Bark About Books! Summer Reading

martha_speaksOn June 17, the last day of school for Springfield Public Schools, WGBY held its last Bark About Books kick offs in 7 Springfield schools.  All graduating kindergarteners in these schools – over 575 of them — received a Martha Speaks bag & book. Almost 400 hundred families are enrolled in the summer reading program, designed to help stem the “summer slide” when children can lose important skills they and their teachers work hard to acquire during the school year.

Bark About Books kick offs have been a wonderful time to talk and read with these beautiful, enthusiastic children and to impress upon families the importance of reading and talking together throughout the summer.  The children express their love of PBS Kids programs such as Curious George and Clifford the Big Red Dog, and when they see the Martha plush, they call out her name and often say “I love Martha.”  Such beloved characters can be strong motivation for learning!

Students enrolled in the program are mailed 5 books over the summer as a way to encourage family reading.  Thanks to WGBY’s partnership with WGBH in Boston, who receives funding from the Krueger Foundation, Bark About Books has served nearly 1000 Springfield kindergarteners over the past 3 years.

We’d appreciate hearing from you about the “summer slide” and school calendars that interrupt student learning for over two months each summer.

Learning New Words While WordGirl Saves the Day!

518I86v0ifL._SY300_Word Girl makes it fun to teach new words to preK-2 learners.  In this recently released DVD, Miss Power, along with her sidekick, Colonial Giggle Cheeks, is new in town.  Is she a friend or a foe?  She uses mean words against others and is certified bully!  Will Word Girl be able to defeat Miss Power without sinking to her level and save the city?

Bonus: “A World Without Wordgirl.”  The video introduces 16 new vocabulary words. You can borrow “The Rise of Miss Power” (I.D. 2255) for a month by clicking here.

Arthur Stands Up To Bullying

Parents and teachers can raise awareness of bullying and tolerance using resources from PBS Kids Arthur and PBS LearningMedia. ARTHUR, television’s longest-running children’s animated series, kicks off its spring season with a week of all-new episodes, including two devoted to the issue of bullying. The week begins with “The Last Tough Customer” on Monday, May 6. In this episode, the Tough Customers realize it’s time to quit bullying and set out to find a new hobby – but can Molly ever truly change her ways? Watch a sneak preview!

Then on Friday, May 10, in “So Funny I Forgot to Laugh,” Arthur thinks his jokes about Sue Ellen’s new sweater are all in good fun, but Sue Ellen’s feelings are hurt. Has Arthur become…a bully?

Visit ARTHUR’S parents and teachers’ site for more resources, including lesson plans like Arthur’s World Neighborhood with activities, resources, and tips to help kids explore cultural diversity within their own community and around the world. The curriculum was developed especially for students in grades 2-3 but activities can easily be adapted for younger or older audiences.

To also help raise students’ awareness on bullying and tolerance, you’ll find preK-3 resources on bullying as well as those for older grades at PBS LearningMedia.

Explore the Outdoors with PBS KIDS

exploreSpring is finally here!  PBS KIDS is celebrating the outdoors with some of your favorite PBS KIDS series.  Find fun activities, games and TV schedules that encourage a love of nature at Explore the Outdoors.  On this specialized section of the PBS KIDS website, you’ll find dozens of games that related to learning from the environment and the animals that live there.  Here’s just a sampling of the activities you’ll find there:

  • In the Park with Skits from Martha Speaks
  • Wilson and Ditch’s Junior Ranger Game
  • The Cat In the Hat Knows A lot About That’s Huff-Puff-a-Tron

PBS KIDS launches Play & Learn App

playPBS KIDS has launched PBS Parents Play & Learn, its first app designed specifically for parents to help them build early math and literacy skills for children 4 and under.  The app provides interactive activities to help parents turn everyday tasks into learning opportunities. PBS Parents Play & Learn is available for FREE for iOS, Android, and now on Google Play and on the NOOK Store.

The app provides more than a dozen games parents can play with their kids, each themed around a familiar location, including the grocery store, restaurant or home. The app not only provides games, but gives parents advice on adapting these games in real-life settings and the option to receive push notifications with more tips for building skills. The app divides activities into three stages: baby, toddler and preschool.

SUPER WHY! Storybook Creator

superwhyEncourage your preschool students to play the Super WHY! Storybook Creator, an online game to practice reading and writing.  Through play, children will discover that they have the power to change the story.  Students first pick a story that they would like to work with and then have the opportunity to change the story as they go along to make it their own.  Games like this one from PBS KIDS support preschoolers’ emergent literacy skills.  Check out more at the PBS KIDS Lab.

