Wednesday, September 4, 2002

Online Learning with PBS KIds

As educators, it's important that you integrate technology into the learning experience. One great way to do that is by reinforcing learning with activities online. Let's look at the wealth of resources available to you and your students at one convenient location you can trust:

This website houses information about each of the great PBS shows you and your students watch each day on GPTV. Not only that, but each of the following shows has its very own website with activities, episode descriptions, tips for caregivers, and more:

* Arthur
* Barney
* Caillou
* Clifford
* Cyberchase
* Dragon Tales
* Jay Jay the Jet Plane
* Mister Rogers
* Sagwa
* Sesame Street
* Teletubbies
* Zoboomafoo
* Zoom

Let's go through just one of these sites as an example of the kind of resources you can expect to find on any of these PBS kids sites. Go to and click on Sagwa. This will bring you to the homepage for Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat, where you'll see icons the following areas: TV Sneak Peak; Caregivers; Characters; Games; Stories; Color and Draw; and Making the Show.

To find out more about Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat, click on the "TV Sneak Peak" icon on the homepage. This will take you to a screen with several options, including a brief narration by Sagwa explaining the show, a link to find out what episodes are airing this week on GPTV, and a sample of the Sagwa theme song. More information about Sagwa is located under the "Caregivers Area" at the bottom of the homepage. This area offers an overview of the series as well as "View and Do," a great feature that offers teachers specific activities to do with their students that extend the learning in the episode being aired. Your students can learn more about each of the characters by clicking on the icon labeled "Characters." Here they will find a picture of each character and a description that tells who each one is, plus a little bit of personal information.

Now that we know where to find information about the show itself, let's look at some of the other activities and information you can find on the site. Click on the icon that says "Games" to choose from an array of educational games related to Sagwa. The game entitled -Countdown to the New Year' teaches your students the cultural importance of the Chinese New Year through an interactive game that lets them go through all of the activities necessary to prepare for the celebration. The icon labeled "Musical Lanterns" offers the choice of two games: one allows your students to be creative by making their own songs and the other exercises their memorization skills by asking them to remember and recreate the patterns of music created by the musical lamps. "Tangrams" teaches your students this ancient Chinese puzzle game, where they need to use their analytical skills to match pieces to the completed puzzle in order to create the silhouette image of Sagwa characters. The "E-Cards" section allows your students to send special Sagwa post cards to other children electronically. Visit the "Year of The" section and enter your child's birthday and year to find out his or her Chinese sign! Finally, the icon labeled "Pictures as Words" allows your students to match Chinese pictograms, an early Chinese writing style, with pictures of everyday objects.

From the Sagwa homepage, click on "Stories." This feature allows your students to create their own stories using a cartoon scene of Sagwa's village plus various characters and objects from the show. First, they simply double click on a character or object to insert it into the picture. Second, they use the mouse to drag the character to where they want it placed in the scene. Finally, they place the cursor in the scroll beneath the picture to write a short story about the picture they made! Once they've finished, they can click on the print icon to print out the story and save it!

If your students like to draw, be sure to click on "Color and Draw." This section offers pages for you to print out and color as well as drawing lessons! The drawing lessons help young artists to draw their very own pictures of the Sagwa cast.

Finally, the section called "Making the Show" gives you a behind the scenes look at Sagwa, including interviews with the author Amy Tan and the show creators, as well as a photo gallery of the talented voices of Sagwa's cast.

Well, that's the kind of information you can plan on finding not only on the Sagwa website, but on sites for all of the shows listed above! If you're looking for ways to extend the learning your students get from the Ready to Learn programming on GPTV, visit any of these sites for a safe, reliable, and enjoyable online experience.