunity to enjoy some of these programs and resources.