PBS KIDS releases two new apps for math and literacy

screenshotPBS KIDS is excited to release two new, educational apps for kids from their hit TV series DINOSAUR TRAIN and THE ELECTRIC COMPANY.   Meant to encourage math and literacy skills, the apps use familiar characters from the series and interactive, engaging games to practice skills such as counting, measurement, geometry, telling time and much more!

  •  In The Electric Company Party Game: Lost on Prankster Planet, children use their math and literacy skills to help Marcus and Jessica escape from Prankster Planet and get back to Earth.  Based on the show, THE ELECTRIC COMPANY,  the free app for iPad and Kindle Tablet allows kids to complete wacky challenges, counting races, silly brainstorms, math questions and more.  They will add, draw, discuss, think, act, problem solve, and dance their way back to Earth, all while practicing skills in subjects including geometry, data analysis and graphing, telling time and more!
  • In the Dinosaur Train Classic in the Jurassic, Jr. app, based on the series, DINOSAUR TRAIN, kids play through three math-based games focused on sorting, balance and counting to help Gilbert get Troodon Town ready for the big event – the Classic in the Jurassic, Jr. games! This app is available for the iPad for $1.99.


Happy Valentine’s Day from WGBY and PBS KIDS!


Happy Valentine’s Day from WGBY!

Today at 11:00am -11:30am, WGBY will air the national premiere of “You Are Special,” an all-new Valentine’s Day episode on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, the new, highly rated pre-school series inspired by the original Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.  Known to be a great fan of Fred Rogers, singer-songwriter Jason Mraz will sing the opening and closing songs – “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” and “It’s Such a Good Feeling” – with their messages of happiness, love and acceptance.  At Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood website you can find games, video and printables, and at the teachers’ site, more about early childhood activities and the show’s learning goals.

At an older and much beloved program, Arthur, what better way to open children’s eyes to a celebration of love than poetry?  There’s a Valentine’s Day poem by Eloise entitled It’s Valentine’s Day at Fern’s Poetry Nook as well as Happy Valentine’s Day episodes and fun activities .  And Arthur’s Poetry Club has even more with poetry videos, poems and activities for writing poems.

Celebrating 50 Years of Clifford and His Big Ideas

IMG_0093To celebrate Clifford the Big Red Dog’s 50th anniversary, WGBY held a January birthday party for 80 Clifford fans at the YMCA of Greater Springfield.  Before the celebration, children helped to make a BIG Clifford birthday card that you can view for a while on WGBY’s website.  Among the party festivities, children wore red Clifford ears that they made, listened to a story about Clifford and his owner, Emily Elizabeth, and danced to his lively theme song.  The pre-schoolers also viewed an episode of the big, red, loveable dog that helped them learn the importance of how to “Work Together,” one of Clifford’s 10 Big Ideas.

At Clifford’s parent and educator site, you’ll find lots of activities, many built around his big ideas, such as a Heart Stamp to learn how to “Be a Good Friend,” a Handy Reminder to remember to “Be Responsible,”and Share-a-Sock Puppets to practice how to  “Share.”  In addition, a Guide to Online Activities provides printable hints for each activity and game on the Clifford site to help you help a child get the most from the experience!

All children can celebrate Clifford’s birthday with their families by watching “Clifford’s Really Big Movie,” which will air on WGBY in February!

Careers in Science

What better time to discuss careers and goal setting with your students than on the cusp of a new year? This month, PBS LearningMedia features a collection of resources focused on STEM careers that’s both motivating and insightful.  Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find from PBS’s digital media library for preK-13+ educators:

I Want to Be A Scientist!  (PreK-1, Video Group) Inspire curiosity around careers in science as your early learners follow Sid and his classmates on a trip to the Science Center where they meet a real-world biologist, a chemist, an engineer, and an astronaut.

Scientist Profiles (Grades 4-6, Videos): Robotic Life Scientist Inspired by “Star Wars,” this MIT professor works on the development of robots that display personality. Take a look at this fun, high-tech career (Spanish version also available.)  Game DesignerDo your students love video games and sports? So does David Ortiz. Show them how computer science, design, and math influence his work as a video game designer.

 Designing a Roller Coaster  (Grades 5-12, Video and Discussion)  Introduce your students to roller coaster designer, Chris Gray. Learn how the forces of gravity and potential energy impact his work as an engineer and help him manufacture a thrilling roller coaster experience.